Centering The Warp On A Shaft Loom

When you weave on any shaft loom (Cricket Quartet, Schacht Table Loom, Wolf loom, or Standard Floor Loom, your warp should be centered on the loom.

How to do it

Every weaving project has a specific measurement known as "width in reed." If the project instructions don't provide this measurement, or you're designing your own project, it's easy to calculate:

number of warp ends ÷ ends per inch = width in reed

Once you know the width in reed, you can center the warp.

  1. Find the midpoint of your reed.
  2. Divide width in reed by 2—in other words, half of the width in reed. Measure out from the middle by this amount.
  3. Start threading the reed at this point.

For instance, your width in reed is 8 inches. You'll measure out 4 inches from the middle of the reed.

It's really helpful to mark the midpoint of your reed with a yarn marker. For each project that you warp, tie temporary yarn markers at the beginning and ending points.

Also try to center your project in the heddles on the shafts, especially if you don't use all the heddles. A large number of unthreaded heddles at one side of a shaft can cause problems: the shaft might stick as it moves up and down. Leave empty heddles on both sides of the shaft, or intermingle empty heddles and threaded ones as you set up the loom. (Bonus: empty heddles can really come in handy if you need to fix a mistake.)

Why to do it

A centered warp helps you maintain an even beat. For most weave structures, the weft should always lie parallel to the front beam of your loom so that the warp and weft cross each other at 90-degree angles.

On a shaft loom, the beater is set parallel to the front beam. If the warp isn't centered, the beater can't place the weft evenly from selvedge to selvedge. Once the weft starts to slant at the fell line (the last pick you wove), it's harder to un-slant. The longer you weave, the more noticeable this slant becomes.

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