Getting Acquainted with Tempo Treadle

In my last post I was just putting together the Tempo Treadle and getting it to the point of turning it on. Now I’m practically a seasoned veteran. Well, almost. I have now threaded and treadled and completed a project and I am very satisfied with my experience. However, I do have a question or two for the hive.

My warp was for another text project. The threading order is very easy, but I made use of the Thread Assist function to keep me on track.

I chose to have the screen show 8 warp threads at a time. The Thread Assist not only keeps track of harnesses, but also of color changes in the warp. I did notice that I had to enter exactly the right amount of warp threads in my threading draft (wif). That way I didn’t have to start over on the screen. Also, the Thread Assist keeps track of where I left off when I start again after some time away.

When I finally got started weaving, there was definitely a learning curve with the Weaving function. Since I have and was using all 16 harnesses, the screen I was using could only show one line of the liftplan at a time. I’ll take you through a sequence of two picks.

This shows the “next” pick with the levers in the neutral position, i.e. not pulled. Blue is the color for the levers that I want to pull.

When I pull those levers, the magnets engage and then the screen changes to this, showing the levers that need to be lifted (in red), the levers that need to be pulled (blue) and the levers that remain unchanged (green). This pick consists of harnesses 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, and 16.

Next, the levers in red are lifted, and the ones in blue are pulled, joining the ones in green. This pick consists of harnesses 1, 3, 4, 5, 9, and 13.

Things happen fast, and you have to pay attention! Ask me how I know 🙂

So the above picture shows the beginning of my weaving and I was pretty proud of myself. I quit for the day and started weaving again the next day. Thinking that I could just start up again from where I left off, I continued with my routine and wove for about an hour. It wasn’t until I got up to advance the warp that I noticed the floats on the top. They are visible on the left side of the mat.

I was not watching the weaving, I was watching the screen and pulling the levers and skipped a pick in the sequence. It turns out that picking up where you left off is somewhat tricky! So, I began writing down the SEQ number (upper left corner) and the actual harness numbers of the next pick before shutting down the Tempo Treadle. Otherwise, I became very confused as to exactly where I was in the sequence.

I would love to hear from more experienced Tempo Treadle users (16 harnesses) who may have faced this situation as well. Do you have a fool proof method of knowing what the beginning pick is when starting a new session?

Meanwhile, I am still not satisfied with my text weaving. Going back to the font drawing board. Stay tuned…

New Technology and Old

Say hello to Tempo Treadle. I hope Tempo Treadle will become my new best friend when I am weaving on my Ashford Table Loom. It will keep me from pulling the wrong levers and hopefully speed up the weaving, as much as you can possible speed anything up, that is. Tempo Treadle arrived a few weeks ago and, between this and that, I haven’t got it completely up and running until now.

When it arrived, I immediately went to social media to find out what I could about setting it up on an Ashford 16 Harness table loom. It came with directions, but I am a very visual person, and I needed more photos than what I was getting. There are a few videos on You Tube by the Lofty Fiber folks (makers of Tempo Treadle). But the list of videos doesn’t cover all the looms that it is made for.

Therefore, I thought I would document my set up process and post it here for any Ashford Loom owners who might be wanting more photos.

The first thing I did was remove all the treadle number stickers that I had attached to the loom when I first got it. No apologies about the accumulated “patina” ;-).

Next, I attached the magnets to the levers. (In the photos the magnets are white. This confused me at first, because I can be very literal. As it happens, mine are black.)

Next, I attached the Tempo Treadle “holder” to the top of the loom behind the levers. The Tempo Treadle box itself fits right in. Here are front and side views.

The power source cord plugs in at the top and it is long enough to reach to my electrical outlet close by.

There is a small extension cord with a switch, which is helpful for turning Tempo Treadle on and off without having to just pull the plug in the wall.

There is a magnetic strip that attaches to the loom with adhesive just under the castle. Two connectors come out at the left and attach to connectors coming from the Tempo Treadle box.

A attaches to A and B attaches to B.

This is the finished setup.

And, this is what it looks like when you turn it on.

The Tempo Treadle comes with a mini memory card and two different readers that connect to your computer. I have tried both and they work just fine. I have put two wifs on the memory card and actually tried running through a treadling sequence, briefly. There will be a learning curve.

I am currently warping this loom for another text project, and will be taking photos as I go, so I will be posting about that experience … soonish.

Took the Plunge!

Ok, I’ve had comments on the Tempo Treadle, and basically what I’m hearing is that it is the best tool I could possibly have for weaving on a 16 harness table loom. Based on this information, I went ahead and took the plunge. I think there is a wait time for orders to be fulfilled, so I’m not going to hold my breath until it gets here. I will probably start a new project and add the Tempo Treadle whenever it gets here.

Wish me luck!

Weaving Words

Just when I thought I might never stop geeking out on woven circles, along comes a new obsession. This one is harder to get my head around. It is imprecise. It takes a lot of technical deep diving. It hardly ever turns out the way I picture it. But it is so intriguing that I can’t stop. Won’t stop.

Weaving words.

Here is the drawdown for my first weaving since back surgery. Mind you, I haven’t even wound the warp yet. It has taken me pretty much the entire recuperation month to get this far. But soon, I will be winding a warp for towels on my 16 shaft Ashford. You are looking at front and back, upside down:

I got inspired for this when I was going through the tutorials in Alice Schlein’s book The Liftplan Connection: Designing for Dobby Looms with Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. Along with all the other chapters (including one one circles!), she has a chapter on weaving text. Granted, this technique works better with 24 and 32 harnesses, but it is still possible with 16.

Without going into too much technical stuff, it is necessary to have installed a set of pattern presets in Photoshop. Working with layers, the presets are copied into designs on a grid, foreground and background. When finished, the grid represents a liftplan that can then be pasted into a weaving program. Thanks to the Complex Weavers’ lending library, I was able to gain access to the preset library from the book The Woven Pixel by Alice Schlein and Bhakti Ziek.

I also consulted an online tutorial by Margaret Coe, which was much less comprehensive, but still helpful, and began using Photoshop Elements in addition to Photoshop 2020.

You can see already that this is a fly by the seat of my pants operation. Photoshop 2020 does most of what I want very well. Photoshop Elements picks up the slack. (This is much like my relationship with Fiberworks and PixeLoom. They each have their strengths.)

I plan to wind a prototype warp and weave a couple of towels for myself. Glad to be about to be weaving again! FYI, I am slowly opening up my Etsy shop to other items besides the digital patterns. Yay!

A Tale of Two Warps

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. Worst: well, no need to explain that. Best: unlimited weaving with no end in sight! Woohoo!

On my eight shaft loom I’ve got a dishtowel warp in 8/2 unmercerized cotton in blues and greens, and I threaded it for Turned Taqueté according to the ideas I was exploring in my last post. I threaded a straight draw following a light/dark color sequence all the way across. I used a two-block profile draft from Jakob Angstadt. The first block is on harnesses 1-4, and the second block is on harnesses 5-8. The design is symmetrical, and I am keeping to color combinations of dark/dark, dark/light, light/dark and light/light in treadling.

This is the first towel, for which I used only a dark blue weft.

This is the second towel, for which I used only a light weft:

And the underside:

As you can tell, I’m big into the checks. And there a few different ways I can play this. I have four more to go, so my next move is to plan number three.

I alternate days weaving on the 8 shaft, and days weaving on the 16 shaft looms. I am well into the second ever warp on the Ashford, this time weaving scarfs in 8/2 rayon threaded to a sixteen shaft straight draw.

This is the first one, now off the loom:

This is the second one, an undulating twill:

This is the third one, just started:

I am still struggling with the warping, and decided to order a raddle kit for next time. The warp sticks provided are very thin cardboard and I decided I really don’t like them, so will switch to wood warp sticks. Plus I will figure out a better way to weight the warp as it is wound on.

I do enjoy the slower, more focused pace that the table loom requires. And I am dazzled by all the pattern possibilities. One of my goals with this loom is to explore more ways to weave circles, a design motif with which I am perpetually obsessed.

I decided to put my Etsy shop on indefinite Vacation Mode, thus avoiding a lot of unnecessary trips to the post office. However, I will be adding to the inventory, so whenever I feel safe enough to go out more, there will be lots of new stuff.

And, I am reading Hilary Mantel’s A Place of Greater Safety, her first novel, although it wasn’t published first. It’s loooong, and I love her style, and it focuses on characters in France before and during the Revolution. I thought the title was entirely apropos 😉 .

New Loom pt. 2

When last I wrote I was just getting acquainted with my new Ashford 16 harness table loom with its first-ever warp. I used a bunch of 5/2 rayon that were leftovers from something, and I chose a (what else?) 16 harness point twill threading. This really wasn’t the most versatile of threadings I could have chosen. A straight draw would have been a simpler way to start, and will probably get you more patterns, but I had somethng in mind that I had always wanted to try.

There wasn’t anything for it. I just plunged right in. This is from Oelsner, fig. 630.



I call it “Shells” or “Fans” and I’ve seen it shared on social media by folks who are weaving with 16 harnesses. It was kind of on my weaving bucket list. Of course, when I wove it, I wove it upside down. Doesn’t matter, I still had fun with it.

Here it is right side up:

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First I tried a tumbling boxes pattern, also from Oelsner, fig. 666:

I liked this a lot. It was a really fun weave, and I will definitely weave more of this one.

Then I wove some variations on the “Fan” design. This, from the Alphabet of Weaves K13, American Correspondence Schools Instruction Papers (1902):

and this from Atlas de 4000 Armures, Louis Serrure Draft #36276, France, 2005-2015, which also sneaked some circles into the mix:

I found these patterns at Handweaving.net, which is a fabulous resource, but now I am on the prowl through all my books and magazines for anything 16 harness.

Weaving with the new loom is really different from my standard floor loom. First off, the levers are flipped to open sheds, which means one must put the shuttle down between each new shed. I watched some videos before I started weaving and saw the techniques people use, giving it my best shot (as it were…). You have to stay focused and pay attention to each new combination of levers (see below!).

Of course, there are some tips and tricks that I jumped on.

First, I numbered the levers with stick on dots on the front and the back. With 16 levers to deal with, there can be no confusion about which is which!

Then, I quickly realized that staying on the right line in the liftplan was going to be an issue. I discovered that the iWeaveit app for ipad has a liftplan tracking add-on that makes the whole weaving process work beautifully. Here it is in action, propped on a little-used music stand right by the loom.

Here is what it looks like up close:

All you do is tap the pick number on the left when you are ready for the next line, and the line appears in the box. Then when you are done weaving, iWeaveit saves your place in the lift plan for next time.

One other new thing I had to get used to was beating with the shed open. I beat with the shed closed on my floor loom, always have. With levers, you could go back to a closed shed before beating, but it would be colossally inefficient. And actually, I found this method of beating to be very easy to get used to. My edges were great too!

The next warp will be 8/2 rayon, but I have some hand dyeing to do first. Stay tuned!

New Loom!

For as long as I have been out of graduate school (long!) where I earned a Master’s Degree in Craft Design, I had been aiming toward having my own compu-dobby loom. Financing such a loom was obviously an issue, so I just kept putting it off. Eventually my thinking was that I would sell my 8 harness Schacht standard floor loom and buy a compu-dobby when I retired. Mostly because I was getting more and more challenged by crawling around making new tie-ups. But, somehow that didn’t happen.

But. Recently, I awakened to the possibility of a 16 harness table loom. A loom that had tons of weaving potential. A loom that never had to be tied up, that could weave any pattern without complicated setups. A manual dobby, if you will.

Ashford makes table looms that folks seem to really like, and the price, as opposed to the very pricey compu-dobby looms, was right. So, on Black Friday, when there was a 10% off sale at the Woolery, I took the plunge with an Ashford 16 harness table loom and stand.

And here she is:

It took my husband and I about a week and half to put them together. Ashford’s instructions are extremely detailed and understandable, but we were determined to take it slow, and do only a few steps at a time. The worst part, which fell to me alone, was stringing the harnesses, so that they hung in an orderly fashion with the front harnesses higher than the back ones. Hah! (I’m here to tell you that imperfect is just fine. Weaving happens, regardless.)

My first warp, a get-acquainted test warp, consists of 5/2 rayon that I dyed many years ago, and that was hanging out in a ziploc bag, waiting for an opportunity to be useful.

My MO is warping front to back, so I bravely plunged in, hanging the lease sticks in front of the reed, and going through the reed first.

Then going through the heddles. First time using Texsolv. I like them so far.

View from the back after threading the heddles.

View after winding on. ( Missing the sectional beam!) A nice surprise was that during the winding on the heddles, messy at first, adjusted to the position they were supposed to have relative to the others. (Self-tidying, so to speak!)

Header woven. I rejected the flimsy string that Ashford provided for attaching the warp sticks to the front and back roller beams, opting instead for Texsolv cord. Much sturdier.

First pattern: 16 harness point twill threading from A Handbook of Weaves by G. H. Oelsner, courtesy of Handweaving.net. Next up: weaving on the table loom. Stay tuned!