Thursday, 13 September 2007

Treadle tie-up and threading.

Here's evidence of some progress. I've tied up the treadles of my countermarche loom, a Toika Norjanna, for a waffle pattern on p.46 of The Best of Weavers - Fabrics that go Bump (ed. Madelyn van de Hoogt, pub. XRX 2002, ISBN 1-893762-11-4). There are two related weaves on the same page that I shall also try, as all have the same 8-shaft straight threading.

I have texsolv cords for my loom tie-up, and am posting here a photo of the treadle tie-up. It took me a few months to develop this system, which has saved a great deal of time. The first time I tied up the treadles it took several hours - now I can do it in about 1/2 hour.

The features to note here are, firstly, for every treadle hole that needs tying to a lamm there is a square anchor peg holding the texsolv cord under the treadle, and a square anchor peg is used on top of the lamm to attach the cord.

Second, every texsolv cord is of ample length to thread through the top lam if need be. When I bought this loom, it had a set of short cords and a set of long cords that needed swapping around. Changing to long cords all over means I do not have to reach under the treadles to remove and reattach cords.

It is a feature of the countermarche loom system that every treadle is tied to every shaft - either via the lower lamm which raises the shaft, or via the upper lamm which will lower the shaft.

I'm not going to explain here the different handloom operation systems, but, basically a countermarche loom creates a larger shed for the shuttle by either raising or lowering every shaft - hence every heddle and every warp thread carried by a heddle. Best book on different loom types: Eric Broudy,
The Book of Looms: A History of the Handloom from Ancient Times to the Present, (ISBN: 0289708737). Some learning to weave books are also helpful, and I understand (haven't seen a copy) that Peggy Ostercamp's book Warping Your Loom and Tying on New Warps (web site ) has a good explanation of loom types).

This clever little gadget was, in its former existence, part of a d string on a guitar. In it's current handy loop form it is an excellent tool for threading the texsolv cord through lamms and treadles, as shown below.

The next photo is of the warp threads that I wound on to the loom the other day. Every thread (alternately) runs under or over the two lease rods, crossing over in between the rods. These lease rods are held in position by a couple of very useful large metal rings, they are sold in hardware shops, I think for carrying very large bunches of keys. This is an idea from another weaver, Leigh which she shared in her blog (see here for photo) earlier this year. I find this an excellent method of supporting the lease rods (plus cords tying the rings and rods to the loom frame) as, previously, when I used only linen ties, the sticks would swing around a bit and getting hold of the right thread was therefore harder to do.

The "cross" over in the threads for these lease rods is created at the stage of unreeling the thread from and measuring the appropriate length of yarn out on a warp board.

In this photo you see my hand (having reached over the loom shafts) selecting the first thread to thread through a heddle on a loom shaft. I select every thread carefully like this, having learnt the hard way that getting the threads out of order or twisted at this stage causes problems :( later.

Every single thread that will be part of the weave pattern is pulled through a heddle on a loom shaft. If you're thinking - not every thread then - you're right. Two threads on each edge of the warp are to be used as a "floating selvedge" and do not form part of the pattern weaving.

The next photo shows the first eight heddles threaded, behind (to the right) are further groups of threads sitting in half-inch groups (of 12 threads, I will weave at 24 warp ends per inch (epi)). Running over the shafts, to the right again, are four threads that remain of the first group of twelve. You can't see them, but those lease rods are between the raddle and the back of the loom.

My final picture here shows another careful precaution - each repeat group threaded through the heddles (here eight threads, threaded through heddles on shafts 8 - 1) is tied in a slip knot. I check the group is all in correct order and through the correct heddle, with no twists or crossovers, before I tie that knot.

This system helped me spot an error shortly after taking that photo. I counted the threads in a group and found there were 7, not 8. I looked again and found I had missed out one heddle. It saves a lot of time to put this sort of error right at the earliest possible moment! Yep, that's another lesson I learnt the long way!!


Peg in South Carolina said...

Wonderful pictures! I have so much to learn....... For the guitar-string deprived, I use a crochet hook to pull the cord through.
As you get more experienced threading, you will be able to do larger groups. For example, with a straight draw, you might do 3 groups of 8 and then go back and check them. But don't push yourself too fast here. Accuracy is primary, speed is secondary.

Leigh said...

Excellent post Dorothy. The guitar string idea is a keeper. One thing I have found with my cm loom, is that it is easier to thread the heddles. I'm not sure why this is. What I do know is that it makes the whole process so much more pleasant.

suzibee said...

Thank you for the very good photos. I am a new weaver & struggling to tie up a CM loom 60". I tied it for the 3rd time yesterday & after seeing your top picture showing the space between the bottom of the harness & the lamms & treadles, I think I have to lower my treadles & tie up again. When I get it right, then I will do the switch to Texsolv for tie up.
Hopefully I shall be weaving in a day or two.