Attention All Jack and Counterbalence Weavers with Four Shaft Looms!

A Universal tie-up for you. Never tie up your treadles again!

I’ve posted this many times and it continues to be one of the most seen of all my posts. If you already use it, please bear with me. Since I gave the countermarch weavers their tie-up, I thought I should repeat this one yet again for everyone else. In fact, my own 4-shaft looms have only 4 treadles, so this is what I use for everything. And I think it makes me more creative because I can change my mind whenever a new idea comes along.

This tie-up works for jack and counterbalance looms.

I never change my treadles on these four-shaft looms because I only use the tie-up in the photo. The left outside treadle connects to shaft one and the right outside treadle connects to shaft two. The left inside treadle connects to shaft three and the right inside treadle connects to shaft four.

This tie-up allows you to treadle all the possible combinations of four shafts by pressing two treadles at a time. That means you can change from one structure to any other on a whim, and you don’t have to redo the tie-up. Because there are only four treadles, the feet can always find where to go.

A student of mine one enthusiastically said, “I tried your tie-up and added two treadles for tabby!”

I said, “You’ve missed the point. You don’t want those extra treadles; they just make it more complicated for the feet.”

Using two feet at once, this tie-up allows you to “walk” your treadles for almost every weave structure. Try it right now, pretending you’re sitting at a loom with the treadles as shown. Treadle shaft one, now two, now three, now four. You can weave faster because you’re alternating feet. Rememer that shafts one and two are on the outside, which makes them easy to find, so you can get started and find the other treadles easily without looking. (I’ve seen looms built with the same idea, with the arrangement: 3,1,2,4. That works, too.)

To treadle plain weave, put one foot in the crack between the two left treadles to press both treadles at one time with the left foot for one shed. Do the same with the right foot on the right- hand treadles for the other shed. Alternate your feet to weave tabby or plain weave.

Now try treadling a 2/2 twill. One and two together, two and three together, three and four together, four and one together. See how only one foot needs to move at a time? It’s just like dancing!

There is a comprehensive chapter on how the different kinds of looms work and how to adjust them in my book, Warping Your Loom & Tying On New Warps. It is available on my website as a pdf.

This tie-up is also in my book Weaving for Beginners, also available on my website.

8 thoughts on “Attention All Jack and Counterbalence Weavers with Four Shaft Looms!”

  1. Wonderful post.
    I just acquired a four harness, four pedal Harrisville loom.
    I want to begin with it after New Years.
    It’s my first loom in about twenty years so I’m going to need all the help I can find. I’ve bought one of your books and can borrow your spiral bound one on warping from my local Phila Guild of Hand Weavers!
    EstherGrace Gilbert

  2. Hi I inherited this loom A Glimakra floor loom Ideal and I need some instructions on the tying up
    I know it is a counterbalance loom but not a Jack loom do you have any instructions please i would be grateful

    • I’ve written extensively about countermarch looms in my book, Warping & Tying On New Warps. It’s available as a pdf on my website. The chapter addresses jack and counterbalance as well; and in general, the geometry of how looms work.

    • Leave out the 2 middle ones or the two outter ones. See what is most comfortable for you. It depends upon width of treadles and your feet, I would say.

  3. I don’t know if I haven’t left an entry under a post in the past. I read your site constantly. I am from Poland and I am self-taught.
    I also have my blog where I describe my weaving and spinning.
    My 4 shaft counterweight loom is tied according to your instructions. I also described the method on my blog, citing your website as a source. I have included your drawing on my blog, so if you disagree, please let me know. I will remove the drawing.
    Best regards, Ania from Poland.


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