Sunday, August 9, 2015

Apron Ties - Variations on Shoelaces

Here is the traditional method that most sources teach to tie the warp onto the front apron rod.  Take sections of warps on bouts, smooth them out so the tension is even, and separate each into two equal-sized groups.  Put the two groups over the apron rod, keeping them separate, and bring one up onto each side of the warp.  Tie the first half of a square knot, or better, the first half of a surgeon's knot (pass the end twice around the crossed ends instead of once).

Then proceed with tensioning and when it's good, complete the square knots if needed for extra securing.

Next I'll show you two alternate methods using shoelaces...  They both start by first tying those smoothed-out warp bouts into an overhand knot at the end.

Here's the method that Nadine Sanders (aka the Singing Weaver) teaches.  She calls it "Warping on a Shoestring".  (I'd put a link to her web site but it seems to be down right now.) Take a shoelace and hitch it at its center over the apron rod. Take a knotted bout, separate in 2 and make a "snitch knot" (lark's head) with the warps, then feed the 2 ends of the shoelace through the snitch knot.

The beauty of this method is the tensioning mechanism.  By just pulling toward you with the shoelace ends, or by separating the two and pulling, the warp is tightened and held in place as the snitch knot constricts, creating more static friction.  You can also see that there is less warp waste than in the traditional tie-on.

I use shoelaces, too, but it's sort of a hybrid of the two methods above.  Instead of forming the snitch knot with the bout of warps, make a lark's head in the center of a shoelace.  Put this around the bout of warps above the knot and tighten it.  This is similar to the way I attach my warp sections to the strings on my sectional beam.

Then use the two ends of the shoelace to tie onto the rod, in the same manner as in the traditional method above.  The shoelaces are basically acting as an extension of the warp bout.  The shoelaces are much easier to deal with in tying on than trying to keep the two halves of the bout separated while getting it around the rod in the traditional way.

This method is even more stingy with the warp.  Other than whatever length you use up in getting your warp initially spreaded prior to weaving, that overhand knot is the only wasted bit.

What method(s) do you use to tie on a warp?


  1. Lashing with one continuous cord going through the bouts just above the knot - infinitely adjustable and also very stingy.

    Your post is a nice and very clear comparison and good to keep for a reference.

    1. Yes, you're so right!! I forgot about that one. And there's less messy bits for the cloth to have to roll over on the cloth beam. I think it takes a bit more fussing to get the tension distributed evenly, though, since they're all interdependent: tightening one means loosening its neighbor or vice versa. I like having independent control over each bout. So many different methods; each with its own advantages.

  2. That is a nice variation that I will use. Although I am just learning to weave I can still appreciate clever ideas. Your weaving is beautiful and I enjoy reading and looking at your lovely creations.
    Best Regards, Marianna

  3. Update! Nadine's site is back, and she sells the shoelaces.