Saturday, June 22, 2013

Warping a sectional beam - #2: Winding onto the warp beam

Continuing from the last post on sectional warping, next those 24 spools are put on a spool rack.  If your "packages" are not spools but rather cones or spills, etc., they would go onto an appropriate apparatus to deliver the yarn off them instead.

From each spool, the yarn is run over to the tension box which is attached to the back of the loom near the warp beam.

The cords running vertically up the middle of all the spools are to keep the yarn from catching on the edges of its cardboard spool.  It's important that the yarn comes off smoothly and consistently.

I've also found that I need to keep the spools from wandering over to the frame of the rack.  In the column of spools closest to the camera, you can see some tiny wooden thread-spools I've put there to act like separators; these seem to do the job.

In this next photo you can see the yarn going through the tension box.  Each yarn goes through a bit of reed, then back and forth through those tensioning dowels, and out through another comb where they are all hanging down there now, tied together in a knot.

This is not the type of tension box designed for my loom.  It's just one I got for a cheap price.  It's designed by LeClerc Looms for use on a LeClerc loom.  My loom is a Macomber.

The tension box is normally supposed to sit so the yarn takes a more direct route to the beam, usually more horizontal.  Mine is sitting vertically, clamped on with grip clamps, because that's how I can get it to fit on my back beam.  I should invest in the right tool someday...

Here's that knot in the group of warp ends hanging down from the tension box.  I have attached it to the leader cord of one of the sections on the sectional beam, by making a "lark's head" knot in the leader and tightening it around the warps just above the knot in the warps.

As the warp beam is turned, the leader cord draws all the warp ends taut and starts to wrap them onto the warp beam.

The plastic tubing looking things are guides that I made from aquarium tubing.  I put them on the sectional beam "spikes" so the spikes don't pierce through the group and get some of the warps into the wrong section.

As the beam continues to turn and the knot is no longer affecting the group of threads, the warp section spreads out nicely.  This is where those guides come in handy to keep them in the right section.

As I mentioned in the previous post, this project needs 3 turns worth of warp in each section, so I turn the beam a total of 3 times.  My loom has a crank on the end of the beam, with a clicker-counter to count the turns, but for a shorter warp like this one I usually just turn it with my hand on the beam, and count out loud to myself every time I go past the knot.

When 3 turns are complete, I put a piece of masking tape across the group of warps, pressing to make sure I get them all stuck to the tape, and cut the warp just above the tape.

Then I stick the tape to the beam, tie a new overhand knot in the warp, move my guides to the next section, and I'm ready to attach to the next leader cord.

Repeat for each section across the width.  Next installment will be bringing the ends near the heddles to prepare to thread.


  1. Thanks you for the pics. Very helpful.

  2. Replies
    1. Hi, Hill! If you are using a tension box, the tension should be consistent for each section as it is wound onto the beam. Then after threading the heddles and sleying the reed, you tie onto the front apron and at that time you check the tension of the now-exposed warp. Hope that makes sense.

  3. This is a definite beginner question but how do you get the leader cords added to your sectional beam??

    1. Hi Kristen, see this post: where mine were fraying so I replaced them.