It isn't entirely my fault... a national seine twine shortage

The United States is out of cotton seine twine. You can't blame it entirely on me. Other tapestry teachers recommend the same warp I do. That is my story and I'm sticking to it.

If you've tried to order cotton seine twine warp for tapestry weaving sometime in the last three months almost anywhere in the US, you may have been disappointed. And yes, my online classes are partially to blame, so I'm here to update you on the shortage.

I love this warp. It is strong, well made, and it shrinks a little bit when steamed--all great qualities for large format tapestries. It is easy to work with which is why I recommend it for beginners. But I love it so much, I rarely use anything else myself.

I had heard rumors about this problem over the last few weeks from other teachers and frustrated students. But it really hit home when I realized I did not have enough warp in my own stash for a very large piece I need to start this month. I needed more than 5,000 yards of 12/9 cotton seine twine, and I only had about 1000 yards on my warp shelf. Nothing like a personal crisis to incite revolution action.

As soon as I realized this I called GlimkaraUSA. They supply most of the shops in the US with this Swedish Bockens warp. The company recently changed hands after being run by Joanne Hall for decades. I had a nice talk with Sarah and sorted a few things out about this warp.

In the past I have told my students to contact GlimkaraUSA to purchase warp. Please do not do this! They are a wholesaler. The best place to get warp is your local weaving shop. Of course I realize that many people don't have a local weaving shop, but if you do, buy the warp there.

My local weaving shop is located a few towns over in Boulder, CO. Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins sold me the last six cones of 12/9 cotton seine twine they had today (they have a few cones of 12/6 in natural and a lot of colored cones left though!).

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If your local yarn shop doesn't carry weaving supplies or they don't carry this particular warp and you want to use it, what about asking them to carry it?

Sarah (the Glimkara guru) assured me that they have located a large amount of various sizes of cotton seine twine and it is currently on a boat headed to the US. The shortage should be over soon. Just hang in there a few more weeks... (Though I admit I am mighty relieved that Shuttles had a little stash that would get me through this project.)

Other places that carry cotton seine twine tapestry warp (after you check your LYS!)

  • The Woolery. And they have said they will start carrying other sizes besides the 12/6... when they can get it.
  • Yarn Barn of Kansas. Though this shop is not at all local to me, they sold me my spinning wheel at Convergence 2010 and were so incredibly helpful that particular day, that I have recommended them ever since.
  • Vavstuga. They may actually have some right this minute.
  • Between & Etc. Kathe Todd-Hooker has some warp left and she will wind off small amounts for you. This is unheard of, so take advantage of it if you don't want a whole cone!
  • Lone Star Loom Room. I don't know a thing about them, but they do carry this warp.

*** And please check out the comments below. Many people have added thoughts about what they use and where they get it. Don't forget about places like Halcyon Yarn, Weavers Bazaar (if you're in Europe), Bountiful, and first of all, your local yarn store. 

Want to try some other options?

Though I love this particular warp, there are many other options. Here are a few suggestions. Who knows, maybe you'll find something you like even better. And if not, never fear, the boat is coming in soon and GlimakraUSA will be supplying all your favorite LYS's by the time March rolls around.

  • Use wool. Weaving Southwest sells a marvelous plied wool warp. It is thicker than the 12/6 cotton seine twine, but is great for 8 epi tapestry projects. Brown Sheep Company also sells a nice single-ply tapestry warp. It isn't as strong, but I have used it successfully on small looms and various size Mirrix looms with nary a broken warp.
  • Other Scandinavian countries make great warp. There is a warp from Norway that can be purchased from Norsk Fjord Fiber. While you're there, check out the Frid yarn that Sidsel sells. It is gorgeous for tapestry. I believe there is a Finnish warp that is also great. If you know more about it, please comment!
  • Linen is a time-tested warp for tapestry. If you've been weaving awhile, give it a go. It doesn't stretch and in my opinion, this makes it a great deal more difficult to work with. But the results can be excellent if you're careful.
  • Cotton seine twine comes in colors in the 12/6 size. It is the same warp. Consider using a colored version until the natural is available. You might like it so much you don't go back.

Many of you use other warps. What do you like and why? Please share in the comments.

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