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Treadle to the Metal

posted Dec 16, 2010, 5:59 PM by Mary Powell
Everything is a mess at first as the threads spread out and find their proper places, so for the sake of my pride, I'm going to weave until it looks nice before showing you more pictures.
So, here is about two yards of cloth woven. Notice the path the cloth follows. It starts in the working space, travels over the apron beam, at an angle down to the cloth beam and is wound around the cloth beam. In this picture, you can just barely see the ends of the apron bar (horizontal--its a two-by-four) down on the cloth beam. Also note the two treadles (pointing forward), their just-visible ropes (vertical--tied to the harnesses), and the ropes and pulleys above the harnesses.

  So I sit down at the loom and slide my bench in close enough that I am actually leaning against the apron beam. Not everyone has to sit this close, but this a big loom.

Then I press down on one treadle. It doesn't really matter which one you start on. As the treadle goes down, it pulls one harness with it. Since the harnesses are connected too, as one treadle lowers, the other goes up. Hence, this type of loom is called a counter-balance loom. Remember all that work to thread the warp on the harnesses? This is why. With one harness down, every other thread is down. The other harness is pulling the alternate threads up. The warp magically separates into two layers of thread. This separation is called the shed. You can just see it here, in front of the reed.

See how the harnesses are separated as well? This loom doesn't have a very wide shed, meaning the space between layers isn't much. This reduces wear and tear on the threads, but increases it on the weaver.