Our transition to Texas hill country is finalized this week! The looms and I will be residing in the same house again. Let the weaving resume! One loom is dressed and waiting for me. Tied on above, and tied up below. Ready to weave!
The upper and lower lamms are positioned, and the treadle cords are added and secured. It’s fascinating how simple and basic the whole system is. And how something this simple and basic can be the framework for boundless creative expression.
If we think of prayer as something that gets us out of a crisis, or words to say in order to get what we want from God, we miss the whole point of prayer. And we face disappointment. Prayer always works. The work is not our clever words, nor the checking off of our wish list. Prayer is the framework of deep trust that stands ready for the Lord’s boundless creative expression. We pray because we trust him. Christmas—the birth of Christ—shows us that God always steps in at the right time.
Twelve shafts and twelve treadles are all tied up. I found and fixed one threading error. And I am still making some adjustments on the tie-ups to get clean sheds. But for the most part, the Standard is ready to go! I have a week with this loom, to weave towels for my daughter. This colorful double weave looks promising.
When the loom is properly dressed and prepared, the weaving is delightful. Every pick of color is a pleasant surprise. Our Father knows our needs. He is the loom dresser. Everything is set up for the threads to make gorgeous cloth. Do we think prayer is all about asking God our Father for things? Yes, he does invite us to ask for the things we need. But let’s start with admiring his ways and works, with a heart of gratitude. Then, with the threads he puts in our hands, the future looks promising!
When my long-held dream of weaving on a floor loom became a possibility, I started my journey with questions. What are the pros and cons of the different types of looms? After considerable research, a winner emerged—the Swedish countermarch loom!
Pros and Con of Countermarch Looms (My experience is with Glimåkra. Other countermarch looms may differ.)
Weave anything. Rag rugs to lace-weight fabric.
Hanging beater. Swinging beater has momentum that enables a firm beat. No strain to shoulders, arms, or wrists. Asset for weaving rag rugs, and superb control for cloth with an open weave. Beater placement is adjustable, making it possible to weave longer before advancing the warp.
Rear-hinged treadles. Pressing treadles is effortless, no matter how many shafts. No strain on back, legs, knees, or ankles, even with robust weaving. Because treadles are close to each other, I press correct treadles with sock- or bare-footed ease…without having to watch my feet. Ample foot rest makes it easy to trade feet when using many treadles.
Clean shed. Stepping on a treadle raises and lowers shafts at the same time, so a great shed is not only possible, but usual.
Even warp tension. Because shafts are both raised and lowered, tension is equal on raised and lowered warp ends. Even warp tension is good for all types of weaving. This even tension makes a tight warp possible. Perfect for linen, and for rugs.
Texsolv heddles. Heddles can be easily added or removed from shafts (shafts are also easily added or removed). Quiet. Easy to thread.
Perfect fit. A petite person like me can weave on a large loom (my Standard is 47”/120cm) as comfortably as someone with longer arms and legs. Able to sit in upright posture for weaving.
Wooden. The loom is primarily wood. Bonus if you appreciate natural beauty of wood. Held together with wooden wedges and a few bolts. No screws or wing nuts.
Scandinavian clarity. Because of the Swedish loom, I adopt Swedish weaving practices and have an interest in traditional Scandinavian textiles. The loom fits the style. Streamlined design, precision, systematic and logical processes, and beauty with function.
Treadle tie-ups. Shafts are connected to upper lamms and lower lamms. Treadle cords with a bead at one end are hung in the lamms. Lamms are then attached to treadles. Treadle tie-ups normally fall under the Pros category, because this is what enables the loom to have the clean shed it’s known for. But since I just finished tying up ten shafts to ten treadles (that’s 100 treadle cords), this is my least favorite part right now. 😉 (The weaving pleasure more than makes up for it, though.)
When I weave on my Glimåkra Standard countermarch loom, I am soaring like an eagle. I’m sailing with the spinnaker up. I am a pipe organ maestro. I am dreaming while fully awake. This is everything I imagined weaving could be, only better.
For more in-depth information about countermarch looms, comparisons of looms, and other fantastic resources, see articles written by Joanne Hall, found at Glimåkra USA.
After back surgery, I wondered how-in-the-world I would be able to tie up my countermarch looms. After a four-week ban on bending over, I was eager to weave, but not eager to do anything that might strain or injure my back.
Two simple maneuvers made it possible for me to tie up the lamms and the treadles on both of my Glimäkra countermarch looms:
Remove the lamms. Treadle cords are added while sitting in a comfortable position.
Detach the treadles. Bring treadles closer to the front of the loom for attaching treadle cords.
And two important practices kept me from over-reaching and overdoing it:
Sit on a low stool instead of the back of the loom or the floor.
Take frequent breaks to stand up, stretch, and walk around.
Low stool for sitting
Rolling cart (IKEA cart) or small table
Plank of wood, longer than the loom is wide (one plank of warping trapeze, 1″ x 5″)
Treadle cords, Texsolv pins, other tie-up supplies
Length of cord to hold treadle up (Texsolv cord that’s used for hanging the reed for sleying)
The 120 cm (47″) Standard loom has open space in the loom, making it easy to get within arm’s reach of most things; but the challenge increases with the number of shafts–eight for this tie up.
Lamms are removed, 2 at a time, and placed on the cart to add the treadle cords, all the while sitting on a comfortable stool.
After all 8 lower lamms have the treadle cords added, the lamms are reinserted in the loom, 2 at a time.
Treadle rod is removed to detach the treadles. Wood plank keeps the treadles from sliding back while treadle cords are attached at the front of the loom.
Cord acts as a sling to hold the treadle up to a comfortable height.
The raised treadle helps with visibility, and enables the use of both hands, especially helpful for the “Vavstuga method” of tying up treadles with knitting needles (I use sharpened dowels). After treadles are tied up, re-attach the treadles at the back of the loom.
The 100 cm (39″) Ideal loom requires more reaching. Tying lamms to the shafts is a challenge for short arms, like mine. With four shafts, and only three treadles for this tie up, the rest of the process isn’t difficult.
Upper lamms are placed on the cart. I hold the weaving draft in my lap as I add the treadle cords to the lamms.
Lower lamms are removed as the pin is pulled out. After the treadle cords are added, the lamms are reinserted.
Detached treadles lay on the floor. They easily pivot up at the front of the loom for attaching treadle cords.