Category Archives: pattern heddles

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, 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!

Give Me Patience…

The pattern heddles on the outside, both sides, of the drawloom are a terrible tangled mess! Do you remember Kylie, our dog who had to be put down the second day of the Summer Art Tour? She had the canine version of dimentia, standing and staring into corners or at walls. Unhappily, she also would often get under one of my looms, and was unable to figure out how to get back out. I took to parking chairs and stools in front of any openings along the sides and ends of the drawloom I thought she could get through, and still she would get in there. The tangled heddles are the result.

You can see, on the right, a few I managed to untangle this morning. Over two hours working on it and I still have a ways to go. The larger tangled group was much, much worse when I started. The other side of the loom is nearly as bad. I have my work cut out for me!

Do I need them untangled to weave? No, I’ll just be a much happier weaver when this is done!

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 Progress

I should be weaving, I know I should be weaving, but some days I am absolutely driven to make progress on setting up the drawloom, and that’s what I’ve been working on again. Not long ago I had made 1,000 string (seine twine) long-eye heddles to add the 1,000 already on the loom.

A couple days ago I decided I needed to get back to making the pattern heddles. I previously had around 125 of them made, and in the last 48 hours I’ve made another 275 for a total of 400, 100 on each of the four pattern shaft bars. These will hold (if all are used) 2,400 threads, or 3,200 if I use all the holes in the maillons. More pattern heddles can be made if needed.

Tonight, I went back to making long-eye heddles again, this time for the opphampta attachment that is waiting to be added to the countermarche loom sometime this year. There were no heddles included when I bought it, used, and I decided again to make my own heddles. The long-eye heddles will then be able to be used on either loom as needed. When these are done, I’ll begin on the pattern heddles for the opphampta weaving.

Tomorrow I’ll be taking some old cords off the drawloom, to check on the condition of the long Texsolv cords that go from jacks down through ground shafts and to the lamms. Also, the cords that hang off the sides for the counterweights. As the loom is around 23 years old, some of the cords feel stiff and old, and I want to replace them next.

It’s also time to order something for the new drawcord warp. I need to remove the old, and take photos of how it is on there. There are also books like “Opphampta and Damask” by Lillemor Johansson to refer to, as well as advice from a few members of the CW Double Harness Study Group who also have single unit drawlooms. The adventure continues…

DIY Pattern Heddles for Drawloom

Now that there are an another 1,000 long-eye heddles on the drawloom ground shafts, it’s time to get back to making more pattern heddles.

Months ago I ordered 400 or so plastic maillons from Sara von Tresckow, The Woolgatherers, in Fond du Lac, WI. Each maillon has six small holes and a slightly larger hole on each end. The smaller holes are for fine warp threads, the larger holes are for assembling the pattern heddle. If you are working with 8 thread blocks, you can also use the larger holes on each end for warp threads.

Around 14 years ago I made some of these heddles using a fine, coated thread and as there is still plenty on the spool, it is what I am using again. There is no label in or on the tube as to what this thread is made of. It is not easily broken.

As I wove on this loom 13 years ago, so know these pattern heddles will work. I am using an old one as a guide, and cut the top and bottom threads (24″ each) tieing one thread to each end of a maillon. On the bottom, I add one lingo to each pattern heddle. The top of each pattern heddle is tied and hangs on the wood pattern heddle rods.

I have not yet been able to recall the adjustable knot Ken showed me, so am just tieing the top ends for now. A neighbor loaned me an older book of knots and I’m hoping to figure this out.

If I were to warp the drawloom at 60 epi x 36″ width = 2,160 threads (I’ll need to make a couple hundred more long-eye heddles, more if I go wider) divided by 6 threads per maillon = 360 pattern heddles needed. I’m using these figures as an example, and figuring this out as I go along. Now, I need to get busy and make about 250 more pattern heddles.

Then I’ll move on to replacing the drawcord warp. I have been researching and asking other drawloom weavers for advice/suggestions on this, and must go back and review their recommendations, make a decision, and place an order very soon. Unfortunately, the coated linen of the former drawcord warp is no longer available.

Drawloom, A Work In Progress

Earlier this year, my kids and I brought out and re-assembled my Glimakra Single Unit Drawloom which had been stored for the past thirteen or so years. With no directions, only my memories of assembling it long ago, we put it together. More parts, lamms, treadles, etc. are currently residing on the floor under it, but as yet do not need to be added.

After straightening out and counting the old string heddles, I found there were about 100 on each of the first nine ground shafts, with the tenth shaft having none at the moment. I must search through bags of string heddles and see if I have more of them, but expect I’ll need to order a cone of seine twine, make a jig, and make not only the needed heddles, but more for all the shafts.
After reading that the plastic maillons were no longer available, and not believing it, I wrote to Sara von Tresckow, of Woolgatherers in Fond du Lac, WI, who said she would be able to order the needed maillons from Sweden; they arrived several weeks later.

I knew I needed more lingos, and was told by a couple places that only the new U-shape lingos were available. Fortunately, Becky Ashenden of Vavstuga wrote me she had around 450 of the old style lingos (above) and would sell them to me at what I considered to be a very reasonable price, which was wonderful news. A short time later, two very heavy boxes arrived. I wiped each lingo off with a damp cloth, dried them, then wiped each one down with lemon oil, then “dried” them again.

After the maillons arrived, I found the cone of fine, very strong thread I had purchased from Ken, and set to work making new pattern heddles. I could have bought the newer U-shape lingos, and bought Texsolv pattern heddles, but preferred setting the loom up as before, in a more traditional way. So this is the point I am at now, some pattern heddles made, more are needed.

Now I must decide what to make a new drawcord warp from, do my calculations, and get it ordered. As I wrote previously, I am moving these looms down to the main floor of my home, so need to do that before I can go much further.

In the meantime, the remainder of the striped warp is waiting to be woven off, so the countermarche loom can be moved, too. Progress on weaving off the warp, making pattern heddles, making the drawcord warp, and moving the looms will be posted as I continue this journey.