CNCHnet . . . The Textile Arts Webzine of the Conference of Northern California Handweavers

Warp Weights

While working with a difficult warp where I replaced several threads, I happened to look at the back of my loom.  It looked like some sort of display from a hardware store.  I often do not tie the floating selvedge threads to the warp beam.  Instead, I attach a weight to the thread and let it hang from the back of the loom.  I also do this if I need to add an additional thread to a warp after it has been beamed. When I need to increase the tension on an individual warp thread I also hang a weight from the warp thread to add a little tension to it.

There was such a variety of S hooks, binder clips, pirns, film canisters, paper clips, and a small pair of scissors dangling from the back of the warp beam.  It was time consuming and a little irritating to loosen and re-adjust each one as I advanced the warp.  I then stumbled upon a solution that turned out to be attractive and very easy to use.

I took a flip top vitamin bottle, a dowel pin and a couple of nickels and constructed an easy to adjust warp weight .

Needed materials

Needed materials

They are very useful when I need to add an additional thread to a warp that has already been beamed.  I wrapped the warp thread around the dowel pin then dropped it into the vitamin bottle along with a couple of nickels to get the tension I needed.  I fed the thread through the heddle and reed and attached the end of the thread to the cloth.  I then hung the bottle off the back of the warp beam.  The flip top allows me to easily let out thread from the container and close the lid with one hand.  Quick and simple. Since I didn’t really want my loom looking like a display from an apothecary,  I used acrylic paint to color each of the vitamin bottles.

Finished weights

Finished weights

The dowel pin keeps the thread from tangling as it feeds out through the flip top cap.  The dowel pins are available at hardware stores and come in several sizes with different lengths and diameters. I use the ¼ inch x 1 3/8 inch dowel pins since that was what I had on hand.  This size holds up to seven yards of 10/2 thread.  The ½ inch diameter size is a little easier to wrap the threads around.  For longer warps or heavier threads, the longer dowel pins work well.

If I need a weight to add a little additional tension to a warp thread that has loosened, I form a loop of thread coming out of the flip top and use an S hook to suspend it from the loose thread.  I control the tension by adjusting the amount of weights I put into the bottle. This system has been convenient to use and really doesn’t look too bad.

Bill Jackson lives and weaves along the Russian River in Guerneville, CA. His first encounter with weaving was while a senior at Ohio State University. He took a class in weaving at a local community center and was hooked. After graduating from OSU he set weaving aside for 40 years. Six years ago he stumbled across an old dismantled 45” Leclerc counterbalanced loom. He has been weaving passionately ever since and is now the owner of three Leclerc looms. He is a member of the Redwood Guild of Fiber Arts. He considers time spent weaving as play time.

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