A Counting String that Comes Out Fast

No matter what your warping method is, you often will need a counting string. When I first learned to make one, it was annoying to take it out when no longer needed. Jim Ahrens (A part of AVL) taught us to make this special crocheted chain that pulls out fast.

First: take a long string (maybe 3 feet for your first practices), fold it in half and slip the two tails through the loop at the fold around your first group of threads. This makes a lark’s head knot over these threads. The lark’s head is in the next photo.

With the tails of the lark’s head, you will begin to crochet around the bundles as you make them. Read on.

Measure out your next group of threads. Fold the tails between the first bundle and the new one, making a loop. Then put your right thumb and forefinger into the loop, while holding the tails with your left hand.

Encircle the new bundle with a “crochet” by using your finger and thumb to draw up another loop from the tails. Holding onto the tail, pull on the loop to snug it up around the bundle. Leave that loop and the tails dangling (don’t pull the tails through the loop, as you’ll be tempted to do).

The lark’s head is the foundation. From now on, you’ll crochet-chain using your fingers like this. Measure the next group of threads. With thumb and forefinger, reach through the old loop, drawing up a new one from the dangling tails, and tighten to secure the new group of threads.

After each crochet, both the loop and the tails should hang freely, ready for the next bundle.

This is taken from the Appendix in my book, Weaving for Beginners.

What Are Skeleton and Universal Tie-ups?

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.