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How to Achieve Flawless Threading

Want perfect threading? Me too!

Firstly, there are two things to know about me: I am not a perfectionist, and I love complexity. These two things often intersect, and complexity in weaving often requires perfect technique.

That’s where this threading method comes in. It involves rigorous and perfect counting, but that’s about it.

Below I will provide a step by step guide to how to ensure that your threading is perfect, every time.

A shadow weave sample on a loom, as seen from above.
Shadow weave with a 94 thread repeat.

 

Firstly, analyse your draft.

Threads

The draft for the above weave is a 94 thread repeat and is on 8 shafts. This technique works with any number of shafts and any number of threads and repeats.

If you feel that your repeat is too long to manage in a section, break it up. 50 is my threading limit in a section, so anything more than that gets broken down into smaller chunks. In the above example, I broke the repeat into two different sections, A and B. From here on, treat these sections separately.

Threading pattern of a weaving draft halved into sections A & B
Separated sections A & B

Section A and section B both have 47 ends. Together they make up the 94 thread repeat of the draft.

Number of threads on each shaft

The next step in analysing your draft is to determine how many ends are assigned to each shaft. You can see above that in section A, there are 7 ends to go into heddles in shaft 8.

Threading pattern on a weaving draft
Section A with numbered threads on shaft 8

Write down the corresponding number of ends per shaft onto a piece of paper and set aside. Do this for both sections.

At the loom

Count your bundles

Your warp is wound on, your cross is ready to go, now it’s time to thread. I weave back to front, but I’m sure this technique can be adjusted to your weaving technique.

So far you have the number of threads per section and how many threads per shaft written down. I’m the type to print out my draft as I’m threading. This is basically the only thing I print out ever for weaving.

Starting from the edge, and using the corresponding section in your draft, count how many threads there are in that section. Because of how my loom is set up, I thread from the left, so in this example I would start with section A.

Continue counting until you get to the end of your work. Remember to account for floating selvedges if you’re using them.

Your threads should now be held in little bundles just behind your shafts.

Bundles of multicoloured yarn knotted with hitch knots.
Little bundles ready to thread.

Count your heddles

All of your heddles should now be at the edge of your loom. Using the numbers of threads per shaft you analysed earlier, move the heddles across so that they’re distinguished from the not-yet-used heddles.

In the example above, I would move 7 heddles on shaft 8, 6 heddles on shaft 7, 5 heddles on shaft 6, and so on until the section’s heddles were all together on the loom.

Grouping heddles and threading
Groupings of heddles

Threading

Thread your heddles as per your draft.

As you get to the end of the group, you should have the same amount of threads and heddles left. This is an easy way to check that you have threaded correctly.

As a result, it’s easy to find out where you have gone wrong by counting the number of heddles left on each shaft and tracing this back to the mistake.

Furthermore, it means that once you discover the mistake, you only need to look in the relevant section to find it, rather than through the warp.

Green handwoven baby blanket
A finished handwoven product

 

I hope that this has assisted you in getting your threading perfect every time.

Please add a comment below if you have any questions!

Happy weaving!

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