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The world is a narrow bridge…

Designing, Creating and Winding your own warp is an extension process in Saori weaving. Normally you would be taught how to do this as the first step in weaving but as Saori looms with their pre-wound warps bypass this less emphasis is placed on the process. At least as a first step. It’s even a step that never needs to be taken.

I find that this process is the one that many of us are ‘frightened’ by. “What would happen if it all tangled into a great ball of mess and I couldn’t get it undone?” Somehow a tangled mess of threads signals a loss of control – perhaps of our lives – very scary.

1. Firstly, there are worse things that can happen to you in life – as you all would know, and a balls up with yarn isn’t really that bad in the scheme of things. I’m not trying to make light of this fear but just to put it into perspective.  Does it really matter, after all we’ve got to learn somehow, just don’t use the most expensive silk for your first attempt. But do use it afterwards!

2. Secondly, the process is really just one to organise lengths of yarn so they can be put onto the loom in an untangled order. They have to be ordered somehow for the warp wouldn’t wind on in the nice way it is supposed to. This is an essential part of the weaving process and creates almost half the ‘work’ of handweaving. So learn to love warping if you want to do it. Read Donni’s Loom and Arty blog for warping stories.

3. Thirdly, there is a little maths. Really simple Ist grader maths but one that I still get wrong regularly. I have no idea why. The Saori warping frame makes the maths simpler by providing five cone holders to wind 5 lengths at one time. This means that every pass around the frame will give you one centimetre of cloth width. Therefore wind around 40 times to get a 40cm wide cloth warp. This works if you want to stick to the 5 ends per centimetre (12dpi) sett like most of the pre-wound warps suitable for general fabric/scarf weights. To create another sett for finer or thicker cloth your maths ability has to work abit harder… but still only 2nd grade maths and commonsense.

4. Wound warps are beautiful objects in themselves. You’ve heard of Art Yarns well I think we can start Art Warps. When a warp is wound and secured for threading it is simply crochet chained into a lush mix of yarns that are the start of a unique adventure in textile creation – or not. They are enough in themselves. Hang them everywhere. What happiness to wake up to in the morning, or cheer you up. This approach may encourage us to put all sorts of threads into them – then maybe weave them.

The world is a narrow bridge, the important thing is not to be afraid.

This is something I say alot, especially to my daughters. It is attributed to Nachman of Breslov.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wound warps are indeed beautiful objects! Each time I chain my completed warp I am astonished at how I managed to made such beauty and order out of threads of yarn. Reading about how to wind a warp is far more complicated than actually doing it (and nowhere near as much fun). I too make the most surprisingly basic calculation mistakes and end up with double the warp intended on occasions. But winding my own warp is for me truly satisfying and an important part of the weaving process.

    March 25, 2013
  2. I agree Heather! the winding of a warp is so satisfying in of itself. I think the way the Saori technique places the warping process in a secondary and optional step to learn actually highlights its wonder and how it forms the basis of cloth design. It’s more about learning to weave and enjoy making cloth, then go deeper into constructing it if you want to.

    March 25, 2013
  3. It is a very satisfying feeling when I get my warps on the loom, without any major problems. It gets better with practice. I need to weave more and faster so that I can make more warps….
    Love that image of the red yarn!

    March 26, 2013
  4. I completely agree — a warp chain is a beautiful thing! The colours and textures are a big part of that, but also I love the generous feel of a soft, plump bundle of yarn. It is such a wonderful start to a piece of work and I can’t imagine weaving without the pleasure of warping.

    March 28, 2013

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