(You can just hear Tom Cruise say the line, right?) So last we chatted, I was happily sleying the reed, getting it ready to go into the loom!
There are (2) prominently different methods to setting up the loom (called “dressing the loom”). I work front-to-back, meaning that the yarn goes through the reed first, then the heddles. Taking this approach allows me to add the yarn to the reed (called “sleying”) somewhere else, and then I add the yarn/reed to the loom. My friends who dress the loom back-to-front keep the reed in the loom during the entire process. (Trying the opposite method from what you are used to is like writing with the wrong hand – it’s possible, but feels very weird!)
The reed fits in a set of grooves in the beater bar. The beater bar is the moving piece that smashes the yarn into place when weaving … artfully and non-violently smashing, of course.
At this point, the lease sticks are still in place! They become just one more hurdle the yarn has to work over and under before it moves (hopefully untwisted and knot-free!) through the loom. So, to keep the lease sticks in a good position, I tie them up – it keeps them from wiggling around and making life more frustrating. And I am all about preventing frustration, let me tell you!
Here are the heddles! They are tall, skinny little soldiers that each hold a yarn. I have (4) rows of them because I have a (4) shaft loom. So, as I thread each yarn, I have (4) choices for who gets each one!
I’m using a very basic threading pattern this time around, meaning this part of the process won’t kill too many brain cells. But, it’s still important to pay attention because while you can fix a heddle mistake, it’s rarely fun to do so! I recommend against it, if at all possible!
We’re getting there! I have about 1/2 of the heddles threaded and will finish up next time. Then, a little winding and we’ll be weaving to our heart’s content! Stay tuned for all the excitement…