Category Archives: drawloom

Studio Days and Inspiration

Today and tomorrow are studio days, for working on and at looms and sock machine. My time to work here has been so broken up the last couple weeks, that I have not getting much done. Too many interruptions lately, demands on my time, errands, appointments, and I’ve called a halt.


This morning the drawcord warp was trimmed where each cord is tied to a pattern heddle. There were approximately 3″+ tails left on each when they were tied awhile back, and pulling the cords was causing those ends to wrap around themselves and their neighbors (above).


All I could see to do was cut those ends off, so they were trimmed to 1″. So far there has been no further problem. The old drawcord warp was a thicker linen with a slightly waxy finish on it, and the knots were tight and held. With the seine twine, I have not been able to tie good tight knots, so hoping they will hold.

The next task today, when I’m done here, is lashing the tie-on rod onto the apron, so large-eye needle, string, and pliers are standing by. When I’m done with that, I’ll tie the 20/2 cotton warp on, then be able to pull the pins out of the upper jacks and check to see if I have a shed and how much adjusting needs to be done (next post).

I have always enjoyed visiting artists studios, seeing how and where they work. It was something I did each summer when going to The Looms. Now, living where I do, these opportunities are rare, so I turn to books like…


those of Rice Freeman-Zacher, author of “Living the Creative Life, Ideas and Inspiration from Working Artists” and her new book, “Creative Time and Space, Making Room for Making Art.”


I also enjoy publications like American Artist’s “Studios” magazine (left), for fine artists, and “Studios” (right) by Cloth.Paper.Scissors, for artists working in paper/collage/fibers/art quilts.

WI weaver Dawn MacFall is featured in this issue. Fun and interesting reads that give ideas for my studio that may work for me here or in the future.


While ordering “Creative Time and Space” on Amazon, I suddenly remembered an article that had been in an issue of Shuttle, Spindle & Dyepot (Winter 2008/2009), “Kimono as Art: The Landscapes of Itchiku Kubota.” This book and the work of Itchiku Kubota is incredibly beautiful. Pure inspiration! A treasure!

Every Day is an Adventure

Yesterday I was UNtangling pattern heddles under the drawloom. Here you can see the pattern heddles and lingos are now hanging straight, not the tangled mess shown in the previous post.

Half of the tangled heddles on the other side of the loom were also straightened out last night, and now have only 50 or so to finish up today.

This silk weaver in Cambodia has an interesting double harness loom, with the ground shafts in back and 16 pattern shafts in front. I would love to know more about this loom as well as see the weaving she does on it. I found her last night on Kiva.org, and made another microloan. I am SO enjoying this!

Like elsewhere across the country, WI is having unusual weather for this time of year. Last night the weatherman said it is usually Nov. 24th when we have a couple inches of snow. Well, we have the couple inches of snow on Oct. 12 and as I wrote this it is only 32 outside at 10:15 AM.

Bringing wood in this morning, from the wood rack on the porch to the woodbox in the kitchen, I noticed the icicles on the remains of a hanging plant on the porch, with a backdrop of birch leaves that have not yet fallen.

Postscript: The above photos were taken about 9:15 AM; by 11:30 the snow was melting and it is now looking more like our usual fall. I’m on dial-up, loading photos to Blogger takes TIME, and circumstances change!

Drawcords Tied to Pattern Heddles

Today, the drawcord warp ends, those needed for this warp, were tied to the pattern heddles. You may recall the (overhead) drawcord warp was made the weaving width of the loom, and those cords not needed for this weaving will be pulled up and out of the way.

In front of the weaver, there is a wood bar with several “hooks.” This is to hook individual or groups of drawcord warps which are pulled, according to the charted design, raising those groups of threads up above the rest of the warp, weaving proceeds, then they are released and lowered again. I’m looking forward to showing these things with actual weaving, but for now, trying to give a simple explanation with words of what you are seeing in the photos.

I also cut Texsolv cord in the two lengths needed for the treadles, in this case, 16 cords (8 long and 8 short) and singed the ends to make them easier to pass through holes in the lamms and treadles. Unlike a regular countermarche loom, the drawloom will have only two ties on each treadle, one to raise, one to lower, the other shafts stay in a neutral position.

This evening, I ran into Fiona and son Luke at a store tonight. She had looked at this blog again today and said she now has a whole new appreciation for handwoven textiles, and the preparation needed to make them. They are coming to the studio Friday morning, on the art tour and I am looking forward to their visit.

I was hoping to get more done tonight, but I’m going to get a good night’s rest so I can start early and do a lot more on the drawloom tomorrow. In the morning, we’re putting the center cords back down through the shafts, adding the lamms and treadles, and tieing up the treadles for the 8 shaft satin weave. Then I’ll thread the ground shafts (long-eye heddles). I’m getting a step or two closer every day.

Pattern Heddles are Done!

It is 3 AM, early Monday morning, and I just finished threading the pattern heddles on the drawloom, refusing to go to bed until they were done.


Today, after I get a few hours of sleep, I need to tie the drawcord warp ends to the tops of the pattern heddles, add the lamms and treadles (and Texsolv cords), tie up the treadles, and hopefully thread the ground shafts in an 8 shaft satin, or at least get started. The counterweights also need to be added to the loom. After all that is done, it will be time to tweak things to make sure warp is running where it is supposed to, and get a decent shed. I expect all this will take the better part of two days or more, depending on interruptions.

I have so much weaving and sock cranking to be done, and need balance back in my life, but I can’t seem to stop working on this drawloom.

Threading Pattern Heddles

This is how the threading process appears from inside the drawloom. I sit on a chair just in back of the ground shafts, and thread pattern heddles in order off the lease sticks. I’m working from the center out to the left, then will go back and work from center to the right. The pattern heddles are on four wood rods, and when threaded are arranged in a straight twill, 1-2-3-4.

Tonight, I decided to thread all 8 threads of each unit into each maillon instead of splitting them into half units, at least for now. I can always re-thread later if I want. It is rather slow going. My goal is to have all the pattern heddles threaded by tomorrow night so I can begin threading the ground shafts which have the long-eye heddles on them.

The chair shown in the photo is how I climb into the back of the loom, not an easy task at the moment, with lease sticks, two warp sticks supporting them, etc. in the way.

Above is a close-up of the threaded maillons, 8 threads in each.

Doesn’t this warp look like a think of beauty? Just hoping it weaves as good as it looks now! .

Drawloom ~ Beaming the Warp

In my previous post I wrote about making a fine warp on a warping mill. Yesterday, the warp was beamed. It took four hours or more because of an unexpected “problem,” but after receiving some advice from other drawloom weavers, it was resolved and things went fairly smoothly.

Details: The warp was 20/2 mercerized cotton, 64 ends per inch, 16″ wide, and 18 yards long for a total of 1,024 threads, and 18,432 yards. The warp was made on a warping mill, and made in 4″ sections of 256 threads each. I warp back to front.

I should explain, the reason you will see five warp chains in this photo is one day I started making a section, with not enough time to finish. With cats who love nothing better than to play in yarn/thread (or chew through it), I couldn’t leave it on the mill, so finished two inches, tied it all off, and removed it, which meant making another two inch section another day. The two on the right are equivalent to the others.

The warp was placed on the back wood rod, each one inch section put in its place in the raddle and held down with rubber bands. Beveled lease sticks were placed into the cross and the ends of the lease sticks tied to each other to prevent one (or both) from ever dropping out and losing the cross. On the CM loom I sometimes use the lease stick holders, but on this particular drawloom there is no upper structure over the long back extension to tie them to. When removing choke ties, for example, and no tension was on the warp, two longer warp sticks from the wider CM loom were used as supports under the lease sticks, then removed when tension was again on the warp and we were ready to continue winding on.

When everything was prepared, with my son holding and applying tension on the warp bouts, I started to turn the warp beam but the warp would not move, would not flow over and under the lease sticks! I’ve had an occasional sticky warp before, but never like this. When I learned to make a warp, long ago, I was told “you do not handle or mess with the threads!” I could see no other choice.
So off to the computer to email the Double Harness Study Group and ask if anyone had experienced this and did they have any suggestions. Sara von Tresckow wrote saying this happens with fine warps, but it would loosen up and improve as more warp was wound on, and to try wiggling the lease sticks (which I had tried). To start, this would have to be done in small increments.

There was nothing left to do but take each inch section and pull up and push down to move the cross one to two inches, across the width of the warp, do it again and again, then wind on, and repeat, which we did, and let the lease sticks do their job of evening out tension. Kati Reeder Meek suggesting rocking the lease sticks up on edge to help separate threads, which also helped at times. Later, wiggling the lease sticks back and forth at an angle (like a flattened X) was finally allowing the cross to move, and I could move the cross forward about 18″ at a time.

The two photos above, taken early on in the beaming process, show this lovely, fine, 20/2 cotton warp, purchased not long ago from drawloom weaver Nastche Milan. In just a bit, I’ll start threading the maillons on the pattern heddles, so more photos in a day or two. When that is done, the drawcord warp ends will be tied to the pattern heddles, then thread the ground shaft heddles will be threaded, then the reed. Also to be done, at appropriate times will be add more parts to the loom, the lamms, treadles, and counterweights, and tieing up the treadles. Then, we’ll see what other adjustments are needed for this to work/weave and give an acceptable (though narrower) shed.

Damask shuttles are low-profile due to the narrower shed on drawlooms. The two shuttles on the left were recently purchased from Catherine in Brooklyn (Hi!), and the three on the right were purchased from Sara von Tresckow (Woolgatherers Ltd) at the WI Sheep & Wool Festivals. I’m looking forward to stopping at her booth again this year. Meanwhile, the damask shuttles are waiting.

Warping Behind Schedule

I started this warping process with a fine 20/2 cotton thread about three days ago. Things were going well and I made the first of the two warps which will only be about 5″ wide, sett is 36 epi. Two nights ago I decided it will be beamed onto the Glimakra table loom.


Above, is one-fourth of the drawloom warp, counting thread on, and just before adding cross and choke ties. I’m making it in four 4″ sections, 64 epi, and 18 yards in length. The overall width will be 16″ for a total of 1,024 threads, placed on the warping mill one thread at a time. I’ve already decided I’ll be experimenting with making these warps perhaps 4 threads at a time using a fixed warping paddle.

This mill is 3 yards around, so to make the warp in two sections, I would have had to shorten the length of the warp. Since my drawloom has the long extension on it, and I did not want to re-warp and re-thread right away, I decided 18 yards would be good. Trying to squeeze more threads onto the mill would, in my opinion, be risking tangling of threads or worse.

So, why am I not done? I’ve been distracted! A couple weeks ago I’d started to set up an online shop on 1000 Markets, and submitted it for approval on July 4th. Three days later an email arrived requesting I retake photos of the towels in natural light. So I spent two days taking photos of both the towels and socks (might as well do them over, too), somewhere over 100 photos. After deleting most of the pictures and keeping those I thought were okay, I resubmitted for approval again a couple days ago.

Last night, around 10:45 PM, an email arrived saying my shop was Live! Now, I’m busy learning my way around 1000 Markets, reading in the Forums, browsing through Markets to determine where I might fit, and so on. Today I requested being part of two markets, and heard back from one almost immediately. I still need to set that up, and perhaps post a first blog entry there, hopefully tomorrow.

So in-between all this online time, I have been working on my fine warps. Half the drawloom warp is done, and I’ll be back at the warping mill again tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to threading, though I’m thinking when that is done I’ll definitely need new glasses.

It’s cool again tonight, around 50 degrees out, but the Whippoorwill has been singing away since just after dark. He sings me to sleep every night, just under my bedroom window.
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