Circles and Strings

I know it's been awhile since I posted, but it's not because I've been idling away my days, eating bonbons (do people still do that??) and watching soaps (yech).  No, I've been spending my free time redoing all of the treadle tie ups on my Glimakra Standard.  That means I've been spending some real quality time on my rump, inside my loom, on the floor.  Yep, good times, good times.

Before I get into a few pictures of that project, I thought I would interject an image of my next project, because it is way more photogenic than a bunch of strings.  So I've warped my loom with enough yarn for 3 table runners in a turned twill draft that will, hopefully, create circles;

Pretty cool, right?  The draft originally came from the book, Twill Thrills, which I then fiddled with to fit my needs.  The warp is 10/2 cotton in natural, sett at 28 EPI.  I haven't picked the weft colors yet, but I do have some in mind.  The warp is on the loom, ready to be threaded.  That should have occurred today, but alas, I had to do some housecleaning instead.  I hate it when that happens!

So, the way my tie ups had been arranged was that the cords from the upper, shorter lamms would travel behind the corresponding lower, longer lamms, then through the holes in the treadles, where they then had to be pegged after trying to make sure that the treadles were at the correct height and the degree of slack in the cords was adequate for a good shed, or opening for my shuttle.  Now, I know that anyone reading that last sentence has absolutely no idea what any of it meant, because I was right there with you before and, for awhile, after I got my countermarche loom.  Just know this - what that sentence means is that I had to crawl inside the loom and sit for awhile before every project, bending my body in ways that border on unhealthy and that will be impossible before long, in order to set up the loom for weaving.  The pegging of the cords underneath the treadles was the hardest part, because I had to balance each treadle on one of my knees, peg a cord, test to see if the length was correct, then either repeat to fix it or go onto the next cord.  There are either 4 or 8 cords per treadle, which are either 2, 4, or 6 in number, depending on the draft.  Phew!

I know that there are a lot of different ways to tie up countermarche looms, but I came across a discussion on Ravely about a way in which the cords are permanently placed and attached to the treadles.  They run through the holes in both the upper and lower lamms, not behind and only through one lamm's hole or the other.  They are pegged beneath the treadles, and a dowel is run through the holes in the cords on top of the treadles to help keep the cords tidy.  On top, the cords are knotted, so they can't fall through any holes.

This system meant that I had to take all of the old cords off, because I didn't have enough of the correct length.  Here is a shot of some of the old cords in place.  You can see that some are long, and some are short, and some go from the top stick (lamm) to the treadles, and others are hanging on the bottom lamm.

After those all came off, I purchased new cord and cut them all the same length, knotting one end, and marking some holes with some colored thread.  With an 8 shaft loom, that means there are 64 strings (8 cords per treadle, 8 treadles).  That piece alone took me several days of careful measuring, cutting, tying, and burning the ends so they don't unravel.

I used turquoise thread for the upper lamm markings, and maroon for the lower.  I didn't dare use marker until I knew that these holes would work!  I also used some black marker to indicate the holes into which the pegs under the treadles would go.

Next came more time under the loom, installing them all.  Initially, I simply placed the cords through their holes. Then one last time (hopefully) I sat inside the loom and started pegging underneath the treadles.  That went fairly well, since I wasn't trying to figure out which holes to use.  Getting the dowels through these itsy bitsy holes was a bit more challenging, but with time, I made progress.  The first treadle in completed;

Which then led to half of the treadles being done;

When it's time to actually do the tie up for a particular draft. all of the work happens on top of the treadles.  The pegs that go into the upper lamm's cords go into the turquoise-marked holes for shafts 1-3; for shafts 4-6 it's the hole below the marking; and for 7-8 it's 2 holes beneath.  For the lower lamms, it's a similar set up - shafts 1-3 use the maroon holes; 4-6 the holes underneath; and 7-8 2 holes underneath.

I have since completed installing the new system, so now that there is a warp awaiting threading, I'm looking forward to trying it out.  Hopefully there will be some more inspiring photos next time!

And for all you non-weavers out there, I apologize for this technical, boring post.