Posted by: Steve | November 9, 2009

Direct Warp a Rigid Heddle Loom for Log Cabin Pattern Scarf

First, yes, I’m learning to weave…

Inspired by a “weave along” or WAL at Weavolution I set out to figure out a way to use the popular direct warp technique to setup my Schacht Flip loom.  Someday, I learn to use a warping board, but the direct warp method has worked well so far!   I wanted to weave a scarf, about 70″ long and 8″ wide in the log cabin pattern.   I probably spent way too much time thinking this through, but on a beautiful “Indian Summer” day here in west-central Ohio, yard work gave me plenty of time to work this out in my head.  It paid off in the results:  it worked!  I had 72 ends (9 groups of 8 ends) pulled through my 8-dent heddle in about an hour.  Another 1/2 hour and the ends were redistributed through the heddle per the draft (essentially, alternate colors).

Here’s how I did it – I assume you’ve worked with direct warping a rigid heddle loom, so you’ve setup your warping peg at the required distance from the warp apron rod of your loom – for my project about 100″ :

I began by setting up my warp supply – two balls of Berroco glace –  behind my loom.  Two colors, black & white, were used.  Since I was creating a warp of 72 ends, I started by counting over 36 holes and slots to the right of the center of my heddle.  The idea here is to center the warp on the loom.  The warp supply ends were tied to the rear apron rod at this point.

Working from Right to Left across the heddle, I started …

  1. Pull a loop of  white (i.e. 2 ends)  into the selected slot and around your warp peg.
  2. Pull a loop of black (again, 2 ends) into the hole immediately to the left.
  3. I skipped the next slot and hole
  4. Pulled through another loop of white (2 ends each) throug the next slot
  5. and a loop of black through the hole immediately to the left
    (8 ends have been pulled through at this point, ending the first pattern “column”)
  6. Now, to create the next “log cabin” pattern column, I skipped the next slot and hole, then pulled through a black loop through the next slot.
  7. And a loop of white through the next hole .
  8. Skipped a slot and hole.  And pulled a black loop through a slot and a white loop through the next hole.

Here what it should look like ( | = heddle slot, o = heddle hole):

|  o  |  o  |  o  |  o  |  o  |  o  |  o  |  o  |
         Ww Bb       Ww Bb       Bb Ww       Bb Ww

      W=white end in final position, w = white end to be moved
      B = black end in final position, b = black end to be moved

 Here’s the start:
Threading started

The paper clip marks the end of the first block of 8 ends as a reminder.  The orange post-it marked the starting slot.  The red line marks the center of the heddle.  You can see the skipped slot/hole combination which will be filled shortly!

Initial threading done:
Initial threading completed (close up)

and here:
Initial threading completed

I wound this warp onto the back beam useing a paper seperator as usual, while tensioning the warp, until about 18″ of warp remained in front of the loom.

Continuing to work from Right to Left, the first move was to take an end from a hole and move it one hole to the left:

|  o  |  o  |  o  |  o  |  o  |  o  |  o  |  o  |
   W     W  Bb W     W  Bb B     B  Ww B     B  Ww

The second (and final) move working from Right to Left, was to take an end from a slot and move it one slot to the left:

|  o  |  o  |  o  |  o  |  o  |  o  |  o  |  o  |
   W  B  W  B  W  B  W  B  B  W  B  W  B  W  B  W

I worked these moves a group at a time completing the redistribution of 8 ends before moving onto the next.

This pattern was repeated across the loom for a total of 72 ends.  The pattern “reverses” every 8 ends –  i.e. two ends of the same color are next to one another at that point.

The warp end re-distribution started:
Warp redistribution started

And finished:
Redistribution of warp completed

The moves from holes worked pretty well with this warp on the Schacht heddle.  Somewhere it seems to me I read that these heddles have larger holes (confirmation please?).

The initial tie-onto the cloth apron rod:
Initial tie on

And a final view prior to tensioning the warp carefully:
All warped!

I’ll post a few photos as the weaving progresses.

Bonne tissage,




  1. I really enjoyed your photos and stories for this and other weaving patterns. Thanks for the great information.


  2. Thanks!! Great help on this pattern.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial. It really helped me understand and get going on my first log cabin piece.

  4. Great!
    I am trying to learn how to read warping diagrams. Your AWESOME diagrams of the heddle make perfect sense to me. could you please tell me what the warping diagram for your pattern would be? Maybe then I could learn to read ones for my cricket loom. One I would like to understand is below!
    Color 1. 7. 17. 7. 17. 7
    Color 2. 1. 1. 1. 1

    Except in my book they are in a nice table with boxes surrounding each number.


    • Thanks!
      While I’m not quite sure what exactly is going on with your warping sequence, likely each number represents the number of “ends” – individual warp yarns – in a specific sequence for the pattern. I suspect it should be interpreted as: “7 warps of color 1; 1 of color 2; 17 of color 1; 1 of color 2; etc. repeated across for the desired width.

      The “log cabin” pattern I used alternates the two colors, then reverses. This is repeated across the desired width. The weft alternates similarly when weaving.

  5. Thanks for this information. It really helped me to understand.

  6. Thank you for your descriptions and pics of each step. I find it very helpful! I am looking forward to warping for this project after I finish the hand towels I am making are done.

  7. Wonderful! I wound up with a hot mess when I followed the original instructions I was given, but yours put me back on track. Much easier to follow, thank you!

  8. New to weaving and want to give this a try. I think I understand the warp process but not sure about the weft. Do you just alternate the black and white?and did you hem stitch it? Thank you!

    • Bobbi,
      The weft is alternated between black/white (dark/light) in the same pattern as the warp for a square looking effect, but different affects can be achieved by using a different weft pattern. A couple of photos of the results are here:

      • Thanks for answering my question. I followed your pattern for my scarf. it is now warped and tied on. Now I am soon going to start the weaving. So far so good.

      • One more question before I start weaving is Do you beat the weft With the heddle or just use the heddle up and down to open the shed? Thanks for all your help.

      • I always use the heddle to beat the weft. How hard is the trick. In this project I used a ribbon yarn and wanted to keep its flat appearance so the beat was light – just enough to position the weft shot evenly across the fell line. So how hard you “beat” will depend on the weft material and the desired outcome. Start weaving and try… you can take it out if needed!

  9. Thanks again for your help. I started it last night and finally figured it out. Yea! Have a great day.

  10. THANKYOU, you are a life saver! It was really easy to follow your advice!

  11. When you begin to weave what is the sequence? One pick white, one black?The fotos seems to show you are weaving the coloumns seperately???

    • Once warped, the weaving is plain weave all the way across the warp. You alternate the two colors chosen – light and dark. For example, the picks would go: L D L D L D D L D L D L L D L D L D… Notice the sequence reverses periodically with two picks of the same color then back to a series of alternating colors.

      When you alternate determines the height of the resulting block pattern. You can match your warp for a nearly square block or even change when you alternate for a more random look.

      • Thank you very much. Warped up and ready to go.

  12. I just found this post and you saved my life (or, a least my sanity). I’m about to attempt this warp and I’m very glad to have this as a reference.

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