Lease sticks give me the willies when I am about to warp the loom. I fight with getting them tied up and sort of level without having the cross slide off! For me, it is the least manageable part of warping.
Note: Though I warp from front to back, this works whether you warp from front to back or vice versa.
I generally wind my warp in manageable sections&emdash;30-40 threads in a chunk. When I am done winding the warp, I have the four legs of the cross tied tightly about an inch and a half from the cross. The string around the cross is tied very loosely, leaving room for the threads within to spread out. I then lay a board across the loom up near the cloth beam, pull out the loose loop around the cross and pin it to the board.
Now the cross is safe and the willies are gone. The loose loop allows easy extraction of each thread, and yet safely corrals them all and keeps disaster well at bay.