Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Making a Repair Heddle and Adding a Warp Thread

Life can change unexpectedly.  Four weeks ago today, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  A week later I had major surgery to remove the masses.  After a week or two of healing and waiting for my chemo to start, I was thankful to have some weaving in the works that wasn't too heavy for me.  It is something I enjoy and can occupy my mind with something other than being sick.  I make dishtowels for all my girls every year for Christmas and I had started that project just before my diagnosis. I had part of it threaded, so was able to pick up where I left off.  I finished the threading, and then..... 

Oops!  I missed a warp thread right in the center of my warp and I discovered that fact after the whole warp was threaded through the heddles.
The loom I am using is my Leclerc Jano table loom.  It has wire heddles, so to do the repair, I need these handy diagonal cutters which are available in any hardware store.
 To get a better view, click on the picture. 

Clip the top and bottom loop on the heddle in the center.
Here is a better view without the cutter in the way.  This is just one of the extra heddles that were pushed off to the side.  Gently remove the cut heddle without unbending the wire too much.
Insert it into the proper spot on the heddle frame.  Tighten the wire loop a bit so it won't slip off.

Prepare a warp thread a bit longer than the other warps and thread it through the repair heddle from the back and incorporate it into the bundle of warp threads where it belongs.

Since everything was threaded, I tied my warp threads on to my front rod at this point.
When everything is tensioned correctly, I take the added warp thread in the back, and wind it around my fingers to take up most of the length.  Wrap some of the warp around the loops, fold it in half and insert an S hook into the to loops.

The warp thread dangles off the back of the loom.
The hook might be enough weight but if not, add fender washers until the right tension is achieved.  It should be the same as the adjacent threads.  If it is too tight, you will notice it when you start to weave because it will pull at the fell line.
 This is a handy little gadget used to spread the warp threads if any break while weaving or if you discover a threading error when you start weaving, or if like me, you miss a warp thread.
Insert it where the error is to hold the adjacent threads out of the way.  I made this today in about 30 minutes with a cedar shim, a utility knife and some sandpaper.  If you prefer to buy one, search for a warp spreader.  I have seen several that are made with nice hardwood.

If I happen to break a warp thread while doing these towels, I will do another post about that type of repair.


  1. Sending you prayers and all good thoughts. Thanks for your wonderful blog.

    1. Thanks for the prayers Dee. I'm glad you enjoy the blog. I enjoy doing it when I have time.

  2. Thanks Jenny - good info! I didn't know there was such a thing as a warp spreader. It's like having an extra set of hands!

    1. Sharon, you could probably make the same thing with some heavy cardboard.

  3. I love learning from tips that you provide, truly ingenious, a regular "MacGyver" in the weaving world!!!
    Sorry to hear of your diagnosis, and keeping you in my prayers for a full recovery and an easy time through your chemo treatment!

    1. Thanks for the prayers! Most of the tips I post are things I have picked up along the way and thought were helpful. I just like to show with photos rather than just tell. Most people learn better that way.

  4. I've learned a lot from your tips since I started following your blog about a year ago. Thanks for sharing so much! I'm very sorry to hear of your diagnosis. Praying for your recovery.

  5. Jenny, I never knew this was possible! No more string heddles!!
    God Bless you, your in my prayers.