Peggy’s Weaving Tips > How to pre-sley the reed


Instead of using a raddle when setting up the loom, you might use a reed instead, to spread out the warp for beaming. The Swedes use a coarse reed they would normally have around for their rug projects. This reed is only used for beaming the warp–another reed that is the size for the cloth to be made is used for weaving.Set up at a table with the bulk of the warp weighted down with something heavy, like a book. The lease should be held safely on lease sticks that are tied together 1″ apart, and the uncut warp loops should be held on the end stick with a secure string.

All the warp is behind the reed. The order is: weighted bulk at one end, lease sticks next, then end stick, and finally the reed. You are on the opposite side of the reed from the warp so you can pull the end loops through the dents and then put them onto an end stick on your side of the reed.

You must pull complete warp loops through because the reed isn’t open on top like a raddle. (If you made your warp one thread at a time, each end loop is two warp threads. Often when this is the case, you pull several loops through a dent and skip some dents so the warp is spaced evenly out to the full warp’s width.) Another example is if you used four threads in a paddle to make the warp, each loop of the warp has eight threads. If your sett is sixteen ends per inch and your pre-sley reed is eight dents per inch, you would fill one dent with one end loop’s worth of threads (eight threads) and skip three dents. Remember to keep the lease intact for later.

Pre-sleying a Reed A

Pre-sleying a Reed A

To begin pre-sleying, take all the warp loops off the end stick and put your left hand through the loops, putting all the loops on your left wrist. Otherwise, if your warp is wide, you can put a section at a time on your wrist. If you are left handed, use your right wrist if it’s more comfortable for you. See Figures A and B.

Pre-sleying a Reed B

Pre-sleying a Reed B

Pre-sleying a Reed C

Pre-sleying a Reed C

Keep two sticks nearby so you can put the loops on them in case you need to leave the job. Using a sley hook, draw the warp loops through the dents, skipping dents as planned. Slip each pulled-through loop onto your right wrist. Be careful to take the loops as they come from the reed without twisting them when you put them on your wrist. When all the loops are on your wrist, put them onto an end stick. See Figure C. In checking for unwanted twists, make sure the threads on the top of the lease stick closer to the reed go onto the top of the end stick. Tie the ends of the stick with a string to hold the loops on securely. This is really done quite easily. See Figure D. You don’t need to be well coordinated.

Pre-sleying a Reed D

Pre-sleying a Reed D

The above information can be found in  Book 1: “Winding a Warp and Using a Paddle.”

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