Ask Madelyn: epi and Heddles

I read the patterns for a project and one of the things that confuses me is, say you have a 12-dent reed and you are told to put two ends in a dent to make it 24 ends. Now what do you do with these when it comes to putting them through the heddles? Do you put both ends in each heddle? Do you put them singly in the heddle, but use two heddles on the same shaft? This may sound very silly to you, but I can find nothing in any materials I have that answers this questions. Your help would be appreciated.


Hi Catherine!This is the kind of question a new weaver often has because there are so many aspects of weaving that become obvious with experience. No one thinks that they need explanation (as, for example, in the way Marguerite Davison says in her book to “use tabby” without saying what “use tabby” means that you should do).

So here’s the scoop: the number of threads per dent only determines how many threads there are in an inch of warp width. You can have 4 threads/dent in an 8-dent reed (32 ends per inch) or 3/dent in a 12-dent reed (36 ends per inch). After the threads go through the reed, they are threaded in the heddles as individuals according to your threading draft. The only time you’d put 2 ends in one heddle is if the intention is for a thread to be twice as thick as the yarn you are using, and the instructions for the draft would specify this (by calling these threads “doubled” warp ends).

So, each warp thread should go through a single heddle no matter how many go through each dent of the reed. And, unless there are two adjacent symbols in the draft on the same shaft (very unusual, though it can happen if a doubled warp thickness is desired to be more ribbon-like than plied-yarn like), you won’t thread any heddles side by side on the same shaft.


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Posted April 2, 2014. Updated June 18, 2018.

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