Friday, 26 September 2008

help, anyone? (countermarch treadling)

I might as well start at the beginning...

When i bought my large floor loom, i was informed that it could be tied up for either counterbalance or countermarch treadling. not knowing what on earth that meant (having only used a jack loom), i went "oh, alright then" and that was that.

Now, when in plain weave, my counerbalance setup was working alright, but then i tried to set up a 2/2 twill and it all went wrong, as detailed in an earlier post. since then i haven't been able to get an even shed, even in plain weave. nightmare.

so, thought i'd try countermarch, cos at least it lifts the shafts evenly. so i downloaded the instructions trapunto directed me to and used them. or, rather, attempted to.

because, it turns out the countermarch tie-up needs to sets of lamms. and i have only one.

vexing is not the word.

so am i going to have to go back to finikity counterbalance tie-ups then? am i ever going to be able to use that horizontal countermarch castle without learning the brutish art of carpentry?

this is one of those moments at which i wish i wasn't a self-taught weaver and had someone else to turn to whose been through it all before and knows exactly what to do.

so, should i persevere, or is it impossible and should i just go and use counterbalance? and if so, do you know of any decent web resources for counterbalance tie-ups, specifically 4 shaft twills? i've got the stuff from glimakra, but it's nice to have as much as possible

thanks in advance for ANY advice you can give me, i wait with baited breath (and if you know what the root of that saying is i'd love to know, cos it makes no sense to me)



Anonymous said...

My loom is a countermarche. I'm not an expert but here's my thought: it all comes down to the manufacturer of your loom, and whether they really made it to be convertible. I've never heard of counterbalance jacks and countermarche jacks (teetery-tottery things in the castle) being interchangeable, but I suppose such a thing could exist. . . Was it a weaver who told you they could be tied up either way? (I wouldn't trust a non-weaver to know what they were talking about.) Is there a place where it looks like a second set of jacks used to be attached, or is clearly meant to be attached?

If you can't purchase a stray/used second set of lamms intended for your loom, I'm thinking save the brutish arts for a yurt (saw your comment on Peg's blog; fellow yurt fan!). I've written a lot about the difficulty of getting a small old countermarche to produce decent sheds in my older posts. It's really, really necessary to have a loom that's meant (as in designed) for two sets of lamms, mathematically spaced, or you will have endless trouble.

You might find some helpful information if you search the web by the name of your loom's manufacturer. I'd be really interested to see more pictures of the whole loom and hear what kind it is and where it came from, because I just can't picture those jacks.

In the meantime, maybe track down a good book that includes counterbalance setup, and see if that can help? Likely it will be an older book or one translated from Swedish, because counterbalance weaving is uncommon in English speaking countries anymore, so there's not much written about it the balancing tricks. There's a point at which trial and error can get really frustrating, and take the joy out of your weaving, and you don't want that to happen! Vävstuga is great place to check out the books.

Jane said...

Well -- the lovely Trapunto has beat me to the punch, only in that I was going to direct you to *her* :-)

She is the Loom Whisperer. . .

Weave on HB!!

humblebumble said...

hi trapunto, thanks a lot for your lengthy response.

the thing about my loom is it doesn't have a manufacturer as such, as it was one of probably less than 10 made by a carpenter/weaver in aberdeenshire in the 70's. so it's not like i can really get parts for it.

i suspect a lot of the finickitiness of countermarch looms is getting the upper lamms to weigh just the right amount to balance the jacks on the top. i'll get some more detailed pictures of my loom and it's countermarche castle, as well as the lamms and all that, but i'm pretty convinced i'm missing the upper lamms.

it's occured to me recently that i'd probably have an easier time of it making a dobby box than attempting to rig up my own countermarche set up, considering the fact that i've never seen countermarche in action, but i do have a very good idea of how a dobby box works.

that might be the thing to do perhaps.

in the meantime i'll make do with parting with money and buying a book on counterbalance treadling


Anonymous said...

It must inspire some confidence that your loom was made by a weaver. Did you learn his name? With so few in existence, it would be extra cool if you could track down one of the other owners of your type of loom. They could be a great source of information if they have solved the same problems. A lot of random people found my blog by doing google searches for the relatively uncommon type of loom (Bergman) I've got.

I see a typo in my last comment; at the end of the first paragraph I meant to say "is there a place where it looks like a second set of LAMMS used to be attached." I hope that didn't cause any confusion.

humblebumble said...

no confusion at all.

there isn't really any attachjment, although i suppose it would be a relatively simple affair to attach a set to the middle horizontal cross beam thingamabob.

i am not the man to do it though, all my attempts at carpentry are hilarious failures, even my sawhorse is wobbly and doesn't stand upright properly