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Help, I Warped My Loom Backwards and Other Things That Can Go Wrong

Warping backwards happens. I once merrily warped a loom backwards while doing a demonstration for my colleagues. We often discover this error when we are getting ready to wind onto the beam and realize we are heading towards the wrong one. Sometimes, if it just isn’t your day, you may also discover that your warp is also off center. A little bit is not big deal, but a lot might throw off your beat. Here are six steps help you keep moving forward.


Most of us at some point in our weaving lives will end up with a beautifully threaded warp on the wrong apron rod. Here is how I go about righting my wrong.

Step 1 Cut the yarn on the peg as I normally would and tie a knot. This secures the yarns so the ends don’t shift on the rod.

Step 2 Pack the front beam just as your would the back. The goal at this stage is to not necessarily tightly pack the beam, but to keep things organized as possible. My preferred method is to lay in packing material and periodically tug firmly or “yank” on the warp as a whole to take up slack. Resining raking or trying to tidy your warp. It can create more problems than it solves. This is called the “Crank and Yank” method. You can see a very quick overview of how I warp and pack the beam on my YouTube channel, packing starts at 1:11.

Step 3 The other scenario that seems to go hand-in-hand with warping backwards, is getting your warp off center. If this happens, you can easily make an adjustment after you have packed the front beam. In this scenario, I worked from behind the loom to make any adjustments necessary to center your warp and thread your holes at the same time. You don’t have to thread your holes at this time, but I find it more efficient for this loom type for reasons I’ll talk about in Step 6.

Note: If your warp is off center and your loom isn’t warped backwards, you can make the adjustment while you are threading your holes from the front.  The best way to prevent this from happening is to create guide marks for where you will stop and start threading.

mark beginning and ending points

Step 4 Tie onto the back apron rod. Don’t be overly concerned about tension at this point. You just want to secure the warp. Because you are going to be tying onto both apron rods, you will lose a bit of warp length. If you are concerned about this, you could lash instead of tying on.

Step 5 Gently pull your warp forward, unwinding the warp. If you have a removable apron rod, slip the rod off the warp and tie an overhand knot without cutting the loops formed by the peg. If you don’t have a removable apron rod, cut as close to the rod as possible and secure the warp.

Step 6 Pack the back beam, using your preferred method. Tie onto the front apron rod. In this example, I have a removable apron rod. Since I’m going to trim the fringe later, I tied on leaving the loops intact, snipping them when I needed to separate the ends from one another to create a bundle to tie on. To cut the loops at this point is time consuming, a little fiddly, and I could end up with some ends shorter than others.  This is why I’ll go ahead and thread my holes before tying onto the back beam.

Bonus Tip: The Missed Apron Rod Fix

Here is perhaps the most common mistake I see when students are warping their loom, forgetting to go around the back apron rod. This is actually a pretty easy fix. Take a short piece of contrasting yarn, slip it through the loop formed by missing the rod and loosely secure it to the apron rod. You don’t want to snug it next to the rod as that will make the other end shorter, and you will lose overall warp length when tying on to the front apron rod to accommodate the shorter end.

There you have it. Three fixes to common warping mistakes. My philosophy in weaving and in life is to keep moving forward. Backtracking isn’t as much fun.

Heddles Up!


I warped my loom backwards and other things that can go wrong

2 thoughts on “Help, I Warped My Loom Backwards and Other Things That Can Go Wrong”

  1. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has done this….but I will one up you!! I THOUGHT I wound my yarn on backwards. (after stringing yarn thru 2 heddles!) so I rewound the whole thing onto the front beam, making the work backwards, and even restrung the second heddle again. AFTER I re-strung the second heddle I realized what I had done….instead of re-doing it all over again, I just wove the piece on a backwards loom! Sometimes you just have to go with the flow!

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