Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Posted by Peg in South Carolina


I don’t know if it is possible to see this in the photo, but not all the bouts are the same size. Normally I am quite anal-retentive about having all the bouts the same size, despite the fact that there is no good reason, no reason at all, for doing this.

In this case the fatter bouts represent times of confidence and good cheer; I believed I could thread a fair amount before checking, feeling quite sure there were no errors. The smaller bouts represent times of less confidence; I found myself making some mistakes as I threaded. I caught those mistakes immediately. Nevertheless, it was important to me to check those threadings more frequently, for my own mental health if for no other reason.


I learned something new about threading with this warp. And it has nothing to do with the fact that the warp consists of handspun.

When I get ready to thread, I have for the past year or so raised the shafts with books as high as they would go. Why? Because I was having trouble getting the yarn from the cross formed by the lease sticks into the heddles. This was because the cross was lower than the heddles. This made it also more difficult for me to see what I was doing.

So I went to the opposite extreme: I raised the shafts with books as high as I could. And I did that with this warp. That, however, is not what you see here. When I started, I had a second book under the shafts. That book was the same thickness as the book you see under the shafts. The shafts thus were raised twice as high when I began to thread.

With the shafts raised that high, I could easily see the cross and could easily get the threads from the cross into the heddles. One other thing made this possible: I sit on a high weaving bench. So the view that appears in the photo skews things up a bit, for this would be the view from a lowish stool where I would have to raise my hands up high to reach the lease sticks. And in the photo only one of the lease sticks is visible at the top of the photo, and it is only partially visible. Sitting on a high bench means I can keep my shoulders low and reach down instead of up.

(In case the two whitish sticks between the book and lease stick confuse you, they are packing sticks lying on the back beam.)

But even sitting on the high weaving bench, I have had a bit of trouble with my shoulder and with pulling the warp ends toward me. I was having more trouble than usual with this particular warp because I had left the warp threads too long and was silly enough not to wind a bit more onto the back beam to correct this.

But I decided to try something. I took one of the thick books out and raised the shafts half as high as I had them. Lo and behold! Much less trouble with the warp ends, much less trouble, if any, with my shoulder. Even looking at my right arm, I could see that the angle between upper and forearm was much better ergonomically speaking.

Related Posts:
Getting Ready to Thread
Let the Threading Begin
The Threading Process
Ergonomics at the Loom
Shoulder Issues

Threading Handspun Warp Done” was written by Margaret Carpenter for Talking about Weaving and was originally posted on February 25, 2009. ©2009 Margaret Carpenter aka Peg in South Carolina


Carol said...

You keep me encouraged that someday I will be able to find the room to actually use my loom. I spent about 6months building the loom from scratch and do so want to use it. In the meantime I will continue to thoroughly enjoy your blog.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peg,

We have to find the right balance for our bodies and equipment to work with the least amount of stress to our bodies - i.e. ergonomically.

Working with our hands higher than our shoulders is more tiring than keeping them working below our shoulder level. A rock climber explained this to me - when our hands are above our shoulders more than they are below, the heart has to work harder to pump the blood up to our hands. Fatigue sets in quicker and we tire more easily.

Finding the 'perfect' balance is a process. Glad to hear you are analysing your situation and finding an 'easier' (more ergonomic) way to accomplish what needs to be done. :)



Peg in South Carolina said...

Carol, you built your own loom?!! I do hope you finally get to use it. Thank you for your comment.
Yes, Laura, finding that balance is a process, partly because our bodies insist on changing and not usually for the better!