Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Posted by Peg in South Carolina

I thread my heddles from the right side to the left side.  The shafts on my loom have center posts. What this means is that I need to pull out from the right side the heddles I will need for threading the right half. (The photo below shows the loom from the back.  Viewed from the back I would be threading left to right.)

The easiest way to figure out how many I need to pull out is to get the heddle count from my weaving software (PixeLoom). That gives me the total number of heddles I need on each shaft for the draft I am using.

I then divide the heddles in half for each shaft.

This has always worked fairly well.  Sometimes perfectly.  More often than not, I have been off one or two heddles in at least some of the shafts.  I have always attributed this to errors in counting.

View from Back of Loom This kind of inaccuracy is not a big deal.  I do have center posts on the loom.  They are not posts that go from the top of each shaft to the bottom.  Rather, they are metal pieces that sit at the center top and bottom of each shaft. The two black arrows in the photo point to them.

When I need to move heddles across the center of a shaft, I twist and push on them to release the shafts. When new they were terribly stiff and even caused my thumb to bleed.  But with use, they have loosened up to the point that moving them is just nuisance and slows me down a bit.

Before I even got to the center, I found myself 16 heddles short on one shaft and four on another.  So I moved heddles from the left side to the right side on those shafts.

Then I looked at the other two shafts.  It was immediately clear that I had way too many heddles on the other two shafts.  When i get to the center of the draft, I will be moving those heddles to the left side.

This is NOT inaccurate counting! This is a result of the threading draft.

This is the right side of the threading draft:

4342 (repeat 8x)
4313 (repeat 8x)
4131 (repeat 8x)
3134 (repeat 8x)
2432 (repeat 8x)
2324 (repeat 8x)

This doesn’t include any accidental threads between some of the blocks.

I had happily gotten 196 heddles ready, divided equally among the four shafts. That means slightly fewer than 50 heddles per shaft.  But look at the threading carefully:

Shaft 4—needs 56 heddles
Shaft 3—needs 64 heddles
Shaft 2—needs 40 heddles
Shaft 1—needs 32 heddles

When I have this kind of a weave structure, and especially where the threading on the right side does not mirror the threading on the left side, I need to take that threading draft and actually count the heddles on each shaft. 

Lesson learned.

Related Posts: 
   My Calculator Made a Mistake 
    I Ought Not to be a Weaver
   Getting Ready to Thread
   The Threading Process

Arranging Heddles for Threading” was written by Margaret Carpenter for Talking about Weaving and was originally posted on April 14, 2009. ©2009 Margaret Carpenter aka Peg in South Carolina


Leigh said...

I'm kind of glad I don't have my Schacht Mighty Wolf any more because I had the same center post on it. Like you, I found it to be a terrible nuisance. I used to dislike all that counting too, to figure out how many heddles I needed on each side of the divide on each shaft. I can see how your software helps tremendously with this!

Now I thread from the center outward. It does get a little confusing when I switch from one side to the other because I have to keep remembering that I am threading the blocks from the other side. But at least I don't run out of heddles any more.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Leigh, I sley the reed from the center outward, but I would find it much too awkward to thread left to right unless i learned how to do it with my left hand.

Triebenbachs said...

I used to thread my heddles the same way! I got so tired of the mis-counting that I learned to do it from the middle out. It is certainly a change but one I'm happy I made now.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Trebenbachs (and Leigh): assuming you are right handed, how do you thread left to right (the reverse if you are left-handed). Also, if you have a complex threading, how do you wrap your head around reversing that threading for the other half--I would probably make a total mess of it!