What Are Skeleton and Universal Tie-ups?

Introduction:
The tie-ups in the two previous posts are actually examples of skeleton or universal tie-ups. They are repeated here.

This ingenious tie up for 4-shaft countermarch looms is often called a skeleton tie-up. The treadles are tied up so that two or more are used to make the sheds. This is a way to make more sheds without tying up so many treadles, or to create the sheds you need when there are more sheds than you have treadles. Summer and winter tie-ups can require more treadles than you have, so a skeleton tie-up is often used. Check the internet for more information on skeleton tie-ups for countermarch looms as well as jack and counterbalance. Yes, you can make skeleton tie ups on all kinds of looms.

Actually the illustration is a universal tie-up, because all of the 14 possible sheds can be made with only these 8 treadles.
Do you see the difference? The terms are closely related but the universal will do everything. But the skeleton will be a tie-up with fewer treadles than the number of sheds required for a particular draft. Both tie-ups use two or more treadles together to create a shed. If you can’t figure out a skeleton tie-up  yourself, you can look at Tim’s Treadle Reducer online. www.cs.earlham.edu/~timm/treadle/form1.php I tried it and it was great. I put in that I had 8 shafts, 10 treadles, and 12 treadles were required. Then a grid came up and I entered the tie-up in the pattern. And a skeleton tie-up was given using only 10 treadles instead of 12, sometimes using two treadles together.


This tie-up for 4-shaft jack and counterbalance looms is an example of a universal tie-up because with it you can make all the combinations possible using more than one treadle at a time. That means you won’t ever need to make a skeleton tie-up with 4 shafts for these two kinds of looms. That’s because you can make every combination you want using the four treadles, no matter how many different sheds are required.


Attention All Jack and Counterbalence Weavers with Four Shaft Looms!

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

Introduction:
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. www.peggyosterkamp.com


ATTENTION ALL COUNTERMARCH WEAVERS WITH FOUR SHAFT LOOMS!

A Universal tie up so you never have to tie up your treadles again!

Use the tie up in the photo and you can tie up the treadles one way that works forever if you have only four shafts and eight treadles. Most four-shaft countermarch looms have only six treadles, but on some looms it’s easy to make two more treadles from pieces of wood to match those already on the loom.

You can make all the sheds possible with four shafts this way by using both feet and using two treadles at a time. Each treadle has only two ties.

Look at the photo. Remember all “o”s represent shafts that are to rise (like bubbles) and all “x”s are for shafts that are to be lowered.

This is an ingenious tie-up because countermarch looms require each shaft to be active to make a shed. The shaft must either rise or sink, and you can’t ask a shaft to move in two directions at once. If you want shafts 1 and 3 up, the treadles to press are the second treadle from the left and the far-right treadle. Do you see that you could not use the two left-hand treadles together because that would be asking shafts 1 and 3 to go both down and up?

Think about what to do to get shafts 2 and 4 up: Use the far-left treadle plus the second treadle from the right. Then shafts 1 and 3 will go down and 2 and 4 up.

There is a comprehensive chapter on how countermarch 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. https://peggyosterkamp.com/holiday-specials-for-weavers/