So, last we chatted, I had sleyed the reed and slid the entire piece (reed, yarns, lease sticks – the whole kit and kaboodle!) into the loom.
Now, it’s time to put the yarn into the heddles. Heddles are skinny, metal pieces with an eye in the middle of each. They slide along railings at the top and bottom of each shaft. The shafts are the moving pieces in the loom, lifting and lowering to help create the pattern in the fabric.
My loom has 4 shafts, which you can see in the picture above (at the top of the photo, you can see the wood frame of each shaft as they sit next to each other). To get ready to thread the heddles, I move everything to the sides so the middle is empty. One by one, I’ll move the heddles when I need them.
The pattern I’ll be using for the fabric will be pretty straightforward. So, the order the yarn goes into the loom will reflect that – 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4, etc. Translation, yarn #1 will go through a heddle that lives on the shaft closest to the front, or Shaft 1, if you will. Yarn #2 goes through a heddle on Shaft 2 and so on! The good news about a simple threading is that there is less chance for mistakes – not a guarantee, of course. But, better odds!
While I’m threading away, I’ll be sitting on a weaving bench that drops down to squatting height. So, I end up almost at eye level with the yarn. It’s much easier on the body than leaning over the whole time!
I keep the groupings of yarn that I began while sleying the reed. This way, I can visually see each inch and double check my work. Could be overkill, but I’d rather spend my time weaving versus fixing a threading error. All the weavers out there – are you with me???
The process of “sleying the reed” and “threading the heddles” is ultimately going to provide a smooth, straight path for each yarn from the front to the back of the loom. If the yarns are moving easily through the loom, they are just happier! And happier yarns make for a happier weaver – every time!
So, I’ve navigated the yarns through the middle of the loom. Next up, let’s wind it all on! After I wind on, the magic starts – I can’t wait! Talk to you soon…