Ask Madelyn: Keeping Lease Sticks in the Warp
I have a question about an issue that is being discussed in my guild. Should you leave the lease sticks in the warp, behind the shafts, after you have finished threading? Some of our members say you should because they help keep the tension even. Also, if you break a warp thread, you can tell right where it should go for rethreading. Others say you don’t need them. I’m not sure whether to use them or not!
I know that some weavers like to keep the lease sticks in the warp during weaving. I don’t think this is necessary or even helpful.
Loom manufacturers make the distance between the front beam and the back beam as short as possible, yet still long enough to allow a good shed. When you keep lease sticks in back of the shafts, you are essentially shortening that distance to wherever they are. As a result, the shed is constrained by them. Even if the shafts can force as big an opening as without the lease sticks, there is greater strain on the threads. Moreover, forcing the warp threads through the cross as you advance the warp can cause further abrasion on them.
I can’t see any reason that keeping them in place would have an effect on warp tension once the warp is tied onto the front apron rod and weaving has begun.
Also, if a warp thread breaks, its position among the other threads on the warp beam lets you know just about where it is. You can look in that general area for the empty heddle it used. The only time when it might be helpful to know exactly where the thread belongs is if you have had to intersperse empty heddles among the threaded ones. Even in that situation, I think the disadvantages caused by leaving lease sticks in outweigh any advantage.
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