twisted warp

I have used my warping board and made chains of 8 threads. When I have tried to put them on the loom they are incredibly twisted. I cannot believe how twisted 8 threads of cotton are. Have I done something wrong when I have used the warping board? Is it the cotton I've used? What can I do now?

Many Thanks



Posted on Wed, 03/21/2012 - 12:35

Threads of unbalanced twist are more likely to do this.  If you are always going clockwise around both the first peg and the last peg on your warping board, this could add more twist. I always go clockwise around the first peg and counter-clockwise around the last peg.

You say you made chains of 8 threads.  Do you mean chains of 8 ends per inch, or eight threads per chain?

What fiber are you using?  Linen seems to twist more than cotton...

Posted on Wed, 03/21/2012 - 12:41

you don't say anything about the -cross- which keeps the thread in order 1-8. If there isn't a cross, you have a snarl.

Posted on Wed, 03/21/2012 - 15:33

Are your warp chains just 8 ends? Any twist in the yarn at all will translate into a twisted group. I usually wind my chains with 8" to up to 15 (which is the maximum I will wind on a board) inches of warp chain. You might want to watch my You Tube video on warp winding to see how I do it.

Tie off the cross on the four 'arms' and a firm choke tied about 18" from the cross to help keep the ends in order.

not currently at her own computer so not able to fetch the You Tube url

Posted on Thu, 03/22/2012 - 09:22

Thanks Laura. Up to this warping I have put lots of pieces of wool to keep the warp chains separate but this time I only put a couple on and didn't put one on a little way back from end - just shows that experience and learning from others can't be beaten. I'll persevere with this project and remember for next time.

It seems to me as if all I do on this discussion group is ask questions.

Many thanks for those answering Paul

Posted on Mon, 04/16/2018 - 17:49

I realize that this is an old chain, but the topic is spot on for me.  I just wound a 760 end warp using 2/30 irish linen at 36 epi.  I beamed the warp and sleyed the reed at 3 per dent in a 12 dent reed.  The bunches of 36 threads have gotten terribly twisted and while I'm probably just going to have to fight all 14' of this warp, I wonder what I can do to prevent this from happening on the next warp.  Any suggestions?  I wound it on a warping reel, and tied it tightly every 2' or so before I took it off.  I noticed the bunches twisting when I was beaming on, but didn't know what to do about it at the time.

Posted on Mon, 04/16/2018 - 20:01

I suspect that what you mean by twisting is that the threads twist back on themselves (if you looked at one end doing this, it would create a little two ply knot).  More accurately, this is called hockling, and is more of a problem in overspun or single ply yarns.  Do you beam under tension?  A thread under tension can't hockle or tangle.

Posted on Mon, 04/16/2018 - 20:36

I wind on the back beam first, then thru the heddles, etc.  I'm not sure if this is called front to back or back to front, but anyway, I do wind on under tension. As the bundles of warp threads (36 threads each bundle in this case) pass over the raddle, some of them twist like a rope, and others seem to lay flat, consequently, when I am weaving, some of the warp threads are under greater tension, and my weaving goes cockwobbley (technical term).  I have to looosen the tension on the warp, and comb the threads out behind the heddles so that the "twist" is out of the way down between the back beam and the warp beam, and therefore does not cause a problem.  This is obviously a headache, as I have to stop every 12" or so.

How can I prevent this problem when I wind on my next warp?

Posted on Tue, 04/17/2018 - 02:00

Can you tell us what brand warp thread you used.  I have not had this problem with linen. 


Posted on Tue, 04/17/2018 - 02:17

You are doing back to front.  What are you using to apply tension to the warp section?  I use gallon jugs of water, usually.  One loom gets a soup kettle full of water that gets dragged along the floor instead of being hauled up the trapeze.  The weight is the key to not tangling.

Posted on Tue, 04/17/2018 - 14:30

Is your warp traveling in the following path/order, anchored at the back of the loom to the warp beam? If so, this is called Back to Front.

1) weighted warp bouts at the front of loom > 2) thru castle/shafts (not threaded in heddles) > 3) threaded in lease sticks > 4) spaced in raddle > 5) over back beam > 6) attached to warp beam.

After passing through the lease sticks, the warp should lay flat and be in perfect order, it should not be able to twist between the lease sticks and the warp beam. This is where it is critical that there is no twisting. If the raddle is at the front of your loom, try moving it to the back, where it can more accurately control the warp width while feeding onto the back beam.

Also, it might take more weight than you think at the front of the loom. I use 20 oz bottles per 2-3" bout of warp at the front of the loom = several pounds for a single warp.

Never comb the warp, especially a very long warp. Tug hard and sharply at the front of the loom, snap the warp to release any tangles at the cross. Inspect the cross at the lease sticks frequently for any warps that might want to "handcuff" with their buddies.

Two years ago I worked with a particularly "lively" linen. Not all linen is equal in ease of handling, but it can be beamed and woven. And linen is always a lovely finished product.

Posted on Tue, 04/17/2018 - 14:34

If your warp order/path is this:

1) warp bouts at front > 2) threaded reed > 3) threaded heddles > 4) raddle > 5) over back beam > 5) anchored to warp beam, then you are threading Front to Back, and do not need a raddle.

However, I would introduce lease sticks/a cross at the back of the loom.

If your heddles are threaded, most of the time you can add the lease sticks back into the warp at the back of the loom by treadling plain weave.

Hopefully, this helps clarify!

Posted on Tue, 04/17/2018 - 15:00

Wow, thanks for all the help.  I am definitely warping back to front.  I place the raddle on the back beam just above the warp beam (Schacht Baby Wolf) using the factory raddle and mounts.  I think my problem was that I didn't pay attention while winding on and allowed some of the "bunches" of warp to twist as they passed over the raddle. Also, from what everyone said, I need to apply more tension.  I usually have my wife help me when I wind on a warp, so I'll just have to have her hold more tension while I wind.  I do not comb the warp, but do tug and snap it every revolution of the warp beam.  The linen I am using for the warp was "fine Irish linen" from WEBS, but I did not buy it from WEBS -  I got it from an individual who probably had it around for many years, as the label is obviously old and faded.

So, I'll continue to fight this warp until it's done, and hopefully do better next time.  This won't be my last linen warp, as I love the end product.

Posted on Tue, 04/17/2018 - 19:55

Thank you for that link Morgan.  She has several tips relating to the exact problem I have been having, and I feel like I know better what to do next time.

Posted on Tue, 04/17/2018 - 20:19

Glad to pass on the info Norgard.  I have been weaving for a long time yet still find her info very helpful on several fronts.  She addresses and disagrees with a lot of what I was originally taught which is always worth considering.

Posted on Tue, 04/17/2018 - 22:42

I tried once to warp with an assistant, in the traditional way, instead of a couple of gallon jugs full of water.  Disaster.  My gallon jugs were much more effective at maintaining an even tension across the warp.  My "Assistant" couldn't seem to hold onto the warp hard enough to keep threads from moving by themselves.  My assistant was a pretty hefty, very strong guy.

Instead of tugging and snapping, try beating it with smooth stick and strumming it.  These motions act acros the warp and promote even tension intstead of acting on individual ends or groups, which can create uneven tension.

The reason my weights work better than my assistant was that to attach the warp to the jug handles, it is doubled over into a loop, inserted into the jug handle, and secured with a stick.  My assistant was just holding the warp.

Posted on Wed, 04/18/2018 - 12:59

Hmmm, lots to think about.  I'll try it next time, but I'm having trouble visualizing the water jug method.  I tie a gallon jug of water onto the end of my warp and drag it across the floor?  If my warp is 20' long and my room is only 12' wide, then what?  Is there a more complete description of this method somewhere?  Maybe one with pictures for a visual guy like me?

Posted on Wed, 04/18/2018 - 15:33

In my studio, I have set loops of rope from the rafters above each of my looms for attachment of a large wooden roller.  The warp goes from the warp beam through the raddle, over the roller, and down to the floor.  I wind it on until the jug of water gets to the roller, stop, repsition the jug, and continue.  Peggy Osterkamp goes into this in her book on warping with a trapeze.  This is also called a warp valet.  I have used the top horizontal beam as a trapeze.  My small loom in the house has no attachment points for the roller, so the warp goes over the castle, and is attached to a kettle full of water, and dragged across the floor.  In both versions, the warp remains chained on the floor and is unchained as it is wound on.  It may seem tedious to wind on in steps like this in order to mainain tension, but I very much dislike a fussy warp; once it's on I like to work through it without interruption.

Posted on Wed, 04/18/2018 - 18:24

I don't have any attachment points in my weaving room for a trapeze, so I'll have to try the kettle full of water technique.  If the warp is still chained, how do you attact the kettle to the warp.  Do you just place it on top of the warp?

Posted on Wed, 04/18/2018 - 20:01

I make a noose around the neck of a water bottle with carpet warp, then use a clip-type clothespin to clip the water weight to the warp bout.

It's quick and easy to release and reposition the weights as the water bottles rise and approach the front beam while winding.

I use choke ties, but I do not chain my warp, which can add additional twist. If this technique looks too messy, you can put each warp bout in a large ziplock bag. I usually beam in an hour or less, so I don't bother.

Before the water weight method, I placed a stack of heavy books on top of the warp, on the floor. As the warp wound on, the books were dragged toward the loom. This works if 1) you have a decent distance open in front of your loom, 2) your floor is clean.

45" wide, wool, 8.75 pounds on the warp.

Posted on Wed, 04/18/2018 - 23:04

Thanks so much for all the suggestions.  I think I have gotten the idea and will be better equipped when I wind on my next warp. 

I hope I don't hurt my wife's feelings when I tell her I don't need her to help me next time :-)