Sticky Warp

Remember, after New Years I made the resolution to weave blankets at some point this year? Well it is finally happening and the warp is on the loom and ready to roll!

Four warp chains- 240 ends each.
Four warp chains- 240 ends each.

It took me about two days to thread all 960 ends into the heddles, another couple of days to wind on all thirteen and a half yards and almost an entire afternoon tying on to the front beam.

The warp, threaded through the ENTIRE width of my reed.
The warp, threaded through the ENTIRE width of my reed.
Beaming on the 13.5 yards of warp.
Beaming on the 13.5 yards of warp.
The warp all tied on to the front beam.
The warp all tied on to the front beam.

I went to start weaving the heading and boom- no shed.

At first I thought that it was just the fluke of winding on- sometimes when I work with wool on the loom the first couple of sheds are tricky but then they work themselves out. This warp is made from wool singles, and they are kind of fluffy. So every time the shed changes, the little wool fibers latch on to each other and form a line down the warp- not at the fell but right where the reed rests against the castle.

Undoing- by hand, the fuzzies that have been produced by the friction of the reed and the change of harnesses.
Undoing- by hand, the fuzzies that have been produced by the friction of the reed and the change of harnesses.

It wasn’t the sett- it was the actually fiber itself. I was devastated. I am trying a couple of solutions to see if it will help. I am currently spraying down the warp that is visible with a starch solution. I sprayed it last night and this morning to see if I can start weaving the first of the blankets today without too much trouble.

I have experienced a sticky wrap before (having woven with fine merino and mohair) but I have never quite had it latch on so quickly and so tightly every shed. With the other sticky warps I had been able to use the reed to break up the “latching” but since this is happening right behind the reed I can’t break the line of fuzz.

This yarn had been woven into blankets before- so I am trying to find out a comparable sett in order to have a stable cloth and accommodate for the halo of the yarn.

I will do this by setting up my little loom with a five inch wide sample- two yards long. I will first weave at the sett of the original blankets. Then I will progressively re-sley the reed to a tighter sett until we reach the current sett (which is 18 ends per inch). Once I find the sett that will give me the cloth that I need I will then go to the big loom- rewind the warp to the front beam and then rethread the heddles and the reed at the correct sett.

For example- if the original sett is 18 ends per inch, and the new sett is 12 ends per inch- I have to remove 324 ends of wrap to have the correct sett. Which means I have to re-spread the warp across the loom to eliminate tension issues.

I also have a couple of twisted warp ends which are not a big deal to fix- except when you can’t change the harnesses in order to see which threads are twisted together. It is a frustrating endeavor.

Have you worked with sticky warps and didn’t realize they were that sticky until it was on the loom? What did you do? Let me know! And I will keep trying different tactics if my starch solution doesn’t help.

2 thoughts on “Sticky Warp

  1. Did you ever come up with a salutation for the “sticky” warp? I just started to weave a double weave blanket with a wool warp and am very frustrated to see the warp sticking!

    1. The solution I ended up with was I had to resley the entire width of the warp. What was happening was I had it sett to close together so that the “halo” of the warp thread was catching on to itself. I went from 18 ends per inch to 14 ends per inch and it helped me immensely. This process meant that i had to unwind my entire warp beam, resley, remove the extra threads and heddles and rewind back on the beam. It was a long process but worth it. Another solution is if you soak your warp first in a starch solution and let it dry 100% before you wind it on. When I was trying to spray the starch on the fabric on the loom it would for a couple inches but then would start catching again. A trick that I’ve learned to add to my weaving rhythm is when my beater is at the fell of the cloth, I will switch to the next treadle, if I have sticky threads, I can use the reed to break them apart as I push back into position.

      I hope that was helpful! And let me know if any of these tips work! (Double weave is very tricky, so you may have to sett the warp at a wider EPI then you sampled with because of the inherent nature of so many threads bumping into each other)

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