J. FAQ 10 – How do I open the sheds on wide and/or sticky warps?

Here is a video showing how to open the sheds on a warp wider than that which is usually used for bands.

This warp yarn is mercerized cotton and is smooth and friendly. The sheds open easily.

When weaving even wider pieces with finer and not-so-friendly yarns, other methods are used to help ease open the heddle shed.

The following video shows a couple of methods for opening the heddle shed on wide and sticky warps. It also shows how to open heddles when two are in use, for example, when weaving Andean pebble weave.

And what about the shed rod shed? That shed can be hard to clear too particularly when you are working with wool or very fine warps. The following video shows how I strum my warps to loosen and separate them just enough to be able to open the shed. After the first video segment there is a small clip of Felicia in Candelaria which shows how she strums her warp threads with the point of her wooden tool. She is working on an oblique loom.

I have a new video on Operating a Backstrap Loom which is available for streaming or as a dvd from Taproot Video.  View the preview here.





  1. Laverne, I just wanted to tell you that your videos on sticky warps were tremendously helpful. I had an awful time on a band, and I think it was one specific color that threw off so much fiber. Anyway, thank you!!!

    • You are welcome, Kim! You almost need a different shed-opening strategy for each kind of yarn. It’s nice to have a few different tricks up the sleeve.

  2. Thank you so much! I assembled a backstrap loom only yesterday and am in the process of discovering all the quirks. I chose a too sticky acrylic yarn for my first project, but with these tips I think I’ll manage. I love your work and your teaching!
    Ever since I saw backstrap weaving in action when I was in Ecuador more than twenty years ago, somewhere in the back of my head there’s been a wish to try it myself. With your information and assistance I dived in and am quite possibly becoming hooked. Thanks again!

    • Hi Marieke. Thanks for this nice message. I hope you have managed to ”tame” that sticky acrylic!

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