All Wound Up

At the launch party, we started the process of winding warp bouts for the 40th blanket project.  To make sure that all the warps would end up the same length—since we were using a variety of warping boards at Weaving Works—I first wound a set of “measuring strings” in a non-stretchy yarn on the warping board I’d brought from home and then handed them off to folks.

Diagonal WarpIt was sometimes a challenge to find a path that would fit the string on the warping board’s path.  I love the solution that Marilyn came up with, very creative!One of the fun thing about having multiple warp-winders winding warps from the same pile of yarn was that each warp subtly showed the personality of the winder.  One was more jewel-toned, another more fiesta, another pastel, but because we were all drawing from the same pile of yarn, they coordinated.

The end results are something that will either strike you as richly colored, with lots of intriguing surprises (my reaction) or will make you advocate for selling two blankets as a fundraiser for MSF/DWB (Eric’s reaction.)

Put in a pile, the warp chains are pretty wild.  But I think the right weft will help draw all these colors together (another bit of the magic of weaving.)

warp chains

When I got home, there was a lot of yarn left to warp.  Which suited me just fine.  I love winding warp bouts.  (I used to hate it, because asking me to count up to ten without losing my place well…let’s just say it’s not the best plan for accuracy.  So I developed techniques so the warp would keep track of the counting, and I could just wind.)

I kept finding myself staying up late at night, winding warp, saying to myself, “Just one more bout…”  What made it so compelling is that I had a pile of yarn, in colors picked by people from all over the globe (US, Canada, Greece Sweden, Netherlands, Australia, etc.) and many of them picked colors that aren’t in my standard color palette.  And because I was trying to balance the warp in many ways (thick vs. thin, smooth vs. bumpy, elastic vs. inelastic) color was often secondary to why I would pick up a given yarn.

So I found myself making all kinds of color discoveries that I would normally never come across in a warp chain.  For example:

  • I love putting purple next to red.  Somewhere in my youth I was warned against this; told this color combination was very “bordello” and that the colors would clash.  But I can’t help it, I love the way they look together.
  • You can have value accents as well as color accents.  I’ve known for a while (and you can hear Kaffe Fasset talk about it) that putting one incongruous color or “zinger” into a warp (such as lime green in a red/orange warp) can really make it come alive.  I’d never thought of white as a zinger color.  But if you drop it into the middle of a dark, jewel-toned, section of warp, its value contrast makes it act as a zinger, despite the lack of hue.
  • Blue and beige look rather good together.  (I know, there are entire sectors of fashion based on this principal, but somehow it’d escaped me.)
  • Blending multiple shades of the same color (eg: red) made a much richer look than one single shade.  (I already knew this one, still it was fun to play with and re-confirm, over and over.)
Big pile of warp chainsAs I warped, I kept finding yarns to add to the pile: my very first handspun, surely that had a place in this blanket, and the handspun given to me by people I’d taught to spin, yarn I’d spun out of wolf fiber donated by a wolf I’d known and liked, and yarn gifted to me by my first weaving teacher, etc.

So I am almost done winding warp for the blanket, and I confess that I’ll be a bit sad when this part of the task is over.

P.S. As I was writing this, I was delighted to find someone winding a warp even wilder than mine.  Check out this picture from Lynne Bruning’s photostream.

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