Category Archives: drawloom

Fine Warps

There are two looms in the studio, warped, and two needing warps, it’s time to take care of this situation. Last night, I chose a weave structure from the Davidson book, yes, a “recipe,” as I’m in the mood to weave up something a bit smaller. I decided on sachets so wanted a pattern that could be varied with both treadling and color to give some variety. The back sides of the sachets will also be handwoven, most likely in plain weave. Inside will be small muslin “pillows” of dried lavender flowers.

I chose “Caroline Halvorsen’s No. 30″ on p. 44, liking the stripe design which I think will give a bit of a contemporary feel to them. I’ll be doing three repeats, using 20/2 cotton, 36 epi for this twill, so finished sachets will measure approximately 3 3/4″ square. This warp will be going on a 22” Harrisville (direct tie-up) loom.

After my last misadventure with a certain warping board, which shall go unnamed here, these warps will be made on a warping mill. This warp will be a total of 168 ends on four shafts, and I’m thinking I’d better count heddles before I start.

The second warp is for the drawloom, 20/2 cotton, 60 epi, 4 ends/dent in a 15 dent reed (I’ll need to order ASAP), or 5 ends/dent in a 12 dent reed. The warp will be 16″ wide for a total of 960 threads.

The weave structure for the drawloom will be 8 shaft satin, the warp will be threaded in straight draw 1-8 on the ground shafts, and pattern heddles will be threaded as half units, meaning each will be threaded with 4 threads, instead of 8, giving greater patterning flexibility.

Photos will be coming as I get further along. At the moment, I am paging through three large notebooks of past newsletters of both the Damask and Double Harness Study Groups of Complex Weavers, checking through some drafts/records to make sure I’m thinking this through correctly. Research.

I was going to start this tonight, but have decided to wait for daylight. I’ll bring the cone holder down, place a cone of 20/2 cotton on it, set the Ott floor lamp next to the warping mill , and start winding. I think “Last Chance Harvey” will be on, a good movie, and something to listen to while I pay attention to my crosses.

Earlier today, I went down the road and sat on a neighbor’s pier to enjoy a beautfiful, sunny afternoon in the northwoods. While sitting there, quietly, paging through the WI Sheep & Wool Festival book that arrived in the mail, I was able to quietly observe two mama ducks with their babies, three Mergansers, one loon, and several painted turtles, sunning themselves on a log my neighbor has anchored offshore for just that purpose. There was also a hawk flying over the lake, smaller birds trying to chase it away, and while that was going on, one mama duck herded her ducklings under the next pier over, and just up out of the water, out of sight. It was so enjoyable, being able to observe all these quiet daily activities of my wildlife neighbors.

Drawloom Progress

The drawloom has been sitting here, temporarily abandoned while I have been working at weaving towels and cranking socks to sell, and today I couldn’t stand it any longer. I had to have part of a day for my personal weaving interest of making progress on the drawloom.


I had previously sleyed the 440 cords (seine twine, two colors) through the reed shown suspended from the upper drawcord warp beam.


The center of the reed was marked with a red thread, also two inches on each side of the center. This space is left empty to allow the drawcords closest to the middle to pass by those center Texsolv cords as they are pulled. There are 220 cords on each side, groups of 8 cords, with an empty dent between each group.

This afternoon I pulled the long Texsolv cords, that go from the upper jacks and down through the shafts to the lamms, out of the shafts and wrapped them up around the top. Though I had previously read how to put a drawcord warp on, on p. 149 in “Damask and Opphamta,” I went about this slightly differently.


With help from daughter Sarah and son Noah (so I could take photos), the reed (with lease sticks still in) were passed to the back of the loom, over and down behind the round steel beam.


Instead of sleying both reeds at the front of the loom, as described in the book, I sleyed the first reed at the front, then passed the reed to the back to sley the second reed. Here the first reed is suspended about five inches above the second reed, making it easy to sley the second reed. The pattern heddles are directly underneath the lower reed.


The second reed is now sleyed straight across, the 4″ space in the middle of the reed is not needed on the second reed. I will leave the cords as is until the weaving warp is beamed.


At this point, the first reed was passed back to the front of the loom,…


and tied in place to the upper beam overhead.

The cords are ready to tie to the pattern heddles, after the weaving warp is beamed. Tonight, this is a beautiful sight! One step closer,…

Drawcord Warp, Prep for Beaming

The drawcord warp was finished two days ago, and made in four sections as I don’t overlap threads when making a warp. I placed a label on each section (Drawcord Warp 1, etc.). The warp was made in groups of eight threads, and alternating two colors, teal and terra cotta (my names for them). These colors were chosen first because they were colors I could live with, and second because they weren’t too dark to see against a wood ceiling and beams, during the day, anyway.
This warp has 400 “cords,” a lot to start with, but done on the advice of a respected weaver who wrote I should make the warp for as wide and as many cords and units I thought I might like to weave. Since I’d made 400 pattern heddles, I thought this was a good place to start. 400 or so will be the maximum, but I’ll start by using a lot less. Unused cords will be tied together and tied off to the side until needed. If a future project needs more, I’ll need to make a new warp.

Above, you can see the top beam which has groove in it. There is a rod to slip the warp sections onto, then the rod is set into this groove and tied into place on each end so there is no chance of it falling out when the ratchet is turned. The raddle is taped into place and the lease sticks will be behind the raddle. String, scissors, lease sticks, and the firsts of two reeds are standing by. Basically I will be warping “back to front,” only the direction I’m working is reversed, and working on the top front of the loom. As this is a short warp, it should not take long to wind on, then picking each cord from the cross, I’ll sley the first reed.

This is how I recall doing this process long ago when Ken Colwell drive to our home to show me how to do this, and how to tie the cords to the pattern heddles. Unfortunately, some details have faded from memory over the years, so I’ll simply be inventive when needed.

The reeds, both 12 dent, 42″ long, 4″ wide, stainless steel, arrived a couple days ago. I was a bit afraid the reed for the back might be a bit too long to slide into the holders, but it slid in fine. From what I understand, the second reed is threaded on top then moved back, but because of the length of the reed I ordered (the book shows a shorter reed there which would slide easily into the holders), I expect it will be threaded further back.

More pics and description will follow as I work through this process for the first time in close to 23 or so years. I am using the book “Damask and Opphamta” by Lillemor Johansson as well as the video (also available as DVD) “Dressing Your Swedish Drawloom” by Becky Ashenden. Both are very helpful in understanding this area of weaving.

I was again watching the video last night, looking to see if there was anything on beaming a drawcord warp on an older style single unit drawloom. Although Becky covers the new method with pre-cut cords, I did not see what I find what I was looking for right then. If I find it on this video or elsewhere, I will post about it. This is an excellent video/DVD and I highly recommend it. I know I’ll be watching and learning from it again and again.

For anyone interested in drawloom weaving, Complex Weavers has a Double Harness Study Group. You must be a member of Complex Weavers ($25/year which includes 3 journals per year, membership list, lending library, study groups, and more). The Double Harness Study Group is an additional $5 per year (at present) which includes 4 newsletters per year and the option of participating in a private yahoo group.

If anyone is interested, please contact me at jzindel@newnorth.net. You do not have to have a drawloom to join, just an interest in this type of weaving. For information on Complex Weavers, or to join, go to their website at: http://www.complex-weavers.org.

Adding Long-Eye Heddles to the Drawloom

Finally, a sunny afternoon and with extra hands at home, I was able to move 500 old string long-eye heddles to the back five shafts, on the drawloom, and add 800 of the 1,000 new string long-eye heddles (that I just finished making a few days ago) to the front four shafts.

All that is involved in adding heddles is removing the anchor pins in the jacks, one at a time, dropping the cords down through, removing and/or adding heddles to the shaft, then threading the cord back up through the holes in the jacks. A bobby-pin works great for threading the cord back up through the holes in the jacks, then put the anchor pins back in, making sure the shafts are level. (Note, this is for the older style Glimakra single unit drawloom, from 1984 or so.)

There is one shaft and accompanying jacks not on the loom. I am sure the shaft bars are upstairs, but I’m not sure about the jacks, so I will check for them tomorrow. Once they are on the loom I’ll be able to add the last 200 long-eye heddles.

Right now, I am making sure the heddles are not twisted, then adding the lower shaft bars back in. This is not a difficult task, just a bit time-consuming. I would rather do it properly now rather than encounter difficulties when threading or nearly ready to weave.

When the lower shaft bars are all in and twisted heddles are straightened out, I will add a long string to each lower shaft bar which will keep the bottom half of the heddles from slipping off the lower heddle bars. Pic(s) on that will be posted in a day or two.

The plaid towel is off the loom and upstairs along with another towel, next to my sewing machine. After the hems are sewn, a photo will be posted here. Right now, back to the heddles.

More Sock Orders

After being away for a few days for Thanksgiving, visiting my parents/family members, I returned home to finish up a sock order for Ann, who when she ordered them had said “no hurry.” Left to right, “Wild Blueberries,” “Cranberry Harvest,” and “Raven Trail.” Thank you, Ann!

Along with Ann’s order, it was time to make another pair of socks for Pat, who had called to order a second pair of Checkerboard (red and black). Her phone message of, “I just LOVE my socks!” really made my day. Did I have the yarn to make another pair? Yes, so when Ann’s order was finished, another pair of “Checkerboard” came off the sock machine. Enjoy!

Then an email came. Could I make a pair of socks, for a gentleman’s wife, for Christmas. Yes! So “Keep Me Warm” were also made up. A couple nights ago I had a nice sock wash and they have been drying by the woodburning range in the kitchen. Today 8 pairs of socks were finished with some steam, tags written, and they will be taken to the post office shortly.

Meanwhile, I had ordered more anchor pins for my Glimakra loom treadles as I was FOUR short for tieing up the ten shafts/twelve treadles. I have some of Texsolv ties and anchor pins missing in action around here somewhere.

I also ordered a tube of seine twine so I can begin making additional long-eye “string” heddles for the drawloom. There are ten ground shafts on that loom, nine of them have approximately 100 heddles each, and one shaft currently has none, and that needs to be changed. Now, I need to try to make a heddle jig, or have one made. Moving along,…

The Great Studio Swap Part 2


Today, at long last, I had enough extra hands to help move the drawloom from a second floor room down to my new studio space, the main floor of my home. The loom dismantles quite quickly, everything was carried down, each of us had pockets full of bolts, nuts and washers (and instructions to remember which part of the loom each pocket of hardware came from). We re-assembled nearly everything, still needing to add the upper and lower lamms and the treadles. The shafts need work as they are tied in the old way, no Texsolv on them yet, though I’m considering it. The drawcord warp will need to be unwound, re-threaded in the reed, and beamed again, or completely replaced. A trip to the hardware store is needed to check for heavier cord for the counterweights.

Still, I am so pleased this change in location of my weaving studio is finally taking place. More swapping of furniture and weaving equipment will take place over the next couple days.


I’ve been working on a 15 yard cottolin warp, unbleached and white stripes for a series of towels and table runners. As my loom is a horizontal countermarche, there are cords running down the middle of the loom, so warps are made in two halves then beamed together. Pics of back-t0-front warping will be added soon.

The Great Studio Swap, Part 1

The past few days have been spent finishing up sock orders, now only one order left. I’ve also been going through books, filing fiber magazines into holders, going through seemingly endless amounts of papers, and setting up more files, trying to get control of the paper blizzard, and keep it in check.

Yesterday evening, the great Studio Swap began when we took the Glimakra CM loom apart and moved it down to the living room. The drawloom will be down here in a few days, along with one other loom, shelving, and equipment. I wanted to make my studio space accessible to visitors. The living room furniture will be going upstairs to my (almost) former weaving room.

Lamms will be put back onto the CM this afternoon, cords put back in place, then treadles will be tied up for a ten shaft twill. Tomorrow a cottolin warp for towels and runners will be made.

The drawloom, when I reach that point, will be warped with cotton in satin weave. The Glimakra 8 shaft Victoria table loom will have fine cotton or linen warp for bookmarks. The 22″ 8 shaft Harrisville will be warped for cards and/or sachets. The Gallinger rug loom (still on the main floor, but moved to the laundry room) sectional beam has perhaps 45 yards on it ready to go, only needing the new apron to be lashed on, then tie on and tension the warp. I’m getting the studio and looms ready for a long northwoods winter of weaving.

There were two “interruptions” last week in the form of phone calls from the Northwoods Wildlife Center. As a rescue driver for them, I never know when they might call. Last Saturday came a request to drive to the U.P. to look for an eagle that was down. After searching for two hours, and not finding the eagle, we returned home. It may have gorged earlier and could not fly, but was gone by the time we arrived, or may have been stunned by a mishap with a car, but recovered enough to fly. We’ll never know.

The second call was Wednesday, could I meet up with someone from MI DNR and transport an eagle over to NWC in Minocqua, which I did. I stayed to watch Mark (rehabber) remove the eagle from the carrier, a quick refresher for me on how to grasp the legs and keep clear of those talons. I just called NWC, talked to Mark, and found out the eagle had severe internal injuries and only survived 1 1/2 days. Sometimes this volunteer work is heartbreaking, and other times it is very rewarding.