Thursday, November 12, 2009

Designing in the Reed

A while back I asked how to design in the reed for my 1st Time at WEBS scarf. I appreciate all of your ideas and suggestions.

I'll show you what I did. (And just so that you don't pore over this post wondering how to help me, the warp went on the loom just fine. I am stuck, and need your help, but I'm stuck a little farther into the project. An upcoming post that I don't have the heart to write yet, will give you the details about that.)

For this scarf, each skein of yarn had a different amount of yarn on it. I measured out the 8 yard warp (3 scarves worth) for each yarn separately.

Instead of making warp chains, I wrapped the yarn around cardboard. I've only tried that once before - and I like that method because I introduce a lot of twist to my yarn when I do the chains. Not sure the cardboard will be a permanent part of my warping's just an experiment so far.

As I wound the warp from each skein, I counted how many ends of each type of yarn. The yarns had 5 to 22 ends. I know I could have calculated that mathematically, but I felt like it would be more fun to just wind.

It was fun. Hard to get more joyful than the feeling of opening a bin of yarn for a long-anticipated project and getting to touch all that yarn and start to see your vision take shape.

When it came time to design in the reed, I took the bumpiest most difficult yarn and divided it more or less evenly, but asymmetrically across the warp. (I have a strong preference for asymmetry).

In response to a comment, I want to add that I do have a cross in the bundle for each type of yarn. Since the maximum number of threads was only 22, it was easy to hold the cross in my hand and thread from the cross.

The first two yarns were extremely bumpy and unusual - so I spread them through the warp.

My third yarn was variegated tweed that changed from magenta to green to blue. I was able to line up the green section of this yarn, with a green section of the metallic yarn because I was designing in the reed. I would never have been able to figure that out by calculation or on the warping board.

I evenly distributed a magenta tweed, but it suddenly made the warp seem too symmetrical, so I pulled it out of the reed and sleyed again.

Then the final yarns filled in the gaps.

I was surprised that the more unique yarns were easy to distribute in the reed, but as I got closer to the end of the design process, I removed the most recently added yarns and resleyed a few times.

As I added a yarn, I tied a slip knot behind the beater so that it wouldn't accidentally slide out and so that I could easily remove yarns added to the warp later.

Finally the yarns were in place, distributed randomly across the width of the scarf.

I had some frightening looking tangles...and I admit that several times I wondered if I was going to end up with a hopeless snarl. I also cringed a little when I thought of showing you guys the pictures....because I'm not sure I've seen anything like them on anyone's blog. But I do have moments of bravery....and it's definitely easier to show the pictures now that the warp is actually on the loom.

I pretty much followed the front-to-back warping steps from Deborah Chandler's Learning to Weave. She takes beginners through a striped warp with two yarns. I just made it more abstract and used 6 or 7 yarns.

I felt unbelievably happy when the yarn come through the heddles and onto the back beam. I love how these yarns look together. Love.

I'm so excited about turning them into a scarf. (Even though I know that actually weaving with these yarns might get pretty hairy and involve felting, scissors, and broken warp threads. I feel like the end result will be worth it.)

This project so far:
Asking for help designing in the reed
Very beginning of the project


Theresa said...

I've never done front to back warping nor designing on the reed. I'm assuming there is no need for a cross since you have a narrow warp and are threading as you go?
The warp looks lovely Sue you did a fine job getting it on. Did you use a 6 dent reed or finer?
I'm sure everyone who reads your blog is ready and willing to lend a hand when you're ready. :-)

Life Looms Large said...


Thanks for breaking the ice comment-wise!

I updated the post to say that I did put a cross in each yarn. I just tied it in the usual way and it's on the top of each of my cardboard bundles.

I'm using a 6 dent reed. (New! From Gowdey!)

One great thing about delaying writing about my stuckness for so long is that more solutions than usual have popped into my head during the delay. That's good since stuckness is my bugaboo!!


Theresa said...

Good good good! I did see the tie in one picture wasn't sure. Sometimes a tie is just a tie! ;-)

Jennifer said...

I'm so excited for you! This is a huge challenge and like you say it will be worth it! The warp looks great. I appreciate your not rushing into the next bugaboo! Go back to the rest wisdom from the Navajo! You'll get it Sue - it's the problem solver engineer in you!

Valerie said... are a brave woman!! One of our assignments in Randall Darwall's class at Penland was to design a warp at the reed. I was sure those tangles would never come out. But after much patience they did. So, I will personally award a medal to you! Not sure I will do that again!

Life Looms Large said...

Funny that you should say that the problem-solver engineer in me should work on this. I've been thinking a lot about creative risks, and I feel like the engineering part of me messes with that ability as much or more than it helps. (I've definitely got to write that up into a post so that it makes sense - to me - and possibly to some one else in the world!)

Even though the tangles looked scary, and I'm aware that a lot of people warp with tension on their yarn, they actually just shook out. No heavy duty untangling or combing - plus I got to touch all that yarn!! (Chandler talks about that in the section of her book on warping front to back.)


Delighted Hands said...

I love it and the just go for it attitude! It is looking great already-the colors are vibrant!

Deanna said...

Wow, your warp looks lovely! Can't wait to see the scarf! Bravo for charging ahead with this!

Sara said...

Sue, I am really excited that you are doing this project. I, of course, loved the yarns - and seeing them warped is really interesting.

I've only warped my loom once - my first project - and i went back to front...

Sharon said...

Wow - that was fun! The yarns and colors are spectacular. I look forward to the result. Some of that yarn actually looks like roving but it must be bound by a silk thread.

I've had those tangles, just never showed them on a blog. I learned front-to-back from Chandler's book and have mostly done it from the cross in my hand. Now I'm trying to learn to go from back to front

Leigh said...

What a beautiful warp! Thanks for all the details and photos. This is going to be a fun project to watch unfold.