Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Warping the Glimakra: Tying Up the Treadles

By Leigh

Coach Boone: Why are you smiling?

Petey: Because I love football. Football is fun.

Coach Boone: Fun, 'sir.' It's fun?

Petey: Yes, Sir.

Coach Boone: You sure?

Petey: I think....

Coach Boone: Now you're thinking. First you smile, now you thinkin'. You think football is still fun?

Petey: Uh, yes. Sir. Yes. No. Sir.

Coach Boone: It was fun. Not anymore though, is it.

Petey: Not right now

Coach Boone: It's not fun anymore. Not even a little bit.

Petey: .......... Zero fun, Sir.

From Remember The Titans

So far I've been sailing right along, singing the praises of my Glimakra countermarche, comparing it to my Schacht jack loom, seemingly with the conclusion that there is really no comparison. I've actually found myself enjoying warping and threading, something I never used to do!

Now, however, we get to the treadle tie-up. Here is where a jack loom is far superior when it comes to simplicity and ease of treadle tie-up. And here is where the whole thing becomes zero fun with a CM (countermarche) loom.

Tying up a jack loom is brilliantly easy......

Tying up treadles on a jack loom is simple & easy.This is a Schacht Mighty Wolf loom, but I'm sure other makes and models are similar. The lamms have sets of tie cords, one for each shaft. The weaver simply selects the shaft cords needed for a particular pattern and slips them into slits on the treadles. Little plastic knobs hold them in place. What could be faster!

But here's what I faced when I sat down under (crawled under actually) the Glimakra....

The dreaded countermarche treadle tie-up.Short lamms, long lamms, short cords, long cords, rising shed, sinking shed, lots of holes, anchor pegs ....HUH? What in the world have I gotten myself into. Of course, this is what was already on the loom when I got it. So I needed to take it all out and set it up for the straight twill pattern I wanted.

The set-up video made a plain weave tie-up look fairly easy. Each shaft has to be tied to one set of lamms or the other. One set makes the shafts go up, the other, down. Treadle cords are first attached to the lamms in the pattern required, and then tied to the treadles.

I was to tie up the upper lamms first and then do the opposite on the lower ones. Sounds simple enough. However, 8 shafts times 10 treadles equals 80 holes for each set of lamms, so I was worried about getting confused. I finally thought to fill in the holes I didn't want to use with spare anchor pegs .....

Trying to make things easier on myself by filling in the holes....... and then put the ties in the empty ones. I did the reverse pattern on the bottom lamms.

Countermarche treadles tied up and ready for weaving.Then it was time to tie up the treadles. Hoo boy. The trick here is to tie the back shafts tighter than the front ones. This has something to do with getting a good shed in the back.

On top of that, I was very awkward with the anchor pegs and Texsolv cord. Plus, I had to put the pegs into the bottom of the treadle, by touch!!!

I confess, I really fretted over this. As capable as I think I am in following written or video directions, there is nothing like personal experience when it comes to doing a thing right.

Finally, with a lot of encouragement from Dorothy, I decided that starting somewhere was better than starting nowhere. So I tied up the treadles as best I could and then called it a night. One can take frustration for only so long.

Next ...... The Three Duhs

Posted 4 July 2007 at

Related posts:
Comparing Looms: Jack & Countermarche
Why A Countermarche?
Warping the Glimakra:
.....Adjusting the Loom With Texsolv
.....Winding It On
.....The 3 Duhs
.....Adjusting the Shed
.....Blanket Done!


Susan B. said...

Hi Leigh,
You visited my blog - Centerweave - thank you for your comments! I am such a new weaver.
I am enjoying your blog a lot with all of the pictures. Lots of useful information!
Thanks again for stopping by!
Susan (Centerweave)

Peg in South Carolina said...

I can only say that you have left me breathless with anticipation........... Please do hurry and put me out of my misery!

Peg in South Carolina said...

I tried to find Susan Babb's site but could not. Do you have a link?

Leigh said...

Susan, I am delighted with your return visit. You may be a new weaver, but I thought your work lovely.

Peg, I'm breathless too, from crawling around on the floor under the loom! *lol* Susan's blog can be found at She's been working on some beautiful table runners. I found her via WeaveRing.

Sharon said...

Holey moley - it looks like it's raining cord under your loom. Now I understand your trepidation about the tie-ups. I'm sure my looms are my looms for life, but I'm enjoying the heck out of your's.

Cathy said...

Leigh - I have great confidence that you will have this countermarche tie-up business mastered in no time!

Anonymous said...

I, too, recently added a Glimakra to my "stable" and am really enjoying reading your adventure log as I prepare to take mine on its maiden voyage. I agree that these looms are somewhat intimidating for the Jack trained among us. Suggestion for tie-ups...Becky Ashenden of Vav Stuga in Shelburne, MA developed a brilliant modification involving special knitting needles and beads with the tex-solv. You still need to figure out what goes where, but it makes the connections and ultimate comfort adjustments a breeze! Check out her web site. Way easier than those little pegs. It also makes it so easy to fine tune the height of the treddles for maximum comfort...which, as a very short legged little weaver, I have really appreciated when taking classes at her studio!

Best of luck,

Anonymous said...

I can hardly wait to see how you get on with the tie-up. And one other point about it - crawling around underneath and getting out from under the loom and then back down again doesn't get any easier as the years go by!

Leigh said...

Sharon and Cathy, I appreciate the moral support!

Janet, I am seeing what you mean about the crawling around vs. the years going by. I'm beginning to think that I need a studio with a weaving pit to put this loom over, kind of like garages use to work on cars.

Barbara, thank you so much for your comment. You are the 3rd person to recently call my attention to Becky Asenden's method so she seems to come highly recommended. I definitely need to improve on this chore; it isn't an easy one!

Woolly Bits said...

argh, Leigh - I think I better skip the next intros with weaving in it - you'll put me off it for life:) well, not to worry, so far it's only rigid heddle and 4shaft table loom anyway - but I think knitting things does have advantages:)) I hope you'll figure it out eventually...

Tracy said...

Looking good. You'll get there. I can't wait. :)

Anonymous said...

More than ever, I want to identify and replace the missing pieces to the Cranbrook countermarch loom sitting in my living room. Your journal entries may show frustration with the intricacies of the countermarch loom, but they also sponsor enthusiasm for anyone interested in trying something new in weaving.

Wish I lived close enough to lend you a hand with your task. This blog accomplishes a little bit of virtual support in lieu of the actual. It goes both ways.

You're providing a spectacular service to the craft of weaving with your journal entries!! All the best to you. donna

bspinner said...

I have never seen so many tie up cords. If anyone can figure out where they all go its you.

Leigh said...

Bettina, Tracy, Donna, and Barb, I truly appreciate your encouraging confidence in me. Donna, I wish you did live closer, I could use the moral support. I have to admit that blogging about it helps keep me motivated. I eventually want to be able to say that all of this was worth it!