O. FAQ 15 – How do I roll up my work as it progresses?

You always want to be in comfortable reach of your heddles, shed rod and weaving line so, as your work progresses and the heddles etc.  get further away you will need to roll  up your work.

Here are the steps to doing so…

Here is the weaving on its loom bar. The warp can be around the loom bar or on a needle and lashed to the bar as above.

Place a second stick, the roll up bar, which should be about the same thickness as your loom bar, under the weaving. Grab both sticks and roll them away from you. In this photo sequence I have only rolled them once.

Place the backstrap cords over the bar that is closer to you. It doesn’t matter which bar ends up in this position. The cord goes over the nearer bar and around the farther bar as shown. You may need to over roll the weaving as  it sometimes unrolls a bit when you put tension on the warp. This happens more often when the backstrap cords are very thin.

Here is one more picture of the backstrap in position with the loom bar and roll up bar…

There are other ways to do this. This is the way I was taught. Weavers in Guatemala roll their weaving above rather than below but I prefer this way as it gives you an unobscured view of  what you have just woven.

You can see this rolling up process in one of the videos in my article on WeaveZine. The part about rolling up the warp sarts at minute 4.15.

Here are a few more pictures of this on a wider warp….

Here is the weaving in progress on its loom bar and the extra rod ready to be used to roll it up.

The extra rod is placed under the weaving as shown.

The two rods are held together and the warp rolled around them.

This is how the backstrap cord goes over the nearer rod and around the farther one.

And here is how it looks ready to go with both backstrap cords in place.

The above method is dependent on having fairly thick backstrap cords. Having the cords wedged between the two bars is what holds everything together. If your backstrap cords are just thin string or cord you will probably find that this system does not work for you. So, here is another option. For this method, you will need long backstrap cords…

Place the second rod on top of the weaving and roll as shown.

Wrap the backstrap cord around the two sticks passing them first under and then up and over towards you. Wrap several times.

Many indigenous weavers have prongs on the end of their loom bars to which they will attach the end of the cord. The cord can also be simply looped around one of the bars or, if you have wrapped tightly enough, wedged between the bars.

I prefer the first method as it is a lot faster to un-hitch from your loom that way.


  1. What an amazing blog! I am a floor loom weaver and just took an intro to Peruvian Backstrap at Firewatch Weavers in Brimfield, Mass, US. I read somewhere, maybe it was another place this link was posted that someone was having trouble getting the rolled up fabric to actually stay rolled up…me too! I quadruple checked the pics and video directions and it just unrolls every time, all the way back to my waist. Safety pins sort of work, but the tension is uneven, very unsatisfactory. Not sure what I am missing!

    • Possible solutions…1. The roll up stick should be as close in thickness to the loom bar as possible.
      2. The straps on your backstrap should be thickish…not just a piece of string.
      3. You roll under and the backstrap straps go over the first bar and around the second.
      4. You should roll up more than necessary allowing it to then unroll a turn back to the right spot when you put tension on it.
      5. If you have a lot of fabric rolled up and it is quite thick around your loom bar, this system will not work and you need to use another system (but I am really talking about a lot of fabric here)

      EDITED TO ADD….I added pictures to show another roll up method for those who have thin straps on their backstraps.

  2. Thanks Laverne for the help, I will give it a try today. I am guessing that my backstrap is too thin, that’s likely the issue.

  3. Hi Laverne!
    I have a question about rolling up long warps…so let’s say I have a warp that is many many feet long which I want to cut and piece together when it’s woven up. My question is if I have a very small space to work in, can I roll up the unwoven warp and unroll it as the weaving progresses? And if I can, how do I keep the tension evenly distributed? I find that threads like to fall between each other and as a result, some are slack and others are really tight, but the tension is perfect when it is stretched out. Help please!

    • Yes, you can roll up the warp. I roll it up with paper or thin cardboard between the layers to avoid the problem you mention.

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