8-Shaft Tie Up

Handwoven MagazineAsk Madelyn


Hi Madelyn!


I have recently purchased an 8-shaft countermarch loom, and I have threaded 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (something basic) to learn about weaving on eight shafts. On my 4-shaft loom, I use the tie-up, 1-2, 2-3, 3-4, 4-1, 1-3, 2-4 for just about everything. What is the tie-up I should use for my 8-shaft loom?




Hi Beth!


I have SO been there. I remember going to my guild and asking them: "What is the 8-shaft tie-up?" when I got my first 8-shaft loom. They laughed and told me that I would have to keep CHANGING the tie-up. I thought they meant after every pick! Fortunately, that is not true, but unfortunately, there is no universal tie-up for eight shafts.


The standard tie-up on four shafts can produce plain weave, 2/2 twill, overshot, and many other structures and patterns produced on four shafts (not Atwater-Bronson lace, however), so many weavers keep their looms tied up that way.


But for eight shafts, you have to tie up the loom for the specific structure/pattern you want to weave. So there are infinite numbers of different tie-up possibilities. You have to change the tie-up each time you weave something new unless you want to keep weaving the same thing over and over again. A good way to understand more about this (and what you can do on your exciting new loom) is to get Carol Strickler's A Weaver's Book of Eight-Shaft Patterns. You will also have a bit more to work through as you learn how to tie up your countermarch loom (you'll be tying every shaft to every treadle to move every shaft either up or down).



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