Ruth suggested that my problem might be because the silk was too tender. So I compared it with the 140/2 silk yarn I had on hand, and sure enough, the 120/2 silk broke easily and the 140/2 silk did not! In fact the 140/2 silk is nearly as strong as 60/2 silk, amazingly enough.
So….that means redoing the sample with a 140/2 silk warp, and rethreading the 1000+ threads in the sample. But there’s simply nothing else to do (except fall back to the 60/2 silk, and I don’t want to do that if I can avoid it). Bother!
The good news is that I do have enough of the 140/2 silk for a 20-yard warp…which is some comfort. I’m currently debating whether to wind on a 20-yard warp at the outset or do it in two batches of 10 yards each. The advantage of doing it all at once is not having to rethread, debug, etc. 2300+ threads. The advantage of splitting it up is that (1) shorter warps are less tricky to beam on, and (2) it would give me a break during the weaving to do something more interesting than weave yardage. At 80-odd picks per inch, 20 yards would likely take even longer than The Joy of Cooking‘s definition of forever, “a ham and two people”.
I am frustrated, of course. I think I will leave the weaving alone for most of today, and instead make some tomato soup from the wonderful dry-farmed tomatoes sitting on my dining room table. They have tough skins and are not at all tender, but they are intensely sweet and flavorful, since the plants are water-stressed when the fruit matures. Best tomatoes I’ve ever eaten (and remember, this is coming from a woman who grew 83 varieties of tomatoes one year just to compare them all!). I had been planning to buy about 10 lbs to make soup, but it turned out the price for a 20-lb case was very close to the price for 10 lbs retail, so…I bought a case. That’s a LOT of tomato soup, but I also love eating them fresh, so I think it will all work out in the end.