Word problems. We all had to do them in elementary school. Some people I know can arrive at an answer before I even mentally map out what is going on. Just give me straight numbers and what you want done with them; that’s all I ask. Good old arithmetic!

I’ve been doing some arithmetic this week. I planning to weave a small table cloth. Let’s see, 48″ square sounds good. In order for the cloth to lay flat, I’ll need fine yarn. The yarns I have on hand need to be threaded 48 threads for each inch.

48″ x 48 threads per inch = 2304 threads

But how long do each of those threads need be? Okay, here’s a variable: If I’m going to all the trouble of threading 2304 threads, why make only one table cloth? (I have a pin from the Lunatic Fringe shop that says “Weave Long and Prosper”–sound familiar?) So in this case, I’m going to weave four table cloths. There are all sorts of conditions that come into play in planning a warp length but to cut to the chase, I’ll need 7.5 yards for each thread.

2304 threads x 7.5 yards each = 17,280 yards of warp

That’s a lot of warp! My next question is: do I have enough yarn on hand to do this? Each size of yarn has a standard weight per pound. The yarn I’m using comes to 8400 yards per pound. How many pounds will I need?

17,280 / 8400 = 2.057 pounds

But this is just for the warp, the threads that travel lengthwise from the front to the back of the loom. What about the weft, the yarn that crosses the warp? That, too, is variable and depends on how hard I beat it in and how much the woven cloth draws in, but a good guess would be to estimate the same amount of yarn for the weft as for the warp. So now how much yarn will I need?

2.057 x 2 = 4.114 pounds of yarn.

Good old arithmetic!