Our next stage is to decide which colours of yarn to work with and which design to weave. We do this by preparing a sample warp with several sections, each section threaded using a different pattern. By weaving a short length of cloth, we are able to see how the different yarns work together in the context of a design such as a twill, herring-bone or check before committing to making our length of tweed.
Once the yarn and design have been chosen we need to calculate the length and width of the cloth to be made. Firstly, we need to make a warp, which is the yarn which runs the whole length of the cloth and can be anything from a few metres to hundreds of metres in the case of industrial looms. The warp is built up from repeated sections of about two inches wide and can contain around 40 ends per section, depending on the pattern. Each pirn is an end and needs to contain enough yarn to complete the required number of sections. Therefore, the amount of yarn needs to be calculated and wound onto each pirn.