I keep going back to these older posts where I had been weaving for years but was still trying to figure things out…well, that’s still happening today too.
Today’s look back takes us to a post where I had finally gotten the loom dressed with some naturally dyed Alpaca lace yarn that was dyed by a friend.
This yarn was probably meant to be a knitting yarn but I was determined to weave with it. There were lots of problems over the whole project and I asked a bunch of people for advice. The problem was that the yarn was sticky, fuzzy and tender. I was warping from front to back which meant that the threads had to be wound through the reed and the heddles which took hours and hours to get the 5 yards onto the back beam. I’m not kidding. If I remember correctly it took 2 of us about 8 hours to wind it on.
In addition to taking a long time to wind on, the weaving was no picnic. There was some breakage of threads and I was having a hard time getting a nice open shed to put the shuttle through.
Advice I got was varied. Use sizing to help stop the threads from breaking and also to stop the threads, which were very fussy, from sticking together. Stop using a boat shuttle and use a stick shuttle instead since it wouldn’t abrade the threads as it was passed through. Loosen the tension.
Here’s what I learned. I actually increased the tension on the warp this way when the shed was opened the threads had no slack and so they couldn’t stick together. There was concern about higher tension breaking the threads but as I have learned over time, that tension is distributed over the width of the warp and so it isn’t really a problem. I also advanced the warp more often. This way I was only weaving about 2-3 inches at a time between advances which reduced the amount of stretch the threads had to go through when the next shafts were raised.
These two things combined made the weaving go much more smoothly. It wasn’t easy but it was working.
What I still need to try is what I am working on now. I have always warped from front to back. It;s how I learned and how I am comfortable. For most yarns this isn’t a problem but I wonder if dressing the loom from back to front would be better for yarns that are delicate and/or sticky. So now I’m spinning some really fine singles from Merino. I have big plans to put a sample on the loom in January. I’ll let you know how that works out.
It’s December 1. My first newsletter t the whole list went out this morning. The last one was in 2013! We’re gearing up for some great things.
Also, the webstore is in progress. Currently the kits for the upcoming Spin and Weave Along are there. It’s never too late to join in.