It didn’t take long at all to convince me that I didn’t like warping a loom. It took at least four class sessions to get my first warp on the Incubator’s loom; I dropped six inches off the width of the project, and still had problems. Then, I put a 10 yard warp on my own Newcomb Studio, and had to change the sett after the second test rug. I swore I’d warp that loom once more, and never again.
We forget. I had an idea to weave a rug in the colors of Late March, and warp cotton left over from class, and the six inches I didn’t use in class, and a thought that turns out to be untrue: “How hard can it be? Surely I’ve learned something by now!”
Gentle reader, “How hard can it be?” is a red flag statement, worthy of a blog post of its own. Similar “red flag” words are “just,” “at least,” and “what could go wrong?”
To tell the truth, it didn’t take as long to warp the second / third time as it did the first, and I didn’t hurt as badly as I did the first time, which is simply to say that I wasn’t doubled over in shaking pain and could actually draw my own bath instead of lying in a ball on the floor. In 1959, which my loom rolled off the line, they didn’t think of features like “easy to warp.” (To tell the truth, the one loom that I’ve used that did “come apart for easy warping” was too flimsy for the kind of weaving I want to do. Could be a simple fact-of-life trade-off. Easy to warp? Flimsy. Solid enough for pounding rag rugs into a tight weave? Suck it up.)
Rug looms are built to take 100+ yard warps*, and and sometimes shipped from the factory with a starter-warp already on the loom. I don’t want to think about who had that job. The women who wove rag rugs never rewarped completely–they simply tied new threads on when one spool ran out and pulled the new thread through the heddles and reed.
*I’ve seen a picture of a warp beam that holds 750 yards. The weaver says it takes two years to weave it off. (The picture is somewhere on that site; can’t find the exact page right now.)
Where does the computer come in, you ask? Jacquard weaving, driven by punch cards, was the first application of modern computing. However, that’s not where I put my PC to work to help me weave.