A continuation of the warping process:
Four: Threading – Based on your pattern, each individual yarn is threaded through a heddle attached to shaft one, two, three, or four. This allows for different shafts to be raised and lowered in sequence to create different patterns. DON’T MESS IT UP!
For this rug project I’m using a 4,3,2,1 threading pattern. Very simple – you can also thread 1,2,3,4 and get the same results. This means you put the first thread through a heddle on the 4th shaft, the second thread through a heddle on the 3rd shaft and so on and so on. I’ve got 266 threads, so it’s a process to get them all done properly.
Five: Threading the Reed – In the second half of threading, each yarn is pulled through the tiny slots in the reed, called dents. The reed spreads out the “ends” evenly AND is used to beat the weft (cross-wise) yarns into place as they are woven.
Yep, another chance to touch each of the 266 yarns. I only have one reed, which has 8 dents (slots) per inch, so I need to thread my ends in a 1,2,1,2 pattern. One thread in the first dent, two in the second, one in the third, etc. During my weaving class, I couldn’t really grasp the importance of having reeds in different sizes. There was a large selection of reeds in the weaving studio, so I always used the reed most appropriate for my particular project. Now that I’m home, using my one 8-dent reed, I can see how the 1,2,1,2 threading really effects the spacing of the warp during the actual weaving process. Not a big deal for this project, but finer or bulkier yarns and different projects would, ideally, require different reeds to allow for an even weave structure.
Phew! Are we done yet? Nope, nope, nope. I told you this was a complicated process, right? Next we are on to tensioning.
Six: Tensioning – small groups of yarns are knotted on to the front beam. This step is my least favorite. Every thread needs to be affixed at the same tension. It constantly feels like by the time one side is taut, the other has gone slack. I am pulling knots for a WHILE, before I can safely tie a double knot and wind around the beam.
NOW WE’RE ready to weave! I started prepping my rag strips and am about to get down to business. The pattern of my first rug section flowed organically in the studio. I didn’t have a plan and I chose colors and textures as I went along, trying to keep an overall idea of the piece as I wove it. I am going to use a similar process this time. I will refer to the original panel a bit, just so we don’t have large blocks of the same pattern when the pieces are put together.
Let’s do this.