Thursday, October 15, 2009

Warping Back to Front, for the first time

I wound a warp for more handwoven bags today. Took 45 minutes to wind and 3.2 skeins of Shepherd's Joy yarn for an 11 yard warp, 8 inches wide (enough for 3 bags plus sampling). Normally I thread the reed, and the heddles and then wind on the back beam -- Front to Back Warping -- the winding on has always been a hassle, so I don't like to warp.

But when Laura Fry was visiting last April to teach her "Magic in the Water 1" workshop for our guild, she mentioned that we might find it more efficient to warp from the back. She graciously gave us a copy of her fabulous computer instructional video "CD Weaver" and suggested that I try her way of warping. So I looked at the "CD Weaver" last April, found the same method in a Finnish weaving book in the Joybilee Farm textile library, and put the idea on my "gonna" list.

Yesterday I was determined to try this way of warping. So I booted up the CD Weaver, and went to the section "You Have to be Warped to Weave". Ok, so the first thing I did wrong was winding the warp. I twisted the warp on both ends as I went around the pegs to change direction on my warping mill. Laura's "CD Weaver" has very clear pictures of the warping process on a warping board and she winds her warp without the extra twists at each end. Next time I'll try it that way.

Then I rough sleyed the reed -- easy, and took only 20 minutes. Now to the loom, after a quick check of CD weaver to visualize the next step. Laura even provides brief videos so that you can clearly see what she is describing in words. This is a great tool for all learning styles.

With Sarah's help we wound the warp onto the back beam without a single snarl on a mohair warp. Perfect! And so much faster than my previous warping method. Maybe 30 minutes to wind on the 11 yard warp as we were quite careful.

Then came the tricky part -- transfering the cross from in front of the reed to behind the heddles.

Oops! Somehow I dropped half the cross. (Don't ask. Chock it up to a learning experience!) Yikes! Gloom! Despair! and Robin to the rescue. While I mourned my loss and declared our imminent ruin, Robin and Sarah dropped down each warp thread on top of the lease stick and picked up, in order, every lower thread. The cross reappeared. Relief! Thank the Lord, there are practical people living in this household.

So now there's just 80 threads to put through the heddles and the reed and tie on. I'll be weaving by lunch time. Yes!

Thanks to the "CD Weaver" I have a better warping method to use. I may get more weaving done now. Using the "CD Weaver" was like having a personal lesson with Laura, but better because I could go back and review whenever I want to. What a great resource.

If you share my fear of warping, check out Laura's CD Weaver, and try back to front warping for yourself. I'm already looking forward to warping the mohair blanket warp, with my new skills.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Chris,

    Sorry about the lost cross - but losing the cross isn't necessarily terminal as you discovered! One of my students did that while she was here and it only took about 5 minutes to recover it by going over and under the theads rough sleyed in the reed. :D