Friday, December 1, 2017

Warping the Loom

I have spent quite a bit of time over the last few days of November warping the Macomber loom.  I still have 8 or 10 kits from Cotton Clouds to work with, but I had started warping this one (Linked Birdseye) years ago, and abandoned it when I realized it wasn't going to work out on my Structo 4H table loom.  I decided to try again, and wound this warp  over the course of a few weeks.  I had to think about whether or not I wanted to UN-wind all the warp I had already prepared.  I decided to wind an entire new warp from the cones provided in the kit.  As it turned out, I had enough for the entire warp.  I don't know if I'll have to unwind the previous warp to have enough to weave with.  I might just go ahead and unwind that warp anyway (if I can get it all untangled) and use that for weft before using the rest of the coned yarn.

These are the Linked Birdseye towels.

I was also undecided whether I was going to warp up the Macomber or the counterbalance loom.  I chose the Macomber, because it's new (to me), and also because I have the CB loom listed for sale.  I may have it sold; someone is supposed to be coming on Monday.  Now that I'm on the verge of selling it, I think I'll be sad to see it go!  It's a wonderful loom, and I'll miss it.

I started warping the loom on Monday.  I tried to use my new raddle, and wind on to the back beam first, but it didn't work out well.  I got all the bouts tied on to the back, put them in the raddle, and capped it.  When I started winding on to the back beam, however, I found that I got them all mixed up in the raddle - I don't know how.  I untied the ones from the back beam, moved things around, and started threading the heddles instead.

The Macomber front and back beams fold down, and that makes it easy to work right up close to the heddles for threading.  (The vintage loom has removable front and back beams, for the same reason.)

I threaded the heddles, and tied the threads together in groups of 4.  The groups of 4 were the easiest way to keep track of the pattern and thread colors (4 yellow, 8 white, 4 yellow; 4 dark blue, 8 light blue, 4 dark blue, etc.).  The threads are supposed to be 20 per inch in the reed, so once I reached 5 groups of 4, I tied them together and attached them to the back beam.

This continued for a little over 2 days (including the first attempt at winding on to the back beam directly.)

Once I had all my ends threaded through the heddles (2-1-1-2, 3-4-4-3; another set of four, which contributed to tracking both threading and colors) I wound my little bundles of 20 onto the back beam.  It seems like no matter how careful I am, nothing ever goes smoothly.  I caught two threading errors as I was working, so those never got wound on.  I broke one warp thread soon after I started winding.  I tied on a new end at that point, and I'll deal with it when I get that far.  It will either be in the last towel or, if I'm lucky, in the loom waste at the end.

I got it all shaken, smoothed, wound on (rinse and repeat). Then I started sleying (threading) the reed.  It is supposed to be 20 ends per inch in a 10 dent reed.  This Macomber came with four reeds - 12 dent (dents are spaces per inch), 10 dent, and also 6 & 8 (good for the rag rugs I hope to make in the future!)  I had put the 10 dent reed in the beater before I started threading, and got about halfway through threading the reed before I had to finally quit and go to bed.  It was getting quite late.

I found one threading error so far (the threads were in the wrong order on heddles 3 & 4) and one empty heddle that I apparently missed while threading (that one shouldn't be a problem).  I hope to continue this afternoon, and finish sleying the reed when the grandson goes to school, or after his mom gets home.  Then I can tie on to the front, and start weaving!

Oh, I am continuing to tie the threads together in groups of four as I sley the reed.  Two yellow in one dent, two yellow in the next, tie those together.  One reason for doing this is that the threads won't get pulled back out of the reed if the work is disturbed.  I am also able to re-check the threading through the heddles as I go.  Threads from heddles 2 & 1 through one dent, 1 & 2 the next; then heddles 3 & 4, then 4 & 3.  As long as the colors for each group stay the same and the heddles are threaded appropriately, I am getting closer to being able to start weaving with hopefully no errors to fix at the beginning!

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