It is no secret that I have a preference for using a warping board to dress a rigid-heddle loom. This is now called the indirect method. Before rigid-heddle weaving became so popular, the indirect method was “warping.” To many new weavers the direct method is the only warping method she or he will ever need to know.
The direct method was first popularized by the late, great Anne Field in her book Weaving with the Rigid Heddle Loom published in 1980. Although it is a centuries-old technique, Anne brought it back to many weaver’s attention. It further gained popularity with the publication of The Ashford Book of Rigid Heddle Weaving by Rowena Hart in 2002. In 2008, I neglected to include this method in the first edition of my book (mea culpa!), which I have corrected in the revised edition of Weaving Made Easy.
Here is why I choose the indirect method nine times out of ten. I’M LAZY. Although the direct method is quicker and easier to learn, I like to warp sitting down.
I described my way of working on pages 50 – 51 of the old edition of Weaving Made Easy. It has been cut from the new edition to make more room for finishing information—have no fear, the indirect method step-by-step is still there.
I do most of my weaving in the evening when I’m ready to sit down and relax. I prop the warping board in my lap to measure the warp. My favorite board is Schacht’s 4 1/2 yard warping board because it is easy to hold. If I get interrupted it is easy to abandon the work and pick it up later. I don’t find abandoning a direct warp easy to do since it is usually in the way of general traffic and if I don’t get back to it, the grumbles start.
The next evening I’ll thread the heddles and wind on the warp onto the back beam and secure the warp to the front apron rod. Typically, I’ll get a start on the weaving that same day, at least to the hemstitching stage—something I also have a weakness for. Then it is onto weaving and finishing.
Just as in knitting where there is more than one cast-on there is more than one way to warp. That’s why I offered up three different ways to warp your loom in my first video Slots and Holes—direct, indirect, and two heddles using the indirect method. The indirect method is a good one to master, particularly if the warp is long, fine, or has a complicated color order. I admit that the it has its drawbacks. If you miscount your warp ends, you have to wind more ends. It also takes longer. However, I tend to weave more because I put off warping if I have to do all the set up for the direct method.
Don’t get me wrong, the direct method is slick and you are probably better off for learning it first. I happened to learn the indirect route first. We both get to the same place in the end.