Winding on the warp

I feel sort of silly asking this question...oh well here goes.
My instructor taught us that when you are winding the warp onto the warp beam you need to put something like paper or cardboard in between the yarns so that the they don't touch around each other. Is this a necessary step? Does it cause them to break from friction if they aren't separated by something? Again, I feel like I should know this already...But I thought I'd ask anyway.


Posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 18:48


Hi JoAnna,


The problem isn't breakage, it's the fact the if threads build up on some sections and not others (think valleys and peaks) as you wind without papers, you WILL have tension problems - the low areas will be tighter, the high areas looser and the middle, whell you know where i'm going with this!

You want even, uniform threads across your warp. Separating each layer with paper will do this. I would strongly suggest you use paper to separate. Sometimes people use sticks or veneitian blind slats. i like the brown builders paper you can get at home depot, a big roll goes for about 10 bucks. i love the weight of this paper. it's easier for me than sticks.

i use layers of newspaper in a pinch (no i don't get ink on my yarn! or at least haven't as of yet)

i did use corragated paper once, but found that the tension would sometimes cause certain threads to burrow in at the softer part of the corrageted paper creating tension problems.

I just put on a warp and will go take a picture of how uniform it is and upload it later this afternoon.

Hope this helps.



Posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 16:07

It does help! My instructor always has us used corragated cardboard and I never really questioned it until I bought a loom and started weaving at home. I'll have to get some of the builders paper. That would be a lot more convenient than trying to use cut up paper bags like I am now. They work, but it's annoying because they're so short. Thanks for the advice. :)

Posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 16:52

Vinyl wall paper rolls, it is strong, cheap if you pick it up at yard sales, flea markets or even wallpaper stores on sale. Wallpaper comes in widths of 20.5 metric x 33 feet, 27 inch standard rolls 27 feet long and 54 inch wide commercial paper is as long as the manufacture will make it. DO NOT USE THE PREPASTED KIND. "Paper " wallpaper will not hold up at all. Cheryl has some rolls of vinyl she has been using for over 20 years. If fact people have asked her at shows if the pattern on the paper was what she was weaving.

weave on


Posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 17:03

Hi  Michael,

Yes, if you are using a plain beam, you absolutely need warp packing.  But when you are using a sectional beam, the sectional rakes act like mini-flanges and as long as you beam under tension, no packing is necessary.  :)

I use bamboo blinds when I use warp packing (hardware removed).  They come in various lengths, but the real attraction is that they are woven together with string so they can shift from side to side and you don't need to be so precise in entering them into the roll.  If the go off grain (so to speak) a gentle nudge will set them running straight again.



Posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 19:04

In a pinch, you can use all sorts of paper. Just provide a smooth barrier between layers.

I've used butcher paper, brown parcel paper, and even reused junk mail for narrow warps.

I think the the corragated paper is best for thick, soft warps that are not held under a lot of tension.

Posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 19:07

Quartersawn Swedish pine warp sticks are the Rolls Royce of packing material.

They separate the warp, have nicely sanded edges and don't cave in at the sides or hide where the warp spreads on the edges.

Using the heavy paper can easily lead to the warp spreading on the edges creating a hidden cigar shape - which results in annoying breakage along the selvages. Blind slats ;(the plastic or aluminum kind)_ bend at the edge, also leading to that dreaded cigar. Actually using lighter newsprint (and no, the ink doesn't rub off - even on  white linen - holds the warp separation better than the really thick, stiff kinds.

The Swedish sticks are not exactly inexpensive, but I now own literally hundreds - almost always in use.

For rugs, use larger sticks - my Cranbrook came with warping sticks nearly 3/8" ;thick and 2" wide.

Posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 19:35

Hi Sara,

I purchased sticks for my Glimakra and have had a less than pleasant experiences with them, eventually sticking them in the corner (no pun intended). Would you kindly offer any tricks or tips so i might use them correctly?

Thank you,


Posted on Tue, 07/14/2009 - 22:05

Warping with sticks means warping back to front under tension, as the warp is beamed on, sticks are laid in either as the warp becomes uneven on the surface and in approximately the same distance from one another, or laid into a around closely spaced with 2-3 rounds laid over that. I prefer just spacing as I go.

Make sure they are not crooked and that the warp has been under prfetty even tension during beaming and you should be good to go.

If you haven't done this very often, try beaming with a partner a few times until you get the hang of things.

Posted on Wed, 07/15/2009 - 21:01

I'm a stick fan myself.  I even use them on my rigid heddle loom. I cut them down from the long ones I use on my floor looms.  I just find that paper, esp. corrugated starts to bend after a while.  But to each her own.

One caveat though if you're using grocery bags or or multiple sheets runing across the warp-- don't let them overlap and take out the seams in bags. You don't want thicker parts, it should all be the same thickness going across the warp. 

Also it can help to tie a cord around them so that they don't fall down to the bottom of your warp when you advance it.--marie

Posted on Thu, 07/16/2009 - 13:13

Hi JoAnna,

I use Ikea non slip drawer liners. They work a treat and come in a 1.5m roll so warping is fast!  Just match up the edges to the next roll and keep going..... I also use bamboo blinds, like Laura. I don't use paper for long warps as I find it too soft, which would affect the tension accross the width of the warp.

Here is a link to a post on my blog with photos of my warp beam using the liners





Posted on Thu, 07/16/2009 - 13:19

Thanks for the tip! I cut the bottom out of the paper bag and then slit open the middle seam so the whole piece is flat. This way I can use them length-wise for long, skinny projects (scarves) and width-wise for wider projects. It does help to know not to overlap them.

Posted on Thu, 07/16/2009 - 13:27

Hi Shirley! What a good idea! I also love Ikea. It's a good thing for me that the nearest one is 3 hours away or I would never have any money!! *lol* I do try and go about once a year though. Perhaps if I get down there this fall during school I can grab some. (Fall=Financial Aid=not poor...haha)

Posted on Thu, 07/16/2009 - 13:37

Here's another dilemma: I haven't really figured out a good way of winding the warp on by myself and keeping even, consistant tension on it. What I'm doing at this point is pulling all the warp tails over the shafts to the back of the loom and holding them in one hand and turning the crank with the other. (Thank you Syne Mitchell for posting this wonderful technique you saw at ANWG!) This works, but this technique is difficult for me is because my loom is large. It would work much better if I had a smaller scale loom. But I have a 48" Macomber. I thought about a valet (I'm not sure if that's what it's called...) The bar that goes on the ceiling...(Wow, I feel like a complete newbie) Anyway, I can't do that at this point because I can't drill into my apartment ceiling. (I don't think the university would be very happy with me) Any other ideas for keeping the tension consistant? Any ideas would be helpful.

Posted on Thu, 07/16/2009 - 14:11

Hi JoAnna,

Have you tried to anchor your warp chain by piling books on top of it as you wind? I throw the chain over the shafts (or through them) to the front to of the loom, let it fall to the floor and put books to weight it. The chain slides under with tension. This would be good fora narrow warp. You'll want to research the trapeze. I have one that i use for wider warps. Mine does not attach to the ceiling. Here is a link to someone who sells them so you can see a picture of what it could look like.

I think that Kati Meeks book on Dancing with your Warp explains how to build one for yourself.


Posted on Thu, 07/16/2009 - 14:21

I tried using weights and that would have worked but I couldn't get back to my loom to wind the crank. My apartment is too cramped. :( ha ha. I had to climb between warp chains and around a coffee table, between two couches.  At this point, I'm probably just stuck with holding them. Why oh why did I decide to buy a full sized floor loom when I live in a 535 sq. ft. apartment? *LOL* Hopefully next year when we move I'll have more room. Then I can get my husband to build me a trapeze. If only we lived on our farm NOW. haha
Thank you for the link and the tips.

Posted on Tue, 07/21/2009 - 01:14

I agree Michael.  Vinyl wallpaper works wonderfully.  I was able to get a huge roll from a local wallpaper manufacturer for about $5 and have used it for years and years.  If you are really good at winding on you can keep it in a very long roll -- if not adding shorter yard long lengths corrects any sideways movement.

Posted on Tue, 07/21/2009 - 23:07

 Hi, I found some flat 2.5 pound free weights, the kind you put on a bar, at Target on sale, I bought all 6 that they had.  I tie slip knots in the warp that is over the front beam and attach the weights, one per an appropriate sized group of threads, with a small bungy cord and wind on.  For long warps I have to reposition the knots and weights several times, but  I get great even tension all the way across, doesn't take up a lot of room and easy to store.  I've seen the weights at thrift stores too.  I used to use water filled milk jugs and bungy cords, but I like the weights better.

Posted on Fri, 07/24/2009 - 23:20

 The brown paper rolls from the hardware store works well, also old vinyl bland slats, cheap cheap cheap!

Posted on Sun, 07/26/2009 - 11:23

 I bought a portable coat rack from Walmart to use as a trapeze.  The one I bought is mostly PVC.  It is 36" wide and cost about $10.  I just beamed a 28" warp using four chains, each weighted with a milk carton with about 2 pounds of water.  It worked really well.  The 36-inch width should be adequate for a 45-inch warp.  Two coat racks could be used for a wider warp.   I just placed the coat rack near the warp beam and cranked it on.   The rack would probably tip if the angle to the beam was significantly off from vertical.