To paddle or not to paddle?

Why, I have been asked, do I not use a paddle when warping with multiple ends?

The question came as a comment to this post – and the shortest possible answer is: but I did – only the "paddle" took the form of a reed.

One longer answer is: because I often use several colours/nuances, and rarely want a 1/1 lease because that would prevent a "random" colour placement.
Examples of "random" colour threadings (and the results) are:

On the occasions I do want a "perfect" colour order and the ends are of similar value (and thus can be difficult to see when threading) I do make a 1/1 lease – but as these colour orders often do not repeat, I haven’t found a way to make the paddle work: once the ends are in the paddle, they have their set place... Also, my favourite method for making colour transitions is based on Pascal’s triangle, which means I need to change the number of ends I warp with all the time. The system is described in an article on my website – here.

Some examples:

Detail from side panel:

Another one:

Detail, approximately bottom left corner:

I have seldom had problems with bigger leases, probably because my loom(s) are quite long, and because I seldom use very fine threads. (Most of what I weave is cotton 30/2 and coarser, and my favourite wool is approx 10000 m/kg, or something over 5000 ypp.) Maybe I would find out the need for a 1/1 lease if I ever could get my hands on some real angel hair... :-)


Superstitions and and myths

Ooops – did I really write that "ignorance is bliss"?
I suppose I did.

I didn’t mean it quite like that, of course. What I mean is: words are important. (So why am I writing this blog in English – my English is by necessity a lot less exact than my Swedish is? Well – try g***le translate, and all will be clear... Or rather, don’t try ;-)

Words are important: "it is impossible to use singles linen for warp"; "it is impossible to use handspun for warp"; "if you don’t do [it] THIS way, [it] will not work"; "if your shafts sink when using a CM loom you are a failure"; "if you don’t use a 1/1 lease your warp will not be weaveable" (is that a word?)...

What about this: "it can be difficult to use singles linen for warp"; "when spinning for warp, be careful with the joins"; "this is the method I always use – YMMV"; "when having tied up your CM treadles (or: when you have tied up the treadles, regardless of which type of loom you have), test the sheds before declaring your tie-up a failure – or a success"; "before you have some experience, don’t use too many ends in your threading cross – or: try with a 4/4 lease and see how it works".

Somewhere I have a book about weaving superstitions. A few I remember are:
- if someone comes into the room while you are dressing the loom, s/he has to take a few very high steps, saying (at the same time) SO high shed, SO high shed. (Otherwise you will not get any shed at all, I think. Or?)
- if a pregnant woman sees a (can’t remember – "naked", possibly? ) loom, she will miscarry.
- when you first can see a bit of the warp beam, it is called "happy hole" – but also: you HAVE to weave the warp down in that same sitting. (Otherwise? the cloth will disintegrate?)

What I think I’m really after is: apply brain before "committing". Is it likely that a fat and fluffy woollen yarn will show a lovely lace structure? If I am trying to make a (say) winter coat, will the best choice of fabric be a see-through linen yardage from the drapery section in the fabric store? If I want to dye a light yellow, will the best yarn to start with be black?
And, for that matter: if I have this (new-to-me) threading draft labelled (say) "summer-and-winter", and want to weave plain weave, can it really be done with an odd-even tie-up?

Or, looking at a (new-to-me) tie-up – can I really use drälltrissor when both shaft 1 and 10 go down at the same time?


I have accomplished the impossible!

And not only that – I did it (first time) more than 25 years ago.

And I have done it several times... no doubt because I didn’t know it was impossible.

The other day, when surfing the 'net, I came onto a site that states that it is impossible to weave lace (that is, to have the lace structure show after wet finishing) with wool, unless the wool is either superwash or "non-fulling" for other reasons – worsted-spun with lots of spinning twist, for instance.

Below is a potholder made from the "ultimate vadmal" woven of this same yarn (albeit green). The cloth was first treated in a hammer mill, then abused in the washing machine until it would not shrink more. (This took 10 cycles in cold water – read more here – the statistics are towards the end or the article).
(Maybe I should add: the scarves above were not treated the same, they have got just an ordinary wet finishing in the machine set at the "wool" program)

The potholder has been in constant use for the last 8-or-so years, has been washed many times (but not recently, as you can see...) – and the structure had no floats longer thas 3. It is actually woven of two different greens, as in the draft.

Conclusion: what you don’t know, you don’t have to worry about!

(My second warp ever was half-bleached linen 16/1, for overshot with handspun linen for the pattern weft. As nobody had told me it is "impossible" to use linen singles for warp, that, too, worked. And has worked again.)