Cutting off Some of the Cloth Before the Warp is Finished:  The Two-Stick Heading

Introduction:
While I still could be at my studio, I wove as much as I could so I could dye it while sequestered  at home.   Since I wasn’t able to finish weaving the entire warp and I wanted to cut off what was woven, I used the technique in this post. I’ve written about this “2-stick heading” so much that I wonder if people are getting tired of seeing it. It is such a useful technique I want everyone who weaves to know about it. I learned it from my mentor, Jim Ahrens, who used industry techniques for his production weaving business. What I learned from him is the basis of all my books and the reason I wrote them. His techniques from industry needed to be passed on to future generations of  handweavers.

I almost always use this because I often want to cut off samples before weaving my “projects”. With this method you don’t lose as much of the warp as when you make knots to tie on again to the apron rod. And you retain perfect tension when you start weaving again. Before cutting off some cloth, weave this heading first.
1. What you do is first weave an inch or so of plain weave (or close to plain weave as possible).
2. Weave in two sticks (thinner the better or use rods or dowels).
3. Weave another inch. In the photo I wove a little more than one inch because plain weave wasn’t possible with this weave structure and my warp was slippery.

This close-up shows clearly how the two sticks are woven in.

This shows where you cut off your cloth, LEAVING THE HEADING ON THE LOOM.

The complete heading remains on the loom. Your cloth has been cut off.

Fold the sticks together and tie them to the apron rod. Now you can start weaving again with the perfect tension you had all along!

Here is a close-up of the knots tying the apron rod to the two sticks which have been folded together.

11 thoughts on “Cutting off Some of the Cloth Before the Warp is Finished:  The Two-Stick Heading

  1. Thank you so much Peggy for all your tips.
    I have wondered how it was done, this looks super easy the way you explained it. It will be very useful to me.

  2. Dear Peggy

    The timing of this post is perfect! I’m a fairly new weaver and just finishing the first of a pair of bedside rugs. I so wanted to take it off the loom but wary of wasting the linen warp. I now have a solution. Many thanks and Happy Easter from isolation on the other side of the pond.

  3. Why two sticks? Why not just one? Does the folding of the tow stick provide better friction to hold the warp strings in place?

    I just tried this at the end of a warp where I wanted to remove the finished weaving but keep the warp tight in front of the reed so I’d have something to tie on a new warp to on the back of the heddles. In my case, I had so little warp left to work with, I could barely weave an inch in either side of a thin stick. When I started tying on, the looser part of my weave structure would pull off warp strings from the stick. So I stopped tying on and put white glue on the thin headers on each side of the stick and massaged it into the cloth. After it dried, no more problems.

  4. This wonderful tip has been printed and kept near my loom because I use it so often! I also have a printout of one of the knots from your book taped to the table next to the loom. You are pretty much indispensable, Peggy. 🙂

  5. Thanks, Peggy, for this review. I have used this method constantly as a way to ensure my project is going to come out as I want. It’s easy and reliable.

  6. Thank you for this Peggy.
    Cutting of samples is a major pain. This will help me greatly in projects moving forward.

    A question…
    Can you find a less painful way to tie a warp on. I really could use a better/faster way to secure a warp on the loom. Also if things didn’t require so much hand/finger strength, that would be double awesome.

    I am 54 and starting to lose my hand dexterity and strength. Tying all those warp knots is very painful and keeps me away from the loom for a few days after warping is complete, until my hands calm down. Looking forward to seeing your suggestions

    • Have you thought of lacing on? I think that would be easier on your hands. There are some tricks to make it work.

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