Heddle Counts

Handwoven Magazine Ask Madelyn


Greetings, Madelyn.

I was delighted to see the heddle counts listed for the two projects on pg. 40 and 42 of the May/June 2011 issue of Handwoven, but there were no heddle counts listed for the projects on pages 48 and 50. Is there a magic formula for counting heddles for lace weaves and point twills? I have gotten into some dreadful predicaments from not counting /estimating the heddles I need––sometimes too many, sometimes not enough. Is my weaving education incomplete? Please help!



––Hope Thomas 

Hi Hope!


Usually, if the distribution of heddles is relatively the same on all the shafts and/or the threading doesn’t require more than 100 heddles per shaft, we don’t give heddle counts. Sometimes we forget to do it when it would be really helpful (as for Atwater-Bronson lace, which always threads half the warp threads on shaft 1!). But, you should be calculating the counts on your own anyway. It’s pretty easy to do and it sort of helps you take a good look at the threading. Look at the threading draft and first count all the threads on shaft, just reading from right to left and multiplying wherever there are repeats. Then do the same thing for shaft 2, and then continue for the remaining shafts. To check yourself, you should get the same total number of heddles as the total number of warp threads in the project specs, remembering that floating selvedges won’t require heddles.


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