The initial understanding of a weaving draft is to imagine that you are hovering above your loom looking straight down at it.
There are 4 parts to a weaving draft: Threading Order, Tie Up, Draw Down and Treadling Order.
Most weaving drafts (patterns) look like this. It represents a loom with treadles. To read it, start at the center of the cross point between each of the 4 areas and read away from that point.
This draft tells us that we would thread a dark warp thread through a heddle on shaft #1, then a heddle on shaft #2, etc. (using the colors in the color guide at the top). Then you attach a chord from treadle #1 to shafts #1 & #2, a chord from treadle #2 to shafts #2 & #3, etc. When you weave, you press treadle #4 and throw a shot with a light thread, then #3, then #2, then #1. You repeat the sequence 4-3-2-1 with a dark thread. This draft will produce a houndstooth twill.
The following draft is for the same weave but uses what's called a LIFT PLAN. This type of draft is what we need to use with looms that don't have treadles or only direct tie up (one shaft to a treadle).
Rather than pressing treadles to lift the warp threads, we manually lift the warp threads via string heddles on a rod. This draft tells us that the first thread has a heddle on it and the heddle is on rod #1. The second thread has a heddle on it and the heddle is on rod #2, etc. We would then lift rods 1&4 at the same time for the first pick. Then we would lift rods 3&4 on the second pick, etc.
Still not clear? Here's a video tutorial :
Now, apply this to your RH loom FRAME by using string heddles:
Here's what using heddle bars on an RH loom looks like to weave a 4 shaft draft. Note the lease sticks in the back (in this case I used BBQ Skewers) to keep threads in order. Basically this is exactly like a backstrap set up except you're using your RH frame as the catalyst to hold the warps.
Thanks for posting I’ve been weaving for a few years and still have issues reading drafts. I saw the video on the string heddle harnesses and love that idea. I’m going to try some weaving this weekend with your method.
You explained this perfectly! I just bought a rigid heddle loom from eBay (unknown maker, etc) and am reading everything I can about them. You just proved how versatile they can be, and now I am excited about what I can do with mine! I’m so glad I found your site. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
I enjoyed this tutorial, I would like to clarify what I think I am seeing here though.
It looks like you warped without the rigid heddle then create heddles in the warp by counting across, grabbing and creating a string heddle for(in this example) each #1 string for the ‘#1 heddle’, each warp thread #2 for the ‘#2 heddle’, etc. Then lifting the appropriate heddles for each pick listed on the side from top to bottom?
But in the 3 shaft plan we would string heddle warp thread 1, 4, 8, 11 etc for ‘#1 heddle’, thread 2,5,7,10 etc for ‘#2 heddle’ and thread 3, 6, 9, 12 etc for ‘#3 heddle’. then lift harness 2 for pick one, then harness 1, then3, 2, 1 etc?
We can beat with a weaving comb or the shuttle? What are you using to make the string heddles? I am assuming that it is pretty critical to keep the string heddles as uniform in size as possible?
@Deb. Thanks. No, you don’t count threads 4,8,11 etc. You pick up a thread where there is either a block or number in the grid at the top, left to right. Starting at the bottom would be harness #1 (the one closest to you). Where there is nothing but a white space, you skip that warp thread.
For example, the 3 shaft diamond twill’s first harness is a repeat of pick up 1 thread, skip 2 threads, pick up 1 thread, skip 3 threads, pick up 1 thread, skip 2 threads, pick up 1 thread, skip 1 thread.
There’s several ways to make string heddles. For beginners who want to dive right in, making loops of threads, as I have done, is the easiest way. If you have an inkle loom, you can use the heddles from that. To make heddles all the same size, tie string around something like a coffee can or between the stems of a couple of C or Quick Grip clamps.
You can beat with either a home made reed, a comb or the edge of the stick shuttle. You will see me do that in the video.
In response to Samantha’s question above you answered that the draft was for a slots only reed. Do I need to warp the loom differently? I have an Ashford RH Loom. I learned to warp through slots and holes. If I warp in the slots only I would end up with two threads in the slots. Is this correct for this draft?
I don’t recommend using the RH for this but depending on the draft and yarn being used, maybe it will work for you. Do a sampler and see what happens. I found that I needed several threads in the same slot which made making sheds difficult because the threads couldn’t pass one another plus I got reed marks which was really annoying.
If you’re still determined to use RH, I do recommend a book on eBay called “Weaving with Three Rigid Heddles”. It will show you how to set up your reeds for 4 shaft weaving. I know people who have done it. It’s just not for me. I find threading all those reeds is just too tedious.
In the first video I am explaining how to read the draft. I was doing a demo for pick up sticks on Blog TV and had my Beka Child’s Rigid Heddle Loom warped when someone asked me how to read a draft so I did an impromptu tutorial while the loom was warped.
In the second video, I am using the same loom but without the rigid heddle. I am using a reed to keep the warps separated at equal distance (just like a floor/table loom). This makes it easier to achieve a balanced weave.
Keep in mind that anything that holds warps under tension is a loom.
The only thing that makes your Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom what it is, is the rigid heddle. Without the heddle, it’s a frame loom with roller bars. You can weave anything on it (inkle, tapestry, and even back strap style by using string heddles and a shed stick).
Your tutorials are really helpful! I’m a student from London, and they’re really easy to follow.
I’m having difficulties drawing a lifting plan. do you have any tutorials on drawing one for a double cloth? I want to create a geometric fabric simpler to the one you’ve drawn above, but I can’t seem to be any good at drawing. I’ve downloaded the program you use, and it confuses me, so I’d rather do it by hand :)
Whether you draw it by hand or use Pixeloom, you’re going to have the same outcome. A draft is a draft whether you do it by hand or it’s done on the computer. This is why I don’t do them by hand. I figure, why spend all that time doing that when I could do it quickly with Pixeloom be weaving it. :)
Pixeloom will do double weave in lift plan mode for you. I recommend, but don’t support their product. See about checking their help files or support team for more information.
Thank you!!!!!!!!!!! Finally I understand the draft. The video is what did it.
Can I make the reed out of skewers. Did you make yours if not where can I get one. My heddle is a slot and hole.
Thanks for sharing your talent
I made mine out of bamboo BBQ Skewers and thin strips of wood at the top and bottom. It ends up being about 6 EPI. You can purchase stainless steel reeds in different EPI’s, try Craigslist, eBay and internet search.
thank you so much for this tutorial and the videos so very helpful for someone like me just learning , finally got around trying this wanted a scarf with this as the end borders , however the yarn I am using is a little wavy in itself so the pattern wont really show , so I was wondering if you could/would let me know what kind of yarns would be best to use so the pattern shows clearly , thank you :)
Is there a way to do 4 shaft patterns on a RH using 2 reeds? I haven’t tried the string heddles yet, they kinda scare me. I’m just wondering, since the doubleweave worked using 2 reeds and 2 pickup sticks.
There is a way and it can be done, but honestly, rigid heddle is not the right tool for the job. You can do it with 2 rigid heddles and a heddle rod or with 3 rigid heddles. This is slow and tedious to set up as well as to weave and the drafts are different because you have to raise some heddles while lowering others at the same time. You can find a link to a book for weaving 4 shaft drafts with rigid heddle on this page: http://rigidheddleweaving.com/articles/how-to-read-a-weaving-draft-part-deux
I am trying to learn how to use my kromski 32” harp with a second rigid heddle, but not interested in string heddles yet. Did I waste my money by buying the second heddle ? And why do they call it a heddle in the first place when it’s a frame/shaft with heddles ? Anyway the frustration that is intrinsic with weaving leaves me warped.
Second rigid heddle will aid you in doing double sett, double wide, double width and tubes. All of them, except for the double sett, will also require 2 pick up sticks to be employed.
If you felt you wasted your money, return it for a refund. :)
They call it a rigid heddle because, unlike a conventional loom, the heddles don’t move in the “shaft” (the frame) that they’re in. Originally these shedding devices (rigid heddles) were not very wide and were used primarily for creating narrow warp faced cloth (like inkle woven bands), they were not meant to be used as a reed for beating the weft into the fell of the cloth nor for creating wide cloth like we see today.
I’m confused about your previous statement about the reeds not being used for beating. I don’t know much at all about the way 4+ shaft looms work, but in the videos I’ve watched it looks like they’re using a reed to beat with. It’s not used as the heddle, but it’s still used as a beater. Can you clarify?
Yes. With warp faced cloth, just like with backstrap weaving, weaver’s don’t use a “reed” to push the weft into the fell of the cloth. They use either the shuttle or a “sword” to beat it. Look to “inkle weaving” and “backstrap weaving” on this page or at youtube to see examples. There are many examples on youtube.
1)The maximum width depends on the width of your front and back beams or how far you can reach to be able to throw the shuttle through the shed.
2)There is knitting yarn and then there is weaving yarn. Use weaving yarn for weaving. It's processed differently. It's a tighter twist and less hairy. Knitting yarn can be used with RH but it's not really the ideal stuff to use. It's like trying to hammer in a nail with the handle of a wrench. It can be done but you really should use a hammer. Use the right tools for the job.
3) I don't recommend using the RH to beat with. I recommend making or buying a regular reed to keep the sett. Since you'll need several threads going through the same slots on the RH, they tend to "stick" and it's difficult to get a good shed.
The reason your band came out as a balanced weave is because either you were a)using the reed to beat with or b)you were using the wrong sett for your yarn or c)you weren't beating hard enough. You want warps close together and the weft to be thinner than the warp. See Peggy Osterkamp's blog for articles about sett, it's all explained there. Then go to weavingtoday to get the Master Yarn Chart to help you choose yarns for different projects.
Amanda, I just had a thought…If you are on Facebook, you can get access to many “helpers” on the groups there too. Go to the main page of this site and you’ll see the Facebook links to “Like” my page and to also join the accompanying Facebook Group (over 1000 members).