How I Warp My Loom

This is how I warped my loom. I’m not saying it’s the only way or even the correct way. I have since received a book on Navajo rug-making and most of the stuff I’ve done so far has been pretty correct. One thing I forgot to do was add selvage cords to the sides of my rug. Oh well, next time.

I don’t have as many pictures for this process as I should but we shall persevere!!


The first thing you have to do is come up with some kind of “warping frame.” I used two modified saw-horses but I wouldn’t recommend this. If you can, build a square (like we did for the loom) and use it. The two main things your warping frame must do are

  • Keep your warp dowels parallel
  • Keep your warp dowels stationary

Misc Note – I marked my warp dowels every 1/8th inch so I would know how to space my warps

After you have attached the warp dowels to the warping frame tie one end of your warp to one of the dowels. It doesn’t matter which one. Now wrap the warp around the dowels in an over and under manner so that your warp forms a figure 8. (Of course, I did an under over wrap but hey, it works.) After you have enough warps for the width of your rug, tie the end of the warp to the dowel that you did not tie to already. In other words if you were looking at the picture above and you tied the beginning of the warp to the dowel on your left, you would tie the end of the warp to the dowel on your right.

Here’s another picture showing why you shouldn’t use saw-horses. Ack, what a pain that was.


Ok, now that we have the warp on the dowels it’s time to add the selvage cord at the ends. This is hard to explain but easy to do.

Measure and cut a piece of yarn that is approximately three times as long as your rug is wide. For example, if your rug is one foot wide, your piece of yarn will be about three feet long. Fold the piece of yarn in half so you know where the middle is. Now slide one end of the yarn into/under your first warp until you reach the middle. Twist the yarn once and slide the other end under the second warp. Repeat until you’ve twisted/slid the yarn under every warp. It should look something like this


Tie off the yarn with a square knot. Repeat on the other end.

I don’t have a picture for this particular step so work with me. When you look at the warp from the side you see a figure 8 (refer to one of the pictures above). The two open spaces in that figure 8 are called “sheds”. You must slide an additional dowel into each of those sheds. You are doing this because we are going to remove the warping dowels and reattach them on the outside of the warp. These two “shed sticks” will help with the re-attachment and also maintain the integrity of the figure 8.

Maybe this next pic will help


Yes those are broom handles. I was desperate.

Here we are reattaching the warp to the warp dowels.


I am using one of the shed sticks to hold the warp straight as I lace it to the warp dowel. First, tie the end of your lacing cord to the warp dowel. Then use the crochet hook to pull a loop up between the first two warps. Feed your ball of cord through this loop and pull tight. Make another loop, etc. Repeat until all the warp has been laced to the warp dowel. Do the same thing on the other end of the warp.

Ok, you’re all warped, laced and ready to go. Now you just have to attach the warp to the loom. This is the easiest part.


All you do is tie one warp dowel to the bottom crossmember of the loom (this becomes the bottom) and tie the other warp dowel to the tension rod at the top.

Tighten the tension rope until your warp is good and tight and get to weaving. What are you waiting for????