Wednesday, October 03, 2018

New Warp on the Dobby Loom

It's time for more dishtowels, so I pulled 5 cones of a mill-dyed 30/3 (same grist as 20/2) unmercerized cotton yarn out of the stash. I also bought a large cone of 20/2 unmercerized, undyed, ring-spun cotton yarn so I could dye weft yarns to coordinate with the 30/3 warp.

To make winding the warp more efficient by winding 2 strands at once, I wound off half of each cone onto another cone. Here they are lined up at the back of the loom, with a shot of the sections already beamed.

Everything was going smoothly until I began to wind the purple onto the warping wheel. It seems the mill mistakenly wound the purple yarn 2 strands at a time for the whole cone. If you've ever had to wind two strands of yarn onto a bobbin or pirn, you know it is very difficult to get both strands on at the same tension and the same exact length, so you don't have random loops at the selvedge where the longer strand couldn't pull in as nicely as the shorter one. Also, winding 2 strands at a time almost always puts a little twist in the doubled strand. That last issue is okay if you're using both strands together, but if you want to separate them, it's almost impossible. Sorry, I don't want the equivalent of 10/2 cotton!
In the photo, the flash casts a strong shadow, so it looks like there are even more strands than in reality.

Because of the length issue, and the twist issue, it is nearly impossible to unwind them and separate them onto 2 cones. The twist builds up behind the separation, and the length difference means the longer strand eventually reverses course and twists around the shorter strand. No big deal with mercerized yarn, but with an unmercerized, slightly fuzzy cotton, the tangles are driving me crazy.

If any of my readers have a magic solution for separating the two strands so each can be wound onto their own cone, please let me know. The method I'm using involves the warping valet, and extending the yarn out for as long a distance as possible so the excess twist has more room to build up. But I can't unwind more than 20 yards at one go without cutting the yarn so it can persuaded to untwist. Help!

1 comment:

Loom With A View said...

Oh I feel your pain! Says someone who once separated several skeins of 2-ply in order to fill out a warp of singles - I am stubborn that way.

I have two suggestions, neither of which are miraculous but hopefully might help bit (or at least provide moral support):
1) wrap the separated singles strands onto lacing shuttles, or into balls that can be fixed (elastic, paper clip, whatever works) and then periodically let them dangle to remove the extra twist.
2) work only on the length of an individual warp thread - this cuts the job into hopefully more manageable sections. Store the separated threads on a warping board or mill to build up the section, then you can thread it through the tension box and wind on. Also tedious, but I once saved a painted warp that had got hopelessly snarled in the rincing bucket this way.

Finally, when working on it, set yourself up in a comfortable chair, with a nice view, maybe a podcast, and a cup of tea (or a large glass of wine!) and enjoy the feeling of preserverence!

Good luck!