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  • Writer's pictureJaime

Sprang-Along Day 1: Warping

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Day 1 of Sprang-Along is here! I think I might be a little overly excited about this, but who cares! Because sprang is exciting and sharing sprang is even more exciting!

Today is about warping up our looms. I believe very strongly that not only is warping therapeutic and enjoyable, but that many sprang mistakes can be avoided by taking your time to correctly warp up. So take your time and enjoy the warping experience.

I also realize that this entire project could be done in about two hours, however, to accommodate new sprang crafters and those with work and family obligations, I am spreading each step of the project out over three days. If you need time to work out each step, you got it. If you don't and your eager to get going, go ahead and move on with your project.

Step 1: Calculations

Before we can get to warping up, we need to know what size of warp we are making. I'm sure many of you already have a formula for the shrinkage and expansion of sprang. I am going to go through my own process for calculating a sprang warp in the video below.

If you want to use the worksheet I was using in the video, here you go!

Sprang Hat Worksheet
Download PDF • 76KB

The math I used in the video may be better explained written out. Or it might not, you decide.

I calculate the length of the warp by taking my forehead to neck measurement and multiplying it by 15% (or more or less depending on what kind of hat you are making) and then adding that number to the original measurement to account for shrinkage.

So my forehead to neck measurement was 40cm. 40 multiplied by 15% = 6. 40 + 6 = 46. Ultimately I decided to go with 50cm because that number had worked well in a previous hat.

I calculate the width of the warp by taking my head circumference and multiplying it by 33.33%. I am assuming my sprang will open up about one third more then it's original warped state. In order to get my final sprang to be the original number (in my case, 58cm), I need to deduct that third from my warp width. The easiest way to do this is to simply multiply the original number (my head circumference) by 33.33%. I get 19.3314 which I round down to 19cm. That is the width I want my warp.

Think of it this way; I want to reduce 58 by one third and then divide that number in half, since each end of my warp is one half of the final brim circumference. Reducing 58 by one third will leave two thirds and two thirds divided in half is one third. So simply shorten the equation by multiplying your head circumference by 33.33% and the result will be one third and the correct number for the width of your warp.

I hope that all makes sense, or possibly you just decide to go with my suggestion of throw out the calculations and warp up and figure out how to make it into a cute hat later.

Note on accounting for growth in the width: sprang does no always grow widthwise. I have found that certain yarns (such as acrylic) open up more. I have also found that larger gauge yarn tends to open up more then smaller gauge yarns and that larger projects open up more then smaller projects. These are all just my own observations when I am working sprang. I am still learning how to properly account for shrinkage and growth in my sprang projects, I think I hit upon the correct calculations a little more then 50% of the time. I am generally very willing to both work with a final cloth that isn't what I wanted to make it into something fun and also redo the project until I get my calculations correct. Perseverance and good note taking have served me well in learning this aspect of sprang.

Step 2: Warping

In this project I recommend warping in a figure eight pattern. I might be the only sprang crafter out there that does not usually warp up in a figure eight pattern. However, for this project I prefer to warp up in a figure eight. If you do, push the crossing to the bottom and be sure to start with a pick two, drop one row (I refer to this row as a shift row, but vocabulary in sprang is a whole can of worms I don't want to open just yet).

If you are a backstrap weaver, you will recognize how I am attaching my warp to the dowels as being very similar to tying on string heddles. I actually picked up the technique in a video on backstrap weaving where the women used this technique for tying the warp onto the bottom holding dowel. I think the point was to be able to weave on as much of the warp as possible.

I warp up in this manner as often as possible because it eliminates warp accidents and makes very small end loops.

Don't forget to share your warping methods or share a picture of your warp ready to go. I love a freshly warped loom all ready to go, don't you?

See you tomorrow for working the sprang!

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