A simple method for creating the first warp on a rigid heddle loom

July 29, 2015

Building or refurnishing your own furniture can be a great way to get exactly what you want and save some money. Here's a simple guide for threading your own:

A simple method for creating the first warp on a rigid heddle loom

Creating the first warp

  1. Place the loom on a table with the heddle in the centre position (not raised or lowered). Place a chair upside down on another table. The front of the loom should be facing the front chair legs. The distance between the front chair legs and the back of the loom will be the warp length.
  2. Place cone or ball of warp yarn on the floor at the back of the table holding the chair. Bring yarn from the end of the table away from the loom and tie to front chair leg. Take the doubled loop formed by lifting yarn between the tie (on the chair leg) and cone or ball and take it to the loom, letting it run smoothly over your fingers.
  3. To find the first slot to thread, measure from centre of the heddle half the desired width. If your width is 40 centimetres (16 inches), begin with slot 20 centimetres (eight inches) from centre to ensure warp is centred. With a reed hook, put loop through slot in the heddle. The heddle is usually threaded every second slot. For a finer thread, use every slot.
  4. The person positioned at the back of the loom pulls the loop through the slot and slides it over the free end of the loom's back stick and along the stick until it is lined up with the slot. The stick should remain tied to the back roller at one end only — the end closest to the first warp loop.
  5. If threading alone, have a loop at the other end of the stick, which is slipped off and on. Thread the outer two loops through a slot to form a selvedge. Take the required number of loops from the chair leg to the loom; thread loops through slots until the width is correct.
  6. Make sure knots or joins are at the chair leg or loom end. When the width is threaded — finishing with a double end — take the last thread to the chair leg and tie it on. Spread warp evenly along the back stick and tie stick to the back roller. Return to the chair leg and cut the warp off.
  7. This step is easier with two people — one holding the warp at the front, the other turning the ratchet that winds the warp onto the back roller. The front person grasps the warp firmly, making sure it is centred. To remove tangles, give the warp a shake or comb lightly with your fingers.
  8. Turn the ratchet to wind the warp on until one layer of warp is wound around the back roller. Place a sheet of paper across the first warp threads on the roller to prevent the next layer sinking in and making the tension uneven. Wind on carefully.
  9. When the end of the warp is approximately­ 30 centimetres (12 inches) from the front of the heddle, stop turning the ratchet. Tie a slip knot in the remainder of the warp.
  10. With a threading hook or your fingers, place a thread from each of the filled slots into the adjacent right-hand hole in the heddle. Remember to double the two outside­ ends.
  11. Tie the warp ends from the front of the heddle to the front stick, using a triple knot and pulling it tight. If necessary,­ tie a bow on top of the triple knot.
  12. The warp ends should be securely tied. Test each thread to make sure that the tension is the same across all of the warp width. This completes the first warp, and the loom is now ready for weaving.

There you have it -- now you're ready to weave the rest of the chair. Use this simple step-by-step guide to build of refurnish all of your furniture.

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