Choke Tie Distance

Handwoven Magazine Ask Madelyn


Dear Madelyn,

I was threading my loom recently (front to back) and found that the choke tie that I had tied (very tightly) about ten inches behind the cross didn't leave much room to bring the warp threads through the reed and heddles. Is there an ideal distance for the choke tie, or does it depend on the loom and the width of the warp?

––Regina Phalanges

Dear Regina,

I warp a great many different kinds of looms and often neglect to measure for the appropriate distance, so I understand your problem. When I find I’ve placed the tie in the wrong place, I simply make another one in the right place. If it’s behind the first one, I cut (carefully!) the first one to remove. Ten inches behind the cross would be too close to the cross for most looms; my usual tie is about 30 inches from the cross end of the warp, about 18 inches from the cross. 

When I am really doing things the right way, however, I measure, using the loom I’m warping, before placing the choke tie. The tie should be in a position that when tied to the front beam of the loom, allows the warp ends to go from the front beam through the reed and heddles to hang about ten inches from the shafts. If the ends are too short, they are difficult to secure behind the heddles. If they are too long, they require too much pulling to separate and thread, and you are likely to pull them through the choke (important to avoid at all costs!).



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