First Weaving Project

I recall, vaguely, that the weaving teacher mentioned something about counting heddles. But I’m a rushing in where angels fear to tread sorta person.

Now, after sleying my reed and starting to thread my heddles I had a come-to-jesus moment where I realize that I’ve not just not considered that I’ll run out of heddles, I’ve, on a mammoth-like scale not considered that I’ll run out of heddles.

The Full Insanity. Lots and Lots of Threads in Different Colors and an Odd Threading Pattern
The Full Insanity. Lots and Lots of Threads in Different Colors and an Odd Threading Pattern

Here’s the lay of the land. I just bought an Ashford 8-shaft table loom. It came with 640 heddles. When putting the loom together I (logically) put two bunches of 40 on each shaft.

Then I decided…hey…it’s my second project..I’ll do a waffle weave kitchen towel in two different colors. Why not? (I went from a basic scarf to this insanity). It made perfect sense to me because (as the book helpfully pointed out) switching colors would help me figure out the threading. And there is a lot of threading. 578 ends to be exact. I thought, no problem, I have 640.

Then I realized after threading the heddles for the first five bunches that due to the strange threading pattern (2,1,2,1,2,1,2,1,2,3,4,3) I actually (this is the actual logical part) need 192 heddles on shaft one, 240 on shaft two, 96 on shaft three, and 48 on shaft four.

Now in my class I ran short of heddles. At the beginning of a project. but that was a Scacht loom and removing the metal bars was easy. The Ashford doesn’t seem so easy and I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll need to lay the castle flat, remove the shafts and pull them out to add more heddles. Kind of difficult now that I’ve started.

So the Internet research began. The a-ha moment came when I read a posting someone wrote about having an 8-shaft loom and a 4-shaft project.

I realized to get extra emergency heddles I just needed to use the extra shafts and remember to pull the extra shafts up for the initial shaft. All doable and solves the majority of the problem.

I could now use Shafts 7 & 8 to get Shaft 2 to 240. And I’ll use 5 & 6 to get Shaft 1 to 192. BUT what to do about Shaft 3 which is still short 16?

In my class I used the store loom and when I’d started in the midst of the metal heddles was some string ones. The instructor explained that someone had “run short” or missed some threads and added some in the middle.

The final solution was at hand. It was much easier to make 16 extra heddles out of string and add them in than it was to stop mid project, tear it all back, remove shafts, and re-thread them all.

So I move forward making 16 heddles as I go (mixing them in so they don’t own a section) and adding in the extra shafts to make my waffle weave work.

Loom with Homemade Heddles
Loom with Homemade Heddles (Used Hemp and The Homemade Ones are Brown)

Fingers crossed that the next problem is as easily solved.

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One Response to First Weaving Project

  1. Pingback: Loom Lesson #1 » W.L. Doornik

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