Tension Issues

Handwoven MagazineAsk Madelyn




I have only been weaving for a short time and have a horrible time with tension. It seems that I always have a section of loose ends on the left side of my warp. Even if everything is the same tension when I begin, once I am several inches in, some of the ends loosen up. Is warping either front to back or back to front better for controlling tension?





Hi Chana!


Uneven warp tension can be caused by one or more of three possible factors: The way you are tensioning the warp when you wind it on the beam, possible torque in the warp beam itself, and/or the way you wound the warp originally on the warping board.


It’s impossible to tell from what you say here which of these is causing your tension problems. If the left side (with the loose threads) is the opposite side of the loom from the crank/brake, you could have a bit of torque in the warp beam. If you wind too much warp on the warping board and pile threads on top of each other as you go, the threads put on last could end up being longer, and therefore looser, than the others. If, during beaming, you hold the warp in one hand and crank with the other, you may put different tension on the threads closest to the crank (since you are standing near it) than on those farther away. The last cause would be my first guess. I prefer the crank and yank method to tensioning (dividing the warp into small groups and pulling on each group firmly after each turn of the beam) for providing even and tight tension all across the warp.


The method you use to tension the warp is not affected by whether you warp from front to back or back to front.



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