Anatomy of a dishtowel – Part 2: warping the loom (part 1)

Here’s the empty loom ready for my project:

I warp my loom from front to back.  There are a couple of things to do to get ready for that.  I need to make sure I have the right reed.  This project will use the 10 dent (slot) reed and I’ll have two ends (strands) per dent for 20 epi (ends per inch).  Here’s the empty reed waiting for my warp:

The reed is the metal bits running vertically to make slots.  It fits into the beater (more about that later) and keeps the warp straight to feed into the heddles.

This project has 490 ends so that’s 490 heddles that have to be available.  They are distributed across 4 harnesses according to the pattern.  For this pattern I’ll need 117 heddles on harnesses 1 & 3, 128 heddles on harnesses 2 & 4.  While it is not impossible to add heddles once you’ve started warping the loom it is better if you don’t have to.

So counting heddles was my next step:

Heddles are thin metal strips with an eye (hole) at the center through which the warp threads are threaded.  They have slots at each end and slide onto metal bars at the top and bottom of the harness.  I ended up needing to add heddles to just one harness.

Finally, I’m ready to sley (pronounced “slay”) the reed.  I attach my warp chain to the front beam and draw two threads at a time through adjacent slots in the reed.  When done it looks like this:

Sleying the reed took me about 1.25 hours.  This is 24.5″ of cotton thread, two threads per slot.

Next up: threading the heddles

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Author: Jennifer Kortfelt

Owner, Heron Pond Designs, a fiber and textile exploration.

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