Make A Mess, Clean It Up

In my experience, a weaver is nothing if not a problem solver. That’s all well and good when I’m learning how to do some new pattern or technique; it’s quite another thing all together when the problem was caused by my own goofiness. That’s what happened today. (Sorry to my non-weaver readers; I use lots of weaving terms in this post that probably won’t make sense to you.)

I wanted to make some scarves that had been very popular last spring. So I got out my notes, and saw that I needed 44 ends of each of 4 colors. Swell. I duly wind the warp and get it on the lease sticks on my loom. As I’m spreading it out in the raddle, I say to myself, “That’s not right! This warp should only be about 8 1/2″ wide, and clearly that’s not what I have here.”
rayon threads on loom
So I step back and think…what’s the problem?

Ohhhhhhhh. Sure, I needed 44 ends of each color – 22 on each side! Not 44 on each side — that’d be 88 of each, you dope!

So I sit in my chair and look at the loom and think. Do I want to make this warp into shawls instead of scarves? No, I really don’t. And besides, they’d be rather narrow for shawls.

That leaves me with only one option that I can see — separate this warp into two warps. How the heck will I do that?!

It doesn’t take long for me to decide on a course of action. I have no idea if it’ll work, but it’s an approach.

I’ll grab another set of lease sticks, and slide half of each color off onto this second set.

Nice thinking. Faulty, but nice.

I slide off the copper color, being careful to maintain the cross. But wait. I can’t slide off half of the gold now — the remaining coppers are in the way. Oh my god, I need THREE sets of lease sticks! And each set needs its own cords to hang from, or I’ll surely drop whole sets of threads. YIKES!

I manage to make this happen. It’s not pretty, but I use 3 sets of lease sticks; here you see me mid-stream of making the transfers.

rayon threads on 3 lease sticks

Working carefully, I finally manage to get the thread completely separated onto 2 sets of lease sticks, maintaining the cross every time I make a transfer.
rayon on two set of lease sticks
I re-tie the choke ties on the cross of the set I plan to take off the loom. But they’re all still on one end stick. That still has to be separated. And I hope I’ve managed to separate the threads in such a way that I won’t need to cut and tie the ends when I try to slip them off the end stick.

new cross ties
Whew, that worked well.

rayon with ends separated

But it was time to sit back down and look at it all again. I had the threads separated on two sets of lease sticks and the cross re-tied. That was all swell. But those threads were interlaced along the entire length of my warp. How could I possibly separate them all the way?

I moved some furniture to set up my warping board behind the loom. I’d put the cross on there and wind the second warp back onto the warping board while I wound the first one on the loom. Wait a minute — my warping board won’t stay upright on a chair! With all that empty space in the middle, there’s nothing for it to lean up against. And even if I moved it up next to the window, that wouldn’t work — I had to be able to get behind it to wind the first warp onto the back beam. So how did I solve this new problem? I grabbed my extra raddle & leaned it up against the back of the chair, then leaned the warping board against that. Now don’t breathe, or everything will slip. Don’t let one of the dogs bump into it. Don’t bump into it myself while I was walking behind it to wind the warp, then back around to the other side to comb, untie, & re-tie chokes.
loom with warping board

Amazingly, it all worked. Rather beautifully, I might add. Only because I was working with a lovely, slippery, shiny rayon yarn.
rayon threads being separated

Had I been working with rayon chenille, cashmere, or some other challenging fiber, my only option would have been to make my fabric double wide or tighter sett.

Now I can finally sit down and thread the heddles in my planned Ms & Ws pattern. Another afternoon wasted due to my own dopiness. But I bet I won’t make THAT mistake again! After all, there are plenty of new ones to make. 😉

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