Saturday, August 22, 2009
Weaving 101: Threading the Heddles
Here is the weaving draft for the pattern I'm using. It's a Swedish twill variation from A Handweaver's Pattern Book by Marguerite Davison. This book is a must-have for 4-shaft loom weaving. It's mostly overshot patterns, like this one.
I'm showing you the draft now because this is the first step where I'm using it in the loom set up. To thread the heddles, I follow the pattern of the top strip of W's and diagonals.
Heddles are these metal loops that raise and lower your threads according to the pattern. They sit in the middle of the loom, behind the reed, and are raised by foot pedals.
There are 4 shafts of heddles on this loom, and each thread must be pulled through it's own heddle on the correct shaft, in the correct order according to your draft pattern. This picture shows the succession of four threads in order, each on a different shaft, which will create one of the diagonals in the pattern. The view is from the back of the loom.
Here is a better shot of the threading in progress. You can see the reed at the top of the picture, which is the front of the loom. The threads pass through the reed, then get pulled through a heddle, and are placed out of the way on the left temporarily. To the right I have more heddles to thread. This is the longest and most tedious part of set-up. It's also very important to pay close attention to your pattern and try not to stop in the middle. I think it took me 2 1/2 hours to thread them all.
I'm almost done with set-up!