The Difference Between Warps and Wraps: a BIG difference besides the spelling!


I got two inquiries this week about weft faced weaving and a request for more posts about weaving last week. These help me know what to post about, so I appreciate your suggestions. Write me your suggestions as a comment any time.

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The illustration shows examples of 2 warp yarns. Both have 4 warps per inch or ends per inch. (4 EPI) Note: warps are often called “ends”. Hence: 4 epi or 4 ends per inch.

Here a yarn is wrapped around one inch on a ruler. The number of wraps per inch in this case is 15. We might say 15 WPI. You can wrap the yarns on a ruler fairly far apart, so they just graze one another, or so the yarns are squashed together. I suggest wrapping the yarns somewhere between these two options; that is, touching one another very closely, but never overlapping.

Compare this illustration with the first one. This illustration represents wrapping—you can see that the threads touch each other. In the first illustration there are spaces between the warps which is what you would see on the loom. Unless a project is warp faced, there is always some space between the warps on the loom. The number of warps in an inch is called the sett or EPI. 

The spaces between the warps in the illustration allow for the wefts to intersect. In this case we have the same yarn for the warp and the weft and a balanced weave with the same number of warps per inch as wefts per inch. (That does not always need to be the case.)

Following the previous illustration, here we see that the wefts take up the spaces between the warps. That’s why there can only be 2 warps per inch (EPI) when there are 4 wraps per inch for this yarn.

It has been determined that there should be 2 EPI (warps per inch). Notice the dotted circles at the top of the illustration: they represent the WRAPS of the warp yarn in an inch. I hope you see the difference now: the warps per inch are what the warps on the loom are. The wraps are used to help figure out how many warps per inch there should be for your project.

5 thoughts on “The Difference Between <strong>Warps</strong> and <strong>Wraps:</strong> a BIG difference besides the spelling!”

  1. HI Peggy:
    Thank you so much for your SO helpful explanations. I am learning so much from you. Could you, if appropriate and when you have time, explain what to do to finish linen woven pieces. I am working on linen placemats and they are stiff, which I like. But is there something I should do to prepare them for use?

    • I like to wash in the machine and as soon as I take it out, I iron it until it’s dry.You want compression after washing. I hard press the cloth when it is damp from washing. I put the cloth on a large breadboaard and iron with a lot of pressure, sliding the iron back and forth warp wise and weft wise. I iron an area, then roll a rolling pin on the area before moving on and ironing and rolling the next area. I iron both sides alternating one side then the other until the cloth is completely dry. If I am impatient and the cloth isn’t perfectly dry, I hang it or lay it flat without disturbing it, so it can dry on grain, and the cloth won’t wrinkle. Ironing gives the luster to linen. You could eliminate the rolling pin and bread board if you don’t like the yarns to flatten so much. I looked up what I wrote about linen and there was a lot but this is what I said I do. Here is what I say in the first paragraph for finishing linen: “New bast fibers are stiff and not very pliable . The application of pressure, or alternating hot and cold water baths, is an effort to break the fiver down somewhat in order to enhaance pliability and increase drape. It is accepted wisdom that linen improves with age. The fiber softens with use and laundering”. I didn’t want to push my beginner book on you but I think you should use it. This information comes from one of my three tomes or reference books with stuff I didn’t put in the beginner book. My website tells about these 3 as well as the beginner book. I have a damaged beginner book I could give you free if you want but you will need the other three, I can tell, Marlie. Otherwise, I’m happy to try to answer your questions or ask other people who might know. I am absolutely loving my foot-of-the-bed blanket. In fact, I’m taking more naps so I can have it around me. Peggy PS I remember a friend taking her “finished” linen napkins to a store. They didn’t want them because people would say they were used. People in the know, know that new linen should be stiff!! I sold mine soft and people liked them. Actually I wanted them to be thick so made them double weave–and soft with sheen.


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