The looms at Ban Tha Sawang silk Weaving village are two story affairs that require at least four weavers to operate.
One person throws shuttles back and forth, beats the cloth and operates two foot activated pedals while tabby weaving.
Two people operate the heddles. Each warp thread has a heddle that hangs from the top of the loom, The heddles have a series of heddle sticks threaded between them giving a treading sequence. The sticks form a program which is stored at the top of the loom. The loom sticks are held together by a looped string at both ends.
To make a shed the ladies operating the heddles separate and lower the next heddle stick . They thread two poles between the heddles next to the heddle stick and by hand and with the help of the poles separate the up-heddles from the down-heddles. They then clamp a pair of poles onto the upshed heddles and twist. This lifts the upshed heddles. The separation is carried towards the beater until a pickup stick or should i say pickup plank plank can be inserted. The pickup stick is moved towards the beater and turned on its edge to give a shed. The weaver then throws the appropriate shuttles and beats the cloth. The process may include one or more tabby pics. The heddle stick is passed to the lower operator who re-inserts it between the heddles to preserve the program. The next shed is then started.
Needless to say it is a vary slow process. 6 to 7 cm of cloth per dy is produced. It close to being the most eexpensive cloth in the world and is mostly used by the royal family,
Thesse pictures show the general layout of the looms.
This picture illustrates how a shed is formed . The weavers have lifted the up heddles by twisting them between a pair of poles. You caan see 3 sets of heddles . When a rear set of heddles is used the shed has to be carried forward through the heddles in front. the shed is then ablle to be carried tthrough the tabby heddles because they are string heddles without a frame.
You can see the "program sticks" above the weaver
Here is the bottom weaver.