Advice Column: Ask Experienced Weavers

Thank you so much to Lynette, Shannon, Jane, Sue, Cally and Amelia for offering up advice last week! I asked what people use as warp separators.

Three variations of brown paper were called out - rolls from the Dollar Store that are cheap but sometimes rip, the parcel wrapping brown paper readily available in many locations (including the post office), and carpenter/builder's paper available at Home Depot. :)

A couple of people use lease sticks - Jane made hers out of yard sticks, cut to the right length and sanded smooth.
Amelia warned me that fabric doesn't work well! (She knows that I have a stash of fabric just looking for a use!) ;)

Cally explained a bit about yarn for me. Her comment, combined with information from here, helps clear up my confusion about "knitting yarn". It seems that there are (at least) two types are yarn:
  • woollen spun yarn - which is made of shorter fibers going every which way, and thus is soft and fluffy (and recommended for knitting)
  • worsted yarn - which is made from longer fibers aligned in parallel, making it stronger and better for weaving

Finally, Lynette passed on a hint to periodically give the paper a good tug, to help tighten the warp, and Jane explained how she made her own raddle with some simple supplies from Home Depot.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of you taking the time to give me some advice and encouragement! Thanks! :)
Dear EW,

The Chandler book is great and I am really learning a lot! In many instances she presents several ways to do something and encourages the beginner to try them all. I appreciate this perspective and intend to do just that.

But still, I'm curious to hear from other weavers... For example, how do you warp your loom, from front-to-back or back-to-front? And why?

Similarly, when do you beat your weft - before closing the shed, while it's closed, or after opening the new shed? And why?

Were you taught these methods explicitly, or did you experiment with several different ways before settling on your current approach?

I'd really be interested to hear your stories!


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Post a comment 3 comments:

Sue said...

I've warped front to back most of the time - but I tried back to front once. I'm switching to back to front because of the positions my looms are in now that I have two of them. There might still be some times when I'll warp front to back. (And I should note that I've never warped my countermarche loom - so who knows what I'll really end up doing on it?!)

For beating, it depends on what I'm weaving and what the yarn tends to do. My brain must be a little fried because I'm not sure I can describe what I do when. Hopefully some one else will come along and comment on that piece of the puzzle!!

Sue said...


Have you met She's also just starting to weave!

Still hoping some one else comes here to talk about the mysteries of how to beat for different fabrics!!


Dorothy said...

I always forget what the back and front terms mean. I think the best way to tell you how I get a warp on is to say there's description and photos on my blog, if you haven't looked already, then see the following entries: 11 Jan 08, 17 July 08, 8 Sept 08, 12 Sept 08, 21 Nov 08.

By the way, my warp separators for the floor loom are wooden sticks, which seems to be normal on Swedish & Finnish looms. I'm going to try brown paper on my table loom.

Re. beating, like Sue, it depends what I'm weaving. Rugs I beat before and after closing the shed, other cloths I think I beat as I close.