Tips for working with very fine threads?

I've just warped up with 120/2 silk for the first time, and am having hellacious problems with threads breaking.  I've backed off the tension to the point where it's practically mushy, and I'm beating in between picks to clear the shed - that seems to work best for avoiding broken threads, but it's also very slow, and I still break a thread every inch or so.

I'm using an AVL Workshop Dobby Loom, 24" wide, with a live-weight tension system, using a 5-lb weight for a 12-inch warp.  This is a 3-yard sample warp for the finished piece, which I expect to be about 20 yards of fabric (thus the distress over breaking threads!).

Any thoughts on what else I can do to prevent this warp from breaking?  I could try treating it with sizing, is that likely to improve things?  I have some spray starch I could try...or I could buy some gelatin, I suppose...


Posted on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 15:23

Hi Tien - I have only done one warp of 120/2 silk but it also had satin stripes of 60/2 every 2 inches.  It was a lot of years ago so I don't remember much about it.

I did look up my notes and one of the items was about mending broken warp ends while the web was on the loom - not afterwards.    Easier to do while the warp was tensioned and easier to see.  So I must have had broken ends!   I do like to keep a very high tension on my warps - keeps the edges from coming in too much and causing selvedge abrasion.   I also don't take the tension off between weaving sessions.   If you are still having problems I would suggest a warp dressing, but make a shed before you paint/spray it on so the ends don't stick together.

Not much help I know,  good luck!  Evelyn