Welcome to Warping 101, or, at least, the way I warped my floor loom this time. *g* This was an experiment for me - I've never used lease sticks before - so I thought I'd take pictures to document it. The idea of warping this way came from Char, but I made a few modifications to it to work better for me. These pictures were taken on my LeClerc 45" loom - my Glimarka is set up a little different, but, no matter what loom you have the steps are the same.


So, anyway - you have a loom and want to *use* it...what to do? Or, perhaps you've always been intrigued by weaving, but don't know anyone that does it. What does weaving involve? I'm not an expert, but I *love* weaving. I hope this can answer some of your questions, and maybe get someone else infected with the weaving bug (I've already infected my kids, thanks).


The first thing you need to do is decide exactly *what* you want to weave. In this case, dishtowels. You can either use a pattern from a book or magazine, or think it up yourself - this particular project came from the "Handwoven Treasury", so I really didn't have to do a lot of figuring. I did, however, run out of the warp yarn before I got all 490 ends measured, so my towels aren't symmetrical. Live and learn - always buy at *least* 1 pound of yarn! *g*

Once you've figured out what you want, and how many yards you will need, you have to wind the warp:


Winding the warp - this is a section 5


There are many ways to wind a warp - I use a warping board my late DH made me. If you look, you can see that this warp is 4 yards and a titch long. I always add a titch to it, for loom waste, miscalculations, shrinkage, etc. You can also see the "warp cross" at the top of the board - this is important! It helps you keep the threads in order (so try very very hard not to lose the cross! *g*) You tie the warp every yard or so, and on all 4 pieces of the cross (unless you get lazy...BTDT. Not fun!) to keep the threads in order.


You don't *have* to have a warping board - you can use c-clamps (clamp them whatever distance apart with the bolt *up* instead of down), you can use warping pegs (lots of places carry them), you can use weighted chairs...whatever you can find that you can wind the yarn around the correct distance apart. Just remember, each pass of the thread is actually *2* warp threads - the first one is #1, the pass back is #2.


You can see that I've now put the warp chains (usually I crochet chain the bundles; this time I didn't. Since my warping board was *right behind* the loom in this setup, it's not a big deal) onto the lease sticks. I put 1 stick at the "front" of the cross, and the other behind it. I have a warp holder my DH made me, but I wanted to experiment with lease sticks this time. I'll take pics of my "usual" way next warp!


The warp on the lease sticks, ready to start sleying the reed    Another shot


Once all the warp is measured, it's time to sley the reed. You cut the ends, first, where they are looped (where they went around the very first peg), then you start putting them in the reed. This reed has 12 dents (or spaces) per inch...since this yarn (8/2 unmercerized cotton, in a beige-y tan) works best at 20 EPI, I had to sley it 1-2-2. I was not as careful as I should have been - I made 2 sleying errors that I had to go back and fix. I use an orifice hook to draw the threads thru each dent of the reed (you can use a bent paperclip, or a tiny crochet hook - whatever will fit in the spaces of the reed), then tie a knot in it when I've done about 1". The knot keeps the warp from sliding out of the reed (and onto the floor in a tangled mess) if I have to leave it (and the dogs decide to "help").


I find this to be the most tedious part of the whole process


Now comes the fun part (for me, anyway) - you get to thread the heddles! I start in the center of the reed, to keep the warp centered on the loom (I don't know if you can see it, but my reeds are marked with bright nail polish to show the centers of both front and back). Which harness you put each thread on determines the pattern of your weaving.


I love this part - I get to handle every piece of yarn!


When you're done threading, you tie onto the back (warp) beam. I try to tie in 1" bundles, but I'm not always successful. This warp, I tied on by pattern repeat, since that's how I had tied the bundles.


The back beam is all tied up     And, the front beam.  I've wound a little bit on at this point, and yanked the lease sticks out.


Let the winding on commence! I did this warp by myself - sometimes Ian helps me by cranking. I left the lease sticks in at first, but got frustrated pretty quickly - I had dropped part of the cross (I didn't tie all 4 pieces, bad me!) and it got a little buggered. It kept hanging on the sticks and causing all sorts of problems. While winding, you need to tug on the warp every 3 or 4 revolutions of the warp beam to help even out the tension. Don't hang on it, just grab a handful and give it a good yank. The end of the warp is still looped, so you can't pull the warp thru the reed. *g*


The warp winding on the back beam all nice and neat     Ah, the end of the warp!


Now, you tie onto the front beam, and weave in a header. I use either toilet paper or paper towels - it packs in quickly and helps the warp settle in much faster than bulky yarn.


The front beam is all tied up and ready to weave     The header and a bit of the hem


I don't know if you can see it, but there was a glaring sley error on the left side of the warp. I tried to ignore it, but couldn't, so......I cheated. To fix it properly, I would have had to resley the reed from the mistake to the side of the towel. I didn't want to do that - I wanted to *weave* - so I stole a thread from one side of each error and filled in the skipped dent. *I* can't see a difference now, so it doesn't matter. *g*


Header and hem again - and some woven!     Again, but a little more woven.  Can you see the pattern yet?


I wove the hem in sewing thread to cut down bulk on the finished towel. The weft is an orange 8/2 cotton (same as warp, just a different color), to match my kitchen. I love the pattern! I should get at least 3 towels out of this warp; each one is going to have a different weft color. Now, back to the loom for me!


Here it is again, but with a green weft:

Towel #2 on this warp - in green.  The pattern shows up better, don'cha think?



This warp, I sat down and tried the lease sticks again. This time, I attached the angel wings to my beater (not the recommended way, to be sure! You're supposed to attach them to the front beam.) and sleyed the reed from there:


The angel wings on the beater, with the reed in front of them on the braces     Reed, 1/2 sleyed


View of this set up from the side


Once I had the reed sleyed, I flipped the warp chains back over the cloth beam, unhooked the angel wings from the beater, flipped the lease sticks (so it would be correct), then reattached the angel wings to the cloth beam and put the reed back in the beater. Sounds a lot more work than it really was. It added maybe 10 minutes to the whole warping process.


This warp went on relatively easily - the pattern wasn't centered in the warp plan, so I had to take 17 ends from the right side and shift them over to the left side. Lots of tangles...but I left the lease sticks in and the warp is even and lovely.

OK, so I had to warp the table loom for Ian - he was tired of helping me warp my loom and demanded his turn. I decided to use my "normal" method, using the warp holder my late DH made me (we got the idea from Handwoven magazine - you can also use a pasta spork; just tie the handle to the front beam and drop the cross over the "fingers").


Cross-holder - it's made of Purpleheart wood    Warp chain on the holder, ready to sley the reed    Here's a closeup of the cross on the holder.  You can see the next thread sitting on top, ready to be sleyed


Now, we sley the reed (just like before, on the floor loom). I measured 1/2 the width, so I could start sleying on the right side - it's too narrow to worry about sleying 1 half then the other.


Sleying the reed    Reed fully sleyed    Here's a shot from the back of the reed - this is what you see when you are ready to thread the heddles


Now, you thread the heddles, tie on the back beam, move to the front and commence winding.


Threading the heddles    Warp tied onto the back beam and ready to wind    Front of loom, ready to wind on


Now we wind - Ian is helping me here. He likes to crank it, and put in the warp divider (on the table loom, we use used printer paper), while I tug the warp.


Here's my apprentice winding on the warp    You need to keep the warp layers seperate, or some ends will fall into the mass and others will ride on top.  Bad tension!    Giving a good tug to sections of the warp    I also gave the whole warp a good yank - it's narrow enough I can do that.  Can't do that on the floor loom!


Tie on the front beam, insert the header rows (at least 3), and you're good to go! Here's a shot of this warp being woven in 2/2 basketweave, in cotton. More washrags.


Basketweave.  I want him to weave me some matching placemats next!



Once you have the loom warped, you're ready to weave. I won't go into a lot of details here - it depends on what type of loom you have as to the exact steps. Basically, you fill your shuttle (stick - you tie on the yarn, and commence wrapping the yarn around and around the center, and maybe figure-8'ng it around 1 (or both) edges; boat - wind the bobbin either on a bobbin winder or a handy dandy hand drill), open the shed, poke (stick) or toss (boat) the shuttle, beat the weft in, change the shed, repeat ad infinitum. Advance the cloth as needed.

I finally snagged a horizontal warping reel on Ebay, and recently got the chance (and the space!) to use it. I *love* it! It sped up the winding process quite a bit, and didn't put any strain on my wrist at all. I will definately be using it on all my long warps from now on!


Do-it-yourself Dishtowel kit.  This is approx. 360 ends of 8/2 cotton, at 10 yards long.  It'll be set at 20 epi on the loom    Here it is ready to chain off.  462 ends, plus 2 for floating selvedges.    Cross, tied and ready to chain off.



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