Saturday, August 11, 2007

Tying On A New Warp

By Leigh

I have been busy tying on the next warp in my series of zig zag twill afghans. Cathy (My Little Kitchen) mentioned that she was interested in seeing some photos of how I tie on a new warp. This post will hopefully show how I do that.

The thing I love about tying on a new warp is that it takes advantage of the threadings and tie-up from the previous project. It lets all those painstaking hours of threading the heddles, sleying the reed, tying up the treadles, and correcting mistakes serve double duty (or triple, or quadruple, etc.) Consequently, I tie on alot.

I always begin preparing to tie on when I cut off a completed project. I leave the remaining ends long enough to tie in front of the reed with a half knot like so....

Old warp tied in front of the reed.This prevents the warp from being accidentally pulled out, like this. I do this with every warp. I can always change my mind later and pull it all out if I want. I can also change just the reed and still leave the heddles threaded if I wish.

Holding the cross for the new warp in my hand.I like to measure the new warp off in small bouts. Since I hold the threading cross for the new warp in my hand, these small bouts enable me to work in short spurts of time. For one thing, I find that if I am interrupted and have to lay my cross down, I inevitably mess it up when I go to pick it up again. Also, this gives me frequent breaks from sitting for a long period of time.

Another advantage to working with small bouts is that I don't have to worry about the total number of warp ends I need. Though I usually have this number written down in my notes, I seldom remember it off the top of my head. It isn't until I get close to the end of tying on that I actually have to count how many threads are left to measure and tie.

I have learned to leave most of the old warp tied in front of the reed, and only untie whatever short section I want to work with. Currently, my threading is a straight twill, heddles 1 through 8 and repeat, so I untied only 8 old warp ends at a time.

There are probably a variety of knots that can be used, but I use a simple overhand knot to tie on the new warp ends. I hold threads from the old and new warps together, matching the tail ends, make a loop and pull them through. I tighten the knot by pulling on the tails.

Tying on the new warp with overhand knots.Two things to know about these knots are:

1) They need to be small enough to fit through the eyes of the heddles. So there is a limit as to how bulky the yarns can be.

2) They need to have at least a half to three quarter inch tails. If the tails are too short, there is a danger of the knot pulling out when the new warp is beamed under tension. This can be fixed however, so it is just a nuisance more than anything.

I check each set of knots before moving on to the next section. This way I can easily catch a skipped thread.

After all the new warp ends are tied on, I'm ready to beam the warp .

The new warp is tied on & ready to beam.I wind the warp on as usual, though care must be taken as the knots travel first through the reed and then though the heddle eyes. The knots sometimes have to be worked through the heddles. I find that by using the flat of my hand to work the warp down .....

Working the knots through the heddle eyes...... and up ......

Working the knots through the heddle eyes........ I can work most of the knots through the heddles. Some have to be worked individually, but this is only the case with large knots. As you can see, I have left my lease sticks in. You can also see that this is not the first warp I've tied on here.

I have to say that I think a front to back warp is easier to tie on to than a back to front warp. Why? Because when warping front to back, the warp is actually tied to the back apron rod. This means that the old warp is secure and cannot slip.

An old b2f warp is easy to pull off the lease stick.When warping back to front, the end loop of the warp is slipped through the apron rod or an extra lease stick, like in the photo on the right. This lease stick is then tied to the back apron rod. However, the old warp is not securely fastened, and can be pulled off of the lease stick easily. I have found that when tying on a new warp, it is easy to pull the warp to uneven lengths. Since I want my new warp to start and end at the same place, I have to either take care to not pull it too much, or else adjust the warp ends which have been pulled out of place. Since I am still fairly new to back to front warping, I realize that there may be a better way to do this, I just haven't found it yet!

So this is how I do it and have found it to be a real time saver. Even so, I would welcome your tips, comments, and experiences.

Posted 11 Aug. 2007 at


Cathy said...

Leigh - thanks so much! I have a much better idea now of how this is done, Your photos and description are great!

Christine said...

Hi Leigh!

We're on the same page in our weaving endeavors. I'm tying onto my warp as well. Instead of knots I used plain weave to hold the old warp together in front of the reed and just pick out the threads one dent at a time when I need to tie on.

I tend to use plain weave instead of knots because of the cat activity in this house is strong and loose threads are constantly being sought out in the middle of the night. And I will admit that I didn't leave that much warp behind to get a functional half knot out of it.

Hopefully tomorrow I will have the knots tied and be able to get back into weaving. I am so slow at warping. I seem to have lots of stops and starts.


Anonymous said...

Loved the pics...very helpful! Had great hope of doing the same but.....I'm a back to front girl. Sigh. Will have to think the other way round I suppose....! But great info and very helpful!

Janet said...

Each time I read your blog I want to set up my loom again. Thanks for all your good photos and detailed explanations.

bspinner said...

I love using "dummy" warps for things like blankets and scarves. Save a bunch of time. Your pictures and explanation are great!!!

Jenny Bellairs said...

I just found your blog while looking for record sheets for weaving. Your list of links is great, so I bookmarked them. Here is an additional link you may want to add:

The weaver's knot gives a smaller knot than a square knot or overhand knot, which can be important depending on the yarn size. The nice thing about my directions is you won't have to get a book out and then try to figure out how to make the knot. Hope you like it. Jenny