Ask Madelyn: Warping Board Limits

Madelyn advises a weaver on what to do when a project requires more ends than will fit on their warping board.

Madelyn van der Hoogt Jun 25, 2020 - 3 min read

Ask Madelyn: Warping Board Limits Primary Image

Photo Credit: George Boe

Hi Madelyn,

I am new to weaving and self-taught. I have only wound a warp on my warping board one other time, and it held my warp. But I am now trying to figure out how to wind 524 ends on it. I have 70 on it now and there is no way it will all fit. Do I need to divide the warp into smaller segments? I'm just baffled and so new to this wonderful craft. I love weaving.

Thanks for your time and for any advice you have for me.


Madelyn Loom Warp Chains

For this project, Madelyn had to divide her warp into fourths. Photo Credit: Madelyn van der Hoogt

Hi Janet!

How many total threads you can wind on a warping board depends on the number of threads, the thickness of the threads, and the length of the pegs on the board. It is really important not to wind so many threads that they come near the ends of the pegs even when pushed back against the board (I wind only to about half the length of a peg). If they do, you will have a difficult time keeping the warp on the pegs when you release tension as you are chaining it from the board.

You can usually tell soon enough during winding that you are going to need to divide the warp into halves or thirds or quarters, etc., to wind as separate chains. Wind each of them the way you would wind only one, tying the cross and choke tie in each. It will work best if your separate chains are the same size as each other (have the same number of threads). If you have one chain of many ends and one of only a few, they will wind on at different tensions almost no matter what method you use for tensioning.

In the above photo, I am winding on a warp that has been wound in two chains, half the warp’s width each. I divided it then into fourths, and tension each of the four sections as I wind on. It sounds like you might need to do yours in four chains.

And you are so right; it is a very wonderful craft.