Yes! Unbelievably, I have finished threading all 2,304 heddles, sleying the reed, and tying on. Now it’s time for my least favorite part of weaving: debugging.
You know how that goes. You spend countless hours patiently winding on the warp, methodically threading the heddles, impatiently sleying the reed, tying on at lightning speed. You throw the first few shots of plainweave to spread out the warp. Now, the loom sits, poised, ready for the first shot of your Grand Masterpiece…
…and the tension goes soft, then uneven. You notice five loose threads that will have to be tacked down. The warp is sticky. And isn’t that a threading error, halfway through the warp?
This is the point in the weaving where I typically want to rip my hair out. It’s completely predictable. And you know why? It’s because I am soooooooo close to weaving, and I can’t until I get everything FIXED!
So, anyway, I have been battling through quite a few issues. The first is the tension, which keeps going soft on me. I think that’s the result of having wound on the warp with relatively little tension, so with each beat in the first few inches, the warp is gradually tightening on the back beam (and hence getting more slack). However, the AVL Warping Wheel isn’t very good at providing lots of tension without tipping over, so for the next warp I may stack a 50-lb bag of sand on the far end of the wheel, as lots of people have recommended. I remember that, in general, this is a real problem for the first few inches, but settles down after that.
The second is loose threads. I’ve just been stretching them out and pinning the resulting loops to the fabric; the first six inches or so will be throwaway anyway (due to the other issues I’m sorting out), so it’s no big deal. Just one more thing to do before I can start weaving!
The third is threading errors. I tried weaving plainweave to show up errors, but it was so sticky at that dense sett that I gave up. I tried a 3/1 twill to help find threading errors. Well, at 96 epi the floats in 3/1 twill are 1/32 of an inch long. The pattern is essentially invisible, the warp was sticky, and it was impossible to distinguish between the tension issues, the sett, and any possible threading errors. I could have tried a 5/1 twill, but didn’t think the results were likely to be improved.
So I’m going straight into my Celtic braid pattern. I’m scrutinizing it like a hawk; if I see something that shouldn’t be there, it’s time to check for threading errors. And if I can’t see any errors, as sharply as I’m watching it, I figure no one else will be able to see them either.
So far I’m about one hands-breadth in. I haven’t found any threading errors, but I suspect that’s just because they’re too infinitesimal to be seen. The tension is starting to settle down, the loose threads are becoming less frequent, and it’s actually starting to look like cloth. That said, I’m still having tension problems and the warp is sticking frequently, so there’s quite a bit of debugging left to do.
On the upside, once this is all sorted out…I can WEAVE!!! 25 yards of beautiful white silk fabric. Yum! I can hardly wait.