After you've completed the beadwork portion of your design on a traditional beading loom, you need to devote some time to weaving all of those pesky warp thread tails into your beadwork to hide them.
Coming soon: "No warps" methods for beading on a loom. Subscribe to the Beadwork Newsletter for updates.
In this tutorial, we weave-in the warp tails on beadwork made using the free Moroccan Coral Bracelet Pattern. We also use a couple of those tails to create beaded loops for attaching a clasp.
Please click on any image in this tutorial for a full-size view.
1. Remove the Warp Threads From the Front of the Loom
After creating your beadwork on your loom, loosen all four wing nuts on its frame.
Turn each warp bar toward the middle of the loom until the warp threads on both ends are completely unwound. If you used the winding method to warp your loom, use the tips of beading scissors to gently pry the looped thread off of the warp anchor on the front end of the loom (as shown in the photo on the left).
If you used the no-wind method to warp your loom, you'll need to use your beading scissors or hobby knife (such as an Xacto) to cut the thread free.
2. Remove the Warp Threads From the Back of the Loom
Turn the loom around. If you used the winding method to warp your loom, remove the pieces of masking tape you used to hold down the threads. Unwrap both bundles of threads from around the warp anchor.
If you used the no-wind method to warp your loom, simply lift the threads off of the warp anchor.
3. Trim the Ends of the Warp Threads
You need the warp threads to be long enough to weave-in easily, but short enough to be manageable. Trim them down to no shorter than about 8 inches on both ends of your beadwork. (If your warp threads aren't quite that long, do not trim the ends that were on the front of the loom at all, and make just one cut through the middle of the back warp threads to free them up for weaving-in.)
Tip: Remember that you should only use beading scissors to trim the warps if they are nylon beading thread or cord (such as Nylon or C-Lon). If you used FireLine or PowerPro, use children's crafts scissors, a hobby knife, or other scissors designed for use with polyethylene threads.
4. Thread the Needle and Start Weaving-In
Thread a size 12 beading needle onto one of the outermost warp thread tails. Start to weave-in by passing through two adjacent beads in the second row down, entering the beadwork from the edge. Pull the thread very gently taut. (If you pull too tightly, your beadwork will pucker.)
Tip: As you pass the needle through beads, try to keep it as close to the upper inside edges of the beads as possible to avoid splitting the existing thread.
Keep in mind that on one edge of your beadwork, two thread tails will emerge instead of one. One of these is the tail of the weft thread (rather than a warp). You can wait to weave-in the weft tail until you've dealt with all of the warp threads.
Note: Although the beadwork is shown lying flat in the photos, you should actually do the weaving-in with the beadwork held in your fingers.
5. Weave Through More Rows
Switch direction and pass through the next two adjacent beads in the third row down, bringing the needle out at the edge. Pull the thread gently taut again.
Continue this process, stitching through two beads in one direction and then two beads in the other, until your thread exits the first two beads in the tenth row.
I've drawn this thread path in blue on the photo on the left. (Please click the image for a full-size view.)
6. Finish Weaving-In the First Warp
From the tenth row, weave back through the same two beads in the ninth row, and then through the same two beads in the tenth row once again. This helps to fill up the bead holes with thread so that the thread is more secure. (Please click on the image on the left to see the thread path.)
Pull the thread taut and cut it close to the beadwork. In the example, I'm using a thread burner, which makes a great cut, shrinks back the end of the thread, and can be used with both nylon and polyethylene beading threads.
7. Weave-In the Second Warp Thread
Thread the needle onto the next warp thread, and weave it in using the same type of thread path: pass through two beads, switch direction, pass through the next two beads, and so on. When your needle exits the tenth row down, you can cut the thread close to the beadwork. (You do not need to make a double pass to secure the thread like you did for the first warp.)
8. Keep Weaving-In
Keep weaving-in warps, but skip the center warp (if your beadwork has an even number of vertical columns) or skip one of the two warps that is adjacent to the center bead in the end row (if your beadwork has an odd number of columns). You can come back later and use that thread to make a loop for your clasp.
When you reach the second-to-last warp thread tail, you'll start to run out of columns. To begin weaving-in that thread (shown on the left), pass through the two adjacent beads in the end row, and then weave-in as usual.
9. Weave-In the Last Warp Thread on This End
Weave-in the last warp thread on this end the same way you wove-in the first warp thread, but cut the thread after it exits the ninth (rather than the tenth) row. This keeps the ends of the thread facing inward, which makes it easier to hide.
10. Weave-In the Weft Tail on This End
Thread the needle onto the weft tail. To weave it in, pass through two or three beads in the last row, then weave back and forth through the beadwork for three or four rows. This should be enough to secure this thread, because by now the beads are filled with quite a bit of thread. Cut the thread close to the beadwork, as usual.