Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tying on a Dummy Warp

My weaving guru, Joyce Robards, calls it "tying one on" -- the process of tying a new warp onto the end of an old warp that's already on your loom. This way, you avoid the trouble of spreading the warp across the raddle and threading -- especially threading, because in some cases, a pattern can have very complicated threading, leaving you lots of room for error. Who needs that?

This was the first time I've ever used a dummy warp, mainly because I was worried about this:

Looks pretty bad, doesn't it? You're seeing the front of the loom. You start by putting lease sticks into your new warp. Then, you tie knots, one by one, attaching the new warp ends to the dummy warp ends. It all works out, honest!

You beam the warp just as you always do, pulling tight to create tension as you wind it onto the warp beam. Slowly you work the knots through the heddles, taking care not to bend the heddles or break the warp threads.

It's a good idea to comb the warp as you go along. It helps to keep the threads straight. Once the knots are through, you're ready to sley your warp and tie it onto the front beam -- and then, weave!

This is another iteration of the Turned Taquete pattern created by Mary Berent, mentioned in an earlier post. In this case, I used 20/2 hand-dyed silk. I changed the colors as I ran out of them, so that the stripes  travelled in this kind of arrangement: 

I began by alternating blue and green threads (ABABAB and so on, as you see beginning at the right of the fabric). Then, when I ran out of blue, I changed to gold, so that my alternating colors were gold and green (CBCBCB and so on). When I ran out of green, I changed to purple, so that my alternating colors became gold and purple (CDCDCD). This may be a bit too complicated to follow, but suffice it to say that I didn't want clear, even striping. I wanted the stripes to shift irregularly, so that the colors played with the pattern. 

Here it is, off the loom, washed, and pressed. I used a weft of 60/2 silk, dyed in a salmon pink. Sometimes tying one on can be a very good idea!

Notes from CNCH, the Conference of Northern California Handweavers

  Let's start with the photo above: a series of samples woven on eight shafts in deflected doubleweave by Marta Shannon. It's just o...