New book & mind blowing revelations

One of mine and Craig’s favorite things to do when we get into a bored slump in the evenings is to head into Auckland CBD, grab a good meal (usually at the Belgian Beer Cafe) and then head on over to Borders for some quality time with the books. So we did this on Saturday night, and I’m so glad we did as I have a new book called “The Big Book of Weaving” by Laila Lundell & Elisabeth Windesjo. It’s not the answer to all my prayers (those books are still on their way from Amazon) but it gave me the one itty bitty mind blowing piece of information that had alluded me about the treadle tie-up on my countermarch loom, now this is going to seem so obvious to weavers who have been playing with these things for years, but for someone who has only seen a loom used via Youtube videos this is an astounding piece of knowledge that had alluded us, it’s summed up thus:

  1. Upper Lamms = Lower Heddles
  2. Lower Lamms = Raise Heddles
Then it goes further:
  1. Upper lamms = Black boxes on a draft
  2. Black Boxes = Weft over Warp
  3. Weft over Warp = Visible part of pattern (if looking @ pattern from the right side of the work)
Now that we have that little bit of information straight in our heads we can actually start playing with tying-up the treadles for a basic weave.
The other book I found was Creative Weaving: Beautiful fabric with a simple loom, this is what the Ashford book should have been, at least the instructions in the first third of the book. It was so clear, full of important information for first time weavers. The only downside of this book was that although there were some beautiful projects with full colour lush photos, there were very few photos (in the gallery at the end of the book) of the full finished pieces, just close ups of the weave. Still, if I was fixed on only weaving with my Rigid Heddle loom, I would have purchased this book just to have it on my shelf.
Now it’s a beautiful sunny day, Craig has the day off, as does Buffie, so there will be some progress made in the big blue room & it’s gardens.

Tying up the treadles

So I’ve been playing around with my new 4-shaft countermarch loom this evening. I’ve tied up the shafts, the heddles and the lamms, but I’m stumped on the treadles. The draft that I have looks something like this: 


The “X’s” represent the shafts that will move down when treadled. These are tied to the upper lamms. The “0’s” are tied to the lower lamms and will go up. 

There are 6 columns in the draft, each column represents 1 treadle. There are 4 rows per column, each row represents 1 cord. These cords go through the holes in the treadles and are connected to the lower lambs and the shafts.

The upper lamms are connected directly to the shafts, the lower lamms to the jacks. I have the first “Y” cord from my jacks going down behind the first shaft and behind of the first upper lamm then through the middle hole of the first lower lamm, the second cord behind the second shaft & second upper lamm and so on (when I say first I am looking from the front of the loom). I have three cords hanging from each upper and lower lamm ready to connect to the 6 treadles (the three cords from the upper lamm hangs behind the corresponding lower lamm).

My understanding is that I should only ever have to untie and retie the treadles when changing the pattern, but I could be wrong.

I’ve ordered a bunch of books and a DVD by Peggy Osterkamp, The Magic of Handweaving  by Sigrid Piroch, Learning to weave by Deborah Chandler but it looks like they are going to take a month or more to arrive! I can’t wait that long to try a simple weave!

When I tried to tie up the cords as per the pattern for the first treadle (actually it was the 6th treadle as I started from right to left) I ended up crossing cords and I just wasn’t sure if this was the done thing or am I supposed to rethread all the cords through the lamms so that this doesn’t happen somehow?

The other thing that has me boggled is how tight to do the 4 cords in each treadle. The treadles have to be on an angle, now the front cord would need to be shorter then the back cord. One source I have says that you should (using the texsol cords by the way) have the first cord taught, the second and third cord one “hole” away from taught and the fourth cord 2 holes away from taught, it goes on to list the holes for each cord for up to 12 shaft loom so I’m not even sure that I’ve got that information quite right yet.

The treadles are hinged at the back, so they have to be angled away from you, how high off the ground should they be? I’m guessing it can’t be too steep and angle or otherwise how can you press on the treadles with your feet? The Glimakrausa instructions say that “the distance from the lower lamms to the treadles should be about the same distance between the upper and lower lamms”, distance at which point?


Treadles of Countermarch loom

Treadles of Countermarch loom

This is the photo the original owners took. The lower lamms are on a downward angle (which is wrong according to everything I’ve read so far). They had the cords looped around bamboo sticks pushed through O-ring things screwed into the wood, the had gotten loose so those coloured things are hair ties. I’ve removed the screws and the bamboo and re-drilled the holes so that the cords thread nicely through the holes and can be secured from underneath, much neater if you ask me.
I was hoping that making this post would actually clear up a few things for me and the answers would jump out, they aren’t so if anyone else with a 4-shaft countermarch loom is reading this I hope you can give me some insight please. For now the boys have finished cooking a roast lamb for dinner, then back to scouring Dot & Leigh’s blogs for more tidbits of information.