Since I had problems earlier with the sectional warping on the warping wheel, I’ve been advised to try treating the sectional beam as if it were a plain beam for doing the 20-yard 140/2 silk warp. Only problem is, my warping board only goes up to 12 meters, so if I truly want to weave 20 yards, I either have to use the warping wheel to wind the warp, or I have to wind, thread, sley, etc. two warps. At 96 epi, that would be nearly 2300 heddles to thread – twice.
So I am exploring options for using the warping wheel to wind bouts for beaming onto a plain beam.
The most obvious problem with back-to-front, non-sectional warping with a warping wheel is that the wheel only turns in one direction, meaning it does not produce loops on the back to stick the warping rod through. The second problem is that it doesn’t create a raddle cross either (though one can, laboriously, pick one out from the comb on top of the wheel).
I have been wrestling with how to handle this, and have concluded that the thing to do is tie a knot at the end and put it into the raddle as I go, then lacing the knots onto the warp beam, thus giving fairly even (if not perfectly even) tension…but which is an “ugly” and “kluge-y” way of doing things.
I’m currently debating whether to go back to using the warping wheel to wind the warp on sectionally (which is actually what it is designed to do!). Problem with my sectional beam is: the sectional hoops do not line up exactly, making it difficult to wind the warp on evenly. The alignment issue isn’t too bad – only about 1/16″ or so – but when dealing with narrow bouts and a warping wheel just a few inches away from the loom (the furthest I can get it considering my studio space), it could be a problem, especially with longer warps. I am reluctant to put another long warp in with fine silk, knowing that I might run into tension problems with the warping wheel. Better to test and debug this method using larger threads and cheaper yarn.
On the other hand, it’s unclear that working with the warping wheel and warping B2F as on a plain beam would do any better. My early experiments suggest that it may be a challenge getting the tension perfectly even. BUT – now that I have figured out how to align the threads better in the back – I will give it a chance on the next warp, which will be 6 yards of fine mohair.
For now, however, I have laboriously put a 6-yard warp of 2/28 Nm silk on the loom. I don’t expect too much out of this warp – I beamed it before I figured out how to handle the warping wheel issues, so I’m sure there are loose threads and tension problems – but it will serve for the “study” I want to do on this loom: woven iridescence in color-change shawls. Warp is orange silk, I’m first going to sample several weft colors to check out iridescent effects in multiple colors. Then I will weave a color-changing shawl in the same turquoise-to-fuchsia shades that I used for a previous warp. I’m going to keep it to a simple weave structure, partly because I want to make it simple and partly because I’ve threaded up straight draw, so no fanciness with network drafting for me!
I am currently halfway through threading up the orange silk warp, which I’ve made 24″ wide because I want to test out back-to-front plain beam warping on a wide warp. (Also because I want a shawl, not a scarf, in the finished piece). I expect to finish threading and sleying and weaving up my first set of samples today.