Following up on today’s Weaving Wednesday post on Instagram here is more detailed explanation of what it means to walk the treadles and how to set them.

We will use this draft as an example.

Often when we start weaving and reading drafts we will tie up the treadles from left to right in the order that they are shown on the draft. According to the tie up information shafts 1+2 are should be attached to the first treadle, 2+3 to the second, 3+4 to the third and 4+1 to the fourth.

TreadlesT1T2T3T4
Shafts1+22+33+44+1
Table showing shafts and treadles for the draf

When treadling you would use your left foot for treadles 1 and 2, and your right for for treadles 3 and 4 and your foot sequence would be left, left, right, right etc.

By changing the order in which you tie up your treadles you can create a sequence where you alternate feet in the manner that you do when walking, which can feel more comfortable. I find it is more rhythmic and speeds up my weaving e.g. left foot, right foot, left, right as my other foot is ready to press the next treadle in the sequence whilst my first foot is still active.

For this draft here would be your new tie up, I’ve highlighted the old and new tie up to make it easier to see how they have moved around. I’ve kept the originall treadle numbers as they correspond to the tie up on the draft.

Original Tie Up:
TreadlesT1T2T3T4
Shafts1+22+33+44+1
Walking Tie Up:
TreadlesT3T1T2T4
Shafts3+41+22+34+1
Original and Walking tie up with highlights

I always start my tie up in the centre and work outwards with 5 treadles for my left foot and 5 for my right (my current loom has 10 treadles) as I find this easiest for finding my starting place (my feet rest at treadle 1 and 2 usually in the centre with 4 shafts either side). Also, many of the drafts I work from will use adjacent treadles as they move through the sequence so it means less stretching between the outer ones.

Hopefully you can see from the table that the tie up and treadles, according to the draft, have switched position and been allocated to different treadles on the loom to enable a more ergonomic treadling sequence. I will often draw a simple diagram, similar to the table above, when doing my tie up and find it helpful to write out my new tie up from left to right to refer to when I’m under the loom.

I don’t rewrite my draft when I use centred walking treadles, I still read the draft in the same way but my feet (and brain) have learned that my treadles start from the centre and work outwards like the picture below; 1,3,5,7,9 for my left foot and 2,4,6,8,10 for my right foot.

When I first started weaving I put an elastic band around treadles 1 and 2 so my feet could feel the middle starting point without me having to look down and check I was in the correct position.

Do you “walk the treadles” when weaving or is this a new technique for you to try? Hopefully this explanation has been useful, let me know in the comments, and if you have any questions then please ask!

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