How to Fix Broken Warp Threads

Written by shannon stoney
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How to Fix Broken Warp Threads
Even proficient weavers sometimes have a problem with broken warp threads. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

It's inevitable that as a weaver you will eventually encounter a broken warp thread. Don't panic. You can easily fix this problem and keep on weaving. Handspinners who spin their own warp will be particularly happy to know that it is no disgrace to have an occasional warp thread break; even commercially spun warp yarn sometimes breaks. It can be fixed.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

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Things you need

  • Loom
  • Yarn
  • Darning needle
  • S hook
  • Pins

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  1. 1

    Pull the broken thread toward you through the reed. Go around to the back of the loom and figure out which end has broken. Pull that end down and lay it on the floor out of the way while you splice in a new piece of warp.

  2. 2

    Cut a length of warp yarn at least two yards long. Thread it through the reed and then through the appropriate heddle from front to back. Leave about eight to 10 inches of yarn in front of the reed. Thread this end onto a darning needle. Work the thread into the cloth, going over and under the weft, following the path of the original broken warp. Put a pin in the fabric perpendicular to the warp. Wrap the end of the warp thread around this pin in a figure eight, to hold it.

  3. 3

    Go to the back of the loom with your S hook. Tie the end of the warp thread to the S hook and let it dangle from the back beam above the floor. If you need more weight to hold the warp yarn under more tension, you can hang more S hooks onto the original one, or hang other weights onto the S hook.

  4. 4

    Continue weaving in the usual manner. As you advance the warp, the S hook will rise and eventually reach the top of the back beam. Untie it from the S hook. Pull it forward through the heddle and reed. Trim it to about six inches.

  5. 5

    Find the original broken warp thread, which you laid on the floor in Step 1. Bring that thread over the back beam, through the heddle, through the reed and up to the cloth. Thread the end of the warp thread through the darning needle and darn it into the fabric beginning at the fell -- the edge of the weaving. Bring it out about two or three inches toward you. Put a pin in the cloth perpendicular to the warp and wrap the end of the thread around the thread in a figure eight. This will secure the broken warp as you continue to weave.

  6. 6

    Continue to weave until you have used up all the warp. Cut the piece off the loom. Find the places where the pins are and remove the pins. Darn the remaining ends of yarn into the fabric and trim the ends off.

Tips and warnings

  • Test yarns for strength and durability before using them as warp. Pull them between your hands to test the tensile strength and rub them with your fingernail to test their resistance to abrasion. If the yarn seems too fragile to withstand the rigours of weaving, you can re-spin it to make it stronger, or add a sizing to the yarn. Sizing is a kind of glue that holds the yarn together during weaving and then washes out when the fabric is washed.

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