Category Archives: heddle jig

Very Close to a Working Drawloom

I am very happy with the progress made this afternoon on the drawloom.  I looked closely again at photos of a drawloom, identical to my loom, taken about 29 years ago.  The counterweights looked to now be at the proper height, but the beater seemed low so that was raised, then came more adjusting of shafts, lamms, and treadles.

At long last we seemed to have quite good sheds, with just a few threads out of place, but I believe they are being caused by two broken warp ends tangling with neighboring threads, and they will be fixed Thursday.

You couldn’t really see them in the photo yesterday, but there were some loose, “baggy” heddles on the first four shafts and I was wishing I’d replaced them while threading.  Then I decided three shafts not being used would be removed right then, so that was taken care of.

I bought this drawloom used, about 29 years ago, and it came with “string heddles,” made from what feels like seine twine, but slightly finer than the 12/6 sold today.  Four years ago, after calculating the heddles I would need, I found there were nowhere near enough, so I went on a two or three evening binge of making the needed long-eye heddles.  It turns out I had left some of the old ones on the loom in case they were needed.

Homemade long-eye heddle jig (made on short notice, by Char).  150 made this evening.
Homemade long-eye heddle jig (made on short notice, by Char). 150 made this evening.

They were needed, but after threading, sleying, and lashing the warp on, I did not like the baggy heddles constantly moving outward, so the warp was un-lashed, and the threads in the baggy heddles were un-sleyed and un-heddled.  Then I asked Char, on rather short notice, if she could quickly make a heddle jig using one of my long-eye heddles for a pattern.  She did, and another 150 long-eye heddles (always keep a tube of 12/6 seine twine in your stash!) were made.  Late this evening, the tremaining original heddles were removed from shafts 1-4 and the new ones placed on the shafts.

In the morning, I’ll re-thread the 150 or so threads, re-sley, lash the warp back on, check the sheds again, and hopefully, at long last, finally be able to start weaving!  I think I’m fine, but a couple members of my family said they can see the excitement! Perseverance is a very good thing!  And having Char to help puzzle all this out and help make adjustments has been a blessing!  Thank you, Char!

After we were done this evening, I was showing Char examples of double-harness weaving including an example of weaving I’d done on this drawloom 29 years ago, a piece woven on a loom with an opphamta attachment 30 years ago, as well as my samples from the Basic Drawloom class at VavStuga (from Nov. 2012).  She was surprised and a bit impressed with what can be done on these looms. And now I’m looking forward to years of double harness weaving!

There will be a break while I weave and Char continues with her woodworking projects, and then we’ll see about getting the opphamta attachment added to the standard loom.  I can hardly wait!

Learning to Use a Temple

I’m weaving away today, a simple plain weave towel, using a linen/cotton slub thread purchased awhile back from WEBS. It is a bit finer than the cottolin warp and I wasn’t totally pleased with the selvedges so decided to try a temple/stretcher. I’ve never used one before, and so far I am pleased, there is improvement with the selvedges along with keeping a consistent width.

Late last night I was making long-eye heddles again, now up to 75 of them. Not long before I was going to put this project away for the night, I discovered a way to make each one a little bit quicker.

I sit with the heddle jig standing upright in my lap, working my way from bottom up to the top. I found that with this longish thread, after the first section is on the heddle jig, if I cross the threads near the cut ends, to make the square knots, instead of further down each half length, I can work faster. I’ll be back at it tonight and am looking forward to making quicker progress.

Long-Eye Heddles

Now that I have my heddle jig for making long-eye heddles for the drawloom, this was a good day to begin. I had removed an old “string” heddle from the loom to use for placement of nails, and have left it on the jig to follow where to tie the square knots. Using seine twine, I’ve begun cutting lengths and tieing long-eye heddles.
I’m not sure yet how many I will need to make but figuring it will be 1,000 or more, as there are only 100 or so on each ground shaft right now. Yes, I could order Texsolv heddles, but I like having the old-style string heddles on this loom, so plan to keep it this way for now. I’ve also been making my own pattern heddles, as I did around 23 years ago. Also, the cost of changing over to all Texsolv heddles for ground and pattern harnesses would be significant.

I will be changing other tie-ups (shafts to jacks) over to Texsolv cord, as well as using Texsolv cords from jacks to treadles. In these cases, I prefer the Texsolv for making adjustments over tieing knots in the old way. Sometimes, convenience wins out.

New Beginnings for 2009

The New Year seemed a good time to begin the new warp, a 10 shaft twill with stripes of bleached and unbleached 22/2 cottolin, sett at 24 epi, 2 epi in a 12 dent reed. This afternoon I tried out a singles slub linen, first with one strand, then with two, both as plain weave and twill. Ideas for borders are going through my head as I weave. In a bit, I’ll begin weaving the first towel or runner on this 15 yard warp.

Also this afternoon, my son Noah made a heddle jig for me, cutting and sanding a board and setting in the nails for the long-eye heddles I need to make for the drawloom. There is a heddle on the jig, though the seine twine is difficult to see here.

This sock pic was taken this summer, on a sunny day, on the lakeside porch. I enjoy taking photos of my weaving, and socks. I photograph my work outdoors in summer, to get as close to the true colors in the yarns as possible. Taking pics indoors in this log home, where the logs absorb all light, is a challenge anytime of year, and something I continue to work on.

This is a wonderful time of year for setting goals for the coming year, re-prioritizing, listing what needs to be done, and later the feeling of accomplishment of checking things off as they are completed. This is also a good time to consider marketing, looking at the big picture of the year ahead, making choices for venues, and remembering not to over-commit. And as always, continue to take care, ensuring fine finished work.