Thrums: trash or treasure

We received the following email:

What do people do with the left over warp after they’ve cut the project from the loom? I don’t want to waste all that yarn.

Here are my ideas. What are yours?


There are two schools of thought about thrums (ie the left overs on the loom after you have woven your cloth).

  1. Those who say throw them away immediately because otherwise you will get buried in thrumbs.
    You don’t have to put them in the rubbish bin. You can donate them to preschools, to felters if the thrums are woolen or can be included in felt, to embroiderers if they are interesting threads, to tapestry weavers if they are fine enough but you have to choose a tapestry weaver who makes small tapestries rather than wall sized ones that need pounds of the same yarn, etc.
  2. Those who cannot bear to part with any of their yarns. They tend to end up with bags of thrums stashed in odd corners all over their house.
    You can minimise the amount of thrumbs that you generate by tying on. That is: thread a loom in the ordinary way. Weave it off but don’t cut the cloth off the loom. Wind a new warp onto the back beam. Knot each end to it’s mate coming out the back of each heddle. Keep weaving your first cloth until the knots make it too awkward. Then all you have to do is pull the knots through the heddles and reed, tie onto the front and start weaving the new cloth.
    The advantage of tying on is that you only have to thread the heddles and sley the reed once per weave structure. In reality, you will probably have to resley for different grists of yarn but don’t worry too much if the width on the back beam is only slightly wider/narrower than the front beam (unless you are putting on very long warps).

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