Good day to you all,


My name is Diana , I am from Romania and I am new to weaving.  Having a funny simple handloom, made by a local carpenter , with 6 independent sinking shafts(harnesses)  , each one suspended with 2 sided metallic tension springs. 1500 inserterd eye heddles, very , very old. I also have 6 treadles, that are tie-up to the shafts . A very simple beater  with pickers for flying shuttle and a normal back beam, no lams and no other system specific to jack looms or countermarch looms.


Even in this conditions I managed to weave in cotton 27/2 for the first time in my life (under  a strict supervision of a wise teacher) a Romanian traditional skirt, Dianane's first romanian traditional skirtlike in the photo. I made several of them so far , to practice and understand the loom.


Meanwhile, I bought some books (The Joy of Hand Weaving by Gallinger and The weavers Book by Harriet Tidball) and discovered that  my loom and by cloth are not as good as they should be. So here I am , asking your kind advice in transforming my actual loom into an efficient one , corresponding to the type of fabric that I want to weave.  I read about jack looms and countermarche looms , but before investing in one of the systems, as spare parts which I could buy and attach to my actual loom , I am very interested in finding out your valuable opinion, as experienced weavers.


I have many projects in mind of traditional skirts, corresponding to different parts of Romania, which require a more special design , maybe involving up to 12 shatfs. Also wool may be involved. I really have no direction here as I understood that shaft looms differ from each other in the way they cause the sheds to open and that mechanical difference affects the cloth.


Await your kind advices. Thank you very much for your time.








Erica J


Great question. In my experience, I don't think the mechanism that raises and/or lowers the shafts makes a difference in the cloth. having used both jack looms and countermarche looms, I know I prefer countermarche looms, but I know many who prefer jack looms. I know this is not the definitive answer you are looking for, but it is my opinion.

It may also help if you can include a photo of your loom.




Thnak you for your reply. So what separate , in your opinion, jack users from countermarch users. What loom is appropriate to me if I am interested to continue to weave romanian traditional skirts/costumes? MY HANDLOOM


If you are weaving a fairly fine, balanced cloth, any type of loom will work.  Jack looms are common in the US because they can be made very compact, they are quick to tie up, and inexpensive to make.  Your picture is too small and too poor in resolution (we can't see any details) for us to see how your loom works.  If your fabric is too coarse or too thick, it isn't your loom, but your  thread and how closely you have spaced the threads (sett).  Most looms, whether they are jack, CB or CM, can make a variety of textiles with the correct reed and sett.  What is it that you want to do that is not happening?


First of all, thank you for your reply. My present loom has the following shortcomings : 

1) The shafts are suspended by one tension spring each side. This creates different levels on my 4 shafts. They are not hanging at the same level all four, causing the thread to break by the tension it faces. 

2) The shafts are old , I really need to replace them as they are clenching one by another. If I want to replace them I have to choose between jack or CM looms. Both looms have different shafts , different hanging systems. 

3) I want to weave more complex models, so I will need more shafts , maybe 8-10. Now I have only 4 on the loom. I have more two but are not asambled yet. 

4) The heddles are olso old and borrowed. I also must return them to their owner soon. So if I need to buy new ones , my understanding is that it depends on the loom : Jack (mettalic heddles)  or CM ( texsolv).

For the moment , this is are my urgent concerns and an investment is required in different spare parts.


I am trying to  attach a more relevant photo.Thank you one again for your help.My loom My old shafts and heddlesMy loom



I don't think your shafts are very uneven, and that isn't breaking the the warp threads.  The heddles appear rusted, and that WILL break threads.

When you say you have to return the heddles, do you mean just the heddles, or the heddles and frames?  If you want to keep the frames you have, you need steel heddles that fit the frames.  You don't have to have steel heddles for a jack loom and string for CB or CM.  String, or Texsolv, is lighter.  Steel is faster and easier to thread.  Jack looms usually have steel because the weight helps hold the shafts down.  Changing this loom to a CB or CM is going to take a lot of work and a lot of new parts.  Making this type of change requires the loom to balance, and is often not easy.So will adding more shafts.  If this loom holds tension well, beats square, and is pleasant to use, I would replace the heddles, get the rust off the beater and other parts, and use it as is.  If you are set on more shafts (you can do a lot with 4-6 shafts), I would look for a different loom.

If you really want to change this loom,look at the Glimakra website.  They carry parts for CM and CB looms.


Thank you very much for your reply. You are very good and you help me a lot! I will start by buying new steel heddles and change the shafts, both borrowed. For a while I will weave like this but in the future I intend to move forward to more shafts.

Thank you so much ! I appreciate !


Almost everyone wants more shafts at some point.  Some manufacturers make looms that you can add more shafts to the existing loom.  If this is not the case, adding more shafts may or may not be possible, and is going to require some fairly skilled woodwork.  This is also true of changing the operation of the loom to CB or CM.  One project you could do fairly easily is to add lamms to it.  This would make it easier to lower several shafts at once and increase patterning options.  It would also give you a chance to see whether you like loom woodworking.


Thank you for the additional comment today regarding the addition of lamms. Do you have acces to a tutorial in this respect? Thank you.

For the moment I am trying to find inserted eye heddles on Indian market, but no succes so far. Only wire/steel heddles. 

Thank you for everything. You are very helpful.





This is a website with plans for building an inexpensive 8 shaft CM loom.  This would give you an idea of how to add lamms to yours.  Since your loom is unique, you'r not going to find actual directions.  For heddles, you might try Leclerc.  Camilla Valley Farm in Canada sells Leclerc parts.






Dear big white sofa dog, 

Regarding the size of the central eye of the inserted eye heddles, does It make   any difference if it is bigger or smaller, even if the thread is thin (27/2)? Or should I buy only depending on the size of the thread?


Also the length of the heddle is important and why? One inserted eye heddle is 8 1/2 “long  another one is 12 “ Long. 


Thank you for your kind advice. 


morgan clifford

You might want to check out this site for finding used items or selling any yourself.  It's free.  Click on "Find Stuff" to see newly listed items.


You buy heddles to fit the shaft frames on your loom.  Both wire heddles and inserted eye heddles can take very fine thread to heavy wool.  The size of your warp doesn't matter.  Inserted eye heddles cause less friction and wear on the warp.  If you are confused about what size to order, measure from the top of the top heddle bar to the bottom of the bottom heddle bar and send this to the supplier.

The size given for steel heddles is usually from the middle of the top loop to the middle of the bottom loop.


Thank you very much ! 

The thing is I am changing also the shaft frames. I saw something on the website you recomended, i.e Camilla Valley Farm in Canada. So , I need to decide what size should I choose for both shafts and heddles , but I don't understand what difference would it make on the handloom and on the final cloth. I intend in the future to work with both thin and thick warps(cotton and wool). So , basically this is the dilema for me. If I buy for example 12" inserted eye heddle with a larger eye , would affect me if I insert a thinner ward like cotton , for example? Or should I always correlate the thickness of the thread with the eye? After all, I cannot affort to have two sets of inserted eye heddles. 


Thank you very much for your support and understanding.



Thank you very much but I am from Romania and its a closed group in USA, they don't accept from outside. Its normal, how can you transport a loom by air....


Thank you anyway. 


As I said in my previous post, you buy haddles that fit your shaft frames.  Heddles of different sizes (9.5 or 12 inches, for example) have the same size eye.  No one changes heddles for different size warps.   If you buy shaft frames, the supplier can tell you what size heddles they take.  You are envisioning problems that don't exist.  Measure the space in your loom to see what size shaft frames you can use, get what is closest to that size, and the heddles that go to that size frame.


If you are getting new shaft frames, you should remember that your loom pulls the frames down (descending shed).  This is unusual, and if you get shafts intended for a jack loom,there may not be an attachment point for your treadles.  Leclerc shafts for their CB looms have the wire loop for attachment, and may work better.  Louet makes a descending shed jack loom and sells in Europe.

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