Weaving Hint ~ Keeping Heddles on the Shafts

Have you ever had heddles (Texsolv or string) slide off the ends of your lower shaft bars? I have. About 17 years ago, I learned an easy, inexpensive fix for this from Ken Colwell…

Take a length of strong thread (seine twine, cotton), measure twice the length of the lower shaft bar plus a few inches extra. Thread it through the small hole at one end of the shaft bar (front to back), take it along the length, in back, thread through the small hole at the other end (back to front), and tie the ends together at front center. Make sure the string, both in front and back of the lower shaft bar is OUTSIDE the heddles. This will keep the bottom of the heddles from sliding off. If you place the string inside the heddles, they will slide off. This works for both Texsolv and string heddles.

I usually use this method on my looms. Not long ago I moved heddles on my countermarche, and neglected to put these strings on my CM shafts. Yes, a few heddles went sliding off the lower shaft bar. I was finishing weaving the hem of a towel and didn’t notice right away that the first shaft was hanging up on the right side. After removing the temple, I found a few floats at the right side of the hem which were easily repaired, but could have been avoided. These strings will be back on every shaft on the CM loom before I begin weaving again on Wednesday.

Tuesday? Socks, all day!

3 thoughts on “Weaving Hint ~ Keeping Heddles on the Shafts”

  1. My mother passed this hint on to me a couple years ago and I put the strings on my loom as you describe but then I found it troublesome to add or remove heddles from the shafts. If I untied the string at one end to move heddles around, it would inevitably flop to the floor out of reach or get tangled up somewhere. Instead, I’ve tied strings in a figure 8 through the holes in the top and bottom heddle bar on each shaft. Yes, that means it’s possible that my texsolv heddles might still flop off the top of the shaft but they can’t go anywhere or get out of order if they do. Swooping them back into place when this happens only takes a second is easier for me than chasing down a 60″ long dangling thread.

  2. Interesting tip! I’m very curious about all things Texsolv at the moment….just purchased my second loom – a Toika countermarch that I’m re-furbishing and putting back together. I’ll be very interested in the operation of your drawloom too! have seen pictures of amazing things created on drawlooms, but I’ve never seen anything beyond the few drawloom pictures on retail sites.

  3. Hi Janet, I’ve found replacing the strings on the bottom of the shaft bars is quick and easy. I expect there are other methods of accomplishing the same thing. Interesting, learning other methods. Sue, wonderful about your Toika. As for the drawloom, I am so looking forward to weaving on it again. I’ve had both Glimakra looms for 25+ years. Love the hanging beater and rear-hinge treadles, makes weaving a pleasure.There are a few drawloom books out there, some OOP, some in Swedish. Complex Weavers has a double harness study group you might want to look into if you ever decide you want to add a draw harness device to your loom.

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