Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Warp onto Old, as the New Year Begins!

I'm beginning my 2013 tapestry diary and have tied the new warp onto the ends of the warp used for the 2012 diary.  I'm doing that because I'll be using the same warp sett (8 epi in this case) and the same width.  I know from past experience with this warp, 10/3 linen, that the knots will be able to be worked through the 8 dent reed and through the heddles without snagging.  By the way, someone at Weovolution asked why I would do this for tapestry that's threaded a simple plain weave.  My answer is that it's easier for me to do by tying on rather than freshly warping the loom for a couple of reasons: the process of warping this upright loom is uncomfortable for me since I have to stand on a step stool for part of the time as I get the top of the warp in place on the warp rod, and also because I have to either stand or reach uncomfortably high to thread the heddles.  It's much easier on my body to be able to tie onto the ends that hang below the reed.

I'm using an upright loom that has two harnesses or shafts, with wire heddles.  I've also tied old onto new on another tapestry loom that has Texsolv heddles so the process can work with various looms.  However, you've got to make sure the knots will pass through both reed and heddles easily before committing to the task!

To test that, you can knot together two short lengths of the warp and see how easily the knot can be slipped through both reed and heddle eye.  I use an overhand knot rather than a weaver's knot, although a weaver's knot makes a smaller bump... I just can't get the weaver's knot to hold each time--and I certainly don't want knots to begin to come apart as I'm beaming the warp.

Here's an overhand knot before it's tightened.

I prepare for tying on a new warp before cutting off the old one.  I treadle each shed and either weave a few passes loosely across a few inches below the reed, or I place lease sticks into each shed (that's what I did in this case).  Since the loom is an upright loom, I have to tie the lease sticks to the reed and to each other to keep them in place.

The old warp, loosely knotted below the lease sticks.
Next, I take the new warp and, one by one, tie the warp ends together with the overhand knot.  I usually hold the cross of the new warp in my hand.  One could also put in another set of lease sticks for the new warp and attach them at the bottom beam.

All the new warps are now tied to the ends of the old warp.
I usually wind on without tension held on the warp... yes, it IS possible to get a firmly packed warp beam without a constant tension--more about that in a couple of paragraphs.  Before beginning the winding on, I take the lease sticks out; once the warps are connected with the ties, I don't need those any longer.

I wind up a bit until the knots are at the reed, then I carefully pull the knots through, a few at a time.  Once all the knots have cleared the reed, I wind up a bit more until the knots are approaching the heddles.

Knots are above the reed now and the heddles are next.
At the heddle point, I find it's helpful to open the shed so that the heddles are apart.  That way the knots aren't so close together as they pass through the heddles.  I wind up a bit, then "help" the knots through the heddle eyes, one shed and then the other.  Most knots slip through just fine but if there are one or more that are really snagging, work with those to get them through--don't force them.

Knots are now through the heddles. 
Next comes the beam winding.  Instead of constant tension, I turn the beam one revolution, then pull firmly -- pulling down, bit by bit, across the width of the warp, a handful of warp at a time.  My packing material for beaming, in this case, is corrugated cardboard and kraft paper, using the cardboard first, then the paper.  Both were used in this case since I didn't have enough of either for the 3 1/2 yard warp!  To wind on, I pull the warp out of the chain and step back a yard or so from the loom to shake out the warp.  In this case, I've put the warp chain across my loom bench.

I have choke ties bundling the warp at intervals, and I untie those at about a yard from the reed.

When the warp is wound up and hanging several inches from the reed, I'm ready to tie onto the cloth beam rod.

For this step, I use only 1" wide amounts for the ties.  In fact, I make the edge ties a bit smaller.  This warp is sett at 8 epi so all the bouts except the two at each side have eight warps in each tie.  The sides have only six ends in the tie on bundles.

When I tie on, I make the center tie first, then each edge.  After those, I work alternately from center to each side.  I make the tie as a half of the completed slip knot at first, then make the second part of the tie at the second stage, starting in the center and working out to each edge alternately, tightening as I go.

After tying on, I spread out the warp bouts.  In this case, I wove in three picks of cotton seine twine, from edge to edge of the loom, pulling each pick very tightly against the frame of the loom.  I'm able to use these three picks of foundation with this particular loom since the loom's frame is at the same plane as the warp.  The white picks that are seen here are the picks of the seine twine (these foundation picks will be cut free from the loom frame before the warp is wound forward).  Below, I'm beginning to spread the warp to the sett that I need.

I'm working from each side to spread the warps out.  I use a bobbin tip to help with this.
After spreading out the warp (take your time to get this right), I measure to see if I've gotten it the width I want (12" in this case) and check the sett.  

Next, I twine across the width, using the same thread as I've used for the warp.

After the twining, I weave about 1/2" of header, again using the same thread as I've used for the warp.

And, finally... I make a half-hitch across the width before I begin (no photo of that but I explained that in an earlier post... there's a link to that at the left side margin).

That's the set up for the 2013 tapestry diary warp, ready for the new year to come!  Here's the entry for yesterday, January 1:

I use an unwoven warp at each side to serve as a visual guide for width... that's the unwoven warp seen at the left side here.  Those unwoven warps are left out of the half-hitches, by the way.