For a little over a year, I have been working my way through this book with my 10-shaft Swedish counterbalance loom.
I started out with four shafts and a coarse yarn, making a table runner.
Moving on, I skipped over trying a 5-shaft weave because it sounded a bit more complicated than I was ready to tackle. Six shafts was next on my list.
This was fun to search handweaving.net for a six shaft pattern. I chose #49712.
My friend Julie gave me the counterbalance loom I have been working on, since she had owned it for a long time and never used it. I asked her what she wanted for it and she told me to weave her something. When I got to the time to try eight shafts, I decided to make her a Teddy bear.
It was back to choosing patterns again. I wasn't going to weave for a single bear, so chose several patterns to pick from.
Jenny MacPokebeary joined Julie's family, and she loves the clothes and tartan Julie made for her.
I'm in the process of making other bears with the above fabrics.
I was finally ready to try five shafts, and that brings me to my frustration over the last few days. I chose a fairly simple pattern I found in a Handwoven magazine from Nov/Dec 2009.
My problem was with the tie-up of the counterbalance loom. Four shafts are pretty straightforward, but when more than four are used, some additional maneuvering around needs to be done.
All the tie-ups start at the top when hooking up a counterbalance loom, with the pulleys, shaft levelers, the height of the shafts and beater, lamms, and last of all, the treadles.
On page 218 of The Big Book of Weaving, the author gave instructions to hang five shafts with four horses and four pulleys. I think I tried it with various adjustments about three times, which meant getting under the loom and disconnecting all the treadles and lamms each time, leveling the shafts again, and doing all the tie-up again. Nothing was working well enough to get a good shed.
In the book, under the first instructions, she mentioned switching to the eight-shaft pulleys if the first way didn't work. I wish I had tried the second way first, because it worked!
Here is a side view of the shafts, horses and the two 8-shaft pulleys. Each pulley unit uses four horses. The first horse connects to shaft 1 & 2, the second to 2 &3, the third to 3 & 4, the fourth to 4 & 5. The other pulley unit connects in a mirror image of the first one.
Right side horses connected to the shafts.
Left side horses. Note the mirror image to the right side.
A test gave me pretty good sheds so I wove a little scrap yarn.
I'm a happy weaver now! This warp will become place mats or a runner.
Warp and weft is 8/2 cotton in black, navy, red and white. It is sett two per dent in a 12 dent reed for 24 ends per inch (epi).