The Weaving of a Scarf- The first step!

There is an old saying that “no one want to know how the sausage is made”. I can understand that with sausage. It’s messy. And gooey.

Weaving can be messy-threads all over the floor, lint, lousy language when there is operator error or loom error. (Yes, the loom can make a mistake. They always blame it on the operator but I know better…) It is never gooey. It’s cleaner. I think. (Except for some of the language…)

Few non-weavers have seen the process from beginning to end. From the outside it appears tedious. There are at least 27 steps to putting a warp on a loom. I will admit that some steps in the creation of cloth on a loom can be slow and methodical but that is because the threads are social. They like to stick to their friends and occasionally move to a different street. That is especially true of wool. Wool is, in my humble opinion, gregarious. There are ways to make them stay in their “seats” but that is a different blog post.

Today, is a cotton day. Nice, soft, twisty cotton.

I am making some cotton scarves in the Edward Bransfield Commemorative Tartan pattern. The very ones that you can order at Penguin Designs. It seemed a good time to show why they are special order. They take a lot of time to make.

The Lingo

But first, there is a little lingo primer. The warp are the threads that are horizontal to the floor on the loom. They look like this:

They are the base layer, if you will, of the cloth. To get them on the loom you have to start “warping”. I know, it sounds like Star Trek but I do believe the word came into existence somewhere in the 12th Century. (I actually looked that up when I first started weaving!)

Warping, in weaving lingo, is to place the threads in the proper length and order in preparation for putting them on the loom. There are a lot of ways to do that. There is a thing called a warping wheel which spins as you put the threads on it. You hold the thread and let the spinning take it away. You have to pay attention to the vertical progression or you end up with threads all over the place. There is also a warping board where the threads are placed individually. The warping board requires a lot of arm lifting and movement which makes it a bit tough if you have lots of threads. Here are some pictures of the wheel and the board.

Then What?

Once you get the threads in order and in the right number, next to the thread that they are suppose to be next to, they get “tied up”. That is taking string and tying the little monsters together so they cannot go visiting any other threads. Especially so they can’t go visiting another street. (you can see that in a couple of the pictures) They are not suppose to slide anywhere as well which is why the little string has to be tied very tight!

Bored already?? That’s ok. A lot of people are at this point. But while this is going on a kind of Zen thing happens. I concentrate on where that single thread goes, I make sure it doesn’t cross another thread, I make sure it is comfortable (so to speak). I hear nothing, I see nothing else. I am in my own little world and I let go of anything else.

I am doing a lot of warping right now.

And while I work on the next cotton scarves, head over to www.penguindesigns.net –WE HAVE BLANKETS!! And there are a few Irish Lambswool scarves left.

Watch this space. This was only lesson #1!!!

What Our
Customers Say

I received┬ámy Edward Bransfield scarf!! I watched and listened to Gael’s trip to Antarctica. The story is just amazing. And the scarf reflects the story. It is so soft and toasty warm! I LOVE the colors!!! Thank you, Gael!

Vicki Perry

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