Matching the Warping Method to the Project

Hello Madelyn,

I have been weaving bookmarks recently and find that warping front to back with 6 threads in a dent presents problems. I am wondering if I should try back to front as I think there must be a better way than the one I am using.

—Margaret

Hi Margaret!

The answer to your question (as for many questions in this column) is that the warping method to choose when warping a loom is the one that works best for the specific warp, your equipment, and you. The answer to your question (as for many questions in this column) is that the warping method to choose is the one that works best for the specific warp, your equipment, and you.

Choosing a Method for Warping a Loom

  • The “you” part has to do with the method you are most accustomed to using. If you are used to warping one way, you are probably very good at it and can make it work for almost any warp.
  • The “equipment” part has to do with where it is most comfortable to sit for threading (at the front of the loom for back-to-front warping, at the back of the loom for front-to-back warping).
  • The “specific warp” part has to do with the number and order of colors, the density of the warp, and the fibers/yarns involved.

For a dense—but narrow—warp, as for bookmarks, you can really make almost any method work when warping a loom. The issue with front to back is that if you have 6 or so ends in a dent, the ends are likely to twist when they reach the heddles since their individual order was lost as you selected them at random from each dent for threading. To avoid the twisting, you can transfer the individual threading cross from the sleying side of the reed to the threading side.

This isn’t very hard to do with a narrow warp (turn a wide pick-up stick on edge in the opening made by the lease stick next to the reed on the sleying side and slide a new lease stick into the same opening on the threading side. Then remove the first lease stick and slide the wide pick-up stick in the opening made by the second lease stick on the sleying side, turn the pick-up stick on edge, and slide a lease stick in the new opening on the threading side. Remove the second lease stick from the sleying side. With the lease sticks in place and sitting behind the shafts, you can now thread the heddles taking each warp end in its order so that no twisting will occur as you beam.

There are many methods for warping a loom, but for wide, dense warps, consider warping back to front with two crosses.
Measuring warp with two crosses. Click for instructions.

To make the openings for transferring the cross, you must apply tension to the warp on both sides of the reed. This is much harder to do for a wide warp than a narrow one. For a dense, wide warp, I’d use back to front with two crosses (you can download instructions here.

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P.S. My DVD Warping Your Loom is the ultimate guide to winding, sleying, threading, beaming, and more for all different warping styles. Click here to get the DVD and start worry-free warping!

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