Preparing the warpI decided to have a color gradient with 2 colors in the warp, and it seemed like the easiest way to do that would be to wind bouts in each of the colors, then sley the reed at my kitchen table to get the color order. Wrong! This was a nightmare for oh so many reasons - let's just say I had a tangled mess to deal with (in spite of choke ties, and lease sticks for each color.)
F2B or B2F?My plan was to thread the loom front to back - threading from the back of the loom using the sleyed threads in order, then beam. At the loom, I realized that my loom doesn't have enough room to thread from the back. (A friend later told me she warps F2B, but does the threading from the front of the loom. Wish I'd thought of that!) My decision was to go ahead and beam, then thread, then resley the reed.
Beaming the warpI've got a sectional beam, so I figured I could put the sleyed reed in the beater and then tie on 1 inch sections and beam the warp. In theory, that is correct. Being rusty, I made some poor choices. I figured I could beam a little, go to the front of the loom and pull on each section to tension, then beam some more. (In retrospect, I should have found my trapeze and beamed the warp with weights keeping good tension.) By the time I had the warp fully beamed, I went around to the back and discovered, to my horror, that some sections had looped around pegs. I decided I'd thread, sley, then pull the full warp forward and rebeam it more carefully.
Threading and SleyingThank heavens at least this part went easily. I hung lease sticks behind the castle, and got the threading and sleying done fairly quickly.
RebeamingThen the fun began. Pulling the warp forward was a mess - I had so many tangles to deal with. (Frequent thought at the time - "Have I ever done this before?!") This time, I opted to add some warp sticks as I beamed, which helped.
WeavingBut wait, the fun wasn't over. I laced the warp onto the cloth beam and started weaving, only to discover that for some reason, I was losing tension in some sections. So I cut out what had been woven so far, and went ahead and tied onto the cloth apron rod. Better. I was happy to discover that my old laptop with the serial USB adapter talked to the dobby just fine. And I expected everything to go smoothly after that. Yeah right. Murphy was still lurking.
Frequently, the wrong shafts were lifting, and trying to unweave was challenging. Most of the time I just cut out wefts and tried again. I emailed Bob Keates (developer of Fiberworks PCW) and he kindly sent me info on things to check with the dobby knife. I spent one day trying to get the cords for that adjusted correctly. (I bought this loom secondhand from a weaver with much more experience than me - I had assumed it was assembled correctly.) I still kept running into problems, so it finally dawned on me that I had the first Mac version of the software on my old laptop - maybe it would help to update, which I did. Voila - that made a huge difference. Unfortunately, I did that near the end of a very frustrating project.
|Summer & Winter Butterflies|
As I reached the end of the warp, the dobby suddenly stopped working, and I discovered that one of the cords to the dobby knife had frayed and broken. I have no idea why. One of the fly shuttle cords also frayed, and is close to breaking. So those both need to be repaired.
It has been hot and muggy here lately, so to persist with each problem as it arose took a massive amount of willpower, and I'm proud of myself for hanging in there. I suspect that I will NOT be giving this baby blanket to the new mom I was weaving it for - I'll have to do it all over again, but this time, hopefully things will be a whole lot easier.
Lessons LearnedThere are a number of lessons I learned, and the struggle was painful enough that I'm not likely to forget them soon.
- It's probably easier to fuss with color changes when winding the warp, rather than when sleying the reed.
- While it is possible to beam a regular warp on a sectional beam, it would have been MUCH easier to do what I usually do, which is to beam each 1 inch section at a time.
- Yeah, I know - don't try to launch into a project right away, especially when you are rusty. Sample, sample, sample.