Some things are easier done than said. I said to myself that it’s too much trouble to tie retaining cords on the shafts. I am weaving almost full width on the Glimåkra Julia. I know that heddles can slip off the ends of shafts. Still, I tell myself I can keep an eye on it. It won’t be a problem, right? Wrong.
Tie Retaining Cords on Shafts
Purpose: Keep Texsolv heddles secure on their shaft bars, especially when weaving a wide warp.
- Tape measure
- 12/6 cotton seine twine
1 Measure shaft bar from hole to hole. (Julia shaft bar is 70 cm)
2 Figure additional length (about 40 cm) for tying two knots. (70 + 40 = 110 cm)
3 Cut seine twine to measured length for each upper and lower shaft bar. (Heddles can slip off lower shaft bars, too.)
4 Insert one of the seine twine cords through the hole on one end of a shaft bar. Tie. (I use the half-bow slip knot as described in Learning to Warp Your Loom, by Joanne Hall, p.38.)
5 Insert the other end of the cord through the hole at other end of the shaft bar. Tie.
6 Repeat steps 4 and 5 for each remaining upper and lower shaft bar.
Continue weaving with one less thing to think about.
45 minutes: Time it took to reposition heddles that had slipped off a few shafts and were in a mess because I didn’t notice it immediately.
Less than 10 minutes: Time it took to cut string and tie retaining cords on 4 upper shaft bars and 4 lower shaft bars.
May you take the time to do what needs to be done.
15 thoughts on “Tried and True: Are Retaining Cords Worth the Trouble?”
Am I seeing two sets of lease sticks?
I’m sort of new to weaving and am curious.
Hi Lynn, This is a project that is combining two warps. You can read more about it in Spreading Two Warps at Once. Thanks for asking!
Good morning Karen,
You shared one of those laugh moments so you don’t cry. So instead of lemonade, you made a posting.
One time. Only one time. I cut a project from the loom and neglected to tie slip knots on the ends of the remaining warp. As I rolled up the finished project the reed pivoted toward the front beam. The warp threads slid out of the reed.
I came back later, after composing myself.
Did you have a good laugh?
Hi Nannette, Oh yes, after kicking myself, I did have a good laugh.
Thanks for understanding,
I prefer this method over having to fiddle with those gigantic “diaper pins” especially when I am only using 4 shafts. Thanks for sharing and I lovr
Hi Allison, These retaining cords don’t obstruct the weaving at all.
Thanks! And I love having you here.
Oops…meant to finish with I love your blog!
This is a great tip and easy to understand directions. I am a visual learner so the photos were perfect for me.
Two weeks ago, my heddles slipped off the end and never expected that. I had no idea how to fix the problem so spent a great deal of time monitoring my heddles while trying to weave. Couldn’t wait to finish the warp!
I will definitely be using this tip because I ended up cutting off the heddles out of shear frustration when I kept twisting them trying to reposition them on the shaft.
Hi Annie, I know the frustration you are talking about. It seems like it would be easy to just put the heddles back on the shafts, but it isn’t. Once they get twisted, it is very difficult to get them back on in the right order.
Fortunately, we have a simple way to solve that whole issue of heddles wandering off the shafts.
Here’s to frustration-free weaving,
My countermarche look had little dowels inserted into the top/bottom of each shaft by the maker, probably to prevent exactly this issue. My current loom is a Macomber which has a totally different set up and no risk of losing heddles from what I can see.
Hi Rachelle, Thanks for chiming in! There are always creative ways around these problems.
All the best,
What a great idea! I never thought of using this method for the shafts. Thank you for being so generous sharing your knowledge!
Hi Elisabeth, It’s a joy for me to share the bits that I know, especially if it can help someone else! This is a very simple strategy. Simple is my favorite!
Thank you for the sage advice~
Hi Gail, You are very welcome.