Help! I Forgot to Tie the Cross

Hi Madelyn!

I carefully wound a 13-yd warp of 8/2 natural cotton and took it off the warping board and then realized that I forgot to tie the cross. I have one choke tie and I chained the warp off of the warping board in the usual way, cutting the loops at both ends. What should I do? (My plan was for a piece that is sett at 24 ends per inch, 2/dent in a 12-dent reed.)


Hi Nancy!

Most of us have been in your position at one time or another. The smoother the yarn, the easier it is to deal with the loss of the cross. 8/2 cotton isn’t as smooth as pearl cottons would be, but I think you can save this warp even though it might take a bit of time and patience.

I would follow a front-to-back warping process, sleying the reed first, and I would sley the reed sitting at a table. You can prop the reed between heavy books or use reed holders if you have them. Place a heavy weight on the choke so that you can pull the threads against it as you sley each one. You should be able to locate where the cross was in the warp. Hold that part of the warp in your left hand (if you are right-handed). Being very careful not to disturb the positions of the threads in relation to each other (never let go with your left hand), select what looks like the topmost thread with your right hand and sley it first. Since it would really help not to have any additional twisting occur between the two threads that are sleyed in the same dent, I’d tie a cord across the center of the reed (from one side to the other) and sley the first thread below the cord and the second one above it.

Continue in this way until all the threads are sleyed. Take the reed to the loom and tie the choke tie to the breast beam. Then thread the shafts as usual, taking the threads in each dent in the same order you sleyed them, from under the cord first, and then from above it. When you have finished threading, tie the the warp onto the back apron rod (and remove the cord from the reed).

Any twisting or crossing of the threads will show up in the beaming process, so plan to be patient and take some time. Since the threads are likely to be out of order with at least some twisting, I would hold the warp in one hand, applying tension, and turn the beam with the other. Plan to go very slowly. After turning the beam each half turn, at the front, pull on sections of the warp. Don’t comb or otherwise disturb the groups you are tensioning. If the threads in a group seem very twisted, grasp them firmly with one hand strum them with the other or separate them a bit with your fingers (never disturbing them past the hand that is grasping them. The more you disturb them, the harder the process will be as you progress.

This will take some time, but eventually you’ll reach the end of the warp. When you are happily weaving, you’ll forget all about your ordeal, except you probably won’t forget to tie the cross again.


Posted December 5, 2016. Updated May 8, 2017.

If you have a weaving question we would love to hear from you! Please email Madelyn! Pictured: Summer Lace Placemats and Mug Rugs by Suzie Liles Handwoven May/June 2017.

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