Saturday, December 5, 2009

Designing the Afghan Warp

meter/counter set up for winding spools

meter/counter with tensioner

meter/counter with channeled wheel for measuring yarn

Got the stripe sequence for the afghan warp designed and numbers crunched for how much yarn to wind onto the spools.

I'm working with four different coloured stripes, one of which will be a varigated yarn that will get changed out after weaving two afghans. The varigated yarn will be wound onto the second beam, which is a half yard circumference and is positioned below the big (one yard) main beam.

Over the years I've found that it is much easier to beam the small lower beam first rather than after the big beam has been wound, so I'm starting with the varigated yarns.

The counter is a very accurate (and very expensive) meter made for the textile industry. I bought it back in the '80's when I started weaving for a fashion designer, doing humongous warps and weaving many yards of the same fabric. I needed a way to measure how many yards I'd woven so that I didn't weave too little or too much of each fabric. A measuring tape was not efficient, so I asked Doug to source a proper meter for me. We eventually found this and bought it through an industrial supplier. I think it was around $150.00 at the time, but since I was using the meter to bill the fashion designer and she needed to have an accurate measurement of the fabric, it was well worth the cost.

There were several options for measuring wheels, and we bought two of them. One is a textured wheel that is used for measuring fabric on the loom. The one shown here has a channel and is used for measuring yarn.

This particular meter measures feet - in terms of billing the fabric, a foot meter allowed me to bill in units of 1/3 of a yard.

For doing yarn, it was awkward to hold the yarn as it was winding to provide tension so Doug scavanged the tensioner off the second pirn winder to use to tension the yarn from the cone. With the yarn under tension (a yarn under tension is a yarn under control) I can pay attention to winding the spool and watching the numbers flip by on the counter and not worry about what's happening at the cone end of the yarn.

To work out how much yarn to wind onto each spool I first worked out my stripe sequence in units of one inch (my sectional has 1" sections).

Then I counted how many sections for each colour. This number was then multiplied by the number of yards I wanted my warp to be - with a small fudge factor in case of oopsies.

This number was multiplied by 3 (the meter measures in feet, remember) so I then knew how many feet each spool required.

I only have 60 spools, and since I need 20 spools per section, I have just exactly enough spools to wind the varigated yarn. Once that beam is wound, I'll strip whatever is left on the spools in order to do the other three colours required for the warp.

It's a lot of standing around watching numbers flip by, but since I can only get the Bambu 7 on cones and I didn't want to invest in sufficient cones to beam directly from the cones, standing winding is what I'm going to be doing for the next couple of days.

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