Warping Stick Width

Handwoven MagazineAsk Madelyn

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Dear Madelyn,


I want to weave an afghan that is 48" wide. I have warping sticks that are only 47" wide. Is there any way I can use these sticks or should I just go the "paper" route?


Thanks for your advice.





Hi Nancy!


When you use sticks between the layers of warp on the warp beam, their optimum length is about 2" more than warp width (so that the sticks extend about an inch from each edge of the warp). So for a 48" warp width, the best length would be 50" or longer. However, there is no reason the warp on the beam has to be the same width as it is in the reed. So, if you are warping front to back, I would first sley the reed at whatever denting order it takes to get a weaving width of 45" with your total number of warp threads, thread the shafts, beam the warp using your 47" long sticks, and then resley the reed to a width of 48". If I were warping back to front, I'd place the threads in the raddle for a warping width of 45" and beam. Note that when you are beaming the warp, you need to keep it from spreading out as it passes from reed or raddle to the warp beam. I usually tie a thick cord around the back beam at slightly less than the desired warp width to place the threads at exactly the right width on the beam; they have a tendency to spread out otherwise.


Another note about warping sticks. If your sticks are a lot longer than the width of the warp (say you were weaving an 8" wide scarf using your 47" long sticks), the length of stick extending beyond the width of the weaving with nothing separating it from the sticks on layers beneath it can result in the sticks bending toward the beam a bit on the edges; the edge threads of the warp might therefore go on at a circumference that is smaller than in the center of the warp. With very long sticks, it sometimes helps to tie a cord to the apron rod near the end of the stick on each side on each side of the warp and wind these cords on the beam as you wind on the warp, keeping the sticks completely parallel to the beam.



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