Try Tying Up Your Treadles This Way

Tie up for 4-shaft Looms

This way to tie up your treadles is a fantastic gift that Jim Ahrens taught us. You’ll never have to tie up the treadles again on your 4-shaft looms. My looms were built by Jim;  this tie-up is the only choice–because it’s so flexible. I love it and pass it along to you as my gift.

One tie up for four shaft looms
In Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps, (my book #2) beginning on page 69,
I described a tie-up that never needs to be
changed, for four shaft jack and counterbalance looms. You can get all the combinations possible with four shafts with this system. Your feet can dance over the treadles for many weaves, and if they aren’t dancing, they can work very efficiently. See Figure 6. Another advantage of this system is that you can change to any weave structure you want in a project without changing the ties to the treadles.

59 thoughts on “Try Tying Up Your Treadles This Way

  1. Thanks for the tie-up, Peggy! What if you have a 6 treadle loom and want to add a tabby tie-up? Is it best to put it in the middle or on the outside treadles, in your opinion?

    • No, no, no!! The extra treadles just get in the way and offer the chance for mistakes. To do tabby put your foot between the treadles and push 1&3 with one foot and 2&4 with the other. Then you can walk the treadles. Which two treadles to not hook up you can decide on depending on how your feet fit the treadles–and what’s comfortable. Getting comfortable helps avoid mistakes.
      Thanks for both your comments. It’s wonderful to know you are checking out my posts. Let me know if you have questions you’d like me to address in the blog.
      Thanks again,

  2. Hi
    I have a 4 shaft 8 lamm 6 treadle countermarch loom I can not get them hooked
    up and need help with shaft to the lamm to the treadle I am a new weaver the pattern is for plain weave.
    thank you .

    • Countermarch looms are completely different animals. You need to check the loom’s manual. I have a whole chapter in one of my books to tell how to tie up all the cords for this type loom. “Warping Your Loom & tying On New Warps.”

      • High Peggy, I have a counter balance loom that’s about 60 years old , four shafts , and heddles with six treadles . Would the tie up be the same as above ? Thank You

        • YES. Be sure to use only FOUR treadles! Which two you decide not to use is up to your comfort–maybe the middle ones or the outside ones. NOT using 6 treadles is the point. they just get in the way and ruin the wonderfulness of this tie up.

  3. Hello Peggy,
    I’m a complete newbie tieing up for the first time my brand new loom which came this morning. I will have millions of questions I’m sure but so far my first is : Will Mr Ahrens tie up work for an eight harness ( and if yes, do I still use two of my 10 treadles for tabby)?

    • No, it’s only for 4 shafts. However, I think you should start with a simple project to get to know your loom and with 4 shafts, especially since you say you are a newbie. It’s important, very important to start simple –there will be enough to challenge you –and you might even please yourself. Don’t make it very wide or long, either. Sorry to be a dictator, but I feel strongly about it and I want you to be successful. Peggy

  4. hola amigos! estoy buscando nuevos enhebrados y diseños para tejer en telar de cuatro cuadros,el que uso actualmente de el llamado “camino de rosas” y me permite tejer rombos y sargas,espero me puedan ayudar¡muchas gracias!!!! cecilia,BS As Argentina

  5. I just saw the response above and thought I would try and translate a little – in case anyone can help Cecilia.

    “Hello friends! I am looking for new threading plans and designs (treadling/peg plans?) for a four shaft loom. In particular something that is called Rosepath, that allows me to weave diamonds and twills. I hope you can help me. Thank you very much. Cecilia, Argentina.”

  6. I have opened a new sewing women’s workshop. I am teaching women and their daughters how to sew and how to weave on my J.L. Hammett counterbalance floor loom. Its a 4 harness, 6 treadle one. Problem regardless how I tie the treadles to the 4 lamms…they lock up and break all of my strings. I’ve tried whats written in the manual. I’ve tried other peoples photos I run across on line. I am at my whit’s end…I desperately need help. If you look up the photos on Google of J.L. Hammett floor looms…it brings only one up in black and white…and this is exactly what my loom looks like. PLEASE can someone help me tie them correctly so I can weave simple 36″ rugs…..I use heavy rug yarn….I’ve literally cried over this on and on….Thanks
    Dakota in Ohio

    • Give me your address and I’ll send you a copy of my book, Warping Your Loom & tying On New Warps. In it is a thorough chapter of tying up counter balance, countermarch and jack looms. If you don’t mind I’ll send you a slightly dinged book without charge. If you can’t use it, you can send it back. The book is just about out of print so I would appreciate you sending it back, but only if you can’t use it. I’d love to have you have my book, Weaving for Beginners. I wrote it with you in mind–what I taught my students. For teachers, I give 40% discount–that would be $29.97. I’ll pay the shipping for both books if you want them now. I can send them priority mail so you can get them in a few days. I can then answer any more questions you might have easier if you have the books on hand. I hope I can help you out.

      • Peggy:
        I just looked at the books. I need the one for beginners, the one on warping on the warping board (does it include how to do the calculations for your project?), I need the warping from back to front of the loom as well….how much would all of your books I saw minus the collection you’ve done (ITS BEAUTIFUL!) I just cant afford that much right now. I live on SS permanent disability and it takes all I have to stand, bend, twist etc on these looms to attempt to teach new students. I broke two discs in my lower back and have a bulging one on the upper level, 7 abdomen surgeries, broken pelvis and a brain aneurysm….pathetic….but I give GOD literally thanks for every day I have and am living…I use my time wisely…teaching and helping others. There is no work in our community southern Ohio except for the Uranium (cancer producing plant) so this little non-retail shop is a women’s ministry to teach women here how to make products to sell on ebay to help take care of their families. Can you help me somehow I use my SS disability check for everything. I fund this ministry myself. No tithes etc.
        Thank you,
        Dakota LongSuffering (yes that really is my name-lol) I’m Greek Orthodox in my faith and lived as a novice sister this is the name I was given. My family is German, Cherokee and Scottish…LOL…what a combination…:)

  7. This is great! Thank you. I am setting up my first loom, a four shaft, six treadle Hammett floor loom. Thre treadle tie ups have been driving me mad, and this set up seems so simple. Especially since we will only be doing basic patterns to begin with.

  8. Peggy – This is exactly what I needed – for tying the treadles! I was gifted a 1970’s style LeClerc Nilus, 6 treadle, 4 harness 45″ floor loom and have it all put together but nothing actually showed how to tie the treadles. It’s been sitting in my dining room for 3 months and I’m a complete novice on it – scared to try it. At the same time I was gifted a warping loom which my hubby says is too big to set up, but I shall anyway lol
    now that I can tie up my treadles, I can move forward and actually start working on it! I’ll let you know how I do 🙂 This is rather exciting….!!

  9. First of all Peggy, thank you for sharing all your amazing weaving tips, ( I often come across your site when googling ) it’s so generous of you. I have found this post on tying up a Counterbalance loom invaluable. I am just about to own my very first counterbalance loom ( Lilstena 4shaft) I have not actually seen it yet and it will be dismantled, it was advertised as free to a good home! So I feel responsible for learning all about this type of loom. I could not find anything on tying up this loom until now. So excited to try out your method. Thank you again Peggy.

  10. hello! I love this idea of tying up the loom but im having a bit of a problem.
    I am a beginner and have a counterbalance loom. At the moment, shafts 1 &2 are on one side of the counterbalance piece and 3&4 are on the other side. Ive tied the pedals like your image but its not working!
    Is this because I need two pieces of wood to counterbalance the shafts from? (I mean shaft1 on the first side and shaft 2 on the other. Then shafts 3 and 4 on a new counterbalance piece?)

    Not sure if this makes sense… :/

    • Yes, you figured it out. There should be 3 rollers. the 1 above is what you describe. Then you need two below as you say 1 &2 on one roller and 3 & 4 on the other. With what you have now you can only get plain weave( which may be all you need for now. One treadle for 1,2 and the other for 3,4. The 3 rollers are shown on page 115 in my Book #2 which is soon to be out in pdf. Stay tuned to know when it will be available.

  11. so, once you have this tie up I see that most combinations are possible – as long as you can press two treadles with one foot – but then do you have to re-write the treadling patterns for your draft? I’m concerned that it could be a recipe for disaster if you look at some other draft.

    • You don’t have to change any thing in the draft. And usually you use two feet. Yes, sometimes you need to push two treadles with one foot. that isn’t hard if your feet or shoes aren’t very narrow. So if the draft says 1,3,4 you’ll push 1,3,4 using your feet on the appropriate treadles. Try practicing just by moving your feet on pretend treadles and you’ll see how it works. Let me know if you have any doubts or treadling that you question. Peggy

  12. Hi Peggy, thanks for you great work. I would like to buy a copy of you pdf book when it comes out so could you add me to your list.
    Many thanks

    • Dear Colleen,
      I don’t have a list but I’ll surely post it on the website. I just did the second printing so it will be awhile before I do the Weaving for Beginneers as a PDF. And I have a good inventory of books #1 and #3 as it stands now. thanks for asking. Maybe I’ll decide to offer them as hard copy and PDF down the line-.Peggy

  13. Hello,
    I am fairly new to the weaving world, just got a beautiful Nilus, Leclerc 4 harness, 6 treadle jack floor loom, as I have read here, seems like I am having similar trouble with understanding the set ups for the treadles as most here….I have many questions about the set ups and how often you change the set ups on the treadles, etc. I have not had any luck on finding any info on line as to help me have a better understanding on this particular process. I have learned quick a bit about my loom from a ton of you tube videos but here is where I have ran into a road block. All help greatly appreciated very much.

    Yours Truly,

  14. Hi Peggy, I was just looking at a draft for “huck ovals” or “huck squares” scarves that can be done on 4 shafts and either 4 or 6 treadles (see “Handwoven”, May/June, 2011, page 64). The 4 treadle calls for “walking tie-ups”. I have a 4 shaft/4 treadle HD loom and always use “direct tie-ups” (it has no lams). I have the shafts tied in 1, 2, 3, 4 order. Is there an advantage to re-tying them to be 1, 3, 4, 2 as you show in your diagram 6? Is “walking tie up” just another name for “direct tie up”?

    • Walking means alternating feet–right- left-right-left, etc. It makes for efficient weaving and good balance. Whether your treadling plan will “walk” easily, I don’t know. Try it just moving your feet while sitting in a chair or on your bench before you actually change the tie up. Try the special tie up to see how a twill (and many, many weaves) treadle with this special tie-up that Jim Ahrens devised. Go 1,2 2,3 3,4 4,1 and your feet will dance. A direct tie up is anything where just one shaft is tied to one treadle. So, the tie-up I suggest is a direct tie up. That’s the way my loom is made so I do everything that way. I tried out the treadling while in the bathtub a long time ago. I still think of that experience! What a revelation is was. Peggy

  15. Thanks, Peggy. I will try the walking tie-up (1,3,4,2) with a direct tie up. So that means (I think?) for a basic twill of 1,2 2,3 3,4 and 4,1 would only have to move 1 foot each time instead of both like I do now. It may take me some time to adjust, but I think it may be easier in the long run and may eliminate some of the rocking motion I get now. I’ll keep you posted.

  16. I have acquired a beautiful loom made by Eugene Robocker from Kalispell, MT. It is called the Original Allen Loom. It is a counterbalance..(I think).. with 6 treadles and 4 shafts. I am having trouble learning how to tie it up correctly. I have seen your beginning diagram and I hope it will help. I have threaded it as 4321 from right to left. I tried treadling as follows” # 1 shaft up with #2,3,4 down, then # 2 shaft up, with #341 down, then #3 shaft up with #412 up, and finally #4 up, with #123 down… The top facing fabric looks good, but the back has a lot of floats in it… I am use to a jack loom, where I would use a single point twill where I could put up 1 and 2(two side by side shafts) at the same time… so it is confusing on the Allen Loom… Any help is appreciated.

    • Why don’t you try tying 2 shafts to a treadle like for a jack loom? If it is a counterbalance loom as you think, if you tie two shafts (eg. 1 & 2) to a treadle, when you press the treadle, those 2 shafts will go DOWN and the other 2 shafts (3,4) will automatically go UP. If it is a countermarch loom, you must tie all four shafts to each treadle: the ones to go UP and the ones that go DOWN. There are lams that are for going up and others for going down. Try the first option to see if you have a counterbalance loom. If two go up when you press a treadle that has two tied to it to go down, you have a counterbalance. If that doesn’t work, can you email me a photo of the loom? I’m not sure why you are trying to tie only one shaft to a treadle in the first place. Counterbalance looms like to have 1/2 the shafts up and 1/2 down for the sheds. I think the floats you don’t like are what you would normally get with a jack loom if you were treadling a 1/3 twill (one up and 3 down). So, I guess I need more information. Let me know. Peggy

  17. Thank you for your helpful response. I was reading your info on how to tie up for a better treadling… but as I look at it once more, I see that your diagram is for a jack loom.. My mistake.. The Allen Loom is definitely a counter balance loom.. but when I tie it up as 1&3 and 2&4… these do work correctly, but when trying to tie up for a 2/2 twill I am having problems.. nothing seems to work correctly. I guess I just need to think about it for awhile on what treadles to tie together to make the others come up..

  18. So I tied them up correctly…3/4, 1/4,1/2, 2/3… but I do notice that the bottom of the shafts are hitting (coming to rest) on the cross beam located directly under the shafts. When this happens, the cord which is attached to the DOWN shafts has a buckle in it from resting on the cross beam. Sometimes, this then does not let one of the UP shafts come up high enough to pair with the second UP shaft in the 2/2 twill. Could the cords have stretched with age? If so, how do I know the correct length of the cords attached to shaft 1 and 2…. 3 and 4?

  19. Thanks, Peggy for posting this method. I’m glad I discovered your site. I’ve just recently found that direct tie-up is far better for my projects on my particular loom. I weave on a 45″ Nilus Leclerc 1975 vtg. 6 treadle 4H loom. I’m using my handspun wool now almost exclusively, am trying singles now on the loom, and am finding the ins and outs of doing that. One of the things I found is that wool singles stick more readily if I tie the treadles up to the lamms, even with starch. Working on a twill, if I raise 1,2 I get 3,4 along for the ride halfway up, etc. Changed to direct tie-up 1,2,3,4 and the threads don’t stick any more, even without starch sizing, as I can raise and lower the harnesses individually; all threads clear every time. It was just a guess on my part to do this as I was getting very frustrated with the sticky warp. I will try the 1,2,4,3 tie-up also and see how this works on this loom.

  20. Hi. I have inherited a 45″ countermarche Finnish loom. There is no manual with it, so I’ve relied on guild members and YouTube videos and have managed to put it together. The action seems right, but the upper lamms collide with the lower lamms when I walk the treadles. Is this normal? If not, how do I avoid it? I thought I’d ask you, because I’ve pestered the guild members enough already! Thanks, Kristen

    • I put in my book, Warping Your Loom & Tying on New Warps everything I knew/learned about countermarche looms. It’s not in print but available as a PDF on my website. There is a big chapter on adjusting looms and how each type works. Is it a Toika loom? If so, they are a bit different. Check them out at the web. Su Butler is the person who writes about them on her website.

  21. Thank you, I’ll check that out. It isn’t a name-brand loom, but hand built many years ago “after the Finnish style” for a Finnish woman. That’s all I know about it. I raised my upper lamms and lengthened the ties and things seem to be working better now, but I’m sure it could be improved on. Thanks again for your reply.

  22. I have a 4 shaft loom and the constant re-tying is frustrating me! The shafts have little eye hooks and the treadles have eyehooks. I’ve tried heavy clothesline (it stretches!) and small chain with “S” hooks (which are hard to put on). HELP!

    • When you tie up the treadles this way you will never, ever have to tie them in any other way because you can get every combination of shafts possible with 4 shafts.You will use both feet sometimes. I suggest you use Texsolv cord. If your chains and S hooks work, once you tie them you’ll be all set for good. My 4-shaft loom has only 4 treadles. I love this tie up because I can easily change my mind and never have to re-tie the treadles.

  23. Thanks Peggy. I’m just coming down the home stretch with an antique counterbalance without lams. The shed is sort of okay, but erratic. Question 1: Does your book cover troubleshooting counterbalance? Question 2: Your diagram shows each tieup going straight up and tying off center (by different amounts) to the shaft. Doesn’t this get everything out of balance?

    • Yes about counterbalance questions are in my book available by PDF, Warping Your Loom & tying On New Warps. The diagram on tying up treadles is a scheme for tying the treadles–looms differ with lams, etc. about what happens next. this is just the treadle part. Peggy

  24. Ms. Peggy does this method work with four heddles 6 treadles ? If you’ve seen the Newcomb Studio Art Loom this is pretty much what i have except the pulley rollers are fixed as mind hang in the breeze . But when I got some of the Heddle ropes / lines were off the treadles … Please Help if you can … Also I would be very much interested in any of your writings . I also have a Inkle Heddle Loom , And a 32 inch Ashford Ridgid Heddle Loom , Right know i’m play around with the idea of making 4 string Heddles using dow rods … And that’s a hair puller .. lol pick up 1 skip 3 , pick up 2 skip 3 pick up 3 skip 3 pick 4 skip 3 … well i’ve made it to 2 twice and fixing to try it a third time .. grrrrr … lol Thank you very much .. And I think i read some where ya’al were in asia somewhere … Great Place stay safe …

    • The point here is to use ONLY 4 treadles–then you are never stuck with a tie-up. You can do all the 14 possible combinations with this tie up and often by walking the treadles. My books are about regular looms, and do not deal with people’s engineering different ways. Inventing is certainly a wonderful idea so I don’t discourage you. I only have an introductory chapter for rigid heddle looms. All the rest is for floor looms and table looms. You might be interested in the engineering that Jim Ahrens did when he build his looms. He followed the centuries-old methods of weaving efficiently (eg. for the sails on sailing ships that were hand woven, of course.) Check out the website I made about his looms’ details and how to use them: Peggy

  25. Hi Peggy I have one of your books Weaving for beginners , What other books would you recommend for beginners ? With a counter balance loom , 47 inches Thank You

  26. Hi Peggy I have one of your books Weaving for beginners , What other books would you recommend , For older counter balance loom , Thank You

    • You definitely need “Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps” now it is only available as a PDF. You can download it from my website. It has a whole chapter on adjusting looms with a lot of info on counterbalance looms. Peggy

  27. Good Morning Peggy , Are you going to have a reprint on this book ? Or a add on ? Or do you maybe have some old copies laying around maybe ?
    2nd What other books do you have that i should get ..?

  28. Peggy thank you , Should i get rid of the jacks and just use the direct tie up ? Right now it goes from shafts to jacks to treadles .. ??

    • Keep the jacks I think. The book will help you understand the geometry. No, all the copies are gone. You can take the PDF to a copy place and have the pages bound. That’s my best suggestion.That and Weaving for Beginners are the top book preferences. The others are references–the details and why’s to do things. If you like knowing the why’s you might want the other 2 books but they aren’t required as the first 2 are. Peggy

  29. Ok Thank You , I did find a used one in good condition through Amazon , Through a second seller $125.00 . This book is around but anyone looking for be prepared to pay… We live in a real small community here and I don’t believe theirs a book printing / binding place with in 120 miles of here …. I’m 120 miles NW of Reno NV. on the California Side in the Mountains ..

  30. Dear Peggy, I’m helping to renovate an an old counter balanced 4 treadle, 4 lamms loom. The direct tie-up you suggest for pedals to each different shaft is clear but how do I tie the lamms? Are they tied one to each of the bottom of each shaft in a straight sequence 1 on the left to 4 on the right?

    • The cords to the lams will all be in the middle of the bottom shaft bars and in the middle (center) of the lams. They won’t go left to right but they will be in a line in the centers of the shafts to the centers of the lams. You are correct I think except for the “left and right” part. Let me know if this isn’t clear.

  31. This reply is in response to Rosepath tie up. There are several possibilities depending upon the design you are looking to make. The following is a free estimation sheet for warping: and to make what might look like Greek on this sheet is very precise & clear instructions for dressing most any loom:
    Finally, (this program is not free) it’s a phenomenal tool! It is for Window, Mac & PCs so you have to choose for the type of OS you will be using when you go to your loom with the design. I suggest you peruse this at your leisure:

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