Ask Madelyn: Treadling Orders

I am an intermediate weaver and I’m wondering if you have any tips on keeping track of treadling orders. I keep losing my place.

Hi Katrina!

There are many ways to arrange tie-ups and treadling orders (not always the way they are presented in projects and books). I like to arrange them in a way that helps me keep track of the treadling order.

Most of the weaving we do uses treadles either in alternate order (tabby, for example), or sequential order (twill). Wherever you place your two tabby treadles, you’ll never have trouble remembering which treadle to use if you always use the left treadle of the two when your shuttle is on the left and the right treadle of the two when your shuttle is on the right.

Treadles 5 and 6 are the two tabby treadles in the 4-shaft overshot draft shown here. L means that the left treadle is used because the shuttle is coming from the left, and R means that the shuttle is coming from the right so the right treadle of the pair is used. If both tabby treadles are on the left side of the tie-up or one tabby treadle is on one side and the other is on the other side, you can still follow this practice.

In 4-shaft overshot, pattern treadles are used in succession for a number of picks, so you have to watch the pattern to see where you are in the treadling of each block. In 8-shaft overshot, two pattern treadles are used alternately for each block, so the same principle can be applied to the pattern weft (shuttle on the left, left treadle of the pair; shuttle on the right, right treadle of the pair) as to the tabby weft (treadles 9 and 10).

Treadling orders

In huck lace, an even/odd alternation of shafts 1 and 2 on alternating pattern and tabby treadles allows creating a tie-up in which an even tabby treadle (shuttle coming from the right) always alternates with an odd pattern treadle (shuttle coming from the left) or an odd tabby treadle always alternates with an even pattern treadle.

In many twill sequences, odd treadles alternate with even treadles; therefore whenever the shuttle is on the left, an odd treadle is used; whenever the shuttle is on the right, an even treadle is used; see the example shown here of turned twill.

Some treadling orders don’t lend themselves to this practice, of course. The most important aid to following any treadling sequence is closely observing the connection between it and the resulting cloth so that you know right away when you have made a mistake and what to do to correct it.


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