Tie-ups for 4-shaft double weave

If you are weaving double weave on a floor loom then this post is for you. Last time we looked at liftplans, which are ideal for getting a sense of what is going on in the double weave process. Any of these individual liftplans can be implemented as a 4-treadle tie-up as well. You’ll have noticed, though, that there were several different options, even though the discussion was limited to one aspect of double weave: the creation and exchange of separate layers. How do you tie up the treadles to make it as easy as possible to access these options?

Universal tie-up

For a 4-shaft jack loom, this is the simplest tie-up option. One shaft is tied to one treadle, and you depress as many treadles as needed to make the relevant lift. It is easy to tie up, and never needs to be changed! But as you extend your repertoire into more complicated weaves, it can be tricky to treadle the right combination of shafts. As far as double weave is concerned, this tie-up will work best for you if you are using the odds vs evens threading.

6-treadle tie-up for a jack loom

You can simplify the treadling process for layer exchange by tying up two additional treadles, one for each layer. A simple, practical tie-up for the front and back threading might look like this:

I have coloured in the squares which indicate where a shaft is tied to a treadle. So, for instance, treadle 1 is tied to shafts 1 and 2.

The four treadles in the centre each raise one shaft, so your basic treadling pattern will use these over and over (alternating left foot and right foot) to create the plain weave interlacement. However, whenever you are weaving the bottom layer, you can raise the top layer out of the way by using the opposite foot on the outermost treadle.

Treadlings for layer exchange

I have used the same principles of notation here that I used when developing the liftplans. A circle means that the treadle is opening the shed to weave, while a cross means that the treadle is moving a layer out of the way. If a row contains a circle and a cross, it means you need to depress two treadles for that pick.

Treadling to weave the light layer on top:

Treadling to weave the dark layer on top:


Again, this tie-up is fine if you have a jack loom. However, if you have a countermarche loom it is not quite so easy to combine treadles. As every shaft needs to be tied either to rise or to sink, you need to make sure you avoid ‘clashes’ where a shaft is being pulled in two directions at once.

8-treadle tie-up for a countermarche loom

The basic principle for approaching double weave on a countermarche loom is to divide the treadles in much the same way as you divide the shafts: into two groups, with one group for each layer. The treadles which operate shafts 1 and 2 only operate shafts 1 and 2 and are not tied up to shafts 3 and 4 at all. This means you always need to depress two treadles for each pick, so that all four shafts are activated. The basic tie-up looks like this:

As above, I have coloured in some of the squares: these indicate which shafts are tied up to rise. Shafts which are tied up to sink are marked with a D for down. So both treadles 1 and 2 are tied up to shafts 1 and 2, but treadle 1 will lower both shafts while treadle 2 will raise both shafts. Treadle 3 will raise shaft 1 and lower shaft 2, while treadle 4 does the opposite: it will lower shaft 1 and raise shaft 2.

Treadlings for layer exchange

Every row in these treadlings contains a circle and a cross, since two treadles are needed for every pick.

Treadling to weave the light layer on top:

Treadling to weave the dark layer on top:


The obvious limitation of this tie-up is that it requires 8 treadles, which is more than you usually find on a 4-shaft loom. However, if you have an 8-shaft loom and are using only four of your shafts for a double weave project then this is a very practical option.

Bonus feature

The bonus this tie-up brings you is its flexibility. You always have to use two treadles, but you can switch layers around so easily by ‘mixing and matching’ with your feet, that it might actually help to spark some new ideas while you are weaving.

First posted on weavingspace.co.uk © Cally Booker

2 Responses

  • Hello All! Thank you very much for your countermarch double weave tie-up explanation. I’m going to have to read it a few more times until I really understand it as I’m just a beginning weaver. I get the basics, but this is a wee big outside my comfort zone so I really appreciate all the help. And with this COVID lockdown getting together with an instructor is difficult. I hope everyone there’s well and thanks again for all your help!!!

    • Hi Jon, glad to hear that it’s a useful post! I wove on a countermarche loom for many years, and it does take a bit of thinking to get set up. But once you are at the loom with your feet on the treadles, the lifting starts to make sense and you can really get creative with the possibilities!

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