Tried and True: Threading Eight Shafts

Threading four shafts is straightforward because the heddles fit perfectly between four fingers and a thumb. Threading eight shafts is tricky because we don’t have that many fingers! Thankfully, threading eight shafts can be as straightforward as threading four shafts. I like to think of it as four shafts in the back, and four shafts in the front.

For a review of threading four shafts, watch the short video in this post: You Can Prevent Threading Errors.

Threading Eight Shafts – Straight Draw

  • Set a small group of heddles apart on each shaft to prepare for threading the next group of ends.
  • Pick up the next threading group of ends and bring it to the front, on the left side of the separated heddles.
  • Lace the threading group of ends under, over, under, over the fingers of your left hand, palm up.
Threading eight shafts - the easy way.

Left hand becomes tensioning device for threading the heddles. I like to put my index finger in between the two parts of the cross, as separated by the lease sticks.

  • Wrap left hand index finger around the group of heddles on shaft one (the shaft nearest the back of the loom), the middle finger around heddles on shaft two, the ring finger around heddles on shaft three, the pinky around heddles on shaft four, and bring the thumb around to hold it all loosely together.
Threading eight shafts - the easy way.

Each warp end is taken in order from between the lease sticks, and then threaded through the heddles in order.

  • Thread the first four heddles—1, 2, 3, 4.
  • With the right hand, hold the group of warp ends taut, and open the fingers of the left hand to release the heddles.
  • Keeping the group of warp ends loosely laced around the fingers, slide the left hand toward you to thread the next four heddles—5, 6, 7, 8. Position your fingers around the heddles on each shaft, as you did for the first four shafts.
Threading eight shafts - the easy way.

Left hand slides toward the front of the loom to thread the next four heddles. It helps to hold the warp ends taut with the right hand while the left hand is repositioned.

  • After threading the second set of heddles, follow the same procedure as before and slide the left hand back again to thread 1, 2, 3, 4.
  • Continue sliding the left hand forward and back, until the threading is completed for that group of ends.
  • Check the threading group for accuracy, and then tie the group of ends together in a loose slip knot.
Threading eight shafts.

Always check for accuracy before moving on to the next threading group.

Complete the threading across the warp. And then, step back and admire the beauty of a beamed and threaded loom.

Glimakra Standard. Threading the loom.

Shafts are raised high for good access and visibility for threading, and for checking for accuracy.

Threading is complete. 8-shafts undulating twill.

Threading is complete. Cotton throw. 8/2 cotton, undulating (wavy) twill on eight shafts.

May you find efficient methods for the work of your hands.

Happy weaving,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Cynthia says:

    Love those colors, can’t wait to see finished

  • Good morning Karen,

    I really appreciate it when you post photos of your weaving space. It answers many unspoken questions about how to design a work area.

    The space has a tile floor with a rug placed immediately under the loom.

    There are no electronics to be seen.

    The floor is clean of lint.

    Plenty of natural light, with a view.

    Thank you.

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, All of that is correct, except there is no rug under the loom. The loom sits on a square patch of wood floor. The original owners of this house designed that spot specifically for their baby grand piano. Since I don’t have a baby grand, a Glimåkra Standard seems the next best thing.

      After having carpet under my looms, it’s really nice to have a smooth floor under them now. It’s much easier to collect all those dust bunnies that hold meetings under there.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Annie says:

    Good morning, Karen!
    I am going to print and keep the information on the post since I have plans to order and 12 shaft Louet Delta after Christmas. I haven’t even threaded more than 4 shaft so this post is much needed!
    Thank you so much for sharing yourself with the weaving world. I have learned a great deal from you.
    May your hands always be busy weaving.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, I’m excited for you! You’ll find that there are several ways to do just about everything. It’s good that you are collecting information that you can use for reference later.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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Getting Dressed to Weave

I want to wrap up in this cozy throw already. But I need to weave it first. This is an undulating twill throw that I am making for sweet Lindsay, one of my daughters-in-law. Of course, I am including enough warp to make a small throw of my own.

Getting ready to beam the warp. Back to front warping.

Four chained bouts. The 8/2 cotton warp is pre-sleyed, and the back tie-on bar has been placed through the loops at the end of the warp.

Every step of dressing the loom is fascinating. I easily get immersed in the enjoyment of the process. All the while, I’m dreaming of the finished work.

Read to beam the warp, using warping trapeze.

Warping trapeze is in place at the front of the loom. Ready to beam these soothing colors onto the warp beam.

Warp is beamed. Ready for threading.

Warp is beamed. Warp ends are counted into groups of 32 ends each, for efficiency and accuracy in threading. This will be threaded for undulating twill on eight shafts.

Dressing the loom leads to the making of cloth. Dressing our lives leads to the making of good character. Prayer is of utmost importance in dressing our lives. Prayer is not a single step in the process, but a posture of faith throughout the process. Earnest prayer reaches God. The power of prayer is not in our words, in the threads we express, but in the Grand Weaver. He receives our humble threads and weaves them into his will to bring about his beautiful cloth. Fascinating, isn’t it?

May you dream as you dress the loom.

Prayerfully,
Karen

10 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    There is something soothing about dressing a loom. I can’t wait to see the weaving begin.

  • I agree- I enjoy the entire process. I think you have to or you wouldn’t continue to weave year after year!! “ you must be warped to weave” .

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maria, Yes, maybe that’s the appeal for those of us who are drawn to handweaving – the enjoyment of process, of being part of making something from beginning to end. Your weaving is so beautiful. It’s good to know you enjoy the whole process, too.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Emonieiesha says:

    Good Morning Karen,
    I just came across your blog and what a joy. I am a beginner with a RHL and a 4 Shaft Table loom! There is nothing like creating while keeping our hearts and minds on the Creator. Happy Weaving with the one who created it all.

  • Susan Hommel says:

    Hi Karen, I love reading you warm and knowledgeable advice and have followed your weaving adventure these last few years. You even inspired my first rug attempt when you submitted your lovely rosepath pattern to Handwoven. Now I’m at a crossroad. I’ve been using my Schact standard but the draw to a Swedish loom has bitten me…. I await delivery of my Glimakra Julia countermarch next week. Here’s my question. Is there value in passing up the Glimakra set up direction in favor of Vavstugas Dress your loom the Vävstuga Way ? Thanks for any advice you can offer! Best regards, Sue

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sue, I’m excited for you! You will really enjoy your new Julia.

      The Glimakra set up and Vavstuga’s guide are completely compatible, as far as I know. I use Joanne Hall’s books and Vavstuga’s and get a great compilation of instructions. You can’t go wrong either way, or both! Don’t forget “The Big Book of Weaving.” It also has great set up (and weaving) instructions. The more, the merrier. 🙂

      Very happy weaving,
      Karen

  • How pretty the colors are.
    My skills are not there yet. Dressing the loom requires a lot of detail that my creative brain wants to ignore.

    Warping All By Yourself was my guide for dressing a loom. Front to back. I am glad you provided visual details. I will reference the next time I dress a loom and see if it speeds things up.

    About a month ago I went to the high school craft fair in Crivitz, Wi. There a woman selling the most beautifully crafted rag rugs I’ve ever seen. Nothing fancy, but even edges and beautifully chosen colors.

    She lives back in the woods in the home she shared with her late husband, south east of Green Bay and weaves. No business cards.

    I mentioned your website. She is the last hold out not on line. Her world is edged by north eastern Wisconsin. Next year I will look for her again at the Crivitz high school autumn craft fair. But earlier. The bake sale was sold out.

    I will miss your twice weekly posting. Enjoy the ride.

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, I understand what you mean about your creative brain. My brain has trouble holding details, too.
      Having a system with specific steps helps me. I don’t try to remember the steps. I have written down the steps and keep that step-by-step list in front of me every time I warp the loom.

      Those old time rag rugs are wonderful. I have two that a friend of my grandmother made in a small country town in Missouri back in the ‘50’s.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
      Karen

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Christmas Weaving Promise

This is the third and final gift promise from last Christmas. A Cornflower and Willow 8/2 cotton warp will become a throw in wavy (undulating) twill for my daughter-in-law Lindsay. I am hopeful that I will be able to finish it before Christmas. As promised. (See Weaving a Gift.)

Winding a warp with pretty Willow and Cornflower 8/2 cotton.

Winding the warp on the warping reel. Willow and Cornflower 8/2 cotton.

Warping reel. 8/2 cotton warp.

Second of four bouts for this warp.

8/2 cotton warp chain. A pretty way to start a project!

Warp chains are such a pretty way to start a project.

May you make and keep good promises.

Happy weaving,
Karen

2 Comments

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Quiet Friday: Woven Radiance

The first of my Christmas promise gifts is now complete. This large throw in vivid colors fills the request from my daughter-in-law Marie. How fitting for a mother of three exuberant little boys to wrap up on the couch in her own fabric hug of exuberant color! This colorful cotton double weave throw is Woven Radiance.

Radiance. Large cotton doubleweave throw. Karen Isenhower

Radiance. Large cotton throw with radiant blocks of color. The warp for the next Christmas promise gift is wound and waiting on the warp beam.

Double weave, with eight shafts and eight treadles, and 2,064 ends, is a challenge. But results like this make all the effort worthwhile. My heart sings as I see these brilliant threads intersect to make sensational cloth! I am filled with amazement and gratitude that I’ve been given the opportunity to play with colorful threads on a weaving loom.

I hope you enjoy the process photos in this little slideshow video I created for you.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

26 Comments

  • Beth Mullins says:

    It’s just beautiful, Karen! What an heirloom.

    • Karen says:

      Good morning Beth, Hmm, I wonder if you’ve just stumbled onto the meaning of the word “heir”-“loom”?

      Thanks so much!
      Karen

  • Judy says:

    Lovely. What cottons were used in the warp and weft?

  • Barbara says:

    I like the name you chose. It will bring a radiant smile to everyone who sees it.

  • Barbara Evans says:

    Just stunning, Karen. I love your posts.
    P

  • Leigh Teichman says:

    This is beautiful. What a lovely gift.

  • Cynthia S Bills says:

    Wowza! What a beautiful throw!!!

  • Karen says:

    This is just lovely! And will be a hug from you each time it is used.

  • ellen santana says:

    what is it about a warped loom that elicits such joy? i just walk past it and it makes me happier. you are a genius. i probably won’t live long enough to weave as you do but i keep trying. es

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ellen, I agree, there is something about a warped loom that elicits joy. We weavers just can’t help but be happy next to a loom.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Liberty says:

    Wow!!! Gorgeous!!!! Wish I was on your Christmas list, lol!!!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Liberty, You made me smmile. I’ll be doing good if I finish these three gifts in a year. I better not take on one more. 🙂

      Thanks so much!
      Karen

  • Cindie says:

    What a special gift – it’s incredible

  • Sheryl Beckman says:

    This is just amazing! As a new weaver, this is so inspiring and makes me feel so enthusiastic about weaving. My goal is to make blankets for each of my family members. A few years ago I gave each of my grandchildren soft blankets (NOT hand-woven) for Christmas and they literally call them ‘grammy hugs’, as in, ‘where’s my grammy hug’. It would be so much better if they were handmade! The video was fun to watch-no cello music?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sheryl, I am so happy you feel enthusiastic about weaving! There is so much to enjoy in this field. What a wonderful goal – to make blankets for your loved ones! You can do it!!!

      I think I detect an Instagram follower. Ah yes, I found you on IG… One of my goals is to write all my own background music for my videos…with cello! And then I won’t have to use the canned music. (I did write the music for one of my videos. So that’s a start, but no cello in it…yet.)

      I so appreciate your kind thoughts!
      Karen

  • Wonderful Karen..

    The entire package of textile artist, craftsman and teacher — fluent in electronic communication.

    It was nice to see your interns working on the blanket. Yet, where they wove and you wove were indistinguishable. They learned well.

    Please keep sharing.

    Nannette

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, It’s thrilling for me to see my young interns weave on the “real thing.” They enjoyed it, too.

      Your words of encouragement mean so much to me!
      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    It’s beautiful, Karen! You do such exquisite work! Looking forward to seeing and touching it.

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Glorious Weft Leftovers

I didn’t know it could look like this. The pleasant color interaction is astounding! Had I known, I may have woven the whole throw in this manner. This is the end of the warp, after 16 centimeters for the sample, 166 centimeters for the throw, and 50 centimeters for the lap blanket.

Double weave throw on the loom.

For the lap blanket I am spacing the blocks differently than for the throw. The deep plum weft has narrow and wider stripes that separate the squares into groups of three.

An ending sample is a perfect opportunity to use up weft left on the quills, and even some quills of 8/2 cotton left over from other projects. When the dark plum quill empties, others colors take its place. I put the colors one right after the other, without the dark plum separating them into squares. The fabric image that appears in front of me is mesmerizing!

Double weave sample on the loom. May be my favorite sample yet!

Softer color transitions are made by eliminating the deep plum weft stripes between colors.

Double weave sample. Karen Isenhower

Cutting off! Double weave in 8/2 cotton.

Back of fabric highlights the warp stripes, with deep plum squares. Now, for the finishing work!

Image. What we do with what we know contributes to the image of who we are. When we trust in Christ, who is the image of the invisible God, our image is renovated. We are renewed in our knowledge, aligning our image with God. What a magnificent thought! How differently we might live if we only knew how glorious the outcome will be. The Grand Weaver turns our leftover weft into his astounding masterpiece.

May you find glorious surprises in your leftover threads.

Happy weaving,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Rachel Lohman says:

    The joy of color is like being a little kid and opening your first big box of Crayons and seeing all the lovely colors – breathtaking! Thank you for that memory! Love your pieces – love your God references! Have a joyful day as you began mine!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel, Yes, it is very much like that cherished box of crayons! Color seems to be an outward expression of joy.

      Thanks for your uplifting words!
      Karen

  • Karen, my first thought when seeing your final photos was that of crayons. We may be happy with the box of 24, but God gives us so many more colors if we open ourselves to Him. Your Weaving is lovely.

    Would you mind if I use part of your ending message to send to a friend soon undergoing cancer surgery to her jaw? You have such a great way with words.
    Jenny

    • Karen says:

      Jenny, Your thought about opening ourselves up to God’s abundant colors, instead of thinking our 24 is all there is, really gave me something to think about. Thank you!!

      I am honored any time you find something here you would like to share. Please do!

      Touched,
      Karen

  • 5 colors. So many variations. God is good.
    Nannette

  • Annie says:

    Quite an astounding difference! I, also, thought immediately of crayons and love what Jenny said about it. Perhaps this will be the pattern for future throws?

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge, your loom and your hospitality with me, Karen. Unfortunately, I will not be able to come for the dressing of the loom this morning.

    I hope you have a blessed day, Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, Interesting that several thought of crayons. I love that! Yes, I am going to keep this in mind for future throws, towels, scarves, and what-have-you.

      We’ll miss you this morning.

      Thanks!
      Karen

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