Heddle me this…

Time to slide the reed into the loom and thread some heddles! Let’s start with an empty loom, shall we?

Empty loom

Empty loom

At this point, the back of the loom is folded up close to the body. I’ll extend it later – once the winding begins! I work on a Schacht loom, which for me is the most comfortable loom – hand’s down! (Or maybe it should be “shuttle’s down”?)

Close-up of the beater bar

Close-up of the beater bar

Above is a photo of the beater bar. This is the part of the loom that squeezes the yarn into the fabric! The top of the beater bar loosens up and comes completely off. So, the reed fits into the lower channel of the bar and the top comes back down, locking it all into place!

Ready for the reed!

Ready for the reed!

It’s always a bit challenging walking the reed, lease sticks and yarn over to the loom from the table – lots of moving/sliding/shifting parts! But with a project this size, it’s not too bad! Small arms, small project – it works!

I love it when a plan comes together!

I love it when a plan comes together!

The reed fits into the loom with the long lengths of yarn facing the front and the knots facing the heddles at the back of the loom!

Tying up the lease sticks

Tying up the lease sticks

I like to take a little bit of spare yarn to tie the lease sticks in place so they don’t shift all around while I’m trying to get everything into the heddles! Otherwise, the yarns don’t always pull forward easily. And I’m all in favor of making projects as tangle-free as possible!

Everyone, meet the heddles! The heddles, everyone!

Everyone, meet the heddles! The heddles, everyone!

Heddles are tall, skinny metal pieces with an eye in the middle of each. They slide around on the (4) shafts of my loom. The order I thread them helps determine the weaving pattern!

Knotting the bunches

Knotting the bunches

As a double and triple check, I knot them in 1″ or 1/2″ bunches just to be sure my math is right! Ah, math…

All the good little soldiers!

All the good little soldiers!

View from above the heddles!

View from above the heddles!

Once upon a time, in a weaving class, my instructor was talking about how she was taught to “dress” the loom (setting it up!). Apparently, her teacher really needed to have everything just so – to the extent that with each project, she was required to remove any extra heddles! (What you have to appreciate is what a pain in the hiney it is to mess with the heddles! Least favorite thing ever!) So each time I sit at the loom to work with the heddles, I smile – grateful that my perfectionist tendencies are at least partially under wraps and that I’m OK with the extra heddles just flapping in the wind!

Bird's eye view of the loom!

Bird’s eye view of the loom!

Heddles are threaded – check! Next up, I’ll knot the yarns to the back and begin winding on! So. Much. Fun!!! Talk to you soon…

JEllis Heddles 7

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