Warping is the most difficult part for many beginners that are learning how to start weaving on a loom.
There are many different types of looms, and the warping process might be different depending on the one you are using.
Fortunately, if you are using a loom for beginners, such as a lap loom or rigid heddle loom, you will be able to learn it in no time.
This article will show how to warp a loom front to back on several different looms.
What is a Warp?
The first set of threads are spaced evenly around the loom and function as a skeleton for your weave. This is called the warp.
Then another set of yarn is used to go through the warp and create a design depending on the weaving technique, yarn thickness, and yarn color. This yarn is called the weft.
Of course, there are many different types of yarn. Some of them can be used for weaving while other can’t.
Normally you want to use a pretty strong type of yarn like cotton for your warp threads. Whereas the most important factor for choosing the yarn for the weft thread is the looks.
How to Use a Warping Board
There are many different measuring tools such as the warping mill, warping pegs, and the warping paddle. But the warping board is by far the most popular.
The warping board can look a little different on the exact model, but it normally looks rectangular with several pegs attached to it.
Using a warping board lets you measure your warp threads and align them easily. Which prevents and threads from getting tangled and makes it easier to thread the loom.
To use the warping board, you first need to determine the width and length your projects is going to be.
Then with a loose loop attach the warp yarn to the beginning peg and start threading the yarn around the pegs until you reach the final peg.
After reaching the final peg, start threading the yarn in the opposite. Keep going back and forth until you reached the desired amount of warp threads. And make sure you keep constant tension along the yarn threads.
Some people prefer to hang the warping board up on a wall, such that they can measure the yarn while standing.
When you measured all the yarn and you have reached the end, attach the end with a loose loop to the final peg.
Then secure the yarn at the crosses and at both ends and take it off the board.
How to Wind a Warp Without a Warping Board
Of course, many beginning weavers don’t have a warping board or don’t have the money to buy one.
In this case, you can go with a cheaper alternative such as the warping pegs or you can use some household objects to hold the yarn in place for you.
If you have a husband or friend that knows how to work with wood, you might even ask them to make a warping board for you. Since a warping board is not that hard to make if you have the right tools and materials.
Also, if you are working on a lap loom or inkle loom, you are probably weaving pretty small things and don’t require a warping board.
How to Warp a Frame Loom or Lap Loom?
The proper way of setting up the warp depends on the type of loom you are using.
Many people that are looking into loom weaving for beginners opt for a basic weaving frame because learning how to start weaving on a frame loom is relatively easy compared to other looms.
Of course, this also includes warping a frame loom.
This following video by Creativebug Studios gives a good introduction to warping the loom.
- Using the yarn of your choice, make a knot around the first needle or peg in the top left corner. Don’t worry about the little tail that you might make in the process.
- Pull the yarn to the opposite side of the frame and wrap it around the first nail on that side. To make sure the thread is tight enough you can use your finger to press the thread down while you wrap it.
- Bring the thread to the top again and wrap it around the second nail on this side. Don’t forget to use both hands to keep the tension on the thread.
- Repeat the second and third step by wrapping the yarn around the nails on alternating sides until you reach the very last nail or the desired width of your project.
- Finish the warp by making a second knot around the last nail.
- Make sure all the threads have the same tension by gently tucking them.
If you successfully followed those instructions, you will now be ready to start weaving.
You can quickly check if the tension is even by softly pushing down on the warp threads.
If you feel it bounce back, you have done a good job!
How to Warp a Rigid Heddle Loom?
The rigid heddle is for beginners that are more serious about weaving.
It takes a bit longer to learn and warping a rigid heddle loom by yourself is a little tricky for beginners. Since the reed makes it look much more complicated than a lap loom.
Fortunately, starting with a rigid heddle loom is not as difficult as it might seem, although a threading hook might come in handy.
For step by step instructions, take a look at this instructional video by Yarnworker.
- Place the rigid-heddle loom on one side of the table and set up the warping loop on the other side. The distance between the two will determine the final length of your weave.
- Knot the yarn you want to use as warp thread to the apron rod that is facing away from the warping peg.
- Using your threading hook, pull the yarn through the slot.
- Extend the yarn all the way to the warping peg and wrap the yarn around the peg once.
- Move the yarn back through the same slot in the reed and go around the apron rod once.
- Repeat with the next slot and continue this process until you fill up all the slots in the reed or until the weave is your desired width.
- Tie the warp to the apron rod with a knot and cut the remaining yarn.
- Take the yarn off the warping peg and cut the loop.
- Roll up the yarn and protect it by placing packing paper between two layers of thread.
- Remove one of the yarn threads from each slot and move it through a hole (the one in the middle) by using the threading hook again
- Secure the loose warp threads to the apron rod. You can do this one thread at a time or in small bundles.
Admittedly, warping the rigid-heddle loom takes a few more steps and time than a frame loom. And moving the warp thread through the reed can be a real bummer.
However, now that you have set up the loom, you will be able to weave much faster than you would be able to with a lap loom.
How to Warp an Inkle Loom
Unlike a rigid heddle loom, the inkle loom doesn’t’ have a reed. But it doesn’t quite look like a lap loom either.
What makes warping an inkle loom unique is that you need to make your own heddles out of yarn threads. You only have to do this once and then use them again next time.
Additionally, the inkle loom gives you a lot of freedom to warp the way you want.
Although there are many pegs on this loom that you can use, it’s totally fine to only use a few of them. Depending on the length of your projects.
Check out this video for detailed instructions.
- Measure and create the heddles by using the first few pegs on the loom. The amount of heddles you will need to make is half the number of warp threads.
- Attach the warp thread to the tension bar and wrap the yarn around the desired amount of pegs. But make sure they go over the first upper peg.
- Once you are back at the tension bar you can warp the second row. This time make sure to go underneath the first upper peg.
- Repeat step 2 and 4 until you have reached the desired amount of warp threads.
- Don’t forget to add a heddle to every other thread. You can do this while warping or after you finished the entire warp.
- To finish warping the inkle loom, simple the warp thread and tie it to the tension bar.
The first time you try to warp an inkle loom might take a little work. But after you get the hang of it and made a set of heddles that you can use over and over again, you will be able to warp an inkle loom very fast.
Since the color of the warp thread can be pretty important in some inkle designs, you use several different yarns to warp.
To do this, simply cut the old yarn thread when it is close to the tension bar and tie with a knot to the new yarn and keep warping as usual.
How to Warp a Table Loom or Floor Loom
Warping a table loom or floor loom is fairly similar since a floor loom is basically a big table loom.
That being said, learning how to warp either one of these is much more difficult than warping any of the other looms above.
Not just because these looms are pretty big, but also because they come in so many different designs.
For example, some of them come with two heddles while others come with 4 or 6, etc.
Considering the difficulty of warping one, it’s normally best to take a weaving class since even step-by-step guides are normally difficult to follow.
Nevertheless, we collected a few tutorial videos below that might help you.
Make sure to check out all three of them and follow the one with a loom that is most similar to yours.