Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Cross: To Tie or Not to Tie

There was a discussion on WeaveTech a while back about what to do with the cross when making a sectional warp. Some say you have to tie the cross; some say not to bother; and those who do tie the cross have various different methods of tying it and transferring the cross to the lease sticks or strings.

I'm in the Tie the Cross camp. I often work with fairly fine thread, and sometimes have 60 to 70 or more threads in a 1-inch bout. If it's going to be an interleaved threading, where color order really matters, the masking tape thing (or no cross at all) really makes me nervous. So I tie the cross.

I promised to post a couple of pictures of my method. The key, for me, is to use a piece of contrasting waste yarn long enough to form at least an inch of loop on either side of the bout. Here's an example:

Then I run my forefinger through the loops on either side of the bout, first back-to-front, then front-to-back. I tug gently to one side, and at the same time use my right hand to tug the loose end of the bout to the other side. The bout separates into a nice tidy figure eight that is easy to slip over the ends of the lease sticks.

With a sticky yarn, it may take a little more persuasion to separate this nicely, but never more than a few seconds. Getting the whole warp's worth of crosses onto the lease sticks and suspended behind the shafts is a matter of maybe a minute, tops. Of course, I weave scarves, so it's only a small number of bouts :)

Oh, and another thing: when winding the warp, whether sectionally or on a warping mill, I put the cross about a yard from the end of the warp. I hate to move the cross before threading - with fine or fragile or sticky yarns it's too easy to break or fray the yarn, so I wind the warp with the cross where I want it to be for threading.

That means my warping wheel isn't set up with the cross-maker where AVL instructs. And on my warping mill (I use a Harrisville vertical mill with an approximately 2-yard circumference) I use a third "arm" with pegs on it and place it half-way around the mill from the threading end of the warp. I figure that with a yard of slack, I have enough room to thread 24 shafts and have the tag ends hang over the front far enough that I don't worry about them sliding back out of the heddles while I thread the rest.

YMMV, naturally. I'm also a proponent of the "there's no one right way, just the way that works for you" school of thought.

1 comment:

Deb McClintock said...

Thanks Sandra, I think I am going to move my crossmaker and give myself some slack. I tend to flip my crosses when I am winding sections and trying to secure each section portion for the next section wind on. Perhaps the extra warp length will give me room to secure the cross the proper way. Fine threads are fun to weave with but do not play pretty when one flips the cross in a section.