Put your warp onto a kitestick rather than chaining it off the warping board. This new method keeps the threads under tension so they can’t tangle. The idea of chaining is to keep the warp threads organized by “crocheting” the warp, using your hand and arm as the crochet hook. However, this is the least desirable method to move your warp because the threads are not under tension and can tangle. A chain is also susceptible to coming un-chained when you least expect it.
Remember: the only thread that can’t tangle is one under tension.
Here’s how to keep the threads under control, under tension, and ready to spread in the raddle (or to fill the reed if you warp from front to back). You’ll wind the warp off the board or reel like a kite string onto a stick. This will keep the warp under tension and in a tidy, easy-to-manage package. A “kitestick” is not a precision instrument. It can be any heavy stick about 1 1/2″ x 1/2″ by 12″, 14″ or more long — with corners, not round like a dowel. It should be smooth but not slippery. I often use a “canvas stretcher” used by artists and available at art supply stores.
Instructions: First, set the brake on your reel to make sure the warp doesn’t come off too fast to manage. Using a kitestick is a lot like winding yarn on a nitty noddy. Follow the illustrations the best you can. If you can’t make it exactly like the illustrations, wind it any which way but keep the threads firm and under tension.
Which end do you begin winding? — the end you don’t need to use next in the loom dressing. If you warp from back to front, start at the threading lease. If you warp from front to back, start at the opposite end of the warp.
How to wind onto the kitestick
With the loop from the chosen end of the warp, form a lark’s head knot over the stick. (Figure A.) Immediately pull the warp against the lark’s head knot, making it firm. (Figure B)
Begin to wind the kitestick with the warp going off to the left, with the loop of the knot behind the warps. If the warp goes off toward the right, turn the stick upside down. If the loop of the knot is in front of the warps, turn the stick so that it’s away from you and behind the warps. Slowly and firmly wind the warp in the direction that tightens the lark’s head knot. This ensures that the warp won’t come loose and will remain under tension. Take the warp with your right hand around behnd the stick, below the knot and then bring the warp diagonally in front of the stick.(Figure C).
Then go around behind the stick, above the knot.(Figure D) You’ve made the first half of an X. Now take the warp diagonally downward, toward the bottom of the knot, making the other side of the X on one face of the stick (Figure E).
Twist the warp lightly in the direction that keeps it in a firm, ropelike mass as you turn the kitestick. This is to take up the slack as it forms. The twists are held in place as the warp is wound onto the kitestick. When the warp comes off the kitestick, all the twists come undone; so you don’t need to worry how many or how few twists you’re putting in. The point is just to keep all the threads tensioned and free of sags as you pull the warp off. You’re not keeping the warp tightly tensioned, just well under control. (Figure J)
The reason the sagging threads appear, is that the top part of the warp “rope” may travel a greater distance than the underneath part of the warp “rope” as the warp goes around the kitestick.When you have the whole warp wound onto your stick, it’s time to spread the warp in your raddle or thread the reed if you thread front-to-back.
Now rotate the stick to the next face, turning the stick in the direction that keeps the warps tight (Figure F).
The trick is to hold the stick with your left hand, in the middle where the warps are accumulating, so you can easily wind above and below the lark’s head knot. (Figure G)
Continue this process of making an X on a face of the stick then moving to the next face, making an X and so on. (Figure H) All of your warp threads should be acting in unison — very much like a thick rope, rather than hundreds of individual threads. If you feel the rope starting to loosen at any point, twist the whole rope of threads as they come off the warping board or reel. Twisting the whole warp in one direction and/or the other will take up any slack if it should develop. The ideal is to get the warp onto the stick as tight and hard as you can. (Figure I)
Taken from Chapter 1: “Warping Your Loom and Tying On New Warps“