Warping With Multiple Chains

Handwoven MagazineAsk Madelyn


Hi Madelyn!

I am planning to weave a relatively wide piece from a kit that uses many different colors. I am warping front to back and I wound the warp in two chains since it is so wide. As I was sleying the reed, I realized that I had not wound enough of one of the colors that is spaced throughout the warp. So I wound those threads in a third chain. I left empty the dents in the reed where they should go (I hope I did that right), and then sleyed the third chain in those dents. Now I have three chains with their chokes tied to the front beam, the third small chain overlapping both of the other two. Now what?

Dee Ann

Hi Dee Ann!

After threading the shafts and tying the warp onto the back apron rod, your next step is to untie each choke, one at a time, and pull firmly on all the threads in each of the three chains to even and straighten them. Then, with your index finger, separate the whole warp into two-inch sections by running your finger between the 2” groups of threads from the breast beam to the floor (ignoring whatever chain they are in). These will be the divisions you’ll pay attention to (not the divisions made by the three chains). Turn the beam a short distance and pull on the sections again, repeating this and turning only short amounts until the warp has made its first turn around the beam (with paper or sticks in place).

Now you can crank a greater distance before you pull on each section; how far depends on how smoothly the warp is passing through the reed and shafts and whether or not you are using sticks or paper. (Usually, you can crank a bit more if you are using paper since the warp is easier to tighten against the slippery paper). You just want to be sure that when you are tightening each group you are able to tighten all the warp threads around the beam (if you crank too far, the threads you are tightening will lie on top of warp threads on the beam that are still loose). After each turn and tightening, lift each chain close to the floor and jiggle a bit to release the threads, divide the sections again with your finger, and then pull on each section to tighten (don’t pull on the chains themselves).

Let me know how it goes!


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