Shaft Conversions

Hello all,

What is the best way for one to go about weaving a draft for 12 or 14 harnesses on a 16 shaft loom?  I've been researching shaft conversions but mostly I turn up how to weave a more complex pattern on a loom with fewer shafts (weaving an 8 harness draft on 4 harnesses, for example), rather than the opposite.  I recently purchaced a 16 harness Ashford loom, and will need to weave some drafts requiring only 12 or 14.  The harnesses are easily removed in this loom-- can you take out the ones you don't need, or will that cause the loom to be out of balance during weaving?  The other option I thought of is using the extra harnesses to create a nice selvedge...or is it easy to convert a pattern from fewer to more harnesses, keeping the design intact?  Does anyone have any good techniques for this?

Thank you!


Posted on Fri, 11/04/2016 - 12:02

You don't need to do anything other than thread the 12 shafts and tie up the required number of treadles for the draft. I don't know how easy it is to remove the other 4 shafts. Or are the heddles pushed to the sides for the unused shafts? Do you have a manual for the loom?

Posted on Fri, 11/04/2016 - 12:23

I bought the loom new and put it together myself.  I don't have a warp on it yet, but the warp I am plannning to make isn't that many ends, so I will definitely be pushing the unused heddles to the sides-- this is just a small sample piece.  The shafts are very easy to remove, my only concern would be that the extra space inside the castle would cause problems.  So you're saying it's as easy as just threading the 12 harnesses (or however many) required, and leaving the rest as is?  When weaving, do you just leave the unused harnesses unraised, and the warp has no trouble passing through?  I have a tendency to overcomplicate, if you haven't already guessed!

Posted on Fri, 11/04/2016 - 13:25

Don't remove the unused shafts.  Don't thread the heddes on the unused shafts.   And DO let the yarn from the threaded heddles on the other, used shafts in your pattern just pass right through all of the shafts (pass through the unused shafts too) to the back beam.  

When you are weaving your pattern, don't lift the unthreaded shafts. (Actually, you wouldn't hurt anything if you did lift them, but there is no reason to.  Leaving those shafts alone won't affect anything.)

When you are threading, as mentioned, just push aside the heddles you aren't using.  Here is something you may find in the future... If you do weave something really wide, you may not have room to push all of the unused heddles aside.  I recently wove the full 24" width on my loom.  There was no room on the sides for an extra inch of unused heddles on either side.  In that case, you just slide the unused heddles between threaded heddles all the way across the loom as you are threading.  You have to count to make sure you will have enough left at the other side.  But this way you don't end up with thick bunches of unused heddles standing in the way of your weaving.  That's for the future though.  If you're weaving a narrow sample, pushing the empty heddles on every shaft to either side should be fine.

Good luck!

Posted on Thu, 02/09/2017 - 13:47

Hi all,

I have a 6 shaft pattern I'd like to weave.  Would it be too much to leave 10 shafts unused?  


Posted on Thu, 02/09/2017 - 13:49

Hi all,

I have a 6 shaft pattern I'd like to weave.  Would it be too much to leave 10 shafts unused?