Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Beaming the Next Towel Warp

I've been timesharing: wind a section of the new warp, needle-weave places in the pink towels that need floats repaired, wind another section, etc.

I'm a lot happier working with this warp, partly because the 24/2 mercerized cotton is very firmly spun and plied, so it's a lot easier to get a well-tensioned warp. No stretching here! The other aspect is that the design is more closely related to my typical studio work, and I know that weaving the warp will be way more fun than the past few towel warps, which had very traditional designs and were a bit of a bore to weave. Nothing like boredom to let little mistakes creep in!

The outermost sections are beamed, and I've started the inner sections. I do the outer sections first because of a once-upon-a-time "accident." On an interleaved threading, with two or more colors alternating thread by thread, I like to keep the selvedges all one color. On that "accidental" warp, by the time I wound all the sections from left to right, I didn't have enough of color A to do the second selvedge, so had to use color B instead.

Of course, I explained to customers that it was a design decision to make the two selvedges different, not an accident :) Nobody objected, and all the scarves on that warp sold quickly, but I didn't really like the look very much. So now I always wind the selvedge sections first. If it turns out that I run short on one of the colors, the designs aren't symmetrical so it doesn't matter if I have to drop a few threads off the edge of the body of the design, and end up with the shortfall in one of the inner sections. I'd rather that than end up with mismatched selvedges!

Another habit I've developed is to overestimate how much yardage to dye. That helps to prevent accidents, too. I use a spreadsheet to calculate the actual yardage, but sometimes "actual" is really "theoretical" because things can change between the dyepot and the loom; little things like shrinkage during the dye process. I can usually find ways to use up the excess yarn, and again, I'd rather have small amounts of leftovers than end up short.

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