A couple posts ago, I worked out how long it was going to take me to wind this warp. It was a bit over seven hours as I recall, to wind 1400 ends. I was NOT looking forward to it. Not that winding a warp can’t be fun in a Zen sort of way, but for seven hours?!?
Then, yesterday, I saw a warping paddle for auction on eBay. (I monitor the eBay weaving section just to see what comes up.) And I remembered the section on warping with a paddle in Peggy Osterkamp‘s Winding a Warp and Using a Paddle. (This is, incidentally, the first in a set of three excellent books on how to set up and weave with your loom. I don’t know of anything more detailed and useful, and highly recommend
it for any beginners.)
Back to the paddle. This is a nifty device for winding more than one end at a time. It’s basically just what it sounds like: a paddle-shaped object with holes in it (or holes and slots if it’s that kind of paddle). You take strands of yarn, run them through the holes/slots, and presto! you can wind on multiple strands at once. The hole-and-slot paddle allows you to create the threading cross by pulling the yarn back and forth in the slots to move it up/down to form the cross.
I had never used a paddle before because I had never had multiple balls/cones of yarn to work with before (you need one ball/cone of yarn for each end you thread through the paddle). But this time, I had bought four cones of 20/2 tencel, so I had multiple cones anyway. I split one cone in half using my new electric conewinder (at last! a use for my new toy), threaded five ends through the paddle, and I was off and running.
I’m still figuring out exactly how to make the cross at the end – it’s still pretty fiddly – but this tool has already cut my warping time by a factor of 3 or 4. Now instead of 7 hours, it will likely be only about 2 hours! Is that the coolest thing since sliced bread, or what??