"Överbindning" is the Swedish word for tying the shafts to the pulleys/horses/rollers at the top of the loom. (Literally it can be translated as "upper tie-up")


Here in Sweden it is an important term, and most books have diagrams of how to tie (mount?) two shafts, three shafts, four shafts, five shafts, six shafts... with the help of pulleys and horses in (sometimes) several levels.

It also figures in weave descriptions, both in books and in VÄV magazine: "överbindning drälltrissor" (means this works best using drälltrissor) or "överbindning kontramarsch" (means this needs a countermarche, will not work with any counterbalanced system)


What word(s) can I use for överbindning, when talking/writing to a "generic weaver"? (It is alwayspossible to use lots of words and explanations, but if there is a term it would be so much easier... :-)



Joanne Hall

Hi Kerstin,

I don't know of any commonly used term for just this part of the loom tie-up.  It may be the result of so many American looms being assembled with the tie-up complete.  American looms do not have the flexibilty to be tied up as a jack loom and then changed to be tied up as a counterbalance.  So, weavers don't have a need for a word for the upper tie-up.  Tie-up here generally means treadle tie-up.  American looms are not very flexible.  Many do not even allow adjusting the length of treadle cords.



I don't know of a single word that describes the upper tie up in English, but I read a book review on a book about languages that have a single word to describe something that would take at least a phrase in any other language.  It tells you that item is very important in that culture.  Examples are Inuit words that describe specific varieties of snow, your Swedish upper tie up, and the Danish word alefroid, which means the fear of running out of beer.

mrdubyah (not verified)

Alas, English does not allow us to connect multiple words into one meta-word the way some European languages do.  We have to use multiple words.  I would simply call it the harness tie-up, or connecting the frames into a harness. 


different expressions - "upper tie-up" and "shaft tie-up".

The "upper tie-up" is from the (by now) old translation of Manual of Swe handweaving. Since then, Big book of weaving (Lundell/Windesjö) has been translated. What is the expression used in that book? (as it is commonly available perhaps it is a good idea to use the same expression?)

OTOH, maybe "shaft tie-up" is more self-explanatory?


(If it was someone on this forum who PM-ed me today, unfortunately that PM got lost - pls try again)

Yvonne K

In his book, "the Technique of Weaving" (1965), John Tovey refers to the upper tie-up as the "mounting". Various was of mounting the shafts on a counterbalanced loom allow the weaver to alter the number of shafts to be used.


'Hanging the shafts' is what Lundell uses. She shows how to tie up as many as 10 shafts.

Sara von Tresckow

The concept is that of the composition of the harness - giving the type of shedding,the number of shafts involved, and in the case of the counterbalance - the pulleyl arrangement for this configuration. This is usually mentioned by describing the parts the weaver needs to "mount" on the loom to make a particular fabric. Mounting could convey what is meant here. Perhaps this is the result of not changing this harness composition very often - rather than change the number of shafts involved, in many cases, some shafts would simply not be used for a particular project.

I've just looked in some books - my trusty Dutch international weaving dictionary from the 1980's had nothing for the concept. It lists all words referenced (Swedish included) and the overbindning was not there.Don't recall there being a definite German term for this.

Couldn't find anything appropriate in Burnham's Warp and Weft or Zielinski's Encyclopedia that came close.

You may have found one of those peculiar words that contains a lot of meaning, but doesn't exist as such in other languages.



Sara, of course you are right about "not changing this harness composition very often" - however, the rest of your sentence ("rather than change the number of shafts involved, in many cases, some shafts would simply not be used for a particular project") would be unthinkable in *any* Swedish counterbalance weavers' studio (and in most CM weavers', too, come to think of it).

On the occasion, I leave unused CM shafts on, if I have a short warp. Every time someone sees this, I get "shocked" comments... When I went to weaving school, we were taught to strip the loom down to the bare frame (treadles included) every time a warp was cut off. (I stopped doing that as soon as I got my own loom at home, but still had to do it at school, of course )


I must have Swede blood, because I strip mine down and move the harnass for every project. How come my great, great, great grand dad came from Scotland to Hampstead, NB? :)


I was adjusting the shafts, cords and rollers on my counterbalance loom this very afternoon.  Now I know there is a word for what I was doing.  Thanks!


Greta G

Hi, In my icelandic weaving book from 1932, the author Sigrún P. Blöndal, talks about "uppbinding að ofan", which could be translated as "tie-up above", or överbinding. Then is the "uppbinding að neðan" menning "tie-up below" which Lundell calls underbinding.
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