Ask Madelyn: A Dent Dilemma

I recently purchased your video Warping Your Loom. I paid careful attention to your method as I warped 480 ends of 8/2 unmercerized cotton at 3 ends per dent. Everything went well except having 3 ends in a dent allowed for twists, which got snarled in the heddles. With a great deal of combing, I was able to work out the twist and wind on the full 5 yards of warp, but I have a feeling I was missing something.


Hi, Alan!

Did you see the segment in the video about transferring the cross? Three threads of 8/2 in a dent are one thread too many to just sley and thread, choosing from the three randomly. 8/2 unmercerized yarns are just a bit rough, and any twisting will make them hang up at the heddles exactly as you experienced (though it sounds like you handled it well). 10/2 and 5/2 pearl cottons can be sleyed 3/dent and threaded from the reed (though there is some twisting); 4/dent is too many for them.

So, with twisty yarns or when you have several ends in a dent, you want to maintain the exact order of the threads from warping board to heddle. To do this, leave the lease sticks in the cross when you sley the reed. After the reed is sleyed, you can transfer the sticks to the other side of the reed to use the cross for threading: turn the stick closest to the reed on edge and put a new stick in the opening on the other side of the reed. Then take out the stick you turned on edge and move the other original stick up to the reed, turn it on edge, and put in a new stick in the new opening on the other side of the reed. You now have two lease sticks positioned so you can sit behind the shafts and thread from them.

(Note that to transfer the lease sticks you’ll have to apply tension to the warp. You can do this by tying the choke ties to the front beam, putting the reed in the beater, and transferring the sticks while you give tension to the warp with one hand, putting in the sticks with the other in sections at a time.)

You’ll want to tie sturdy cords from front beam to back beam to support the lease sticks while you do this (these are shown on the video).

Hope this helps. It is easier to do than to describe!


Updated October 15, 2018.

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