Friday, 30 October 2009

Back to basics

Yesterday I put a new warp on my loom but as usual wasn't happy with the shed I achieved. I've never totally got to grips with the mechanics of the loom - I've just sort of bumbled along and fiddled with lengths of cord here and there. Usually to no avail.

Also the previous owner had attached little slices of cardboard between the countermarch and the little plastic pins. This she said was to give fine adjustment on the length of the countermarch cords but I'm not convinced they did a lot of good.

So the upshot is that I put the metal rods back into the countermarch and basically took the whole thing apart.

I left the harnesses where they were but straightened and levelled them up properly.
I took out all the pieces of cardboard and adjusted the cords so they didn't need them anyway.
I levelled out the V shape that the countermarch loop cords make as they were all over the place before.
I detached the lams and started again to get them level.
I detached the treddles and retied them so they were near perfectly level.
I simplified the cords between the lams and the treddles so I didn't get met with about a million identical cords hanging down when I tied them up.

I tried to be methodical and get everything level while reading the instructions in broken English (the loom is Swedish) and decided that I'm better to follow my instincts!

I thought it would take ages but actually it was pretty quick and I really wish I'd done it sooner. I don't think I had the confidence before to detach everything and re-level all the cords for fear of making it worse.

Also I realised that a big mistake I was making - it sounds so stupid now - was that I was taking the metal countermarch holding rods (I'm sure they have a proper name) out too soon. I was taking them out before doing the tie up so as a result the treddles and lams were kicking out in all different directions.

This time however I left them in and took them out last and to my surprise everything stayed level and how it's supposed to be - balanced.

I checked the shed and it's much better.

Ah I'm so pleased and strangely it feels like I've finally taken ownership of my loom.

A question to the weavers out there - what is your preference on the treddle cords? On each project do you leave them all in place (i.e. hanging down from the lams) or do you prefer to remove the ones you aren't using? I find I get lost with all the surplus cords in the way but I suppose to have to retie them for each new project takes too long.


  1. I have a jack loom so it may be different. I have texsolv tie up cords and I leave them hanging. It's more of a pain for me to have to remove and add, than it is to just take the peg out of the lower part of the texsolv. The cords are still attached to the lams, they just dangle there unused. I've never used or attempted to tie up a countermarche though.

  2. Thank you Restless Knitter, I think you're right - I'll get used to it in time but the two lams seem to create so many cords, it's like a Texsolv jungle down there!

  3. I always leave the treadle tie cords in the treadles (the pegs go under the treadle on my Toika and it's painful work moving them). All my cords are long enough to reach the upper lam. When I bought my loom it had a mix of long and short cords, but it's back breaking work having to re tie everything for every different pattern (and time consuming) so I bought a reel of texsolv and changed them to all being very long. It was well worth the investment.

    Leigh wrote some interesting posts about countermarche loom tie-up when she got a Glimakra loom in 2007, go to her blog, search the list of "weaving" post to find "countermarche".

    I think that's a very good choice of loom you have. I love the solid framed weave-anything Scandinavian looms.

  4. Thanks for your comments Dorothy. I think I probably will leave them in place in future just for convenience - I'll just have to get used to fighting through the sea of cords!

    I read Leigh's post over the weekend and it really helped - she had great results in the end so definitely worth following her instructions.

    Thanks again.

  5. Having also been intimidated by my countermarche loom, I'm glad to see that you're taking ownership of yours now. Once I figured mine out it started to seem logical, but at the beginning it was very intimidating. (And I'm still at the beginning since I've only woven 1 scarf in plain weave so far!!)

    It seems like there are 2 main methods for tying up countermarche looms. Either use long cords and leave them attached to the treadles (like Dorothy described), or leave cords attached to the lamms and secure them under the treadles each time (which I think Becky Ashenden of in the US does).

    I do the same thing that Dorothy does - because we have similar looms - and connecting cords under the treadles is very difficult.

    There is a book that I've heard great things about for a Glimakra. It's called "Tying up the Countermarche Loom" by Joann Hall. So if you need a book at some point, I think that's a good one. (Although being a Toika owner, I've heard that that book would mess me I haven't actually seen it.)

    Anyway, I'm always happy to hear some one else having an adventure with a new loom to them!!

    Have fun!



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