Alpaca Wrap 3

I hate that feeling when you are a few feet into your weaving and you start to realize that the warp tension is uneven. You persevere with it, on the off chance it might improve. I will add it never has improved – just wishful thinking on my part.

I was weaving with white alpaca in the warp and black alpaca/silk in the weft. The plan was to do two wraps. However, I only managed six feet into the first wrap before I knew I would have to cut it off and re-wind.

As I became aware that the warp tension in the middle was getting tighter and tighter, I started to think what caused it. These were my ideas:

  • The white alpaca in the warp was quite fluffy but I thought if this was the problem it would have been throughout the whole width not just in the centre.
  • The pattern was in three panels. The two outside panels were the same pattern. The inside panel had more intersections (less floats). This would explain the tension getting worse in the centre.

I hemstitched the wrap and noticed that it wasn’t the middle section of the warp, in fact, it was the middle inch. This meant that the pattern was not the problem. It was the winding on of the warp.

I wind on doing the ‘back to front’ method and usually it takes two of us though I can manage on my own.  This warp was 28 inches wide I held it under tension half the warp in each hand while Tony wound it on. I used warp flanges to keep the threads in place on the back beam. There were two problems happening:

  • The warp flanges, even though the warp was sett at 20epi, the warp threads fell through the previously wound threads and sunk in the middle.
  • Because I had held 14 inches of warp width in each hand and wasn’t aware that the central threads were forming a gap hence the threads sunk.

When I went to rewind the warp I had good even tension. This was because the warp was now running back through the reed and heddles (not split in two). I also used sticks instead of the warp flanges so that the threads didn’t fall into each other.

The second wrap went very well.

Alpaca Wrap 1