Raddle? Sectional? A discussion on warping methods and tips

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Congratulations on your Delta.   I do stand at the side and step on the brake pedal to wind on the warp but then go to the back to pull down on the paper and then to the front to give the warp a tug every few turns. In regards to your rod, you need to get in touch with the business you bought the loom through and ask them to have Louet send you your missing rod.   They are inserted into the boxes when they arrive in North America.   Sometimes they tape the rod to the top flap of the box….you might want to look there first.

Thanks very much for your advice about how to wind on the warp; I’ve now done it this way, and yes, it worked just fine — that was with a Shetland wool warp.  The built-in raddle made beaming a snap. Speaking of beaming with the raddle, I wish to ask your advice on a related matter, having to do with raddles and chained warps — and with sectional warping. In years past, I often did my warps using the sectional method.  I was never very fond of doing it this way, but it certainly avoided having to deal with the snarls that occasionally made life difficult during beaming, especially at the cross.  I was not fond of sectional warping because it involved so much mathematical computation, which I could certainly do and do accurately, but I’d much rather just let the yarn flow through my fingers as I wind chains.  I was also not fond of it because my yarn counter did not always yield reliable measurements, leaving me to wonder whether my spools would run out as I approached the last sections.  

Along comes my first Louet loom and its wonderful raddle and related system for effective beaming (using chains), and I enthusiastically re-embraced chaining.  I was so encouraged by how well this worked, that I started putting longer warps on, using this method — and it all worked beautifully.  I even got myself one of Louet’s new warping mills (I emailed you for advice about its capacity at the time) and successfully put on a 20-yard warp of 10/2 cotton, sett at 20 epi.  It went on just fine, and I was thrilled!  I swore I’d never section a warp again!

However.  I’ve just now been struggling mightily with what was supposed to be a 16-yard warp of 16/2 cotton, sett at 36 epi (which is tight, but it’s the sett that works for this project, a 3/1 twill).  I chained it, using the mill, as I had that other project, but when the time came to beam, it snarled really badly.  It snarled at the raddle, and it snarled at the cross.  After my previous successes using Louet’s methods, I was sorely disappointed, and I have been trying to understand what happened.  The snarls at the cross — could these have occurred because there were just too many ends going through each of the dents in the raddle (each dent held 7 ends)?  But the snarls at the raddle are even harder to comprehend — I thought the cotton would flow smoothly through the raddle’s dents.  I wonder if the width of my chains may have contributed to this problem — the chains had close to 200 ends in them. 

After struggling with this difficult warp for quite a bit, I ended up cutting it off short, at about 6 yards: my first failure using the Louet raddle method of beaming.  I’m trying to understand what happened and to learn from this.  Can you help, do you have any ideas?  I realize that you do not, of course, have my warp in front of you and anything you might think of is thus going to be limited by not actually seeing what happened, but is there anything that comes to mind? I recently read a piece in Handwoven that suggested my fine cotton warp may have been especially difficult to deal with because of static electricity, made worse in this season due to my house being heated and thus dry.  I had no trouble with that 10/2 cotton warp, but that was not as fine nor was it put on during a heating season.  While I do try to mitigate this effect with trays of water placed by the heaters, still, do you suppose this was a factor in what happened? I find myself wondering if I should keep the sectional method in my repertoire. 

Do you have any advice for me on this?  With this particular warp, the math and the positioning of spools in the spool rack from section to section would have been especially challenging, as this warp had colour stripes in a sequence that did not coincide with the width of what the sections would have been.  Is such juggling par for the course in sectional warping, with a striped warp?  And I should accept this as what one must deal with in order to warp sectionally and avoid those snarls I had? And if you do suggest that I consider using the sectional method in situations like this one, I see that Louet offers a sectional beam for my 51” Delta — can this be acquired separately and added on by me, now that the loom is already constructed and is here?  If so, I assume Louet would provide instructions on how to install it. I certainly do not want to give up on doing long warps with a fine sett! This has been a long email and I apologize.  I’m genuinely stymied and am trying to figure out how to proceed, so anything you can offer would be most gratefully received.

The solution is very simple….make your warp with more than one end in your hand….that will reduce the number of interlacements going through the lease sticks by at least half if you have warped with 2 ends and it will reduce it in 3rds if you warp with 3 ends.  This will help in the raddle as well.   Just make sure you keep those groups together going through the raddle.   You won’t have any problems if you do this.  And there is the benefit of reducing your warping time.  Do not worry about the ends get crossed while you weave because you have ample room between the heddles and the back thread beam….it will all open up beautifully.  I do a very complex dark light combination where I warp with 5 ends in my hand and then have to thread from those 5 ends in a specific sequence….after 20 yds of warp everything still opens up.  Let me know what you think of that solution.

Thanks so much — this sounds like a fine solution.  I understand what you’re saying about not worrying about ends being crossed between the heddles and the back beam; that would have been a concern of mine.  I am of course accustomed to just grabbing the next end from the cross at the lease sticks, where it is always obvious which is the next end.  So you’re saying that when heddling, when I encounter two or three ends (depending on how many I have wound together) going in the same direction at the cross, don’t worry about which one to take, it will not make any substantial difference.  In the example you give, you just select from among those five ends, all of which are available at your cross (going in the same direction), according to your sequence.  And they all open up fine, even after 20 yards.  Wow, that’s most encouraging!  I never would have thought of this, being so conditioned to there being just alternate single ends going through the lease sticks.  I shall most certainly try this, and I look forward to doing so.

You got it…..One more thing, when I make my warps I am always very careful to place the warp threads on the mill very neatly….when they go onto the cross pegs I make sure I push them back each time and when I go around the last peg at the bottom I push everything back and as I go up and down they are beside each other, not on top of each other….this makes sure that every length is the same length and that is 90% of your success when you get to winding it on.

When I warp with 2 or more ends in my hand, my thumb and forefinger manage the ends together but the ends that are feeding from the cone go between the other fingers of that hand. This is not awkward…you just grab all your ends between thumb and forefinger and then guide them individually through your fingers.  To keep them from getting tangled when they come off the cones I make sure the cones are several inches apart on the floor.   It is very very easy, not complex at all. Another important point to make is, once you have your warp spread out through the raddle before you wind on…..go to the front of the loom where the warp chain is hanging.

Find a place in the warp chain where you know nothing has been disturbed and give the warp a good tug from that point.   This will realign all those warp ends that might have become shortened or lengthened while spreading it out…..it is an equalizing movement….then beam away. I also chain my warps tightly which eliminates the need for chock ties all the way through it and it keeps everything under control. You can watch me wind and chain my warp in more detail on the Online Guild – Season 1: Episode 1 – Making a Good Warp.


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