Sunday, March 3, 2013

Fuzzy Warps 1 : think about it

This is part of a series of three posts on weaving with a fuzzy warp. I'm putting this out there in the hopes that you might find some of it useful. I am in no way saying my way of approaching this is the Right Way. It's just my way. You should use it as a springboard to find out what works best for you! Every yarn, loom, and weaver is different. Your mileage will, most certainly, vary!

I recently wrote a post about weaving the Fuzzy Afghan and mentioned in my weaving notes that I had to clear each shed manually as I wove because the mohair warp stuck together. I'd like to revisit that for a little while and hopefully give you some information that will make your next fuzzy warp a breeze.

The problem with very fuzzy warps, like the mohair in my afghan, is that the action of the warp threads going up and down in the harnesses causes those fuzzy bits to rub against each other and tangle. This results in you having to manually reach into the harnesses and clear out the tangles so you don't end up with skips and errors in your fabric, or worse, broken warp ends.

Here are a few things to think about before you wind on a fuzzy warp:

1. Does the fuzzy yarn really need to be in the warp, or could it just as easily be the weft yarn? If you're making a plain-weave fabric, your overall design doesn't require warp stripes, and you're using another non-fuzzy yarn in the project, consider using the fuzzy stuff as weft.

2. Can you mix in some non-fuzzy warps to separate the fuzzy ones even more? Would using a fuzzy yarn for every other, or every third warp end give you enough fluff for your desired effect?

3. Will your desired sett be wide enough (i.e. few enough warp ends per inch) to give all that fuzz some breathing room? If you want a more tightly woven fabric, go back to question 1.  Do you have to have the fuzzy yarn as warp?

4. Think about your weave structure and your loom. The key to weaving with fuzzy warp yarns is to give the fuzz plenty of room so it's not jammed together in your harnesses or your reed. The further apart you can spread your yarn through the depth of the harnesses the better. For my plain weave fabric on my 4 harness loom I thread on  harnesses 1 and 4. If I had 8 harnesses I might even thread on 1 and 8. For a 2/2 twill, I'd thread every other harness on my 8 shaft loom. Sett matters, of course, but the more space between the threads through the depth of the harnesses, the easier your weaving will be.

So, where does that leave you? I would never discourage anyone from trying something at the loom that they really wanted to do. In fact, the reason I started weaving with fuzzy warps is because someone once emphatically told me that it was impossible to use mohair yarn as warp. Bah! I maintain that if you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your raw materials, and you have a good understanding of your process, you should certainly try out your ideas. You might fail, you might succeed beyond your wildest dreams. You will certainly learn something.

In my next post, I'll write a little bit about planning your warp and how best to get that mess o' fluff on your loom.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I always welcome comments from real people. Unfortunately, "Anonymous" keeps posting poorly worded spammy comments. Hopefully the word verification will help weed those out. I apologize for the inconvenience. Stupid spammers...