Saturday, April 15, 2006

Warped Weaving

At times like this I wish I had a weaving teacher handy. Oh, online help is great, but sometimes I need someone to take a look over my shoulder at what's going on and help me.

My problem? The scarves I am weaving were getting warped. Warped as in my Webster's dictionary definition 1a, "twisted or bent out of a plane." As I'd been weaving, one side was getting progressively looser. And the more I wove, the looser it got!

Another problem was trying to analyze the problem. Just why were the warp ends on one side getting looser and looser every time I advanced the warp? Did I not have the correct tension to begin with? Were my balsa wood separators not sturdy enough? Had part of the warp gotten caught on something? Or was it be the miles and miles of Red Heart that I keep tying onto as I wove scarf after scarf?

(Yes, I said Red Heart. Now please don't go reporting me to the Fiber Purist Police. After all, Red Heart comes in lots of colors and is cheap. Plus it is machine washable and dryable, making it a good yarn choice for those recipients of my weaving who don't care to dry clean or hand wash!)

What to do. I still had several more scarves to weave and there was no way I wanted to re-thread the reed and all those heddles for just a few more scarves. Options? I could cut it all off in disgust and simply forget the rest. Or I could hang 30 individual weights on each of the loose warp ends. Or I could continue to stuff that video tape behind that entire loose section on the back beam in an attempt to even out the tension.

Finally after lying in bed for what seemed like hours that night, I figured out what to do. I would finish the scarf in progress and cut it off in the front. Then I would cut off the warp behind the heddles. This way I could leave the heddles threaded, I liked that. Next I would pull most of the old warp off the back beam and cut off all except a few feet to tie on to again. After retying in the back, I would tie a new warp on in front for the next scarf, wind on, and proceed as usual.

And that's exactly what I did. Of course I was happy to have figured this out for myself, but I certainly would have gotten a better night's sleep if I'd had someone to tell me how to do it in the first place.

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