I have decided warping a loom gets to be considered a project all on its own. Never mind I haven't actually made anything yet. I know as I gain experience the process will move faster, but this first (technically second) go at warping my 4-shaft loom was a Project with a capital "P." But it is done and it is glorious. The satisfaction I felt as I pulled each of the four shafts up and did not encounter any tangles and saw the beautiful shed created each time is beyond words. I know, I sound like a crazy lady. That is strangely okay with me.
I am making kitchen towels, in case you're wondering what all this warp is for. While I do consider warping a project, I intend to take this project further than just a beautifully warped loom. Though right now, I think it is a lovely show piece. Granted, I'm probably the only one in my house that thinks that. I think my husband would infinitely prefer kitchen towels.
I decided I would warp enough for four towels that are each (hopefully) 20x28 inch rectangles when all is said an done. I am making sure to keep copious notes as I go...they just happen to be on the back of an envelope right now. I have every intention of getting them onto something more permanent. The idea is that with each of the four towels, I can try something just a little different, so in a sense, I am making four samplers of this particular twill warping. But I am getting ahead of myself now.
Using the equations outlined in Deborah Chandler's Learning to Weave book and the guidance of creating a project using the "rosepath" twill from Pattie Graver's Next Steps in Weaving, I measured out 5 yards of warp thread and ended up with 258 warp ends. The warp end count was a slight adjustment from my original 285 ends plan. Turns out I had to make a minor change to the rosepath pattern as it was written AND I ran out of white warp yarn. Luckily, all of these adjustments were made early in the process, so no great agonies of weaving have yet been experienced. I used a 12-dent reed with 12 ends per inch (no doubling up nonsense this go around.)
I found that I had an over abundance of KnitPick's "Dishie" cotton yarn in my stash, which is what led to this project in the first place. Because these skeins are designed for knitting and not weaving, I had to make quite a few bundles of warp threads as each ball ran out. This was a blessing in disguise, though. Having these smaller bundles allowed me to work in small batches as I sleyed the reed. This turned out to be crucial as it was inevitable that every time I decided to work on my loom, there was a toddler emergency that followed. Small bundles meant I did not have to worry about destroying my cross and tangling my warp threads. (This was my first time using my warp board my husband made for me. Until now, I had been using the direct warping method with a peg. Granted, this is not that terrible when you are just using a rigid heddle- I think overall the projects tend to be smaller. But, it turns out this warping board is crazy easy to use and much more conducive to small children and pets being about the place. I'm not sure I'll ever go back to the direct peg method.)
I am so excited to get to weaving on my loom. I really appreciate the labor of love it takes to even get to where weaving is possible. So far, so good. Let's keep our fingers crossed that once I start with the weft thread, things still work out as I intend. You know what they say about good intentions, though.