Weave More With Less Work
Welcome to Earth Month – week 2! All April I will be posting about different ways to help you have a more sustainable weaving studio!
If you ask any weaver what part about weaving they like the least, I would bet they say either setting up the loom or finishing.
If you are in camp 1, then you have some options! These options will save you time, money, and help you to be less wasteful in your studio practice. You can use these tips especially if you are planning to do multiples of a similar project. Think production type work like scarves, rugs, placemats, etc.
The first time I ever attempted more than one weaving on one warp was during my first tapestry class. We had an assignment where I ended up weaving 32 – 2 inch by 2 inch weavings all on the same warp. Can you even imagine what that would have been like if I didn’t plan ahead to weave them all at once? Setting up a floor loom 32 times in a row is not ideal.
If you plan ahead you can wind yards of extra warp onto your floor loom.
Planning is your friend here. We have to do some math and draw some diagrams.
Don’t worry – I will walk you through it!
You don’t have to jump right in and do 32 mini weavings, unless you’re like me and you enjoy tedious repetitive projects. Before I get into the how let’s talk about the why. Here are all the reasons you would and wouldn’t want to get multiple weavings with one warp.
Dressing your loom can be one of the most tedious parts of weaving. Time is precious.
The time it takes to sley your reed, set up your pattern in the heddles, and tie on your warp is time that could be spent weaving!
If you plan ahead then you only have to measure, tension, and sett your warp once! The more you plan to weave with the same warp – the more time you can save.
Less loom waste
Generally speaking, you want to account for about a yard of loom waste. That’s the warp that won’t make it all the way through to the front of the loom and get woven. This also accounts for the yarn needed to tie onto your front and back beams.
Depending on your loom you might be able to get away with less, but you’ll never get away with no waste (if only!)
Think of it this way: if you can warp your loom for even 2 projects instead of 1 – then that’s half the waste!
Tying into the previous point, if you waste less warp than you save more money.
Good yarn is expensive!
Every time you have to put a new warp on your loom it’s another yard of waste and that can really add up.
While there are ways that you can use up that loom waste (article link) REDUCE is the first R for a reason. It’s better to not use something than to be forced to figure out how to re-use it.
Don’t lose your momentum
Momentum can be a really great thing and you don’t want to lose it if you have it. Weaving is already a slow process, so why make it even slower with unnecessary stopping?
If you are weaving multiple weavings at a time then it is great to be able to just keep weaving. Finishing up one weaving and then having to re-warp your loom can be a bit of a killjoy. It’s easy to lose motivation to do it all again.
With more than one weaving set up on the loom all you have to do is input some sort of spacer and keep going!
Depending on how long the warp is, there is a chance that you might have to fix your tension at some point. If that’s the case, you can cut off your finished weaving and re-tie your warp onto your front apron bar.
This is still a lot faster than having to completely start from scratch.
Just remember to add in a little extra warp if you think this might be the case.
You could also rig a weight system to the back of your loom to help with tension issues if this becomes a problem and if you don’t have enough loom waste to spare.
That’s the only real disadvantage I have.
The Only Thing Left Is To Try It!
The first thing you are going to want to do is draw out your weaving plan. I recommend drawings whenever you are about to start any project, but especially one like this. It’s so much easier to figure out how much extra warp you are going to need if you don’t have to keep all the numbers in your head.
Depending on your project, you are going to want to leave a different amount of extra warp between each finished piece. If you are making scarves, that amount will be the fringe doubled. If there will be no fringe, then I recommend at least 8 inches. This gives you 4 inches for each weaving to work on your finishing.
Any shorter than that and your warp could be hard to work with. Any longer and it’s a waste.
If you take a look at the image above then you can see that I was planning 2 scarves on the same warp. I drew out the 2 scarves, added the necessary amount of warp between them (in this case the fringe) and all their measurements were written next to it. Then I can simply add all these numbers together and see that it all looks correct! This is perfect for visual learners!
You can check out THIS SITE for some help figuring out how much warp you will need to purchase depending on your project or you can get my e-book where I walk you through it (and other parts of the process) and get a printable planning worksheet!
Need help planning your weaving project? Stuck trying to figure out how much yarn you need? What the h&^$ is WPI? Check out my e-book!
Weaving Your Project
Set-up for your multiple weavings will be the same as set-up for one. The difference comes when you finish one weaving and are moving onto the next.
The easiest thing to do is to weave a new header the length of the fringe or space between each weaving that you determined with your diagram. Use scrap fabric or thick scrap yarn as a placeholder so you will have something to beat against for the next weaving.
You could also use card stock cut into strips if you don’t have scrap yarn. Just make sure to cut them since they will have to wrap around your cloth beam. One long 8 inch piece of card stock isn’t going to wrap the way you want it to. Don’t throw these away! Save them for next time!
Then weave as usual and repeat as necessary!
Whether you’re doing it to save time, money, or the environment – it’s rarely a bad idea to get as much out of one warp as you can.
Are you looking for more ways to be more sustainable in your studio? Anything you want to see me cover? Leave a comment below!
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