Saturday, February 16, 2013


While reading this post remember that I am only discussing what works for me.  If you are happy with your results, there is no need to change anything.  If, however, you find that the posture for threading is uncomfortable you may wish to think about what you are doing.

Recently there was some discussion on one of the chat groups about why threading from the back towards the front (i.e. shaft 4, then 3, then 2, then 1) might be more efficient than threading from the front shaft towards the back (i.e. 1, then, 2, then 3, then 4) when doing a straight draw.

I'm not sure I can explain it in stills and text and may just drag out the video camera next time I'm setting up the small loom where there is more room to position the camera for better viewing.

One of the reasons I find threading the back towards the front more comfortable and efficient is partly to do with hand position.  In the picture below I've got the heddles arranged so that they are ready to be threaded from the front towards the back (1-4).  I'm not saying I never do this, just that I try to minimize this position as much as possible....

In order to thread the heddles in this sequence I have to scrunch my shoulder and rotate my hand in a thumbs down position.  When this position is held for any length of time it becomes very fatiguing and muscle cramps can set in as a result.

With the heddles set up to thread from the rear most heddle forwards, my hand is in a more neutral position with a thumbs up position and my shoulders are not scrunched up.  I can hold this position for a much longer time with fewer ill effects such as muscle spasms.  There are other factors at work in addition to the above which I will try to discuss in more detail when I manage to make another video about threading.  In the meantime there is a video clip on my You Tube channel - link to the right hand side of the page.

As for the actual threading, I decided to do a two block turned twill for this warp but since I have 16 shafts it actually worked out better to spread the blocks out over all 16.  Using the Fibonacci sequence the blocks are (from left to right) 1, 2, 5, 8.

I left out the number 3 from the sequence so that the number of ends needed worked out evenly with the number of ends required for the width of this warp.

I also arranged the blocks so that the two largest ones were on the shafts nearest me.  In the chart above you can see how many ends are required for each block (8, 16, 40 and 64) and which shafts those ends are threaded onto.  The right hand selvedge has 8 ends to balance the draft.  I have also noted how many groups of four are required for each block so that I can easily double check my threading as I complete each repeat.

The reason I arranged the blocks this way is because I cannot work for long periods with my hands extended in front of me so keeping the bulk of the work as close to my body as possible makes the whole job much less tiring and easier to do.

And here are the first two repeats nearly finished.  Each repeat in each block gets tied in a slip knot and then the entire block gets tied as well.  This gives me a visual check in case I get interrupted.


judy said...

Thanks, I'll be trying it.
Judy A

terri said...

interesting. if i may ask a stupid newbie question--if you're threading from back to front for a straight draw, are you doing:
where 4 is the first of the four threads from your cross, or:
where 1 is the first of the four threads from your cross?

hope this makes sense...


Laura Fry said...

The first end is threaded in shaft four, the next on shaft three, the third end is threaded on shaft two and the fourth end is threaded on shaft one. The heddles are therefore aligned in this direction: / not in this direction : \


terri said...

thanks! that makes sense. i was thinking that it wouldn't work so well the other way...

i'm guessing that having the heddles aligned like / rather than \ won't make a difference for many patterns, but now i'm wondering if there are circumstances under which it might make a difference...hmm...must think about this...