No matter how many times I make a new warp to put on my loom, I can easily get confused about the threads I’m counting, even though I’ve done it dozens of times.  But I’m always grateful that my teacher, Barb, instilled in me — early on in my lessons — the idea that there are almost no mistakes you can’t take advantage of in some way…

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even if it means that I have to cut every thread on the warp and re-tie them one by one because I’ve created a ‘gordian knot’ when taking the warp off the warping board, preventing me from winding it on once I’ve started the process. Taking it back off and trying to fix it is a disaster of it’s own kind. I know this, I have done it — and I continue to fear doing it again with each new warp as I take it off the board.

L1010237That particular exercise taught me the value of patience, and respecting the value of the materials I’m using in my work. I learned that many mistakes can be re-framed as “a design element”, and thus be taken advantage of. In the instance above, I was making scarves. After I cut and then re-tied every thread, dressed the loom and began weaving, about midway through the warp I came to that place where there were, well, exactly 144 knots. They covered a section that was some 8″ in length. But when I wove though it, the knots added a rather appealing texture (which I have chosen never to repeat, for 144 obvious reasons). I was pleasantly surprised when I sold that scarf, having believed I’d keep it forever as a reminder of the above lessons.

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Fast forward to now, when I’m making my Spring Gardens warp in Barb’s studio, and then there’s the thread count thing… I was happily winding eons of rayon chenille along Barb’s warping board for a group of 5 extra-long scarves in luscious purples and greens I was seeing in my garden beds, and I’m counting 34 “bouts of 4” threads as I’m winding for my 10 inches of width…when I realize I’ve actually been counting 35 “bouts of 8”, thus doubling the width of the warp. Yikes!! I’m really too far into it to undo any of it. Of course, Barb wanders in, and strategically points out the obvious: “You can just turn it into two warps!”…O-Kaaaaayyyy, so I manage that- of course, with her assistance. Later, on attempting to put the first warp on the loom, I see it’s about 8.5″ wide, not 10”. And yet, this also comes as a pleasant surprise; I have an excuse to do something different…this fabric will be narrower, so it will be great for “Infinity Scarves”, something I’ve wanted to try. So, with a little help from Nadia, we calculate that I have enough to make 6 scarves, as these should be shorter in length than what I’d planned. And since the remaining half of the warp will be almost 12″ wide when it’s put on the loom, it’ll be even more generous for the long “great scarf” style I personally favor. Another pleasant surprise! I’m halfway through the “infinity” group as I write, and now I can’t wait to finish them! This series of photos shows the process from thread choice to finished warps (piled in a basket) and what the first half of the warp looks like on the loom now…

I’ll take a break before moving into the other warp half, as I work on designs for jewelry pieces, using some cool chalcedony colors to combat the hot days of summer that are upon us here-