The weaver’s cross can cause anxiety for those who are just learning how to use a warping board. The purpose of the cross is to keep the yarn in order so that you can thread the rigid heddle or reed in the same order that you wound the warp. This decreases snagging that can cause tension issues as you wind the warp on the back beam.
Here is a short tutorial on how I remove the cross from the warping board. Keep in mind there is more than one way to do everything, so you may find a better way that works for you. For full instructions on how to use a warping board check out Weaving Made Easy or Slots and Holes: 3 Ways to Warp a Rigid Heddle Loom.
Using wreath holders to hang my loom on the back of a door, I set up my warping board upside down and backwards from most folks. The board hangs fairly high on the door, so I wind the warp at the bottom of the board. I like this configuration because I can stand squarely at the board and the cross is on the side of my dominant right hand.
Here is a short warp for a sample that I’m ready to take off the board. Note that I have already tied my choke. (For tips on sampling see Yarnworker’s latest newsletter.)
To remove this warp from the warping board and secure the cross, use your thumb, index, middle, and ring finger to grab the warp by the cross as seen below. I’ve shown you two views here. I use my left hand to remove the cross from the board so that I can work with my dominant right hand. Because I hang my board in a nontraditional way, if I grab from the front my thumb is in the wrong position. If I secure the cross from the back, then I can remove the cross and my thumb is in the right position. Sometimes the warp is too wide for me to grab from the back comfortably. Once the cross is off the loom you can reposition it any way you wish before proceeding.
I’ve left the end without the cross on the board while I’m doing this so that you can see this action under tension. You can cut the loops at that end before you remove the warp from the board which causes the warp to go slack. You can also cut them after you have removed it from the board or after you have wound the warp. I typically cut those loops before I remove it from the board. If you forget you can do that at any time.
You now have the cross in the palm of your hand, such a beautiful thing.
Cut the loops at the tip of the cross to expose the individual warp ends.
You now have a nice orderly stack of warp ends that you can pull off one by one as you thread the rigid heddle. You can easily work with the cross in your hand by closing your pinky, ring, and middle finger over the cross and using your index and thumb to maneuver the yarn as you thread. When you need the next yarn you simply open your hand and there they are!
P.S. For reasons why I like this method and to see how I use the board sitting down, click here.