Winding a wide warp on?

I'm a weaving novice desperate to learn how to weave properly. I have a rigid heddle loom (Ashford 80cm) which I love. My question is: how do I wind a wide warp on under tension? If i try to do anything wider than a scarf, the tension is all over the place and I end up with skips. Does anyone have any suggestions or tips? 


Posted on Sun, 07/02/2017 - 01:31

This is best accomplished with a "trusted helper" where one person holds the warp chain(s) separated into at least 2 portions - and the other person turns the beam and inserts packing.
If you try to do this alone from the side of the loom, you'll have issues every time. The rigid heddle is not quite a candidate for crank and yarn where you weight the warp for tension, turn a bit, then go to the front of the loom and pull out any slippage - then weight and crank again.

Posted on Mon, 07/03/2017 - 13:12

I don't have a "loom helper" available, so I needed to figure out a way to do things solo.

I clamp the loom down to the table surface.

Then I weight the warp bouts (each bout about 2-3" wide) with water bottles, and that gives me even tension across the width of the warp while I turn the crank.

The clamps keep everything stable while I am making adjustments - either to lower the water bottles or wind on more warp.

Posted on Fri, 07/14/2017 - 16:14

When winding a wide warp on my 32" rigid heddle I don't use just one warp pin. I use one pin for each 2-4" of width, so I may use up to 8 pins (I have been known to clamp an old rake head to one end of a table because it gives me 14 teeth to warp around. I warp 2-4" sections around one pin, then move to another pin (or rake tooth). Then, I take a yardstick (hardwood so it doesn't bend) and I move each section of warp from the pin to the yardstick, keeping the sections essentially spaced evenly across the width the warp is in the heddle on the loom. If my partner is home to help, I just ask him to hold the yardstick even and taught while I wind the warp onto the beam. If not, I tie a few weights to each end and the center of the yardstick so it will drag across the (clean) floor as I wind, eventually dangle from the edge of the table, then drag across the table to the loom. The stick allows the sections of warp to remain basically perpendicular to the loom so there isn't a difference in tension created by the difference in angle from the edge of the loom vs. the center of the loom to the warping pin.

Posted on Fri, 07/14/2017 - 21:36

thank you for the suggestions everyone - it's very much appreciated. Now to just find some time to have a go using the new techniques! Anyone have any suggestions on how to get more hours into a day?!