Threading Drafts

Handwoven MagazineAsk Madelyn


You left it as a question for another day, but I'd love the answer, why read threading from right to left? I think I've been reading left to right (I also thread left to right) and fabric seems to be turning out OK!



OK, Lisa, here’s the deal. Threading drafts are supposed to represent exactly what you see when you are sitting in front of the loom. That is, if the draft reads 1-2-3-4 starting on the left side, that’s what you should see on the loom; the first thread on the left will be on shaft 1. And if that threading is repeated over and over, the last thread on your right would be on shaft 4.

During the time when our threading conventions were established, most weavers warped their looms back to front, meaning that they beamed the warp first and then threaded the heddles sitting in front of the shafts. Since most weavers were also right handed, they threaded from the right side of the loom to the left side. And so, that is the way drafts were written.

If drafting had evolved during our present era, when I do believe there are more front-to-backers, most of us would be sitting at the back of the loom to thread the shafts and (presuming we were right handed) we would still thread right to left, but it would be left to right in relation to the front of the loom. (And if this isn’t confusing, I don’t know what is!) We would have happily written and followed drafts the way we read, though, left to right.

This is something that could be changed, but it would cause great pain so we leave it for another day. The draft is the same no matter which way you read it.


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