Ask Madelyn: How to Rethread Mid-Warp
Here’s my challenge: I have warped my loom with a 7-shaft point-twill threading to weave towels. I don’t like the results, so I’ve decided to rethread my loom to weave a different pattern. So, my question is: How do you unthread and rethread a loom that is already dressed without totally tangling the warp threads? I still have about three yards left of unwoven warp. I had thought maybe I should try to recreate a cross behind the heddles before I cut off the towel I have woven, but there isn’t anywhere to attach the lease sticks on the sides of the loom. Is this even possible? Or worth it?
Any suggestions would be welcome,
My first thought is that sometimes the best ideas come from doing something different from what was intended by a particular warp or threading. That is why I always recommend putting on a warp twice as long as for the planned project, and thinking, as you weave that project, about what you might do differently (treadling orders, weft yarns, color orders, etc.) But, if you do decide to rethread, here are steps you can take.
First, as you guessed, before you cut off the piece you have been weaving, create a cross by opening first one of the plain-weave sheds and inserting a lease stick behind the shafts, and then doing the same for the other plain-weave shed. If the weave structure doesn’t allow plain weave, pick the two sheds (treadles) that come closest to creating plain weave.
Suspend the lease sticks by tying a cord around the front beam and around the back beam in one continuous loop on each side of the warp. (I use a cord that is fine enough to go through the reed.) Then, by raising and lowering with your fingers the two cords that form the loop, you can make small loops to enclose each lease stick. The cords will hold the lease sticks firmly in place when you cut the warp threads in front of the shafts. Then, rethread, tie the warp back onto the apron rod, and you are ready to go.
If you have a weaving question please email Madelyn! Featured Image: Silk Scarves by Madelyn van der Hoogt in Best of Handwoven: Deflected Doubleweave eBook. View related & recent “Ask Madelyn” posts!
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