Weaving Tools

tools for warping tram silk

Those may look like non-traditional weaving tools, but trust me, they are essential when you’re warping with tram silk.

Tram has lots of sheen and very little twist, and mine, purchased from Lunatic Fringe Yarns at last year’s MAFA conference, is really fine. (Maybe tram always is, I don’t know.) It sat in under a table in my weaving room while I gathered the courage to approach it. I decided to start with the color I have the most of, a luscious 12 ply in light gold, with an amazing 18,000 yards per pound. That’s not a typo – it’s 18,000 yards per pound! To give you some comparison, the rayon chenille I work with has around 1,400 yards per pound, the fine tencel has 3,360 yards per pound, and the really fine cashmere-silk blend has 7,200 yards per pound. So this silk is 2-1/2 times finer than anything I’ve worked with before. Add the low twist to it, and you’ve got a real challenge.

The silk catches on every little rough spot on your hands, your warping board, and your lease sticks. I tried using some cotton gloves, which helped a little when I wore them wet, but I couldn’t really feel what I was doing, so I put them aside and decided I had to work with and on my hands. For a few days, whenever I was away from the loom and could remember, I moisturized my hands. That helped. The spray bottle of water was used occasionally to minimize the static electricity that caused the silk to fly away.

The most important tool in getting this yarn on the loom and threaded through heddles and reed?


My MacBook. The excellent weavers at Weavolution and the helpful staff at Lunatic Fringe Yarns were able to offer not only concrete suggestions, but also encouragement – it could be done. And if it could be done, I would do it.

I’ll keep you posted as the project progresses.

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