Newcomb Studio Art Rug looms shipped with a sectional warp beam that will hold at least 100, if not 200, yards of 8/4 carpet warp. Given that it takes only a tiny bit more time to put on a long warp than it does to put on any length at all, it’s much more economical to weave with the longest warp you can afford. My first was 10 yards and took 8 hours. The second try was 5 yards of leftover fiber that took 6 hours to get on the loom, and then I was ready to go “for real.” “reel?”
I did all the math, I thought, and bought 50 spools of 8/4 carpet warp, at 800 yards per spool. Jean Vollrath had given me a rack that would hold 340 cones, so I thought I had the cone-management problem solved and didn’t pursue any other solution. She had never used this rack. It was built to hold an 800-yard warp used in “continuous” rag rug weaving, with each cone providing one of the threads on the loom. (An 800-yard warp would cost approximately $2000 to buy, and I didn’t want to make that financial commitment at this point.)
I set up my spools, threaded the tensioner (also a gift from Jean, who is preparing to move and therefore cleaning out some of the weaving equipment she now knows she will not use), and set to work.
Well, we don’t know that anyone ever did use this rack. What I discovered is that the spools gently bounced themselves off the dowels. It took 1.5 hours to wind on 100 yards from this rack, given how many times I had to stop and chase cones around the room, and start over. I suspect this section of warp will be horribly twisted, too–it wasn’t happy when I sleyed it through the reed.
Had I known I needed a different solution, I would have found one ahead of time, but I didn’t. I looked around the house for something that would hold 18-20 cones (2 extra on the selvage sections) and came upon an old clothes drying rack that I don’t use ever since I bought a big metal one. It would hold at least 16 cones, and I could make do with something for the other two. I pried the staples out of the dowel ends and knocked the supports off so I could slip the cones onto the dowels.
The rack, plus two plastic coffee cans with holes in their plastic lids, held 18 spools for 13 sections, +-100 rotations per section (counting to one hundred 13 times is its own problem!).
On the very last section, the rack collapsed, breaking in two more places. I had to jury rig a system using the parts that still worked, and it took as long to warp the last section as it did the first. (The intermediate 13 sections took about 15 minutes each.)
Now, the question is, how long will a 100 yard warp last? I have that long to find another solution.