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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Gamp Camp: Weaving With Color

I'm working on spinning my second batch of warp for a weaving project.  Just couldn't bring myself to mix commercial yarn with my here we come, rabbit skin glue!  It takes me a while to spin enough yards, so I thought I'd better have something going on the loom at the same time.  Practice makes perfect and I have a LOT of skill-building to do.

I bought a gamp kit from Yarn Barn of Kansas.  What is a gamp?  British slang for an umbrella...oh yeah, and it's a weaving thing too.  Here's the definition. A gamp is a systematic arrangement of warp threadings or warp color sequences in section of equal size, each section being a minimum of two inches and not more than six, and woven as drawn in.  Thank you, Harriet Tidball of Handwoven Magazine!

The warp was supposed to be 36 inches wide in a 12 dent reed, and the stripes were 24 ends wide (2 inches), but my big loom is European, metric, and the reed is just under 36 inches, so I had to pull one end from each of the last four colors.  The reed was FULL!  Warping took me two days.

Weaving only took about four hours.  I had to stop and change the bobbin in the shuttle every 24 picks, which took up a lot of time as well.  There were 18 colors.  If I'd had 18 shuttles, it would have been a lot faster!  But I only have two.

The wool was somewhat stiff and rough but after washing it fluffed up (bloomed) and softened a lot.  I am happy with the outcome, and so is the recipient of the blanket.  Happy Father's Day, Marty!

And then, of course there were leftovers, which I didn't want to throw out, so...they are being transformed into a random-color,  2x2 twill plaid scarf on the Wolf Pup LT.

What I learned:  I was surprised by which color combinations seemed attractive to me and which did not.  For instance, I liked olive green over maroon, and rust over bright green, but didn't like any of the squares that intersected with white.  Black plus color looked good no matter what color, but showed any flaws in weaving.  Gray over any color cut the brightness in half.  I found myself LOVING the green and blue blocks, and feeling somewhat indifferent about the yellow/orange/rust.  It definitely gave me some great ideas for using color in future projects and I will be able to take a look at it whenever I wonder how specific colors will interact in a plain weave cloth.

This was a kit so I couldn't veer much from the plan, but in the future I will probably try to make at least two blankets from the same warp.  It takes a long time to set up - might as well get my money's worth from the process.  Finally, I was amazed at how quickly the actual weaving went.  Whew.  After years and years of knitting, the almost instant gratification makes me dizzy.


  1. Love this! I want to make one.

  2. Great experiment. I just got a bobbin winder and think i will get a shuttle that takes an inexpensive bobbin so i can switch the bobbins when i want a number of colors. Have not figured out which shuttle will be best with my rigid heddle looms. Probably one of the slim/small ones. And have to sort out end feed versus side feed. Have looked online but will probably wait until i am in Colorado and can get to some weaving stores and see what feels good in my hand.

  3. Thanks for your definition of "gamp." We had a discussion about that word at Manhattan (KS) Spinners and Weavers meeting last night. We're planning to do a color study as a group. Yours looks great!