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Warped Minds

posted Jun 13, 2010, 6:18 PM by Mary Powell
In this case, each thread will be ten yards long, and there will be 450 of them. Needless to say, it would be awkward to try to measure them out free-hand. Fortunately, I have this:

It is called a warping wheel. It's a yard to a side, so for my ten yards, I will wind the thread around in a spiral two and a half times.
I start by tying one thread to the first peg, then laying it around the other two. Note the arrangement of the pegs.

Then, I stretch the thread to the next upright,

 then the third, and so one until I have spiraled around two and a half times.

I now have one ten-yard long thread. Next, I loop the thread around a stick tied to the correct upright, then follow the spiral back down.

Once at the bottom, I have two ten-yard threads. To keep them in order, I wind the "down" thread on the opposite side of the pegs from the "up" thread, so that a cross forms. This cross keeps the threads in their proper order and will keep them from getting tangled during the beaming.

Then, I start back up, and continue until I have 225 threads wound. I tie a cotton thread through the cross to keep it secure, another around all the threads at the first yard, and another at the top to form a small loop. To take the warp off the wheel, I must bundle them up securely.

I slide the top stick out of place, and grab the end of the bundle of threads, keeping full tension on them. One hand slides through the end loop, grabs the bundle of threads, and pulls them though the loop.

Then I hold that loop and pull another through it.

Anyone who crochets will recognize this as the basic chain stitch, using my hand as a giant crochet hook. In fact, this is called chaining. The German word for warp is actually die Kette or "chain." I continue to the end, then slide the cross off the pegs.

This chain can be moved around without tangling the threads.

Repeat for the other half of the warp.