Sleying

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madelynv@interweave.com

Hello Madelyn!

Is there an easy way to sley two, three, or four different warps (hand-dyed) together? When I have done it, it's a jumbled up mess. I get it done, but it's a nightmare. I have each warp in lease sticks or at least a lease cord.
Many thanks!

––Alisse Craig

Hi Alisse!

I was actually doing this very thing when I got your email.

An important issue is how many ends you are sleying in each dent of the reed. Hopefully, it is not more than two.

First of all, when you wind the warps you need to be sure to tie a very tight choke exactly at the point where you’ll tie the warp to the front beam for threading. That choke should not permit ANY thread to slide within it. I like to sley the reed at a table for greatest comfort, so I would sley each of your warps, say there are four, one at a time in the appropriate dents. You’ll sley so that one chain (with its choke tie) rests on top of the other on the table as you sley. You will abandon the crosses as you sley each one.

Then you’ll carry the warp and the four chains to the loom, put the reed in the beater, and tie the chokes to the front beam, side by side, more or less in the center. Then thread as usual, selecting the ends from the reed as you need each one. I tie the ends of each threaded group of about 3/4 inch of warp in an overhand knot. I never take these knots out.

When you’ve finished threading, release the chokes at the front as needed to tie the warp onto the back apron rod, using the knotted groups and tying so that the tails of the knots are about the same length (but without being obsessive).

Then, at the front, cut/untie the choke ties. Take your index finger and separate the warp into groups of about 2 inches each at the reed, sliding your finger from the reed down to the floor at the front of the loom where your chains are resting. This will divide the four chains so that they are now intermixed in each section. Wind the beam, and at the front pull on all the ends in each of the divided sections to tighten. Never comb, never treat any chain on its own, just keep evenly pulling on the divided sections. The threads were perfect in their relationship to each other on the warping board, you don’t want to change that.

The only problem will be if you have more than two ends per dent (then, the threads may twist between the reed and the heddle). I’d work pretty hard to have reeds that allowed me not to have more than two if I were going to mix warps this way. I’d still go with this method if I had 3/dent, though beaming won’t be as easy. I’ll have to watch for twisting and pull out twists WITHOUT ever combing or allowing threads to move in the chain.

Hope this helps!

––Madelyn

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