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How To Warp A Loom The Old Fashioned Way

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How To Warp A Loom The Old Fashioned Way
A few days ago, I wrote about our arrival at a loom weaver’s house, who was happy to show us the essential parts of a primitive loom. Today, we will see how she dresses up the loom for weaving.

Traditional Artisan


In an industrial society, where Chinese products are a dime a dozen, weavers like Aurelia Cârdei are very hard to find.

Thread Heddles

Once in a blue moon, we run an old style artisan like her to earth. Aurelia learned to weave from her grandmother.

Fabric Belts

She shows a few recently made woven bands, explaining that the patterns are maybe a hundred years old. With the use of these fabric belts, Romanian women tie their traditional aprons around the waist.

Before Weaving These Bright Belts, Weaver Aurelia Cârdei Showed Us How To Warp A Loom From Back to Front

She brings the warp, which was already wound and tied in a whole lot of places. She slips the loop at the end of the warp onto the tie on rod.

Loom Warping

Then, she inserts the lease sticks into the cross and ties them securely together. This keeps the threads in the correct order.

Lease Sticks

With two cords, she hangs the lease sticks by the top of the loom. The ties, which hold the cross are removed, and it’s about time to wind the warp.

With The Help Of Her Niece, Who Is Eager To Learn The Secrets Of Weaving, She Winds The Warp Onto The Warp Beam

This process requires two people: one to hold the warp firmly and the other one to wind on. With the help of her niece, who is eager to learn the secrets of weaving, she winds the warp onto the warp beam, inserting wooden sticks into the warp, to keep the layers separated.

Wind Warp

When the warp is completely wound onto the warp beam, it is restrained by use of a stick (slobozitoare), inserted into a hole in the head of the beam.

Warp Beam

Threading The Heddles

The two shafts are each formed of two horizontal sticks, connected through the whole extent by numerous small heddles of an equal length.

Loom Parts

Each heddle has an eye in the center, where the warp is threaded through.

Thread Loom

With a piece of fabric, she ties the other end of the warp onto the cloth beam.

Beam Warp

From left to right, she begins to thread one end through a heddle on shaft 2. The next yarn is threaded through a heddle on shaft 1.

Thread Loom

She takes each thread in order, as they come off the cross. A thread is passed through a single shaft, switching the shafts with each thread that is taken. You don’t pass two threads in row on the same shaft.

The shafts are tied with two ropes. One end of a rope is tied on shaft 1, and the other end is tied on shaft 2. The shafts are hung on these ropes, which are looped around two pulleys.

Warp Loom

The foot pedals are hanging by strings from the shafts. When one pedal is pressed,  it lowers shaft 1, which draws the rope looped around the pulleys, which lifts shaft 2.

Primitive Loom

After threading the whole warp, she ties it in small sections to the tie on rod at the cloth beam.

VIDEO Cârdei Aurelia Warping The Loom

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  1. As I watch her thread her heddles, I am wondering if she is twisting the eye into them as she goes along? I’ve watched all of the videos you taped on weaving in Romania. They are fascinating to me as I have been weaving for a little over 10 years.

    • Hello Sherry, I am happy you enjoy these articles. Thank you! To answer your question, she doesn’t twist the eye, but her fingers in order to grab that eye with ease. Each heddle is made of two intersected cords, which form an eye in the center. She grabs the heddle and makes that twist to grab and enlarge that loop (eye), then she pulls the thread through.


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