Warping Ribbon

Handwoven MagazineAsk Madelyn


Hi Madelyn,

I would like to incorporate a few 3/8-inch-wide ribbons into a scarf warp. What is the best way to do that? The ribbon was given to me, so I don't have the contents, but it's shiny and a bit stretchy. The rest of the warp would be 5/2 rayon, and the scarf would measure about 5 inches in width on the loom. Would you recommend using a supplementary warp beam for the ribbon? Also, how would I handle the sett? And finally, are there any special considerations I need to keep in mind as I weave?


As ever, thanks!


—Pegi Bevins

Hi Pegi!


For just a few ribbons, I'd suspend them from the back beam (not beaming them with the rest of the warp) and weight each one separately, with a 2–3" S-hook, say (lark's-head the ribbon around the hook). If the weave structure is plain weave, I'm thinking you'll be setting the 5/2 rayon at 16 ends per inch. So if you use an 8-dent reed, you can sley two 5/2 ends in each dent.


Then you want to decide how you want the ribbons to work. If they are to weave plain weave with the rest of the warp, you can sley each ribbon in its own dent, but they won't show all that much. It might be nicer to have them float. In that case, thread them alternately on shafts 3 and 4 and sley each one in a dent along with two 5/2 ends. Tie two treadles to weave plain weave with the rayon on shafts 1 and 2, tie shaft 3 to one treadle and shaft 4 to one treadle. Raise the ribbon shafts, either together or alternately so the ribbon can float while you weave plain weave with the rayon, keeping the ribbon shaft up for the length of float you think will work. You can adjust the ribbons (straighten them out) as you go. You can raise them both at the same time (3 and 4) and then set them down alternately so they float in a sort of brick-like pattern, or you can have them float on either side of the scarf for as long as you want. You may find that the sett is a little dense if they are in the same dent as two 5/2 ends, in which case, after you sample a bit, you can resley. I'd put on a long enough warp to do a little sampling!



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