Sunday, June 03, 2007


I realized yesterday that I haven't been really good at answering questions readers ask in the comments on my blog. Here are a couple of responses to recent queries.

In regard to using a length of hem tape as a makeshift tape measure, Matthew asked if I take into account the difference in length of woven cloth when it's under tension versus with tension released. I don't really worry about it, as it's a fairly insignificant difference when working with tencel, silk, or other not-very-elastic yarns. With an elastic yarn like wool, the difference is greater, but still not enough for me to consider it statistically significant.

Besides, there isn't a legal limit for scarves like there is for fish, so if it's a tad shorter or a tad longer, no sweat. (I've got much more important things to worry about than 1/4 inch here or there! Life is too short to obsess over things no customer has ever complained about.)

Christine asked if the warping wheel I use is made by AVL. It isn't, although the basic design is similar. I borrowed one from a fellow weaving guild member, used it, and decided I needed one. DH asked "How much do they want for it?" and when told the AVL price, declared he'd build one for me for much less. Since he's a wood-turner and general handy person, it was relatively easy. My warping wheel is tailored to my height (I'm nearly 6 feet tall), whereas AVL's is adjustable, because they have to take into account a broad cross-section of users. I think that makes mine a bit more stable, because the vertical part is all one piece, not two pieces connected by bolts.

The only component we had to purchase from a specialty supplier is the comb, which is basically a very short 10-dent reed without a top. Everything else came from the the lumber stash in the garage or the hardware store. I found a man who can make all kinds of reed-related products. I ordered two combs, just in case something happens to the one that's on the warping wheel now. Now that I think of it, I also bought a 20-dent reed from him at the same time. Good prices and good service. I'll try to dredge up the information on how to contact him, and post it later.

Also, I asked Mike to make my warping wheel with more possible positions for each arm, so I can adjust the circumference so the warping wheel will make the exact length of warp I need for a given project. I'm not sure, but I think AVL's can be either 2 yds or 3 yds in circumference - not as much flexibility. I don't weave samples, so I hate to have a half-yard left on a warp, it's just waste to me (and my Scots grandfather turns over in his grave at the thought!).

There were a few other minor modifications DH made at my request. I don't have a counter on mine. I keep track of how many revolutions I make - even I can count to 10 without too much trouble. I figure out how many threads to wind together based on my weaving pattern, and put a number of threads in each dent that will divide evenly into the ends-per-inch of the intended warp. As I wind, I count the filled dents, and when I get to the number I've calculated, I stop. If that's more than an inch wide on the comb, no big deal, because I can swivel the comb so the section feeds onto the beam at an inch wide.

The only modification I still want to make is something to weight the base. I wind onto the beam with high tension, and if I don't keep one foot on the base, the warping wheel would tip right over. Maybe some kind of sand-bag? Or maybe a big weight-lifting disk in a holder that rests over the base? Dunno yet.

Okay, that's it for now. Keep the comments and questions coming! It's always nice to know there's an audience out there!


Leigh said...

Oh yes, definitely an audience, though I'm guilty of not commenting on your blog much. I do appreciate the information though.

Christine said...

Thanks for the information! How can I convince your husband to make one for me? :) My dearest christened his table saw by immediately cutting his thumb on it, so I don't want him firing that thing up anytime soon!