Making and Fixing Spaghetti

No matter what the actual topic of my in-person weaving classes happens to be, there’s always someone who says that some random, unrelated tip is the best thing they’ve learned that day. It’s usually a tip for fixing a problem that they’ve struggled with several times, and more often than not it’s this simple trick for fixing warp snags. 

You know how it is: your shuttle catches some stray warp thread that was up too high or down too low in the shed. When you go back to fix it you wind up snagging another thread, then another, then another. Before long, the weft is zigzagging back and forth in the shed and has created a mess.

Since I seem to find myself weaving with white on white often, what I wind up staring at is a big, white tangle of yarn that I decided at some point looks like a plate of spaghetti noodles – maybe I was hungry, or maybe I was just trying to put a positive spin on things! At any rate, I have called this phenomenon “spaghetti” ever since.

The sensible thing to do when this happens is simply to cut the thread. I’ve untangled spaghetti countless times over the past 30 years and I know others have as well, and not once has any weaver I know received a medal for untangling spaghetti instead of just cutting it out.

I am rarely sensible, however, so I usually take snagged weft as a personal challenge issued by my warp. Occasionally – rarely! – there’s actually a good reason to not cut: the yarn is precious or expensive or in limited supply and I don’t want to waste it, for instance. Usually, though, it’s just me being stubborn and refusing to let the warp win.

Fortunately, it’s actually really easy to fix skips without making spaghetti, or to fix spaghetti if it somehow manages to make itself. All you have to do is ignore the sheds that the treadles create, and make a shed with the yarn itself.

The following video shows you how to do exactly that.