Peggy’s Weaving Tips > Why Use a Paddle?

This is taken from my Book #1, Winding a Warp & Using a Paddle. It’s the reason to use one. Which type you choose depends upon what feels the most comfortable for you. Read about the various types and methods in the paddle chapter, beginning on page 61.


Weaving with a Paddle A
Weaving with a Paddle A

Why use a paddle?
Carrying three, four, or more threads without making a thread-by-thread lease can lead to problems. Here’s why. No matter how you twist and turn two threads as you carry them back and forth or round and round, two threads can always be easily separated —they can only be joined in a spiral, like
two-ply yarn, which you may know

Weaving with a Paddle B
Weaving with a Paddle B

from experience can be separated easily. Three, four, or more ends are a different story. More than two ends will inevitably braid up on each other, as you know all too well if you have ever tried knitting with three or more colors. By the end of a row, you have a tangle of yarns to untwine.
The same principle applies to your passes at the warping board or reel. The paddle gives you a tool that keeps the yarns separated, in order, under uniform tension—and untangled. It also gives you an easy way to pick a thread-by-thread figure eight where you need it at the threading lease, while allowing you easily to make a group lease at the raddle lease.

Limits of the Paddle
It is possible to paddle 20 or more ends at a time. But like any tool, the value of a paddle has limits:
1. You need a separate yarn package for every separate end. You can see that this puts a limit on the time-savings of the paddle—winding 20-spools could well take you more time than you’d save.
To ensure equal tension, these packages should be of the same weight and of the same type. So try not to use a four-pound cone, a three-pound cone, a 10-ounce ball, and a 10-ounce spool. Use all cones, all balls, or all spools and, if possible,
wind them so that each package weighs the same amount—with enough yardage to measure out the whole warp.
If you must use a variety of packages, you need to put a bit of drag on all of them, just enough to equalize the tension. A tension box will do the trick, or you can weave the threads through the back of a chair.
2.There is a practical number of threads to use in your paddle.
• You can use the number of threads that will go in each raddle section. This is what I try for and recommend.
• If you’d rather carry more threads than are in one raddle group, you can use a multiple of that number. Just be sure to leave a section of the paddle unthreaded in between the groups so you can easily distinguish one raddle group from the other and keep them separate when you’re making the raddle leases.
• You can use half as many threads as will go in each raddle section—you might want to do this if you don’t have enough yarn packages
for a whole group.
If you dress the loom from front to back and don’t use a raddle, there is no limit to the number of ends you can paddle—but remember you’ll need a separate yarn package for each end.
3. Your warp’s design is a consideration. If your warp design calls for many color changes, it might not be practical to use a paddle because you would be stopping to change the colors in it so often.

3 thoughts on “Peggy’s Weaving Tips > Why Use a Paddle?”

  1. Hi Peggy,
    my name is Randie, and I have been weaving for almost 4 years now. I finally took the plunge and bought a vertical warping reel with brake. I like to use multiple yarns for my warp and I was wondering if you have any words of wisdom for using a paddle with the reel?
    I have DVD’s from Handwoven, but they only show warping one thread at a time. I have been known to use up to 11 different colors.

    Thank you,
    All alone in Clarksville, VA

  2. Peggy I have the three books series you mention but I would still like to see a video on using a paddle to warp multiple ends. Could you make a video for warping 7 ends on a warping board?

    • Dear Sandra,
      Sorry for the delay in answering you. I don’t have a plan to make a video but I think my latest edition of my book gives a very good description of the paddle details, including what to do with an uneven number of threads on page 79. If you don’t have that book or edition, let me know your address and I’ll send you a copy as my holiday gift. Making a video was the hardest thing I’d ever done at that time and I still remember how hard and expensive it was. I might suggest that you ask someone to read you the directions in the book while you do them. Maybe make a recording. What do you think. I am giving a free book to people who buy a book over the holidays. You’re entitled to one because you have 3 books already. The book is the Third Edition that I have to send you. Let me hear from you. Here’s my email address:
      PS Also you can email me with questions.
      PPS I’ll be leaving for India on Jan 10 so contact me early. I’ll get emails, but probably my replies will be hasty if ever because we have been warned it’s to be a busy fast paced trip.


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