Saturday, January 2, 2010

Next Best Thing

Many folks ask me if there is a manual to go with the Macomber Looms. The answer is no, sadly. One of my efforts with this blog is to serve as a replacement for all topics that might be covered if such a manual existed.

Today, as I was dressing my CP, I realized that many weavers might not know about the sweet little feature on the CP that holds the harnesses up for threading.

This long thin wire with a curve at one end is the tool for this job.

On the front top part of the castle there are two holes. The upper hole is where this wire inserts when you are weaving. It is not imperative that the wire is inserted for weaving, but it keeps this wire from getting lost if you just leave it there!

When you are transporting the loom (it is a portable after all!), it is imperative that the wire is inserted here. When the wire is in position, it keeps the harnesses from sliding out of the castle during travel.

Now here is the really sweet part...when you are threading the loom, you can raise up the harnesses and lock them in this position with this same wire.

To do this ~ raise up all the harnesses, slide the wire out from the upper position, and insert it in the lower set of holes. You will need to wiggle it under all the harness frames.

If I do not have all the harnesses tied up to treadles, I use my hands to lift and hold the harnesses up while sliding the wire underneath.
Be sure to slide it all the way across the frame and insert it into the back of the castle.

Over the years, a couple of these wires have been bent due to some misuse or another. This makes it a little challenging to insert it in the back hole. But with persistence, I can get it in. The other alternative is to use wires from one loom on the other. 

Here is a picture of the same set up from above. It is hard to get a photo without a lot of clutter...remember this is a working studio! Avery, the dog (upper right), is waiting for a dog biscuit!

Hope this tip helps!
Happy weaving ~ Sarah


  1. ooh ooh! I didnt know this! I think my wire is missing but will work on making one! What a GREAT tip! Thanks so much for your blog! It really has come in handy as I have CP and a 40" too.

  2. For threading, I tend to tie one treadle per harness and raise the shaft I am threading, then move on to the next and next. I find this really cuts down on threading errors!

  3. sweet tip, thanks Nancy. My goal is efficiency, and I find the tube sock approach helps me make best use of time, by keeping the warp always under tension. easier to grab threads and pull them thru heddles. Green tea and a bit of concentration aids in eliminating those pesky errors!

  4. If I lift my harnesses up, the little tab thing from the jacks that slips into the slot on the harness frame comes out. How are you able to lift yours without this happening? That tab is shown in the first photo on your Jan 11th blog, but mine doesn't have the hole on top.

  5. How do you raise the harnesses without the tab from the jacks coming out of the harness frame? This part is what's shown in the first photo of your Jan 11th blog, although mine doesn't have a hole in the top.

  6. Tina:
    The tab should stay in the slot at the bottom of the harness. I can think of one thing that might effect this...if you TROMP hard on the treadle and let the harness drop after raising it, this might cause it to pop out. Other that that, there might be something bent or misaligned. You are welcome to send me photos of what you situation looks like.

  7. I have a B4 model. Do you know if there is a way to hold the harnesses up for threading with this model? On the front of the loom on the left side there is a stick on a rope that I can't figure out a use for but I wonder if it has to do with holding up the shafts. Do you know?

  8. Hi Ginny:

    Yes, the harnesses on the B4 and B5 model Looms can be lifted for ergonomically good threading. Raise all your harnesses up and stick a sturdy dowel under the jacks. This dowel will rest between the jacks and the castle top cross piece.

    Let the harnesses down and the jacks will rest on this dowel holding the harnesses raised up for threading. I don't have a detailed photo of this ..will do soon! Thanks for asking! Sarah

  9. Oh my aching back thanks you, Sarah!

    I am so glad to have found this blog. I have so many questions about my Macomber. Another one is I am trying to figure out how I can sit comfortably behind the castle for threading. I have a sectional beam on the loom that doesn't allow the cloth beam to rest on the floor, and the beam also gets in the way of any kind of bench or chair I try. Any ideas?

  10. Ginny~
    The loom is better designed for folks who thread back to front since the whole front drops down to make easy access to the harnesses. To thread from the back requires unhitching the brake system, then you can drop the back beam. With a sectional you will have to prop it somehow so that the weight is not resting on the sectional pins. Hope this makes sense. Photos can come later...I'm flying out the door!
    Thanks for the compliments! Sarah


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