Warping is the preparation of the warp threads known as ends which run vertically from top to bottom of the cloth. They are set out in a pre-determined colour pattern, which is created by the designer. The number of threads in the warp varies according to the fineness of the yarn and the density and width of the fabric required.
Warping was originally carried out by hand on warping stakes, a process which is still sometimes used for short sample lengths and design blankets. For production runs the warp yarns are wound from cones onto a warp mill in the pre-determined colour sequence.
When the warp is ready it is wound onto a circular bean and 'drawn' through individual heddles on shafts. These shafts are raised and lowered in the loom to determine the warp and weft interlacing.
From the heddles the threads are sleyed through a reed, which is essentially a comb, to determine the fixed width in loom and the regular spacing of warp threads.