A heddle walked into a bar…

(You know, sometimes it’s really hard to think of a title for a weekly blog! There is no punchline, I promise! But, if you think of one, let me know!)

So far, I have wound yarn onto the warping board (the yarns are the right length), twisted it off the board (the yarns will stay together), and sleyed the reed (the yarns are in order and spaced correctly in the reed). At this point, the reed is ready to go into the loom! The reed slides into a track in the beater bar. Take a look…

Side view of the beater bar

The reed’s in!

Next up, I’ll sit at the back of the loom to thread the heddles. Thankfully, I have a great weaving bench that drops down to a short stool height. So, when sitting lower, I am closer to eye level with the heddles. And this is a really good thing, because leaning over to thread 228 heddles is just not recommended!

The view from the back

For this project, there is a specific order to the yarns. So, in an effort to keep it all straight, I kept the pattern sitting close by at all times! Making a mistake at this part of the process is not a great idea! Mostly because you don’t notice it until much later and it’s just icky trying to fix it! Thus, me being overly cautious!

Profile shot of heddles

I have a 4-shaft loom, which you can see in the photo above. Each shaft contains a row of heddles and the whole piece will lift up once I start weaving. Heddles are skinny, metal pieces with an eye in each one. Each yarn gets its own heddle on a shaft determined by the pattern. Sounds kind of complicated, I know! But, trust me when I say that whoever invented this was brilliant! It’s an easy, straight-forward way to control each yarn, creating whatever pattern you like! Simply brilliant!

Another angle for you!

Making progress!

Like I mentioned before, I try to group the yarns as I go. So, all the looped knots you see represent a set of 12 yarns (1 inch). Anything to make life less confusing!

All done!

After each yarn has a heddle to call her own, it’s time to tie on the back. The beam with the ropes wrapped around it? That’s the back beam that extends out, away from the loom. The yarns are then tied to a rod that’s connected to the back beam! (Maybe diagrams for next time..)

Tying on the back

Ready to wind on!

So next up, I’ll do a little winding on! Thankfully, this is a much shorter project than my usual bolt of fabric for handbags. The winding on will take less time, meaning I’m that much closer to weaving! Yay! See you soon…

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