Ask Madelyn: Uneven Warp Ends

I warp from front to back. I have found that no matter what I do, my warp ends are at different lengths once they are threaded through the heddles. If I have a fairly wide warp, I usually wind more than one chain. Because of the way the chokes are tied to the front beam, the threads in the chains are different lengths when they come through the heddles. How can I avoid having to manually “even them up” thread by thread as I bundle them for tying on at the back? A drawing is attached.



Hi Susan!

Your drawing is perfect, and your problem is not a problem at all.

It is normal. The different “lengths” would happen even with only one warp chain. The threads at the outer ends of the choked group have to go through a longer distance as they travel through the reed and the shafts, so they are shorter as they hang down from the shafts. What I do is tie an overhand knot in the ends of small groups as I thread them (about a half inch worth of warp threads, thinking of the amount of reed they take up). These knots never come out. Then, when I’ve threaded the whole warp, I tie each pair of knotted groups to the back apron rod using a square knot as shown, making their tails all about the same length. You don’t have to worry about what the threads do between the knots and the chokes at the front beam. The groups at the outer edge of each chain will probably be taut, the groups in the middle will sag. You might even have to disconnect the chokes from the front apron rod to have enough slack in the warp to tie the knots on the edges of the chains.


When all the knotted groups have been tied to the back apron rod, undo the chokes and pick up each chain somewhere near the floor and pull. All of the groups of threads will even up and you are ready to beam. The warp threads will be even because they are really all the same length. You may have to stand back from the loom a bit as you pull. Then, separate the warp into sections (about 2” of warp width each), and pull on each section to tighten.


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Updated May 14, 2018.

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