Tag Archives: how to warp a loom

How to Warp a Loom Front to Back

I find that warping a loom from the Front to the Back, much faster and easier than the traditional method of warping from Back to Front. You don’t need to use a raddle as the reed separates the warp threads evenly across the loom. I use this warping method quite a lot as I often put on shorter warps (5-6) meters and work with wool, linen and cotton threads with setts ranging from 5 to 30 epi.

I do use a Back to Front beaming method and a sectional warp beam if I am weaving with very fine silk threads with +30 epi setts and longer warps (20-30) meters, as these can get tangled while beaming.

You can use the Front to Back warping method on any size of loom – a rigid heddle, or a large floor loom.

Here is how I warp an Ashford Table Loom.

Front to Back Warping 1
Front to Back Warping 1

After you have wound the warp, put 2 lease sticks into the cross, and tie this to the front beam of the table loom.

Front to Back Warping 2
Front to Back Warping 2

Cut the warp ends that are draped over the front beam.

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Front to Back Warping 3
Front to Back Warping 3

Sley the reed – Thread the cut warp ends through the reed to the correct sett. In this project I am threading 2 ends per dent.

Front to Back Warping 4
Front to Back Warping 4
Front to Back Warping 6
Front to Back Warping 5

As you thread the warp ends through the reed, lightly tie them in small groups behind the reed, to secure them while you warp.

Front to Back Warping 7
Front to Back Warping 6

Once all the warp ends have been threaded through the reed, move to the back of the loom.
Following the warping plan, thread the warp ends through the heddles.
I usually work with a group of 4 threads, lacing them through my fingers and thread the next set of 4 heddles.

Front to Back Warping 8
Front to Back Warping 7

Tie the warp ends in small groups to the stick or back apron rod that has been attached to the back warp beam.

Front to Back Warping 9
Front to Back Warping 8

Interweave Books and DVDs
Warping Your Loom DVD
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Direct warping rigid-heddle loom/
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View from the side of the loom.

Front to Back Warping 10
Front to Back Warping 10

Once all of the warp ends have been threaded and attached to the back apron rod, you are ready to wind the warp onto the back beam.

Front to Back Warping 11
Front to Back Warping 11

If you are beaming the warp by yourself, you will need to move to the front of the loom and straighten out any warp ends.

Front to Back Warping 12
Front to Back Warping 12

Smooth the tangles gently with your fingers. Once the warp has been smoothed out for the next 1/2 meter, move to the back of the loom.

Front to Back Warping 13
Front to Back Warping 13

Move to the back of the loom again, and slowly begin to wind the warp on, checking for any loose threads.

Front to Back Warping 14
Front to Back Warping 14

After every 3/4 turn, insert a piece of cardboard or a stick into the warp. This helps to prevent the warp yarns from slipping in between each other as you roll the warp. This will help to prevent uneven tension as you wind on.

Front to Back Warping 15
Front to Back Warping 15

After you have placed a cardboard strip or a stick, give a tug on the threads evenly across the warp to ensure that the tension is even.

Front to Back Warping 16
Front to Back Warping 16

Every half meter or so, you will need to go to the front of the loom again, to adjust the tension on the warp, and return to the back of the loom to wind on the next section of warp.
Repeat these steps until the warp has been beamed.

Front to Back Loom Warping
Front to Back Loom Warping

Once the warp has been fully wound on, cut the remaining warp ends and tie to the front apron rod.
Check the tension by gently touching the warp with the side of your hand. Adjust and tighten any loose sections.

Congratulations! You are ready to weave!!

It can be quite tricky to wind a warp evenly on a small table loom. The circumference of the back beam is not very big (as in a floor loom) so it takes several revolutions to wind the warp on. The thickness of the warp grows very quickly, so the warp tension is harder to control. If you use paper as a divider, the edges of the warp can easily slip and drop to the sides of the wound warp, creating uneven tension.In this warp, I have used the cardboard strips that came with the Ashford loom. They are a bit better than wrapping with paper, but the cardboard is a bit soft, so creates some bumps in the warp as you are winding – which changes the tension of the warp.

Bamboo Sticks on Warp Beam
Bamboo Sticks on Warp Beam

Using warp sticks is a better alternative because the sticks are rigid so the warp can’t wedge itself between other warp yarns and help hold the tension better.
Extra long bamboo skewers are great for using as a warp separator on small table looms. They are thin and can easily be cut to fit the width of your loom.

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Weaving Books
The Weaver’s Companion (The Companion Series)
The Weaver’s Companion (The Companion Series)
Learning to Weave
The Big Book of Weaving: Handweaving in the Swedish Tradition: Techniques, Patterns, Designs and Materials

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Weaving Looms – Countermarche

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These photos and diagrams were originally printed in:

Handbok Iveving
J.W. Carpelens Forlag
CentralTrykkeriet, Oslo
1958
I have added the Red lettering to the diagrams, to help in identifying the tie-ups.

When you tie a countermarche loom, all the ties have to be level. All the cords have to be equal length for each harness. Using Texsolv cord makes this an easier task because you can count the number of loops in the cord and also make small adjustments by moving the pegs up or down one loop. I also use a small carpenters level to check that the harnesses are level. There are 2 types of countermarche looms. One of them (Type A) has 2 sets of levers at the top of the loom that rotate on a center axle. A,B, C. The 2 sets of lamms are of equal length. (I, J)

Type A

Countermarche Loom Type B Tie Up
Countermarche Loom Type A Tie Up

Start the tie-up from the top of the loom.

There should be a set of stabilizing pins or rods that are placed through the holes at B & C. These pins hold the jacks or levers in place while you set up your loom. These will need to be removed once your loom has been warped. If the pins are missing, a set of knitting needles works well instead. The outer edges of the top levers (B & C) are tied to the outer edges of the top harness.
D & E.

B – D

C – E

A – The 2 edges of the top levers that are in the center are tied to the center hole of the Bottom Lamm – F.

A – F

The bottom harness is tied at the center – G – to the center hole of the Top Lamm.

G – H Thread the loom with a warp, then make the adjustments for the balancing. The warp should run from the back beam to the front beam, through the eye of the heddles. You may need to adjust the height of the harnesses, so that the warp is level. Make adjustments to the length of the cords running between B-D and C-E. Check that the harnesses are level – use a carpenters level to make check this.

The 2 bottom lamms should be level (I & J)- parallel to the floor. You might need to adjust the cords (A-F) and ( G-H) to raise or lower the lamms slightly.

When you are weaving, the loom should operate quietly. If you hear the sound of banging wood, check if the lamms are hitting each other when you change sheds. ( I – J) If so, then you will need to increase the distance between I & J slightly. Do this by shortening the tie-up between E & F. This raises the Top Lamm (I) a bit. You will also need to adjust the length of the tie-up between the Top Lamm and Pedals (lengthen (I – K) to compensate for the adjustment. Once these are tied, you shouldn’t need to tie them again, unless you are adding extra shafts to your loom.

The other type (Type B)has 1 lever in the center and a set of pulleys. The 2 sets of lamms are different lengths – 1 short (I), the other longer (J).

Countermarche Loom – Type B

The other type (Type B) has 1 lever in the center and a set of pulleys. The 2 sets of lamms are different lengths – 1 short (I), the other longer (J).

Countermarche Loom Tie Up - Type A
Countermarche Loom Tie Up – Type B

Start at the top of the loom.

There should be a stabilizing pin or rod that fits through a set of holes near A. This rod holds the jacks or levers in place while you set up your loom. It will need to be removed once your loom has been warped. If the rod is missing, a knitting needle works well instead. Beginning at the top of the loom, one end of the lever is tied to the top shaft of the harness.

A – B

The other end of the lever (the outer edge) C is tied to the end of the bottom Lamm – D. The other end of the bottom lamm is attached to the loom through a rod that runs on the side of the loom.

C – D

The bottom shaft of the harness (E) is attached at the center, to the centre hole of the Top Lamm – F.

E – F Thread the loom with a warp, then make the adjustments for the balancing. The warp should run from the back beam to the front beam, through the eye of the heddles. You may need to adjust the height of the harnesses, so that the warp is level. Make adjustments to the length of the cords running between A and B. Check that the harnesses are level – use a carpenters level to make check this. The 2 bottom lamms should be level (I & J)- parallel to the floor. You might need to adjust the cords (E-F Upper Lamm) and (C – D Lower Lamm) to raise or lower the lamms slightly.

When you are weaving, the loom should operate quietly. If you hear the sound of banging wood, check if the lamms are hitting each other when you change sheds. ( I – J) If so, then you will need to increase the distance between I & J slightly. Do this by shortening the tie-up between E & F. This raises the Top Lamm (I) a bit. You will also need to adjust the length of the tie-up between the Top Lamm and Pedals (lengthen (I – K) to compensate for the adjustment. Once these are tied, you shouldn’t need to tie them again, unless you are adding extra shafts to your loom.

Weaving Looms

Counterbalance Loom Tie-up

How to Tie up a Countermarche Loom

Handweaving Books

The Handweaver’s Pattern Directory
Handwoven Table Linens: 27 Fabulous Projects from a Master Weaver
A handweaver’s pattern book
A Weaver’s Book of 8-Shaft Patterns: From the Friends of Handwoven
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