Ask Madelyn: Using Tie-ups on Table Looms

I just finished your video on block weaves. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned so much about drafting, drawdowns, tie-ups, and treadling orders. Given that my 8-shaft loom is a table loom, however, I’m not sure how to translate the tie-ups in the block-weave patterns to use on my loom?


Hi Debbie!

When you read a tie-up and treadling diagram like the one in Figure a, each vertical column represents a treadle that raises the shafts listed in the column. So, the first treadle on the left in Figure a raises shafts 1, 5, 6, 7. To duplicate that action on a table loom, you must manually make those shafts rise by (usually) moving a lever for each shaft. That would mean that you would move the levers for shafts 1, 5, 6, and 7 (in red) to make the shed for that pick.

If you were to work directly from that tie-up and treadling diagram, you’d have to keep looking down in the treadling at which pick comes next and back up to the tie-up to see the shafts to raise and then move the levers for those shafts on your table loom. The process can be made much easier to follow by rewriting the numbers for the shafts to raise in a way that correlates with the positions of the levers on your loom.


If the levers are mounted across the front of the loom, first observe which lever operates shaft 1, the lever on the right or the lever on the left. Then rewrite the rows of shafts to raise so that they correlate with the positions of the levers, as in Figures b and c. Figure b translates the tie-up in Figure a for a table loom where the lever on the left raises shaft 1, Figure c for a table loom where the lever on the right raises shaft 1.

If your table loom’s levers are mounted on on the side (or above the shafts in the center of the loom), the way the shaft numbers look in the tie-up will actually correlate with the position of the levers; see Figure d. For the first pick, you’d move the lever closest to you for shaft 1 and then levers 5-6-7 moving toward the back.


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