Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Posted by Peg in South Carolina

I got the warp lashed on. I went to the back of the loom to check the tension. And I saw them. Them. Two warp yarns. Two warp yarns hanging loose. Oh my ………… I followed them to the front of the loom. They were in the heddles. They were not in the reed. Nor was there a reed space from which they had fallen out.

I did not take a photo. I was too upset. I just wanted to find out what went wrong and correct it.

This has not happened to me since my first year of weaving. It first occurred when, after a marathon weekend learn-to-weave class at my weaving guild, I put my first warp on my own loom at home. I was aghast but got it fixed.

During my first year of weaving, “losing” warp ends was not an unusual occurrence. The most likely place this happened was in sleying the reed, though it also happened in threading. I learned quickly to keep my eyes open for possible dropped warp ends. Apparently I have gotten a bit lax recently in my watchfulness. By at least the ends dropped while sleying the reed rather than while threading the heddles.

Undoing overhand knot What I had to do was to remove the lashing cord and then undo the knots in the bouts from the problem area over to the closest selvedge. Fortunately not many. Undoing the knots is a bit finicky, but with the help of a small crochet hook, it’s not too bad.

What makes me angry with myself is not so much my lack of watchfulness. It is that there was a clue that this had happened. A very big clue. And, except for a slight question mark in my mind, I paid absolutely no attention to it.

The clue came when I was tying the overhand knots in preparation for the lashing on. I started at the right and moved to the left. When I got to the left, the warp ends going through the reed did not end up in the same way as they had on the right. On the right, there were six warp ends in three reed openings. On the left there were four warp ends in two openings. They should have been identical since I started in the middle and worked first right and then left as I sleyed.

My excuse is that in my weaving, they rarely come out the same on each side. But there is a reason. The center of my warp is rarely at the center of my reed. This happens at the threading. When I count the number of heddles I need on the right side on each shaft, it never comes out right when I actually do the threading. And this despite the fact that my weaving program, PixeLoom, very nicely does the counting for me. Sob…… But on this warp, it came out right in the threading. The center of the warp was right where it should be. So the sleying should have been identical on each side. I should have stopped to think all of this out and then looked for the reason. But I didn’t.

It is in the nature of my being somehow to be careless in the details of things. It is always my inclination, for example, just to let mistakes stay. Weaving is a great corrective to this tendency. But it is a bit painful!

Related Post: Wool Crackle for Crackle Exchange

Lashing On: I Am Once Again a Beginner” was written by Margaret Carpenter for Talking about Weaving and was originally posted on March 3, 2009. ©2009 Margaret Carpenter aka Peg in South Carolina


Jewel said...

I'm so happy to find your blog, my husband just purchased a loom for me so I will need all the help I can find.

Susan B. said...

My recent problem was the opposite of yours! I was two ends too short! It happened in the preparing of the warp - I miscounted. So I have two danglers! And this has never happened to me before!
What happened to you has happened to me!

Peg in South Carolina said...

Jewel, thank you for visiting my blog. I hope you find it helpful.
Susan, thank you for sharing!

a beginner's tale said...

I had a ‘brain snap’ recently and threaded the floating selvedges of my current project through heddles!

Fortunately, I had woven only the rough ‘heading’ and a narrow ‘hem’ selvedge.

How to fix the problem neatly? Rather than choose the option resulting in weights hanging off the back of my loom, I corrected the problem as follows.

I quickly un-wove the ‘hem’ selvedge, untied the end sets of warp threads from the cloth beam rod, pulled the ‘floating’ selvedge ends out of the rough ‘heading’, unsleyed, and then pulled them out of the heddles; problem 80% fixed! Releyed the ‘floating’ ends, and with a long needle inserted them back through the rough ‘heading’, tied them again to the cloth beam rod, then re-wove the ‘hem’ selvedge; 100% fixed.

I’m reassured to find I can resolve these little ‘dressing’ conundrums; and it’s just as well, as they seem bound to happen (a break in concentration), no matter how accurate one tries to be.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Good fix, beginner's tale! I too find reassurance when I discover I can fix a problem.

Janet said...

Have you tried using surgeons knots to tie your warp onto the front rod rather than square knots? They hold every bit as well but are quick and easy to release. I was skeptical when first introduced to them but I haven't used anything else to tie on warps for at least five years. I've never had any trouble with them not holding, nor have I had to struggle with untying bouts to adjust my tension, fix problems or remove finished cloth from the loom.

To tie a surgeon's knot, start like you're tying your shoes but, after making that X with the threads, wrap the top half of the threads through the bottom of the X twice, not just once. That's it, that's the whole thing. Simply pull it tight and Bob's your uncle. To release, just pull one side or the other toward the beater (might be the right or left, depending on which is the bottom of the knot) and the whole thing will loosen right up.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Janet, when I tie onto the front rod, I do use a surgeon's knot plus a half bow. The half bow makes it just a bit more secure but is still easily undone. In this case I am not tying on to the front rod. I am using a piece of slippery cord to lash on. The only tying I have to do is to fasten the cord to the rod on the left side and then on the right side. Everything else is winding the cord around the rod and through the warp groups. The knots I use on the warp ends have to be very secure to take the great deal of tension that the slippery cord will exert when the whole thing is tightened up.

Leigh said...

I have to confess that I use slip knots for tying my warp bouts before lashing. I noted your response to Janet however. Perhaps I can get away with these because my lashing cord is only semi-slippery(?)

I also confess that I sometimes cheat and don't undo the lashing and knots at all, but secure the lost warp ends around a T-pin. Once the header is woven, those ends usually stay put by then and I'm saved the tears and frustration of having to un-do and re-do the entire warp!

Peg in South Carolina said...

Leigh, I had no choice but to undo them because I had to resley that part of the warp. I only had 6 to undo so it wasn't that bad, and wool stretches easily so it was not hard to get the crochet hook into the knot. As for me, I would never trust a slip knot to hold, at least on silk. This was wool, so a slip knot would probably have been perfectly acceptable. I hadn't thought about that!