Category Archives: heddles

Loom Maintenance

It’s a clear, sunny day in the northwoods, a fair amount of light coming into my (log) studio space, making it a good day for some loom maintenance.

I sat down to weave on the rug late yesterday afternoon and could not get a clear tabby shed with my left tabby treadle. I finally discovered some Texsolv heddles had fallen off the bottoms of some shafts, and when that happens they often catch on moving neighboring shafts, causing problems. I recalled having to move heddles from one shaft to another, and now noticed I had not replaced the long strings going around the bottom shaft bars.

This morning, I sat down, put all the heddles back on each shaft, making sure none were twisted. Then, one shaft at a time, replaced those strings, going around the bottom of each shaft bar, outside of the heddles, and making sure I had not included the long Texsolv cords from jacks to lamms.

As you can see in the photo, the Texsolv cords on the top shafts bars keep heddles from working their way off the ends. Adding a string around the bottom shafts bars keeps heddles from dropping off and causing problems while weaving. I highly recommend this, and based on my experience today, can tell you it is much easier to do before your loom is warped, beater is on, and weaving is in progress. I learned this tip long ago from Ken Colwell.

As long as I’m doing loom maintenance, I’m also checking the wedges that hold the loom together and tightening up any that can be pulled out or feel loose. With the woodburner being used daily, the air in here is getting dry. When that happens, beating can cause damage when loom parts are not tight. This is something I check throughout the winter months. Reminder to self: add a huge pot of water to the top of the woodburner for the rest of the winter.

I’ve checked the tabby sheds and they are clear. Now I just need to move my loom back into place, and sit down to weave. Life is good.

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!

Treadles & Heddles

This was another typical early winter day in the northwoods of WI, alternating frequently between snow and sunshine, with a skim of snow-covered ice across our small lake. Inside it was cozy warm, the woodburning range pouring out heat, cats sprawled out around the stove, enjoying the toasty warm pine floor.

A couple days ago the 120 Texsolv cords were put on the lamms. Last night, the treadles were tied up.

Tonight I notice I likely have a bit more tweaking to do on the treadles, but I am waiting until the warp is tied on so I can check sheds.

This afternoon I started threading a ten shaft straight twill. As I write this, half the warp is threaded, and shortly I’ll be back at the loom to do the other half. I’m not terribly fast at threading heddles, but that is intentional, as I am more interested in accuracy than speed. Tomorrow I will pull threads through the reed and tie the warp onto the rod/apron. Then, I will finally be able to start trying out a few ideas and cotton/cottolin/linen threads that are on my shelves.