Weighting a warp

Diane Mortensen <diamor@...>

Because of the number of supplementary warps I do, I devised a system which
uses plastic bottles and water. Basically, you allow the warps requiring
weight to hang from the back beam. Prepare a plastic jug, preferably a
handled one by adding a long loop of a thin but strong cord (linen is good).
Tie several knots along the length of the loop, thus subdividing the loop
into several smaller ones. Make a slip knot with the warp, about a foot or
so from the floor then place a loop from the jug (filled with water) over
the top of the slip knot (no need to tie it - the weight holds it in place).
Adjust the weight by pouring out water or adding it to create the tension
you require. I have found that one jug weight will hold anywhere from just
a few threads to around 12" width worth. This depends upon your loom and
the tension required. As the weight rises to the height of the back beam,
lift off the loop, release the slip knot and move it further down on your

If you can improvise well, it is possible to take your extra warp under the
warp beam then up over a heavy horizontal dowel or pipe coming down from the
ceiling. This allows you to weave for up to two yards before having to
adjust your weight. I have a floor model warping board that I use in a
similar manner.

To lift your weighted warps off the back beam (so they don't drag on your
regular warp) I usually use a sturdy stick or dowel, longer than the warp
width, raised above the regular beam by a couple of erasers or cork pieces
which I tape onto the back beam. The weighted threads then go over top of
this. You don't want to raise these too high or you change the angle of the
threads through the heddles.

You can see the details of it by going to my website (see below) and
following the "For Weavers" link. There are sketches of the method there.

When I want to weight just a few threads or widely spaced threads I take an
entire cone, tube or ball for each thread and place them on their sides at
the back of the loom a few feet back, threading them into the loom and tying
on. I then place a board (1" x 4" or similar) or a reed across all the
threads laying along the floor. On top of the board I place my water jugs,
adjusting the weight until all the threads have the correct tension. Now I
can weave away, allowing the threads to feed off their packages and onto
the loom with the correct tension. This works best on a carpeted area or you
can put a mat down instead. Except to occasionally check to see they aren't
tangled and are feeding freely, the threads require little care. This is
the method I use even on very long warps (+100 yds) and one I've introduced
into other production studios.

I have used these system so much that when I'm asked to do a quick design
job I eliminate the warp beam entirely and just weight the warp. This
allows me to change out threads and add elements quickly and easily. It may
not be pretty but it sure works.


Diane Mortensen
Salt Spring Island, B.C.


Dear Diane...

Well, I have just printed this latest update of supplementary warps - the
of. Downstairs on my placemat loom there is a hank of 14 warps tied onto a
1/2 gallon plastic milk jug, the result of miscalculating 16 epi for 12
inches when
I have 204 ends in the project. The slipknot on those 14 warps is a bit too
skinny to hold the jug so it is bulked up with some heavy wool yarn around it.

I join many others, I am sure, in gratitude to you for passing along your
extra warp discoveries.

June Kramer

PS Greetings also to Klaus, Shuf, Maggie and Jasper


Oh dear....obviously that message should have gone to Diane personally.

June Kramer