Balancing a Draft

Ask Madelyn

Dear Madelyn,

In the September/October issue of Handwoven, there is a set of waffle-weave towels (Lynn Tedder, “One Threading, Four Patterns, Four Towels”).  I am an intermediate weaver, but I haven’t done a lot of work with waffle weave.  In the treadling draft, there is the normal treadling stuff, and an indication to use a certain treadle as “balance.” What the heck is “balance?”

––Allen Walck

Hi, Allen!

“Balance” is a common concept in weaving. Say, for example, you threaded a point twill and repeated it several times. You would thread: 1-2-3-4-3-2 over and over again, but the very last time you would add a 1 at the end to “balance.” Usually, the “balance” is a single shaft or group of shafts that will make the threading symmetrical or complete the design in some way. This can happen with blocks, too. Say I thread AB and repeat that over and over. At the end, to “balance” I’ll thread an additional A (AB AB AB A to make ABABABA). The same principle applies to the treadling. If I use treadles 1-2-3-4-3-2 over and over again, treadle 1 will be used at the end to “balance.”

It is kind of an odd use of the word “balance” but I can’t quite think of a better word.


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