Beaming off is the transfer of the warp threads from the big warping wheel to the warp beam which goes into the back of the loom. It used to be the most physically exhausting step in the whole process, but we’ve recently motorised it.
To keep a good tension on the warp threads, we have to put a brake on the warping wheel while we beam off. This makes turning the wheel very hard work. We used to beam off by winding a handle, but are really happy to use a motor now. Having our hands free also allows us to constantly check for tension and the right spacing along the edges.
One heavy bit of work remains unchanged however. We still have to carry the warp beam from the stone byre to the weaving shed, which can be a challenge when the winter gales are whirling around shed corners.