UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

January 15, 2011

Swift= warping board: yarn flow diagram.

Filed under: equipment, weaving — Tags: , , , , — UndyedYarnpire @ 2:05 pm

I came up with a method to create warp pieces of yarn that will allow them to be individually tied on in any order. This is extremely common, and the only way to warp a regular (non-rigid heddle) loom. My method involves using my swift with two layers of pegs and a yarn path that owes something to string art. But from a swift with arms about 2 feet long, I was able to come up with a path 100 inches long using only 9 pegs.

swift warping board with diagram

This will allow me to cut all the warp colors in advance and string them through the heddle in any order. In my first warping attempt there was slack between colors because one was tied on and the other merely wrapped around the bar. Not to mention that the physical demands of direct warping required a lot of up and down and alternated close up detail work with big motions. I found it painful to do for an hour. Using the warping board, and in my case it rotates, only requires me to sit while wrapping. Later when I am sleying the heddle, there will be a lot of detail work in a row, but hopefully the lack of alternation will allow me to find a more comfortable position for my back.

The other benefit is that this does not stretch all the way across my living room and disturb my husband with me walking in front of the television.

Longer warps would require more pegs (for diminishing additional lengths while increasing the awkwardness of loading) or longer swift arms.

(The swift is the walnut version of the Mama Bear from Oregon Woodworker. It took me 2 years to talk myself into buying one and I had a great shopping experience buying at Stitches West 2010. The man who makes them included the extra set of taller pegs. There is a competing swift with sliders, but that would have prevented my using it as a warping board.)



  1. What a clever idea! I’ll have to buy some more pegs for my Will Taylor skeiner, the same idea should work on it. Thanks!

    Comment by Amelia Garripoli — January 16, 2011 @ 10:11 am

    • Thanks! (I feel thrilled that someone whose blog and Rav posts I read for information found something I did useful.)

      It was not my idea. The web page for the Mama Bear swift actually says it replaces a warping board. But they did not say how to get something bigger than the standard skein size. What I came up with works with my parameters and manages not to be completely annoying to actually use. I wound 450 yards of warp in three colors yesterday without straining anything or being sore anywhere.

      I do have one further recommendation, it really helps if you have some (slightly) taller pegs for the inner ring. If you have more pegs, you might try adding another ring, but I only had 9 and there are diminishing returns. Plus, one of my parameters was that the project could not require me to go to the hardware store on a Saturday. :-)

      Comment by UndyedYarnpire — January 16, 2011 @ 11:28 am

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