The standard method suggested to fix broken warp is to take a fresh length of yarn as long as the remaining length to be woven, secure it to the cloth already woven, and weave that while discarding the broken warp thread.
Perhaps because I came to weaving from knitting, with a sizeable stash of expensive knitting yarn, I could never really stomach this method. And since I can see no reason why the same method cannot be applied also “in reverse”, this is exactly what I did to fix my very first broken warp thread in my very first project.
So with this method, depending on where the broken warp is, the yarn needed is at most the length between the between the front and the back beam. Should the break occur during winding, just knot the two broken ends, and deal with the knot once it approaches the fell line (the case in the pictures below)
Saving yarn gives me great satisfaction, and thought I am sure I am not the first person who has thought of this, I could not find it online, so I am reporting it here.
The first part is the usual one:
- take a length of yarn and thread it in the same heddle as the broken warp thread, along the warp.
- Secure a pin (a sewing pin or a T-pin) to the cloth parallel to the fell line, so that the pin head is just to the side of the woven part of the warp thread you have to replace.
- Secure the front end of the replacement warp to the pin, e.g. by making several figures of 8 using the two ends of the pin.
- tension the replacement warp thread by weighing with something at the back – a possible solution is to stick it between two yarn cones. Just make sure that the weight is not excessive as to break the replacement warp!
- if dealing with a knot, cut the old warp thread after the knot, and place both ends out of the way temporarily – the end closest to the cloth beam will be snipped out later, the (long) end going to the back beam will be rejoined.
- weave. Depending on how slippery the yarn is, you want to weave a few cm, as the replacement warp thread will be cut.
Now with the usual procedure you would keep weaving until the end, and then discard the old warp thread, whatever its length. To avoid that:
- after weaving the desired length, take another pin and secure it parallel to the (new) fell line; attach to it the old warp thread, pulling it hard enought that it is in tensioned as the rest of the warp. This definitely works on a rigid heddle loom and on a table loom. Maybe on a floor loom, where the warp is more tensioned, something thicker than a pin is needed.
- cut the replacement warp, and pull it out of the heddles; remove the pin that secured it to the cloth (not a good idea to remove it before cutting, to avoid the tension pulling out the woven relacement thread)
- weave as normal. After weaving enough cm that the warp is now securely woven into the cloth, remove the second pin. Done, and you’ll just trim the ends that stick out of the cloth later.