Using Lease Sticks
Madelyn's teaching in Canada this week, so today's Ask Madelyn is a classic originally published on December 9, 2009.
I’m a relatively new weaver. I’ve seen some illustrations showing lease sticks used on the cloth beam but don’t understand the importance of their use on this beam. I currently use mini-blind slats (plastic) as lease sticks as I wind on a warp. I have a folding Baby Wolf, as we live and travel full time in our motor home. Would appreciate any insight you can provide. I love the weekly email newsletter!
If you are talking about lease sticks (two sticks used to secure the cross), there is no reason to put them on or near the cloth beam. Warping sticks are different, however, and are used to separate the layers of warp as the warp is wound on the warp beam. I use warping sticks (similar to your mini blinds but more rigid) instead of paper for this, primarily because the paper looks ugly as it unwinds from the beam, and sticks can be picked up and put away. Very rarely, you might need to separate the layers of cloth with sticks or paper on the cloth beam to counteract difference in buildup there.
There are weavers who do keep lease sticks in the warp between the shafts and the back beam during weaving (the lease sticks they used for threading when warping back to front). I strongly recommend against this. If you keep the sticks there, you are reducing the length of warp that allows the sheds to be formed. Some argue that lease sticks in that position help keep warp tension even, but this is not true. Others say that they help identify where a warp thread goes if it breaks, but an empty heddle does that job just as well.
I love imagining your Baby Wolf in your motor home!
Thanks for writing,