Portee Cross and Porrey Cross

Handwoven Magazine Ask Madelyn


Dear Madelyn,

Could you explain the difference between Portee Cross and Porrey Cross, terms that I've come across in some English weaving books, and how/when these are (or should be) used?  Are these merely old terms or European terms that have been replaced in America by other terms we use every day?

––Gail Ross

Dear Gail,

True confession: I had to look this up to see which cross was which because I can never remember. The porrey cross is the threading cross and the portee cross is the raddle cross. You would make both of these crosses when you wind the warp if you are planning to beam the warp using the raddle cross. This means you would place the warp in the raddle using that cross (sometimes people put lease sticks in that cross, too) and wind the warp on the warp beam with the threading cross at the opposite end. When you have completely beamed the warp, you place the lease sticks in the threading cross (it has now arrived behind the shafts), thread the shafts, sley the reed, and tie onto the front apron rod. This is also called "warping with two crosses."

You would do this if you don't want to stress the warp by passing it through a one-and-one cross, as is the practice with usual back-to-front warping methods. Back-to-fronters often say that their method is easier on the warp threads than passing it (front to back) through the heddles and reed, but this is not true if they are beaming with lease sticks in a threading cross.

If you have sticky or twisty or fragile or very fine threads, warping with two crosses is the method to choose. For complete instructions for doing this, see our Warping Back to Front instructions.


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