Thursday, November 20, 2008


Posted by Peg in South Carolina

I usually tie on to the front rod by lashing on. Go here to read about how I do that. But I also usually work with fine silk with epi’s between 54 and 72. Silk is slippery. Fine silk is really slippery.

8/2 unmercerized cotton is not slippery. It is also neither fine nor thick. So I decided to tie on instead of lash on.

When I tied on in the past I have used the method Osterkamp recommends on page 62 of Warping Your Loom and Tying On New Warps. Actually, this particular method seems to be ubiquitous among weavers who tie on.

Tying on However, I recently received a new book on weaving: The Big Book of Weaving by Laila Lundell. She gives a different variant on pages 38 and following. I decided to try this.

I found Lundell’s variant problematic. Her preliminary ties involve bringing half the group up from underneath the rod and the other half over the top of the rod. They are then tied in a half knot and another loop around the group is made with one of the halves. This is quite a different process from Osterkamp’s.

These preliminary knots did not hold well. I retied and retied and retied. Many held. Some just refused to hold. I could not see how I was doing anything differently with the ones that held.

As I continued on with the process, I decided that the problem resulted from my use of a rounded metal rod. According to the picture in her book, Lundell uses a flat wooden rod similar in size and shape to a lease stick to tie on, not a rounded metal rod. I think the slipperiness of the round metal rod was probably the factor behind the preliminary knot not holding. That means that the next time I tie on, I will return to Osterkamp’s method. This method involves bringing both halves up from underneath and using a surgeon’s knot as the preliminary tie.

But I soldiered on and tied each of them in half-bows, retightening each group before I did the half bow. I knew I could undo the half-bow in the event that the tension was not even across the warp. But, amazingly enough, the tension was quite even.

Then I threaded in a slippery polyester cord to get all the ends at the same level. Because some warp ends came over the top of the rod and others came from underneath, these groups of warp ends were at different levels. The warp ends brought over the top were higher up than those brought from underneath the rod. Taking the polyester cord over the group halves that were brought over the top in order to lower them a bit and under the group halves that came from underneath in order to raise them a bit got all the warp yarns onto the same level. The thin line that runs across the warp just beneath the blue shots is the polyester cord.

Next I threw introductory shots of yarn through the twill sheds to get the warp ends equally spread. All looked good.

But then I tested the warp again.

Whoops! The right half of the warp had definitely loosened up. This actually was a logical thing to happen as I had moved from right to left as I made the bow knots. The natural tendency as I make knots like this is to get tighter and tighter as I move along.

It was past time for lunch and I was tired of all of this. So I decided the best thing to do was to move the warp so that the rods rested on the front beam, as you see in the photo, and give both the warp and myself an overnight rest. Tomorrow I will come back to the retying.


There is another reason for lashing on besides having slippery or unusually large yarns as warp. Lashing on is also good for precious warps (such as my handspun) because less yarn is wasted. Since my next warp will be made of handspun, I will lash that on.

Related Posts:
Preparing for Lashing On
Lashing on to the Front Rod
Spinning for Weaving

"Tying on to the Front Rod: A Different Approach" was written by Margaret Carpenter for Talking about Weaving and was originally posted on November 20, 2008. © 2008 Margaret Carpenter aka Peg in South Carolina


Anonymous said...

hmmm, an interesting sounding knot, but I'm not surprised you got tired of it all....

Peg in South Carolina said...

Actually Cally, this morning when I went to retie the right side I used the surgeon's knot looks just like the knots I did yesterday! I guess I just didn't recognize it from the diagram.