Sectional warping

I have two sectional back beams and to date have used only my usual back to front warping method. What system do people fine works best for sectional warping? Warping wheel?  I looked at the video on the AVL site and that looks like a good way to go. Spools and spool rack? I have everything I need for this method except for a yardage counter. Before I make any purchases though, I thought I'd ask to see what method others find to be best. Any input would be appreciated!





Posted on Fri, 05/07/2010 - 14:52

I use the Warping Wheel, and really love it.  You can wind with multiple threads at a time to make the process faster, and you don't need to wind all those bobbins beforehand!  It's also a lot quicker for me since I tend to use a lot of colors in a single warp (up to 30 colors), and change colors frequently across the width of the warp, which doesn't mix well with the spool-rack-and-bobbins method.  You get more thread-by-thread control with the warping wheel.

That said, my understanding is that the warping wheel does not do well with really long warps (though I put on and wove off a 22-yard warp of fine silk thread with no problems at all) and that for wide warps the sectional warping may be faster.

But I love my warping wheel, and recommend it highly.


Posted on Sat, 05/08/2010 - 01:26

Depends on what you want to do and how much you want to invest time vs yarn.  If you can afford to buy sufficient yarn packages, I think sectional beaming with spool rack and tension box is very efficient.  If you don't want to go that route and have more time than money, then the warping wheel seems to be a good way to go.

It also depends on whether or not you want to have warps that have a consistent 'repeat' or you want to make changes cosntantly. 

I have a one inch sectional beam on both beams so I tend to make stripes that fit within a one inch section, or make stripe changes that are compatible with a one inch section.  That doesn't tend to work too well for things like tartans.  :}

It also depends on your physical capabilities.  I have had two whiplash injuries and found that winding a warp on the warping wheel caused me all sorts of physical problems, cranking, cranking, cranking to wind each section.  If I have to, I can break down packages by winding spools on my electric winder fairly easily and quickly - but I do try to buy packages sufficient to do the warp. 

I'll probably be posting photos to my blog later of the warp I beamed this morning - a one inch stripe repeat -



Posted on Sat, 05/08/2010 - 01:53

 I really like my warping wheel.  Had the other equipment but found it alot of fuss and bother.  Too much prep work.  You can also create warp chains on the warping wheel if you do not have the sectional equipment on your loom.  I use that function alot also.  I use the warping cross attachment for that.  Laura has a good point, sometimes your body isn't happy with certain equipment so you have to go with what makes your body happy.  I don't have issues .... yet... so I very much like my warping wheel.

If you have someone close to you maybe you can go stand and stare at it.....

Posted on Sat, 05/08/2010 - 03:37

 Deb and Laura,

You both have good points and another consideration is space. I am guessing that one needs a lot of free space behind the back beam. Can you tell me how much? I watched the video on the AVL web site and it seems you can set the reed at an angle, so maybe the wheel doesn't have to be totally perpendicular to the beam. Is the wheel about 6-7 feet wide (or would that be "long")?

Thanks to all for your input. 


Posted on Sat, 05/08/2010 - 04:12

The wheel needs to be perpendicular to the beam, but the good news is that it is "only" 42" wide, and 20" across (at the base).  So it's about 3.5 feet wide.

You need space behind the beam for a spool rack, too, so the packages can reel off smoothly - in fact, you probably need even more space than with a warping wheel.


Posted on Sat, 05/08/2010 - 04:27

 Ah well, 42 inches is nothing at all! And for me, I think this won't be hard on my shoulders (not nearly as bad as the fly shuttle, I'm sure!).

You all have been convinced me that the warping wheel is the way to go and so I have committed to buying a used one - it is a model with spools (instead of blocks) and looks to be in good shape. It will take 10 days or so to ship, so I had better hurry up and get my current project finished up and off the loom!

Thanks again to all for the quick responses!


Posted on Sat, 05/08/2010 - 12:22

 I have the warping wheel with the spools....I did have a problem with slack threads when I started out but with help I was able to solve it.  Other folks have not had problems at all....check this thread out so you know how it was solved and other suggestions I received from folks.  Now that I am past my slack threads I am a happy warper!


Posted on Sat, 05/08/2010 - 13:23

 Thanks Deb. There are some great pointers there.

This wheel deal that I'm getting does not include a cross maker. Is it recommended to have one? If you don't make a cross, when threading ,does it work to just use the yarns in the order they come off the tape? I assume with this method you'd end up with some crossed threads, but as they would all be within an inch (or two) of each other, I would think that wouldn't matter. But I have never worked with threads finer than 10/2, so I don't know much!


Posted on Sat, 05/08/2010 - 14:21

 You can pick a cross, I am basically lazy and do not like to pick a cross.  I  listened to folks talk about the crossmaker on weavetech, a computer list of advanced weavers during the early development of the warping wheel and liked what I heard about the cross maker.  It goes back to individual preference.  Someone else will have to speak to warping without the crossmaker because I have always used one.....

I should also add that my personal cross is that I have arthritis in both thumbs and so that made it very easy to justify getting the cross maker and avoiding picking the cross....I have other ways to stress my hands, such as winding warp, threading loom and throwing the shuttle!  You have to pick your battles!

Posted on Sat, 05/08/2010 - 13:51

FWIW: I never use a cross when warping sectionally (unless the colour order is of importance and the colours are just shades of each other...). I have never had problems. The finest warp I have done sectionally is a cotton 30/2.
Perhaps I should add that I have 1" sections.

Posted on Sat, 05/08/2010 - 13:53

I was advised to get a cross maker for working  with very fine warps, so I did, and had no problems with the warping.  I haven't tried fine warps without a crossmaker, but when I did one or two pieces with slightly less-fine warps, I found I had trouble keeping yarns in the correct order, some would always come loose from the tape and "float" around so I had no idea where in the bout they belonged.

If you are doing fine threads, then I would recommend the crossmaker - fine threads are more likely to tangle and less strong against abrasion/tangles than thicker ones.

Hope that helps!


Posted on Tue, 05/25/2010 - 23:56

Hi Deb ...

I'm looking into using the AVL warping wheel for making warp chains (bouts for beaming onto a plain beam).

What's the longest warp you've done using the warp chain method (creating bouts for beaming onto a plain beam)?  How wide was your widest warp using that method, and how wide did you make each bout?

Did you use a warping trapeze for beaming, or ... ?

Thanks in advance for all info and insights!

-- Constance


Posted on Wed, 05/26/2010 - 00:12

My friend, Bettes, loaned me her WW so I could test it for preparing warp chains, I was happy and bought one with the cross maker.  You really don't have a limit on the warping wheel for warp chains...I guess the limit is the ability of your back beam to hold a wound warp.  I've personally gone to about 10 yards but that is because I get bored easily with long warps.

I wind in 2-3 inch bouts for each chain.  I warp back to front.  I wind the warp twice around my front beam and wind on slowly.  As I wind on I take time to walk to the front of the loom and tug each 2-3 inch bout evenly to take out the tension.  I have not gone the trapeze path yet, haven't needed it.   I weave rugs in a coarse sett and scarves in a fine sett and use the same method. The widest loom I've had has been 60 inches and I am sure I've done this all the way across the loom the same way.

I think the biggest pain is that to use the warping wheel you do have to cut the loop that you are usually accustomed to keeping as a loop and putting the back rod thru on the warp beam.  With a little attitude adjustment you get over it.  I tie an overhand knot and just use my cross to separate my threads to put the back rod thru.  The ability to use the counter and to stand in one place and just have one piece of equipment won me over.

The finished products shows no sign of what warping method was used to prep the loom.  Good luck!  Deb Mc

Posted on Fri, 05/28/2010 - 16:47

Hi Deb ...

Thanks for your post.  I'm going to try *one more time* to get my response finished and posted!  (It would be nice -- but probably impossible of course -- if Weavolution was like my email program, and would tell me that I have something in progress that needs to be finished or saved!)

Eenyway, yes, I know exactly what you mean by having to have an attitude adjustment about knots on the back bar.  I think I'm over that one (well-placed warping sticks, my usual method, should take care of any issues there).

However, the other attitude adjustment I'm trying to make is not having choke ties from which to tension the warp while beaming.

Also, I noticed in the AVL video where Lucinda is demo-ing chaining off the WW

when the crossmaker comes up and around the top of the arc, the WW suddenly loses its tension somehow (apparently overwhelmed by the weight of the cross maker) and all of a sudden Lucinda has a bunch of not-yet-chained warp on her hands (or rather, some on her hands and some off of them) with which she has to deal.  It doesn't look pretty.  Do you see that same behavior with your WW, or ??

-- Constance



Posted on Sat, 05/29/2010 - 01:48

 Constance, I need to go stand at my warping wheel and confirm this but you can set the tension on how the wheel "unwinds" your chain.  I'm pretty sure the tension just wasn't set right when the video was made.  I'll report more after I go stand at the WW tomorrow and confirm this.  I know I chain from one spool to another and just have to stand in the right "line" with the spool so it doesn't flop off but it's not a big deal to correct.  I do chain my warps to take them to the loom.  Deb Mc

Posted on Tue, 06/01/2010 - 02:11

Hi Constance, A. in my studio and B. remembered your question so I stood in front of my WW to answer your question....

there is a friction brake cord that you set resistance on when you are ready to unwind your warp chain and this helps greatly as you chain your warp.  I suspect in the AVL movie they just forgot to tighten up the friction brake....hope this helps you make your decision....if you are able to go look at someone's WW and wind a dummy warp to see how you like it, that is what I did.. 

Posted on Thu, 09/16/2010 - 22:35

Hi Constance

I have two AVL looms set back to back in my 24 x 20 ft loft.  The warping wheel and Schacht's winding station fit neatly 'twixt the two looms. My sectional beams sport 2" sections, so I calculate stripes or repeats per two inch section, wind on the number of colors required, going from one cone to the next and allow for a little - very little - crossover to take care of the sequence changes. I like the warping wheel, I just wish it was a perfect 3 yard rotation!