Posted by Peg in South Carolina
This current silk warp is the best warp I have ever put on. It has been giving me the cleanest sheds I have ever had with 60/2 silk. Only one treadle has been a bit of a problem. A thread or two near the left side sometimes gets hung up; so I try to remember always to stick my hand in that shed.
That shed is also a bit of a problem because the lower half the the warp does not lie flat on the shuttle race. Even loosening the treadle cord a notch doesn’t really help. All that does is make a shed that is really too narrow to weave with. Since the warp is narrow, the fact that the bottom shed does not lie perfectly flat has not been an issue. I am not shooting the shuttle across the race. It’s more akin to passing it from hand to hand.
I was contemplating all of this as I was weaving, when the phrase “floating shafts” entered my head. I checked. On the problem treadle, shafts 1 and 2, the down shafts, float. I checked the other sheds and the shafts that are supposed to be down float there as well, though not to the extent shafts 1 and 2 float when shafts 3 and 4 are up. In fact, if I push the shafts down with my hand, they come right back up! On the other sheds, the shafts stay down when I push them down.
I checked the weaving lists and found possible solutions.
1. Buy a countermarch loom. Well, yes. The shafts that are supposed to go down (and stay down) have no choice in the matter because they are tied up to do that. Jack looms, however, rely on gravity, not on a pulling action. Am I kicking myself for not having bought one because of the difficulty of tying up? Well, yes…….
2. Weave with less tension. Tried it. No matter how loose the tension, the shafts still float.
2. Add weights. Some time ago, when I had been dealing with floating shafts, I had bought some thin steel bars at Home Depot. I never used them. So I got them out and tried to tie them on to the bottom of the shafts. They would not stay tied on. I couldn’t figure out what was happening. The knot was still there, and the loop didn’t appear to be cut, but somehow, the cord was not holding them. So I put the bars away.
3. Push the shafts down with your hand. The weaver who suggested this says it is very easy to incorporate that action into the rhythm of the weaving. I have been doing that on the other treadles and I agree. But this is quite useless on a treadling where the pushed shafts refuse to stay down!
4. Spread the threading over more shafts. The heddles and the threads are so close together that their “stickiness” is keeping the down shafts from going all the way down. I’m pretty sure this “stickiness” has to be the problem as I never have shaft issues weaving anything from 4-30 epi. Threading this particular warp in this way, of course, I cannot do since the loom is already threaded. No, I am not going to cut off and start again. But I will definitely keep this threading technique in mind for the next warp.
Related Post: Jack and Countermarch Looms