Sectional warping

Handwoven Magazine Ask Madelyn

Hi, Madelyn,
I'm new to weaving and recently purchased a Leclerc Nilus 45" 4-shaft loom. I also purchased 1" sectional attachments, tension box, and spools. I built my own spool rack similar to Leclerc's and also a electric bobbin winder after Leclerc's model. My question is what are the advantages and disadvantages of sectional warping. Warping seemed less confusing using the sectional, which is why I bought and made the extra equipment. Am I missing something with conventional warping. Can I do everything that conventional warping does with sectional?
––Steve Brown

Hi, Steve!

An advantage to sectional warping is that you can wind a long warp as easily as a short one without any worry about warp tension. Also, you don’t have to put paper or warping sticks between the layers on the warp beam.

A disadvantage is that you have to wind a spool for each warp end in one section with yarn that is the length you’ll need for all the sections (if there are 10 sections for example, and the warp is 10 yd long, you’ll need to wind 100 yd on each spool in one section; if there are 60 threads per section, you’ll wind 60 spools. Also, the total number of warp threads must divide evenly into the sections. Maybe a third disadvantage is related to arranging colors in the warp. Sectional warping is an advantage if the colors are repeated in each section, but stripe arrangements that don’t coincide with sections would require additional spools and careful planning.

For me, I did not like the fact that after I wound the spools for sectional warping, they still had yarn on them to deal with (you wind a little extra to be sure you have enough) . But people who use sectional warping regularly are very happy with it, and you can wind a longer warp using sectional warping than with any other method.


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