Translating Treadling for a Table Loom

Ask Madelyn

Hi Madelyn!

Here's how to translate a complicated draft to a format that's readable while weaving on a table loom.

I finally pressed my 8-shaft table loom into service and was delighted that the hand-operated levers didn’t slow me down as much as I assumed they would. The problem I had was in finding a way to write the treadling draft in some readable form so that I could follow it. There must be technique for following a complicated draft for table loom. I’m attaching a copy of the treadling draft I was using.

—Sandra

Hi Sandra!

Weavers use a variety of methods for keeping track of a treadling (magnetic boards, sticky notes on a treadling taped on the loom, etc.). I have found that short treadling repeats are fairly easy to memorize. It’s worthwhile to force yourself to learn which treadle does what and thereby recognize where you are in the treadling. For longer sequences, I usually memorize sections and mark each one when I’ve completed it.

The issues with a table loom are more complex, however. Trying to read the treadle tie-up for each pick is mind-wrenching! The treadling draft should be rewritten to show only what to do with the levers themselves.

Your Ashford table loom (with its marvelously easy-to-operate levers) places the levers at the front of the loom. The first thing to do is to check which lever operates shaft 1. On the Ashford, this is usually the left lever. Then you need to create a chart of the order in which to move the levers for each pick that corresponds to the positions of the levers. For your original treadling (Figure a), I’d write the sequences as Figure b. An arrow or some other symbol can tell you that this is a point twill treadling instead of writing out all of the picks in the repeat (the fewer numbers you actually need to write the better).

On some table looms, the lever on the right operates shaft 1. For these, the lever order is written as in Figure c. Still other table looms place the levers along the side, usually the right side. For these, I’d write the sequence as in Figure d.

Eventually, you barely notice the numbers as you match the way the lever order looks.

Hope this helps!

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