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Warping Board, How Dost Thou Warp?

Ever since that pain in the beee-hind experiment with self-striping yarn, I've been wondering about warping boards. It's like, no matter how many times I look at one, I just can't seem to get my mind around how them make a circular loop, a/k/a skein of yarn. Someday I might like to make one, and it seemed wise to figure it out first.

So I sketched out what I see as two (among many, I'm sure) possibilities:

Warping Board Schematic

The width of the board, 2 ft., is purely random. I think most of them are a bit larger than that. Possibility B makes perfect sense to me, but would not produce a skein long enough for serious self-striping. (What am I talking about? B would be an intractable tangle! Thanks, commenters!) Possibility to A presents potential for much longer skeins, but here's what I don't get: essentially, the yarn is traveling back up the board along the same path as it traveled down. Doesn't that make for an unbearable tangle in the end? Is there some secret to skeining the yarn so that it doesn't become tangled? Does it just straighten itself out as long as you keep the loops at the ends integrated? Those out there who have used warping boards before, can you help to end all this puzzling?

On other topics... do you like the new banner? It's of the very fragrant hyacinth we bought at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket this weekend. Hyacinths just are spring, don't you think? The weather this weekend was miraculous in New York. I was trapped behind my laptop for most of it, plugging away on my A-paper (which I wrote about 1/4 of this weekend - hurrah!), but Chris did take me out for a walk to the Greenmarket on Saturday and to get an ice at Uncle Louie G's today (first ice of the season - yum!). We also saw The Threepenny Opera last night, which is still in previews (and it showed), and had a late-night snack and drink at 'ino afterward. Gosh I love 'ino. All in all, a good weekend despite gobs of work.

UPDATE: Thanks to you readers I have a few answers for us on using a warping board. I'm still not sure I 100% get how to keep everything untangled, especially with respect to the mysterious Forsyth board, but nonetheless it is less murky. Maybe I'll try it with some thread and pushpins on my bulletin board. Anyhoo, without further delay, here we are:

Now go out there and make a board, eh? Seriously, let me know if you do - I might get round to it this summer.

Posted by jess at April 2, 2006 10:47 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Well, I'm a weaver (maybe I should say former weaver as it's been awhile) and sketch A is definitely what you want - sketch B would be a mess to deal with.

At the end pegs you have a piece of contrasting yarn that you loop around groups of 5 strands of yarn as you wind onto the board. You go over/under these sets of 5 in a figure 8 fashion - and this keeps the srands orderly and also helps you keep count if you are measuring out a specific amount of yarn. And yes, you keep each strand of yarn separate as you wind, so you want good sized pegs on your board. When the strands have filled up the peg (without overlapping) you take of the yarn and start again if you need more.

Does that make sense?

Posted by: Lianne at April 2, 2006 11:16 PM

Hyacinths are my favorite. In fact, I just got a sock yarn with the color "hyacinth," though it doesn't quite compare. Your banner is beautiful -- it really has been quite lovely in NYC this weekend. I'm trying to enjoy it as much as I can before it gets hot and gross.

Posted by: Michelle at April 2, 2006 11:27 PM

love.

the new banner pic.

i have no idea what a warping board is but it sounds certainly fun! and i love the threepenny opera... in high school one of my friends and i used to beg our voice teachers to let us sing "pirate jenny" because it was nice to be jenny. she's so freakin' unbalanced.

Posted by: heatherfeather at April 2, 2006 11:39 PM

i love the new banner

the forsyth warping board for making self striping sock yarn seems to work a little differently than those used by weavers. you have to seperate the parts of the yarn to be dyed different colors as you are winding the skein. this post from hello yarn has great photos of the process.

http://community.livejournal.com/dyeingfiber/48601.html

http://www.helloyarn.com/warpingboardfull.jpg

http://www.helloyarn.com/selfstripingskein.jpg

Posted by: laura at April 2, 2006 11:48 PM

ah.... a beautiful banner. totally smacks of spring :) i have no idea how warping boards work so i'm looking forward to you figuring it out!

Posted by: gleek at April 2, 2006 11:50 PM

It's a lovely banner, even if it doesn't reflect fig-and-plumminess.

Posted by: naomi at April 2, 2006 11:51 PM

i love the new banner. spring fever is definitely affecting everyone i know - hyacinths are the perfect antidote, providing the strongest, sweetest breath of spring.

the only problem with the first flush of warm weather is that knitting with wooly fibers seems so cloying all of a sudden! are you experiencing this too?

Posted by: hb at April 3, 2006 12:40 AM

I echo Lianne's comment. I studied weaving for a while in college and the warping boards are quite large, probably around a yard square, and the pegs were about 2-3 inches in diameter. We used one like fig. A. I think in one of my weaving/spinning books there may be directions on making a warping board so if you are interested in them, LMK.

Posted by: Prim at April 3, 2006 1:55 AM

Wanted to add that I love the new banner! V. refreshing!

Posted by: Prim at April 3, 2006 1:56 AM

First time commenting--love your blog. I saw a tutorial that might help here: http://www.ysolda.me.uk/wordpress/index.php/archives/2006/03/10/making-and-using-a-board-for-self-striping-sock-yarn/

good luck

Posted by: josie at April 3, 2006 4:50 AM

I love the new banner - very pretty and springy!

Posted by: Stacey at April 3, 2006 9:14 AM

This warping board idea is really cool.. It could make self-striping yarn a lot easier. I'll be interested to see how it turns out.

Posted by: Diana at April 3, 2006 9:58 AM

I like the new banner - gorgeous flowers!

Posted by: Chris at April 3, 2006 10:18 AM

Well hello again,
seems that everyone is feeling spring and putting flowers up on their headers...
I did the same thing this weekend.

Posted by: alanson-rachel at April 3, 2006 10:43 AM

I love the new banner! How was Three Penny Opera? I'm seeing it Thursday night.

Posted by: amanda at April 3, 2006 10:44 AM

check out http://www.halcyonyarn.com/weaving_warpingPlBeam.html for various layouts of warping boards.

I recently frogged the USMP and used my warping board to unwind the yarn. http://fiberartsafloat.blogspot.com/2006/02/two-more-projects-off-sidebar.html and as you can see, you can choose a variety of schemes to get the length you want.
Weavers wind a warp creating a cross at the beginning to be able to separate all the individual yarns while warping the loom, but I htink for dyeing this is a step you will want to skip. One thing you will want to think about though is how large a diameter you can stretch your swift to, as you are going to want to wind this into a ball eventually.
You also want to tie off the yarn at intervals to keep it from tangling. Good luck
oh, I do love the new banner too. Noticed it the other day.

Posted by: Marji at April 3, 2006 11:03 AM

so glad you brought this up...I've been wondering about it myself and your commenters gave us some great info!
And your banner is Beautiful!

Posted by: tara at April 3, 2006 11:40 AM

Love the banner - looks like another semi-tutorial going on here - I'm watching and learning!

Posted by: Laura at April 3, 2006 3:27 PM

Wow, where do you find the time for this creativity while being a law student? You should be proud of yourself, this is very smart! Never heard of a warping board before... And by the way, I meant to comment on your new banner the other day but I forgot. I love it! Very spring!

Posted by: Julia at April 3, 2006 4:47 PM

There is nothing really wrong with B, you just have a lot more crosses than you need. A will make a traditional skein which is just a continuous loop of yarn. B makes a loop in which the strands are ordered by being crossed over one another each time around. There are traditions in which skeins are created this way (with only one cross). You can't put them on a swift to wind them into balls; on the other hand, you do have a concrete ordering of threads at the cross, which can be very helpful. If you are planning on dyeing, you have an obvious restriction that threads at the cross will have to be the same color, which may or may not suit your plans. When using A, I have experienced problems separating the strands into a loop--it is of course theoretically possible, but reality can differ greatly depending on the type of yarn, its stickiness, length of the loop, etc. In general if you are aiming for a loop, wind as close to a loop shape as possible... so for example in A, instead of retracing steps, go from extreme upper right down to extreme lower right and start over, rather than backtracking.

Posted by: carrie at April 3, 2006 5:28 PM

http://carolinahomespun.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=CH&Product_Code=FORS-SYWB&Category_Code=Y

Have you seen this layout for the self stripping board. It looks like it would make the sections a lot larger which would be helpful.

Posted by: Kitty Kitty at April 3, 2006 5:37 PM

I saw that someone else recommended http://ysolda.me.uk/wordpress/. I think that's the place to go. She seems like she would be really helpful if you emailed her any questions that you might have.

Posted by: losmills at April 3, 2006 5:46 PM

The Forsyth warping board made especially for sock yarns has one problem that these other warping boards don't- you need to count how many times you wrap the yarn around each set of pegs. The way the board works is that each set of two pegs (there are three sets) ends up dyed in a different color. (You are limited to three colors.) You work your way up from the bottom set to the middle set to the top, winding around each set of pegs, say, 5 for the first color, 10 for the second, and 7 for the third. If you make a mistake, a stripe on your sock will be the wrong width. Not good!

Also, you're supposed to put the skein back on the board for winding off, but I've never managed to get a skein back on.

All in all, it is such a pain that I've only used it a handful of times. I think the ones that produce one super long skein sound better to me. I might just have to do the one on What Housework?, as it looks the simplest.

Posted by: Adrian at April 4, 2006 9:25 AM

The yarn doesn't get tangled because it is just a big circular loop, the board just makes it less cumbersome to wind. Tyeing it off with scrap yarn helps to avoid tangling, but I haven't really needed to do that much. The main reason I made my own board was just to see if it would work, and because if you make the pegs the distance of a stripe apart then there is no actual measuring involved when you want to dye more. If you google 'warp chain' then you should find instructions on how to make wound yarn less unweildy to carry around, store etc.

Now if someone come's up with a good way of holding these giant skeins while winding into more manageable ones or balls I will be delighted.

Oh and sure go ahead and email if you have any questions, I might not be able to help but I can try.

Posted by: ysolda at April 10, 2006 3:30 AM

The yarn doesn't get tangled because it is just a big circular loop, the board just makes it less cumbersome to wind. Tyeing it off with scrap yarn helps to avoid tangling, but I haven't really needed to do that much. The main reason I made my own board was just to see if it would work, and because if you make the pegs the distance of a stripe apart then there is no actual measuring involved when you want to dye more. If you google 'warp chain' then you should find instructions on how to make wound yarn less unweildy to carry around, store etc.

Now if someone come's up with a good way of holding these giant skeins while winding into more manageable ones or balls I will be delighted.

Oh and sure go ahead and email if you have any questions, I might not be able to help but I can try.

Posted by: ysolda at April 10, 2006 3:30 AM

the cross at the top is a technique for weavers only who're going to be warping a loom, therefore cutting the yarn at both the beginning (first peg) and end, last peg before you start winding back up. The weaver then has x # of ends to thread through the heddles and tie onto the back beam. There is a technique to holding the yarn at the cross that lets you know which end to thread next so that a tangled mess doesn't ensue while winding the back beam.
If you were to make that cross planning on unwinding it to knit with, I'm afraid the potential would be pretty high for tangles. I'd be inclined to wind the yarn in a circular method and tie it at intervals before dyeing.

Posted by: Marji at April 10, 2006 1:53 PM

Full instructions on board construction, warping technique for self-patterning yarn, and dyeing/painting in the current issue of Spin-Off!!! It has sheep puppets on the cover... good luck!

Posted by: Stasia at June 10, 2006 1:22 PM

A modification of Option B works, you just need to tie at the "X". See an example I wrote about here: http://charisa-martin.livejournal.com/10666.html

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