Focus on the Warp

Students learn non-traditional techniques that allow them to work smoothly with multiple warps and to design with diverse warp elements at the loom. They will use instructor provided hand-painted warps in which the colors flow and change, creating designs in the woven fabric that appear complex in planning, but actually spring from making flexible and intuitive decisions as they work. Students will work seamlessly with multiple warp chains to create alternating color sequences used in Repp, Twills, Turned Taquete, and other fabric types. They might choose to flip sections of the warp from end to end which creates color flow in opposite directions. They might choose to shift the warps to create patterns that flow in the weaving lengthwise as well as horizontally. This workshop is appropriate for 4 harness and 8 harness looms. No two warps or designs will be alike so class members learn from their own projects as well as from the others. Weavers with more experience will be able to take their designs to more complex levels.

The goal for this workshop is to learn to design effectively and efficiently with multiple warp chains which aid in creative designing at the loom, and to develop new techniques for more spontaneity and confidence in the creation of fabric. Our focus will be on Turned Taquete, but many more options will be explored as well.

In this workshop we start the designing process tying on to a 300 thread dummy warp that students have threaded before class. Tying on can be a time saver, an eye saver and a method to approach design techniques at the loom as opposed to on a computer or pen and paper. This workshop is not suitable for rigid heddle looms. 


Dummy Warp Info

In the weaving workshop we start the designing process while tying on to a dummy warp at the loom. Tying on can be a time saver, an eye saver and a method to approach design techniques at the loom as opposed to on a computer or pen and paper. This will be one of the topics we explore. To prepare for this workshop please thread your loom with a dummy warp. A dummy warp is just a short warp not meant to be woven, but used to tie your primary warp threads to. Set up by whatever method is comfortable and familiar for you. I give info on how you might approach it here, but please feel free to improvise as long as you end up with a mistake free short warp of 1 yard or less which is secured to the back rod (dummy threads should not be simply looped around a back rod.) 


Notes on Dummy Warps

A dummy warp is a warp that is threaded through the heddles and the reed and secured to the back rod but is not long enough to actually weave. We will use the dummy warps to tie onto. If you haven't used the tie on technique before, this will be another aspect you can look forward to learning. If you are not changing your threading pattern with every project, tying on can be a time saver and sight saver. For me, it is a valuable design tool, too.


How to start a Dummy Warp

Wind the dummy warp threads a generous 1 yard length. (You will thread your reed, your heddles, secure on the back rod and tension onto the front rod. You can do this front to back or back to front in whatever order or method works best for you.  Weave an inch or so to check for errors. Time spent re-threading errors will take valuable time away from your workshop experience. Leave it that way for safe traveling.)


What to use?

Use inexpensive yarn. Strong 8/2, 10/2 or carpet warp (8/4) work well. It needs to be strong enough not to break during that action. If possible use alternating colors in the dummy (ie: each dent might have a blue end and a white end.) 

How many?

You should have 300 threads in your dummy. 


What threading?

A straight draw using all your shafts will give you many design options on both 4 and 8 shaft looms. If you have 8 shafts and would like to use a more complex threading, consider using one of the threadings in drafts attached here. Feel free to extend or reduce the blocks. Ignore the color sequence, tie up and treadling in the drafts for now. We will be making up our own. 


What sett?

These projects will be warp-predominant in order to showcase the hand-dyed warp yarns. You might choose to do a light weight fabric or a dense fabric. Please use a 10 or 12 dent reed. Sley the reed two ends per dent and one thread per heddle. That will mean that you have it sett at 20 epi or 24 epi. 


Weft material?

Since we don't know which warps or which projects you will choose, it is hard to know exactly what you should bring for weft. The warps are usually sett either warp faced or at least a bit on the warp predominant side so the weft is less of a consideration than it might be otherwise. This is a guild workshop so many of you will be traveling from home each day. After the initial workshop day, you can look through your yarn on hand to decide what to bring. It is safe to say bring anything you have in black cotton or rayon. If you don't have any, you might choose to go ahead and get a few spools of 8/4 black carpet warp. I find that is very useful in many of my projects.

Don't stress over this. Keep it simple. 


Tools Weaving Students Should Bring: 

  • Personal weaving tools: decent full size scissors, tape measure, threading hooks, two shuttles (boat for fine weft and ski or rag for heavy weft), appropriate sticks or paper for winding 4.5 yard warp

  • Fine point black Sharpie pen

  • Calculator

  • 2 spring clamps big enough to clip onto your back beam

  • Roll of 1" width masking tape (yellow or light green “Frog Tape” are best)

  • Notebooks and pens for notes and handouts