In the past week, I had two separate weavers email me about warping plaid and color-and-weave. Both of these weavers were struggling to get the results they wanted using the direct warping method. You could certainly warp simple stripes and a few of the color-and-weave combos, such as houndstooth or log cabin, easily using the direct method. But when you get into patterns that require a single end of a color placed here and there, it starts getting a bit tricky.
The direct method requires that you warp in pairs unless you want to cut and tie your warp colors on the peg, which I find cumbersome, but it is certainly an option. While I was teaching at John C. Campbell last year, I taught the direct warping method for warping color-and-weave where the ends you don’t need you remove from the threading order and let them dangle from the back as you weave. The waste really isn’t that great and it is a perfectly fine solution. Still, for many patterns, you need to move threads more than just next door to their color mate. It can make your head hurt puzzling through the threading order to get the right colors in the right places.
My best solution, and this will come as no surprise, is using the indirect method and specifically the indirect method where you remove the cross with your hands and not lease sticks. What I like to do is wind a warp of each color separately on the warping board. It is easier than warping in the exact color order. Be sure to tie your chokes for each bout in exactly the same place so that your warp threads evenly.
I then take each color to the loom and thread the color in its proper place skipping the slots and holes for the other colors. If you have a really wide warp, split your single-colored warps into two or three chunks so the threads maintain a fairly straight path to the rigid heddle—a severe angle can foreshorten your warp. I demonstrate this method in my video, Slots and Holes.
There are lots of ways to warp, just as there are lots of ways to cast on. Learning different methods allows you to choose the best one for the job. I know it’s not easy to try new ways once you have mastered one. I’m still using a long tail cast on for almost every knitting project even though I know I shouldn’t. I pay the price with stiff cuffs.
Check out these previous posts for more information on warping color-and-weave for Yarnworker’s color-and-weave towel pattern or the lazy way I like to position myself at the warping board.
P.S. If you have a question about warping, weaving, a Yarnworker pattern, or want to show off your latest swatch head on over to Yarnworker’s Ravelry group.