Weavers Pages


by Laura Fry (a Weaving Heretic)

There are a number of reasons why I like to warp sectionally. It allows me to beam long wide warps without a helper, and I find the efficiency factor much higher than pulling on warps that have been wound on a board or mill. Sectional warping is particularly useful for warps that are all the same, or that fit naturally into the sections, be they one inch or two inches in width. As I generally prefer to work with fairly fine yarns, I have one inch sections.

Using a sectional beam, I have to deal with the restriction imposed by the section, which sometimes becomes a design challenge. At times, the tension box will be set up several times in order to accommodate a stripe.

If you don't have sufficient yarn packages, the warp has to be broken down into smaller packages, usually by winding onto spools. A yardage counter will help to distribute the yarn evenly and in a quantity that allows for the least amount of waste. When beaming from spools, tension is best controlled by having spools of the same or similar weight. If you are beaming from the top of cones, the size of the individual packages is not critical.

The first few slides show the planning of a shawl warp and the winding of the spools. The spools are placed onto a spool rack, in this instance they lie on their sides. There are also spool racks where the spools stand on end. I now prefer this design as the spools do not seem to 'run-on' as much as they do lying down.

The yarns for this narrow warp have been "gathered" in the reed. This would not necessarily work well for a wide warp unless you could move the reed along to keep it aligned with the tension box. Or a narrower reed could be used as a gathering reed that could be moved in the beater.

Slides j, k, and m show the yarns being threaded into the tension box. The Leclerc box shown has wire "gates" that can be lifted out of the way so that the yarns can be dropped in order into the box. AVL tension boxes do not come with this feature so the yarns must be threaded into the reeds at front and back. AVL tension boxes also come with a mechanism to create a cross; a feature that I do not take advantage of as I find that masking tape holds the threads in position well enough that a cross is not necessary. Once the box is loaded the bout of ends are tied in an overhand knot to secure them.

The tensioning rods are set into place. Additional tension can be added by wrapping one of the rods in leather, or by adding more rods. When beaming from the top of cones, the AVL tension box with two rods did not produce sufficient tension, so my husband, Doug, added two more which do the trick.

Slides v...
Tie strings from each section are attached to the bout. These strings should be long enough to allow the knots to come over the back beam to just behind the heddles. Once the required number of turns are wound on, a piece of masking tape is folded around the section of ends, the warp is cut and the section taped to itself. The section is then tied with an overhand knot to begin the next section.

Filling the sections:
If the entire warp is the same for every section, you can begin at one end and simply fill each section for the width required making sure the warp is centred, or you can begin in the middle and alternate each side. If the warp requires that the box be loaded with different yarns/colour sequences, then all the sections that are the same are filled, then the next, and so on.

For my 100 yard production warps, I actually fill 50 sections with 24 ends, then sley at 20 epi for a 60 inch width. The warp is spaced so that there are 3 empty sections, 25 filled, 4 empty sections, 25 filled and 3 empty. In this case, I begin at one selvedge filling to the centre, then begin again at the other selvedge filling to the centre.

After all the required sections are filled, I use a lease stick and tape all of the sections to the stick. The stick is then threaded around the back beam, and brought to the back of the heddles and taped to the loom, or suspended from the castle on a high castle loom within easy reach to thread. Each section is then taken in turn and threaded in the appropriate weave structure. For the four shaft twill illustrated, I take four ends, stack the heddles in their order and thread in sequence. A slip knot secures the threaded ends.

The warp is then sleyed and tied on and weaving begins. I don't use a lot of packing at the beginning of a warp. If I'm going to have a fringe, a fugitive weft secures the web at the beginning and the end which can be cut away as the fringe is either tied or twisted.

And finally, the competed shawl! :D

Click to enlarge.

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