I've acquired a Toika Liisa which I'm trying to set up (in somewhat of a hurry).  I think I got everything tied to everything else and when I take out the pins in the jacks, they don't hang evenly.  I have no idea where to even start.  I assume that either I missed a tie up somewhere or that the geometry is all wrong.  I took guesses on where things should hang and have heard that everything should be parallel.  If I missed a tie up, I have no idea how to figure out which one.  Anyone out there with gobs of experience who can help?  Thanks, Dena in Vermont


Joanne Hall

Hi Dena,

By unevenly, do you mean that they sink a little?  Describe this for us.  \

Do you have a warp on the loom?



Hi Dena

I also have an old (1970s) Toike Liisa and once I got it sorted out, it works very well.  I even have the original instruction book.  It shows a slip of a girl setting up her Liisa on a rocky sea shore - I've never been able to work out why you would want to do that especially in Finland unless it's to convince you that if a slip of a girl can set up her loom on a rocky shore you should be able to do it indoors and on level ground.  I'm happy to copy it, it's about 32 pages long, and mail it to you though it might take a week or so to get to Vermont from Australia or to try to scan and PDF the pages that matter

One thing to check - and its hard to do it by yourself - is to make sure that you don't have heddles that start on one shaft but finish on another.  It wasn't until a friend came round that we worked this one out and believe me it doesn't work like that

Please contact me if the book would help



I would most appreciate the PDF of your booklet.  I am off to get a 38 year old Liisa that hasn’t been assembled for the last 8 years.  I know very little about countermarche looms, and nothing about Toika.  Help will be most appreciated.  [email protected]

Su Butler

HI Dena....I have a short artcile on setting up a Toika that may be of help to you....if you will email me privately at subu at subudesigns dot com, I'll send it to you....it has a few photos that may help you. 

Remember that when you release the locking pins on a Toika, there is usually a warp in place and that contributes to the overall balance of the loom.  A CM loom is all about balance......

Su :-)

Sara von Tresckow

 Slow down, Take a deep breath. Get a copy of Laila Lundell's "Big Book of Weaving" and a copy of Joanne Hall's "Tying up the Countermarche Loom". Study your loom.

Hurrying up with your first loom of this type will only lead to unnecessary frustrations. I sold someone a 60" Eeva over the weekend with only 2 treadles connected as a start and a few photos on a CD and she's doing fine with it.

1. Use only 4 shafts on the first warp until you understand the loom. Adding any other shafts will be a snap after that while it appears terribly difficult now.

2. When you have all the shafts and treadles leveled out and tied up - put a short warp of 12-15inch width on the loom. This will hold things in place better. It is rare for a countermarche loom to "balance" with no warp on it - although the Lillla models that we sell come close.

3. Final adjustments will be made with the first warp tied on before you begin weaving.

4. During the weaving of this test warp observe carefully how all the parts work together to make the fabric - this will come in handy when mounting other shafts and doing more difficult warps.

5. Do consider looping your tie cords around the treadles and putting the Texsolv pegs at the lams, using only long cords. This will make adjusting the loom later a simple "up and down" adjustment of the pegs. And for the basic start, tying 6 treadles to 4 shafts with 2 treadles dedicated to tabby and the other 4 to 2/2 twill will get you through many weaving patterns before needing to change things.

Being patient and cautious setting up your loom will result in greater payback down the line.

Dena (not verified)

If you could scan it, that would be incredibly helpful.  I think they've changed the geometry on these and I've got an older one, but I don't have a full history.  Webs, our local Toika dealer doesn't seem to have adequate information.  I do know that the heddles are clean, I put them all on individually myself.  How do I reach you off of this site?  (Dreaming of coming to Australia to get the book!)  Dena

Dena (not verified)

I am so relieved to find support out here!  I run a weaving school and find myself constantly in the position of helping others get through their weaving tangles.  It's really lovely to know that there's help out there for me!

What is happening is that when I pull out the pins, the harnesses drop by around three or four inches and the inside of the jacks rise by about the same.  I have spent the last couple of hours changing things and it still seems to be happening.  I'm cautious about putting a warp on there with things being so out of whack...I figure that once the warp is on, the adjustments are going to be much more difficult.  (I had thought if I could get it within an inch or two then I'd put the warp on.)  I'm also having a hard time understanding how the warp will stabilize things since it should be traveling through the center of the heddles so not touching anything really, but if the general consensus is to do it anyway, I'd be happy to.

I'm only working with four harnesses right now and only tying up two treadles.  I'm trying to get it set up to teach a rag rug class next Thursday.  I have had a Glimakra in the past, but I tied it up (easily) twenty years ago and never changed it.  The guild does have a copy of Joanne Hall's book (so I hear) so hopefully I'll have a copy in hand soon.

(And to think...I'm going to pick up loom #17 tomorrow.  I'm just a little ashamed!!)

Trying to breathe!!  Dena


I'm not sure how to contact someone off site either but suggest you email me at frontdesk at cwerner dot com dot au and I will start scanning.  They'll be quite large files around 2 MB, If necessary I can send them singly


Sara von Tresckow

Do go ahead and put a warp on this loom.

The reason your shafts are "dropping" is in part due to having 4 shafts hung on only 2 treadles. There is not enough weight distribution to balance it now, but with a warp on it should not drop much at all.

That Eeva I set up for pickup did the same thing - especially if your loom is more than 40" wide, there are too many heavy parts unsupported by the lack of a warp. When a tensioned warp runs through the heddles, things will look a lot better. 

Dena (not verified)

Pulleys and balances were with me through my dreams last night.  I think that I've been looking for a clear mathematical way of dealing with this and I am getting that it's not so simple.  I do have a degree in Physics, so you'd think I could figure out how to balance it all.  I've been thinking that there's something symbolic about balance and my life in this whole process...balancing of motherhood, family, marriage and work at a time when day and night are about to come into balance with the approaching equinox.  Even getting the manual sent to me from Australia in the southern hemisphere...north and south balance (thank you so much Helen!).  I am truly obsessed and want to drop everything else in my life and figure this out, but alas, not a simple possibility.  Breathe!

Sara von Tresckow

 Physics degree or no physics degree, "balance" on a countermarche loom is "perfect" when the shed floor is perfectly even and allows the shuttle to pass smoothly with no skips. To achieve this, very often when at rest the loom looks horribly unbalanced. You simply cannot test this loom setup without a warp to test that lower shed. We took a trip to Europe last year and the looms set up in professional workshops were hanging all "higglety piggelty" when at rest - when in use they formed lovely sheds. The SHED is your primary objective.

You have got a loom that is often used by professional weavers with lots of experience and training. Loom makers' brochures simply show you how to put the pieces together - they expect you to have weaving books that explain the workings of the countermarche mechanism. Shed adjustment falls into the category of either knowing how to do it or possessing the right books to show you how.

And without trying to sound preachy, as someone who also gives instruction, I would not normally consider providing instruction on an untested not fully understood piece of equipment.

Joanne Hall

Hi Dena,

Sara is right, put a test warp on the loom to weave something that is familiar to you. 

When you get a copy of my book, pay attention to page 26.  This is where I discuss the balance on looms where all the lamms are the same length.  Take the locking pins out.  Put your hand on the open ends of all four of the lower lamms  and push down.  You will see the shafts rise up to the normal position.  So, then take an extra treadle and tie it to this end of the lower lamms.  The weight of the treadle will help to hold the shafts up.  If the weight of one treadle is not enough, tie up another treadle, or put a weight on the first one you tied up.


claudia (not verified)

Hi Dena,

You can communicate off this thread with anyone by using the "Messages" in the left navigation list.  It allows you to send a private message to Louiseinoz and exchange private emails without sharing them with the entire website.

Hope that helps,


Dena -

Congrats on your Toika.  I too am an owner of a very old (50+) Toika and can tell you that it is a terrific loom.  All of the information you have been given here is excellent and should be carefully considered.  I was able to get a very helpful set of notes from Mona Yrjola at Toika and found it really made the difference in how mine was set up. 

Please feel free to contact me off list and I'll send you her notes as well as some of my own tips/observations of weaving with a Toika.



Dena (not verified)

I think I've got it figured out.  Most everything I had done was fine, it was that only two treadles were tied up.  Now that I've tied up six, things are way more stable and I'm ready to put a warp on for the fine tuning.  (I hope!)  Thanks so much to everyone who helped.  I'll write more once the warp is on, but hopefully it's on its way!  And...went down to Webs today and had an extensive talk with Barbara and a good look at the Eeva.  She seemed to think that what I had was a "mother Liisa" or one of the first ones made.  Makes more sense now that everyone else's seemed to be a bit different.


That's the model I have.  It pre-dates the Liisa, but looks very similar.  When I was corresponding with Jukka at Toika, we figured that mine was made some time in the late 60's or so.  The biggest difference is that the overall depth is a little shorter than the Liisa they produce now.

giny001 (not verified)

Hello Helen,

I just bought a second hand toika loom, I do have it set up now and I have a shed but I am sure I didn;t do things the right way, Would it be possible to send me the scanned book also? I would really be happy with that.

you can email me threu my blogspot

I hope you can help me with this



in Dutch and English I write about my loom and weaving.

thanks in advance



Schmoz (not verified)

I recently acquired a 1960's Toika (Liisa?) brought over from Finland. It had been poorly stored and the cords for the heddles and lamms are a complete tangle. I would be so grateful to receive a copy of the instructions--I'm at a complete loss!

Joanne Hall

You don't say if it is a counterbalance or a countermarch.  We have tie up instructions on our website for both.  Go to:


click on learning on the horizontal menu, then on tie-ups.  Then select the information that you want.



Hello Helen,

I also have a 1970s Toika Liisa from my mother. Have you already scanned your manual ? If so, it would help us a lot if you could send me a copy by e-mail. Otherwise, taking into account the work it represents, forget it!

Thanks for your answer (and please excuse my english).



Joanne Hall

Hi Nicolas,

Here is a link to basic instructions: