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I’m one of those artsy types that believes that the process of making/doing/creating is equal if not superior in importance to the end product itself. That being so, I want to share with you a little more of what goes into creating a handwoven textile.

Weaving is one of those artistic disciplines where it’s not so easy to get half-way into a project then decide to change directions completely. Even quilting can have an element of I’m-just-flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-here if you set out to work spontaneously. You need to have a general idea (if not an exact idea) of what you want the cloth to look like in order to do calculations and order supplies. There is plenty of wiggle room in what you use for weft threads, but once your warp is on the loom you’re stuck with it. Creating the warp and getting it on the loom (referred to as dressing the loom) are the most difficult parts of the weaving process. Many a weaver has lost sleep & sanity over these processes. The good news? Once you really get it you’ll never forget it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1. Decide on a pattern & order materials. That’s a lot of yarn right there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA2. Using a contrasting thread, map out the route your warp threads will travel on the warping-board. See the cross on the bottom there? That’s important.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA3. Follow that route with your warp threads according to the pattern you have decided on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4. Here you can see that I chose black-grey-black-grey-black-teal for my warp pattern.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA5. Carefully remove the warp from the board by securing it with ties and crochet-chaining it (using your hand as a hook).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA6. This is that cross I mentioned. It keeps all your threads in order. Without the cross all you have is a heapin’ mess of threads.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA7. Your warp will wait quite patiently when it’s chained, not much harm can come to it unless you have a child or cat.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA8. Here on the back of the loom is where the party gets started! The ends of the warp bundles are slipped onto a rod that is attached to a beam. Onto this beam (the appropriately named Warp Beam) your warp will be wound under tension.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA9. It is up to you how you want to create this tension. For short warps like this one I use a wrapping method. Sometimes I wish magic was an option because creating tension can be a big pain in the tuchus.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 10. The friction of the warp around the front beam and then back over itself is enough to keep the threads tight & orderly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Then you’re done!

Just kidding, there’s lots more work where that came from 🙂

Disclaimer: This is not meant as a comprehensive explanation of the warping process, I’m merely hoping to wet your appetite for the textile arts with some pretty pictures!

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