Category Archives: The Woolgatherers

A Good Reed Hook Makes for Easier Sleying

Mid-afternoon today I was back at the drawloom to finish sleying half the threads in the reed, working from the center out, anxious now to get the other half sleyed. When I got to the end, I had three threads left, not the four it should have been. Back to the center to look for my error, found in the second group (of 8 dents) from the center, so a lot of resleying to do. It probably would be okay, but I didn’t want to get the warp tied on, begin weaving, and wish I’d corrected it earlier on.

I was working with my old original sleying hook (above). One nice thing about this one is because it is not flat, when you slip it into the reed dents (unless you are working with few dents per inch) you can let go of it and it will stay in the reed leaving both hands free. But, threads also tend to slide off at times which slows me down.

This evening, it suddenly occurred to me I should be trying out my new German reed hook, purchased from The Woolgatherers, Ltd. at the WI Sheep & Wool Festival. Let me tell you, I have retired the old one (for fine threads anyway). With four (or five) fine threads in my hand, the deep indentation on this hook does not let them get away.

I’m looking forward to trying out my new German hook for threading heddles. There is a great deal to be said for having and using good equipment for the jobs at hand.

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.