Ask Madelyn: Troubleshooting Weaving Density Issues

I have a problem that is confusing me. In my cloth, I can see where I have advanced my warp because the weaving density of the cloth is different after I’ve advanced. Some 3″ sections appear lighter in color, and some darker. My beat is pretty even, so I think the difference must be warp tension.

How do you keep your warp tension the same every time you advance your warp?


Hi Lucelle!

It is unusual for an entire 3” section to look different from another 3” section. If that is the case my guess is that although you think your beat is even, it is not even enough. The more the value contrast between warp and weft, the more the slightest difference in beat will show. The beat doesn’t have to be very much firmer to make a section of fabric with a dark weft/light warp look darker (or a much lighter beat for a section to look lighter). That’s the first thing to check: measure your picks per inch carefully.

If you are noticing differences from one 3” section to another, my guess is that you are weaving for 3” before advancing the warp. Depending on your loom, it could be that you should advance the warp more often. The beater hits the fell at a different angle depending on where the fell is within the arc of the beater’s swing. If this is the case, what you would notice is a difference in the way the cloth looks close to the place you were weaving before and after you advanced the warp (a whole 3” section would not look different from another whole 3” section in this case).

I don’t think that warp tension is all that likely to be involved in your weaving density problem. Usually, the tension you are comfortable weaving with is one you automatically choose each time you advance the warp. In general, warp tension should be tight. If you loom has a friction brake, it should be just about as tight as it can get. The friction brake is designed not to allow too much tension.

Try advancing the warp every two inches. The smaller the loom, the shorter the optimum weaving distance really is.


Posted November 18, 2015. Updated May 7, 2018.

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