Have you ever wondered how a weaver can create both a fine weaving and a thicker weaving using the same loom? One way to accomplish this is to change the density of your warp (aka vertical strings).
So what’s the difference between low density vs high density warping?
Low Density Warping is when there is more space between each of the warp strings. With more space between each string, there will be fewer strings across the same width of warp. This is great for beginners or when you want to create a project using roving wool or thicker yarns.
High Density Warping is when the warp strings are much closer together. With the strings closer together, you end up with more of them across the same width of warp. This is useful when you want to create highly detailed weaves with various shapes or if you simply want a tighter looking weaving.
So how can you create a low or high density warp on the same loom?
Low Density Warping
Let’s start with low density warping first.
For this demonstration, I’ll be using my own little cardboard loom. You may recall that I used it to create these beginner-level DIY Woven Coasters:
If you have a store-bought or homemade notch loom (named for its notches across the top and bottom), you can follow along.
(Note: For those with peg looms, namely looms with pegs instead of notches along the top and bottom, I’ll have a few words to share about them at the end of this post.)
To create a low density warp, slide the tail end of your warp string into your first chosen notch.
Here is a bird’s eye view.
Next, pull the yarn string down and slide into the corresponding notch directly below.
Wrap the string around the back side of the small flap and back up through the notch to the right.
Here is a bird’s eye view of the string wrapped around the flap.
And here’s a view of what that looks like on the back (flipped over so that the bottom edge is now at the top) .
Flip the loom back down.
Next, pull the warp string upwards.
Tuck the string into the next notch.
Then wrap the yarn around the back side of the flap and pull through the next notch.
Continue repeating these steps until you are satisfied with the width of your warp.
High Density Warping
When creating a high density warp (i.e., more vertical strings that are closer together), you start in the same way as you do with low density warping.
Tuck your tail into the first notch along the top, pull down, tucking the string into the corresponding notch below. Wrap the string around the flap and to the right, pulling the yarn through the second notch and then back up.
Now, get ready to start creating a higher density warp.
Instead of tucking the yarn you’ve pulled upwards into the notch to the right, tuck it into the first notch again. Yes, you read that correctly. Go back to that first notch.
As before, wrap the yarn around the back and pull through the second notch to the right.
Pull the yarn down and tuck it into the corresponding notch along the bottom, which already has a yarn string tucked into it.
Wrap around the back of the flap and tuck into the notch to the right. Then pull the yarn upwards towards the top and tuck into the second notch one more time.
Here is a full view of what you’ve created so far.
Repeat the steps, making sure that you have tucked the yarn into each notch twice as you make your way across. By tucking your yarn into the same notch twice, you are creating a dense warp across the loom.
Here is a side-by-side comparison.
It’s really that easy!
A Word About Peg & Nail Looms
If you have a peg loom (pegs across the top and bottom) like this one…
…you will not be able to create any higher density than is set by the pegs (at least not that I am aware of).
If you have your own DIY Nail Loom, however, like this one that I made,
…then you have the luxury of setting your nails as close as you’d like.
(To see how to make your own, see “How To Make a Basic Loom”)
I set mine at a quarter inch apart, which can create tight weaves, like this DIY Woven Pillow.
And then, if you want to create a lower density warp, simply wrap your warp strings around every second nail. (The same applies when creating lower density warps with notch looms).
Versatility in weaving is key when you begin experimenting with different shapes, designs and yarns. The more options you have with your loom, the more opportunities you have to maximize its usefulness. I hope this tutorial helps you see just how flexible you can be when using the same loom for all your weaving projects, big and small.
Happy weaving 🙂