Macomber Threading Made Easier

Back in mid-August when I used the 8 harness Macomber loom to weave some cashmere silk scarves in a diamond huck lace pattern, I spent LOTS of extra time on threading those heddles because I made LOTS of threading errors. I’m so used to threading my beautiful 4 harness loom with Texsolv heddles that I had quite a bit of difficulty keeping the 8 harnesses and metal heddles straight.

I decided to take some action to avoid future problems. What could I do that would help? After some thought, I figured out a strategy. Amanda was coming down for a friend’s wedding, and I asked her to bring a couple colors of nail polish with her. She had no idea why, but was happy to oblige.

Here’s what I did.

I painted heddle bars. Heddles 1 & 5 I left au naturel (although a bit rusty). I painted heddle bars 2 & 6 with dark red nail polish, heddle bars 3 & 7 with white, and heddle bars 4 & 8 with bright pink. I only painted the bottom heddle bars, since that’s really what I’m looking at when I’m threading. I’d never heard of anyone doing this, and had no idea how it’d work, but figured I’d give it a try. After all, the worst that could happen was that the metal heddles wouldn’t slide smoothly and I’d have to use nail polish remover to clean the bars. I didn’t think that would really happen since the bars were a bit rusty and the heddles moved fine.

For my next Mac project, I threaded the loom in Ms & Ws. I was weaving with a fairly bulky cotton, but was making it wide, so I had 254 threads. Admittedly, an easier threading than what I’d used for the diamond huck pattern, but I was heartened that I didn’t make a single threading error.

I made the warp long enough to weave two baby blankets….
madras cotton handwoven baby blankets

and a shawl or small throw.
handwoven shawl in madras cotton

Using the same variegated yarn for both warp and weft in the handwoven baby blankets, the weaving pattern doesn’t show up much, but that’s okay. The complex twill weave helped make sure that the blankets are flexible and comfy for baby. I finished the blankets with polyester blanket binding – one in yellow and one in green.

I chose to use a solid blue cotton for the weft in the shawl/throw. Although the yarn is slightly thinner than the variegated warop yarn, you can see the weaving pattern better. It’s not my favorite looking piece, but it’s nice to drape over your shoulders or your lap if you’re chilly.

I’m going to weave another cashmere silk scarf in that same diamond huck lace pattern soon. I’ll see how much the painted heddles help while I’m threading it.

Your turn: what creative ideas have you put in place to try to make to make your life easier? How have they worked?

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>