Sunday was a busy day with getting the loom set up. Don has been good enough to help me with winding the warp while I keep tension on it and comb out tangles as it is wound. This was a pretty wide warp, so my hands got a cramped and tired from holding so many warp threads under tension.
This photo shows me combing, with my fingers, the warp threads to minimize any snarls/twists in the threads. It also shows how the threads are kept under tension.......
The "raddle" is what keeps the threads separated into 1 inch sections, rather than unruly groups. the "epi", or ends per inch for this project is 6, meaning there are 6 warp threads per inch. I have another warp ready to go when this weaving is completed and that epi is 18. Threading 6 per inch is less time consuming and easier than 18, as you can imagine. :) These 6 warp threads are also heavier/thicker, thus easier to see than the next projects warp threads. Again, in this photo, I am combing the threads while keeping them under tension.
In these next 2 photos, I am threading the warp threads through the "heddles", which are wires with openings in the center. The heddles are enclosed in "harnesses", which move up and down according to how you "treadle" the pattern. Treadles are located under the loom (stepping on them moves the harness(s) up), and depending on which ones are stepped on, it creates a pattern in the cloth that you are weaving. Got that? :)
Threading the heddles is the first part of the threading process. The second part, is the threading of the warp ends through the "reed" (sleying the reed). The reed is what you pull back against the woven threads, beating the "weft" (the yarn that was just passed through the warp threads), to create a tight fabric.
It is a fairly long set up process and can be somewhat tedious at times, but I enjoy doing it, knowing that I will be weaving soon, making decisions as to how much of this color and how much of that color are going to be woven in creating a specific stripe pattern. Eventually, I will move into other types of weaving, but for now, stripes are fine. :)