Winding a Warp with Complex Color Order

In the March/April 2016 issue of Handwoven, pages 30-32 (Ozark Quilter Towels), there is a Warp Color Order for Towel #1 and a Draft. I don’t understand what colors correspond to the numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the Draft. Also, if there are two threads per dent in the reed, does that mean there two threads in each heddle?

I am new to weaving and would greatly appreciate a brief explanation.

Thank you,

Hi Lynne!

The Warp Color Order (Figure 1) is the chart you follow when winding a warp. So on the warping board, you wind 2 Plum, 1 White, etc, reading right to left. When you come to the bracketed section, you wind that whole group (10 Camel, 2 Plum, etc.) 21 times. Then end with that last group of 10 Camel, 2 Plum etc.

Warp Color Order

Figure 1: Warp Order Color chart for the towels

You then take the warp to the loom and thread the shafts following the Draft (Figure 2).

To do this, you take the first thread from the warp you’ve wound (Plum) and thread it in a heddle on shaft 1. (Note that the instructions in this article call for adding a floating selvedge to each side after the you’ve threaded the loom.) You thread the second thread on shaft 2 (Plum again) and the third thread on Shaft 3 (White) and so on, just taking the colors in the exact order in which you wound them.

Ozark Quilter Towels Draft

Figure 2: Weaving Draft for the towels

The ends are sleyed in the reed 2/dent in order to space the warp threads (affecting the density and width of the warp). How many threads there are in a dent determines how many threads there are in each inch of warp width. For this draft, two ends per dent in a 10-dent reed means the warp is sett at 20 ends per inch (with a warp width of a little over 20” for 406 ends). If you sleyed three ends per dent, the warp would be sett at 30 ends per inch (and the warp width would be a little over 13-1/2”).

For more about using warp and weft color orders and reading drafts, see the directions that are published in every issue of Handwoven as part of the Reader’s Guide, page 67 in the March/April 2016 issue.


If you have a weaving question please email Madelyn! Featured Image: Photo by George Boe. View related & recent “Ask Madelyn” posts! Posted September 14, 2016. Updated November 27, 2017.

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