Wednesday, April 9, 2008
THE THREADING PROCESS
BLOCKS, UNITS, THREADS
Crackle is a block structure. Each block contains one or more units and each unit has four threads. In this case, each of my blocks consists of eight units.
SLIDING THE HEDDLES
I thread four units at a time. That means 16 heddles. Since this is crackle, only three shafts are involved in any given group. What I then do is to slide the number of heddles I need for that group on each shaft to my right. I slip the bout of threads I am going to use between those heddles and the heddles on my left. Doing this keeps the selected heddles from slipping back into the larger group.
Looking at the photo, you can see in the darkness to the far right the heddles that are already threaded and checked. Then in the light are the 16 heddles waiting to be threaded. Snugged up, almost invisble, against the center heddles waiting their turn is the bout of yarn from which I will draw out the individual ends for threading.
THREADING THE HEDDLES
Since there are four threads in a unit, I remove the first four threads and separate them between my the fingers of my left hand in the order of threading. I slip my threading hook into the first heddle to be threaded, use the hook to grab the first thread in my left hand and pull it through. I do the same thing with the remaining three threads. Then I move on to the next four threads.
With less fine threads and with wools and cottons I can usually just tighten the whole bout with my left hand and then use my threading hook to grab the yarn as it sits on the lease sticks. But this fine silk is not so easily tamed.
CHECKING THE THREADING
I thread all 16 heddles. Then I check the threading by pulling tightly on the threaded ends with my left hand and with my right hand, touching each heddle and thead. In my early days of weaving I used to do a lot of eyeballing here. As long as the setts were not very close and the yarns were fairly heavy, I could get away with that. But as I started working with silk and with finer threads I found out I couldn't just eyeball. I actually had to go there with my hands so I could really see that the threads were going through the right heddles.
When I am satisfied that the threading is correct, I tie those 16 ends in a slip knot. Then I do the next 16 ends. When I am satisfied that those are correctly threaded, I pull the slip knot out of the first half of the block of yarns and tie the entire group together in a slip knot.
THE PRINTED THREADING
To make threading a little easier, I have attached two long skinny pieces of corkboard at the top of my castle (not visible in this photo). I pin my threading to it, and mark off the groups of threads as I proceed.
This process makes it easy to thread in spare bits of time. I have the printed threading I can check. But I can also count the blocks I have threaded by looking at the slip knots.
Actually, it is much easier for me to thread in spare moments than to sit at the loom for hours just threading.
Let the Threading Begin
Threading 4-Shaft Crackle