When I last wrote about “The Tartan” I had just begun to wind the warp onto the warping board. If you would like a refresher on that here is the link to that Edward Bransfield post.
Winding 7 yards of thread, one by one, takes a bit of time. We lost a couple of days due to a holiday and primary elections but it is finally done.
What started out looking all white with a tiny touch of red became four “bouts” that look mostly blue.
Though you can’t see it there is a touch of black, green and orange in there. The larger looking threads are actually what I use to tie the threads together so that they stay in order.
On the warping board it looks even stranger.
There are about 148 threads in each bout. The reason that the warp is done in sections (bouts) is to maintain the order of the threads. If I was warping a solid color it wouldn’t be as critical. For a tartan it is crucial. A thread out of line does not a tartan make.
The next step is to determine if the count and order are correct. If not, remedies are available at this early stage.
The winding of the warp is but one stage in getting the yarns on the loom and ready for weaving. It takes a while.
One lesson that I am continually learning as I weave is patience. Stenciled on to the wall of Patricia Martin’s studio is a maxim that says that all mistakes can be fixed if you take the time. (that is a close approximation- not sure it is exact!). With this project, she has advised me to take my time, to be sure of each thing I do.
There are five major steps to getting a warp on a loom. (It’s called dressing the loom)
- Calculate, measure and wind the warp (on the warping board) This is the step that we just completed. As you can see, it has several parts and each of those took some time to complete.
- Wind the warp threads onto the warping beam with even tension. This is the process that we will begin next week. Because of the technical nature of a tartan, we will be double checking the order of each thread to make sure they match the order required in the design before we wind onto the loom.
- Threading the heddles
- Sleying the reed
- Tying each thread to the cloth beam.
I will try and explain each of the remaining steps as we go and give you some photographs to show you what it looks like. Each one has to be completed and then checked and double checked before any actual weaving can take place.
My goal is to make a tartan that reflects what I saw and felt when I got to the place that Edward Bransfield discovered.
To the members of the Remembering Edward Bransfield committee and all those involved with honoring the Antarctic explorer from Ireland, I hope you will watch as this project unfolds. I am honored to be able to contribute to your efforts.