Lizards in the Leaves

Rustlings in the green....imagination, art, whimsy

Jun 21, 2012

First All-By-Myself Saori Warp

A year after I came home from my intensive at Saori Worcester, I'm finally using what I learned. I'm very glad Mihoko said I should take pictures during the workshop because I referred to them constantly as I used the special Saori tools to get the warp on my loom.

I had quite a few problems, all of which were learning opportunities as I persevered and found solutions.

First, winding the warp. I decided on about 7 yards and about the maximum width of my 12.5  reed, 23", There's about 300 threads there, as I planned to double-thread a few slots and heddles.

 I used several different yarns and came up with this lovely combination below.  All the yarns are cotton or cotton/rayon, with the exception of the orange with the metallic wrapping. It's wool. And there was my first big problem.

 I was winding too tightly on the warping board. Wasn't a huge problem with the cotton, but when I was ready to removed the warp and chain it, SPROINGGGGG! That orange wool literally flew right off, and then some of the other yarns began to follow it.

I was startled and horrified. I'm sure I just stared for about 20 seconds. Then I felt grateful that I had tied that warp in several places and I was able to get it back over the pegs. Wishing I had an extra pair of hands all the while.  I did manage to get it chained and at least looking like it was okay.

I didn't take good pictures of my using the special Saori tools that make sleying the reed and threading the heddles so much easier.  I used the Saori cross-holder and the Saori threading holder to hold the reed and then the harnesses with the heddles.  Here is a picture of those tools in use from this site:

The reed sleyed,  I was getting more and more worried - what a tangle of threads, would it really straighten out when I wound the warp?

 I began to thread the heddles, which, after awhile, began to be rhythmic and enjoyable movement.

Finally, I moved the reed and heddles on to the loom, easy peasy and was ready to wind the warp.

 Before I got started threading, I made this apron, like the one I saw at Saori Worcester. It is just duct-taped to a cardboard tube that goes on the back warp beam. I used the tube left after finishing a pre-rolled warp, but I think they can also be bought separately.

 Then began a long session of moving from the back of the loom

to the front,

shaking out that warp, straightening threads, winding on, putting kraft paper between rounds. It was a very physical process that had me crawling on the floor, reaching with a foot to release the brake and using one hand to wind while the other was holding some tension on the warp chain.  A task any Cirque de Soleil performer could surely do with great grace and ease.

This 60 year old with 20 extra pounds found herself very, very glad she'd been diligently walking and practicing  her Tai Chi for weeks. I did not realize I was training to dress my loom, but I'm convinced that I would have found it a horrible experience if I wasn't somewhat in shape.

Now, another problem I faced was that there were too many unused heddles on each side of the warp on both harnesses. This was causing the warp to be bunched together at each side.

 I wished I had realized this before, but it turned out to be pretty easy to unscrew the sides of each harness and remove the heddles I didn't need.

And I started weaving....