Usually, when we’re talking about what makes a good warp yarn, texture doesn’t come into play, or if it does, we’re told to avoid it. Why is this?
Well, there are actually several reasons. The first is the most obvious: textured yarns are more likely to catch on parts of your loom - the heddles and the reed, especially. When this happens, they tend to snag and stretch until they break.
Another truth behind the “no textured yarn” myth is that when a textured or slubby yarn is created, the slub is often underspun, creating a weak point in the yarn. Lots of weak points across the yarn create lots of opportunities for it to fall apart.
Some textured yarns, like mohair, tend to be “sticky.” The fuzzy texture, combined with the properties of the fiber itself, can make the yarns stick together, making getting a clean shed difficult.
With other novelty yarns, like chenille or ribbon yarns, tension issues may come into play, causing the yarn to “worm” its way out of the fabric, and while it isn’t necessarily prone to breakage, it might be difficult to get your desired results.
So, with all that said, should you avoid textured and novelty yarns in your warps? That’s really up to you, but you can get some really interesting textures that not many other people will have if you’re brave enough to try it!
As always, you still need to make sure that your yarn is strong enough for warp.
You’ll also want to choose a structure that shows off your textured yarn, rather than obscures it. I find that going simple is often a great idea, and usually stick to plain weaves when I’m working with textured warps. Alternating textured warp ends with smooth warp ends is also a great technique - it really doesn't take that much to add stunning texture to a warp!
One additional consideration for your yarn construction is that if you’re dealing with a very textured or slubby yarn, you want to make sure that there’s at least one ply of a strong, smooth yarn - this will help give it strength. Two plies of strong, smooth yarn, combined with a slubby ply is even better!
You'll want to make sure your yarn is thin enough at its thickest point to easily pass through your heddles AND your reed. Checking this before you start weaving will save you a lot of frustration later!
If your yarn (or any of your slubs) is too thick for your heddles, you could make your own string heddles just for the project. Sounds like a stretch? Not really! Most heddles were all handmade in just this way until the 1840s, when metal heddles were invented. The process is a lot like tying a repair heddle.
If your yarn is too thick for your reed, and you don’t want to buy another one, you can consider weaving without a reed. You’ll then beat your weft into place by hand. This technique is often used by Saori weavers and other weavers using art yarns as warp.
A more open sett will often help when dealing with textured yarns. (Except chenille, which needs to be closely sett to prevent “worming”!)
Patience and keen observation are a must when you’re working with textured and slubby yarns. If something seems off, take a minute to check and see if something is catching somewhere. Also keep an eye on your weaving - are there any warp ends being missed? If so, check their tension, add weight if necessary.
You might end up with the odd broken warp end, but that’s not the end of the world! Repairing broken warp ends is part of the process and a good skill to master!
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies