Turned Taqueté: Eight Harnesses and Beyond

Ever since I got my 16 harness Ashford table loom I have been doing a lot of mining my weaving library for drafts of over 8 harnesses. Most of my books are of the 4 to 8 harness persuasion, although I have a few books that go into the 8-32 harness stratosphere. Most of my books I’ve had for decades. I have Weaves A Design Handbook by Eleanor Best (1987). I have 8/12…20 An Introduction to Multishaft Weaving by Kathryn Wertenberger and the two-volume collection of patterns by Jakob Angstadt. I also have the newer books by Marian Stubenitsky.

Those books are fine, but probably the most precious part of my library is my collection of Weaver’s Magazines. There were 44 issues published, and I have all but the first four. Whenever I sift through my stack, I always see new stuff, and this time I was struck by all the 16 harness projects that were included, and was just so grateful that I have kept these magazines for all this time.

In particular, I found three magazines with articles on Turned Taqueté projects. The above issue #42 Winter 1998 has an article by Alice Schlein for a project for a 16 harness reversible rug with an advancing twill threading and a one-shuttle Turned Taqueté liftplan (treadling). And what is the pattern? Circles!!

The next issue 27 Spring 1995 has an article by Lucille Crighton which shows how to use Turned Taqueté with three different threading sequences on 16 harnesses for some really creative patterns using different textured yarns.

This issue #12 Winter Quarter 1991 has an article by Betsy Blumenthal titled “One-Shuttle Wonderful” and it was a revelation. It is a thorough explanation of straight draw Turned Taqueté from 4 harnesses to 16 harnesses. (She did leave out 8 harnesses, but I’ve got that covered. Read on!)

Blumenthal starts out on four harnesses on a straight draw, very much like my first forays into Turned Taqueté. Two pattern blocks are possible by changing color order from A=DLDL to B=LDLD. She then zooms up to 16 harnesses, on which four pattern blocks are possible on a straight draw threading, with no color order changes. A=DLDL(harnesses 1234), B=DLDL (harnesses 5678), C=DLDL (harnesses 9,10,11,12), and D=DLDL (harnesses 13,14,15,16). As in standard block weaves, any 4-block profile draft may be used here, and woven with one shuttle. Tie-ups provide for combinations of all dark on top, all light on top, plus each block separately or in combinations on top. I was doing a happy dance.

But what about 8 harnesses? I scaled back and came up with a 2-block threading and tie-up that provided for all dark sections, all light sections, and sections with light and dark, or dark and light.

I’m already planning out new ideas for towels. So. Much. Fun.

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!