Tranferring the Cross

Handwoven MagazineAsk Madelyn

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Hi Madelyn,
I just tried Deborah Chandler’s recipe for warping front to back because I haven’t got a raddle. In her example, she only puts one thread per dent so it is obvious which thread comes from which part of the cross when it comes to threading the heddles. But I only have a 12-dent reed and I needed a 24 epi sett, so I would have to put two threads in each dent. How would I then know which thread comes from which side of the cross so that I can thread the heddles in the correct order?
I got round it by sleying one per dent, and resleying at two after I had threaded the loom. This worked OK since it was a narrow warp and I had enough room. But I can see that wouldn’t work if I had a wide warp.
What do you suggest?
Best wishes,


—Mog Bremner

Hi Mog!

Depending on the yarn (if they are smooth yarns, such as pearl cotton, Tencel, rayon), you can put two ends in a dent and just choose whichever one you want when you thread without worrying whether it was truly the next one in the cross. But for some yarns (twisty or sticky) it does matter; they will not want to separate when they get to the heddles. For these yarns, what I usually do is “transfer the cross.” You sley the reed, but leave lease sticks in the cross as you sley. Then, you turn the lease stick closest to the reed on edge and slide another stick in the opening on the other side of the reed. You take the stick out that you had on edge and bring the second stick up to the reed, turn it on edge, and slide another stick inside the opening on the other side of the reed. The lease sticks are now in the cross on the side of the reed where you need them for threading. Then you put the reed in the beater and secure the lease sticks in front of the shafts as you sit behind them to thread. 

It’s awkward to do this transfer; you have to hold tension on both ends of the warp to make the openings as you turn the sticks on edge. But it works.


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