New to weaving and have a few questions

I am a engineer with alot of free time on my hands and i enjoy building items so i built a floor loom. afterwards i realized that i can only do patterns on this loom which led me to want to build a jacquard loom. i have researched it a ton and deff seems like a large project so i have a few questions before i do the build.

My only reason for wanting this is so i can weave my wife a wrap for our son. i find making things calms me down and i enjoy it. she keeps buying wraps that have ankors on them or solid prints on them. i have thought and thought on how its made and cant seem to understand it. how can the whole wrap be white and then only one item be blue with no white leading to the blue. doesnt make sense. can it be done on a hand loom? i saw where you can use basiclly 4 layers of wrap and "hide" colors inside but i cant seem to find any video or article on how to do so.


i also found where you can float over some warps to make solid objects but i am a bit shady on how many you can float before it gets out of control?


Again i am super new so i have not even weaved but with yarn and i know her wraps are 100% cotten so i would like to stick with that but i am unsure what size thread to use for a wrap. most of them seem to be make from the same size but i cant seem to figure out what size that it.


Any answers would be great! im sure if i can understand what needs to be lifted and what needs to stay or the concept of how to create the pictures i can build a loom to fit. thanks for yalls help!



Posted on Mon, 05/04/2015 - 00:15

if it is possible to weave a single object on a wrap like the ones from balboa and others, is there a program that will tell me which warp needs to be lifted when? i can design a simple C++ code on my labtop to lift each warp if so.

Posted on Mon, 05/04/2015 - 01:16

If you do a search for weaving software, several will show up and most have a trial before buying. Everything in the trial works, except for printing and saving.  It is a good way to find which works for you.  I have tried several but not extensively.  Still not sure which to buy, but leaning towards PixieLoom.


I have never done a baby wrap, but maybe try in the projects/drafts to see if anyone has done a baby wrap and a draft is available.


Good Luck!  Would love to see your final project.



Posted on Mon, 05/04/2015 - 01:27

If you want to weave cloth with anchors (used by boats), this is a relatively simple motif and could be done easily on a loom with 12 or 16 shafts, and probably with 8 shafts, using loom control. One face of the cloth can be mostly white with blue motifs and the other face mostly blue with white motifs.

If you make a table loom with levers, you can lift any combination of shafts to get the design you want. The same is true for dobby bars and pegs. A floor loom is limited to a given number of treadles, but there are ways around this as well. People also weave images with brocade and inlay- adding another weft just where it is needed. There are many ways to weave fairly simple images on a shaft loom.

A single image on a wrap is usually done with inlay or brocade. These methods are known in many continents, for many centuries.

If you want to weave the picture on a photograpy, you will want a Jacquard loom. Those are very complicated to build, and expensive to buy. But you can send a photograph to a company that will weave the picture using their computer-driven Jacquard loom, which is usually not very expensive.

Weaving is a very big field. There are many kinds of looms. If you are interested in weaving, consider taking a class in person or from a DVD or in a book.


Posted on Mon, 05/04/2015 - 02:59

I think you need first to read some literature on weaving in general and learn a bit more about textiles. For basic handloom weaving, I recommend Laila Lundell's "Big Book of Weaving" - this explains how a handloom functions and how the weaver designs the fabric and chooses structures and simple patterns.

There are many ways to work a single motif into fabric - inlay, brocading, damask just to name a few. I think you  are confusing print fabrics with woven designs. Patterning does not involve multiple layers - there are simpler ways to produce your designs, but this does require some time and effort to learn more about making textiles. You might want to locate a weavers guild or weaving school in your area and use their library to increase your understanding of the weaving process.

Throwing out the term "Jacquard" at this point is very premature and misunderstood on your part. The Jacquard machine for lifting single threads is really only understood by experienced weavers or textile engineers/designers with advanced training.

Alice Schlein's "Woven Pixel" begins to explain how a Jacquard loom works. Julie Holyoke's "Digital Jacquard Design" takes one further.

Jacquard technology cannot be fully understood until one understands how simpler fabrics are woven. A few years ago a group tried on Kickstarter to "build a simple and inexpensive" Jacquard loom and to date have produced only a mechanism that handles 64 threads in a "crappy manner" according to their web site.

The simplest home Jacquard available today is the TC-2 from Norway and it starts in the low 5 figures. This is not something you build yourself without weaving knowledge.

Posted on Mon, 05/04/2015 - 04:14

A wrap for securing a baby is a functional textile; it has to perform the function of holding the child securely and be able to be tied securely.  I think I would be thinking about those qualities and less about  how I could pattern it.  Usually, creating a handwoven item is not so much about replicating what commercial mills can do but creating something unique that pleases the owner.  You can do a lot with a 4 or 8 shaft floor loom and color.

Posted on Mon, 05/04/2015 - 06:04

All of your comments are very helpful. I have only done a few weeks of research on the jacquard loom but I have built a object with a similar concept for a ship valve setup. I agree more understanding of how textiles are made would help alot. As far as the multi layers go, I had read a book on a few larger industrial looms that were able to pass multiple shuttles through  a few openings all at once so I assumed that was how they were able to "pattern"objects in areas without that color showing up in other places. I have looked for local places to learn but do to my profession i spend most of my time sitting on a ship. Is there any kind of online classes? 


I think ill turn my focus on the wrap itself with my floor loom. Seems I may have jumped ahead before I fully understood the concept. Any advice on picking the correct yarn to make it out of? Unfortunately ill have to order online and I hate not seeing the yarn in person but maybe a book or online post anyone can point me in the correct dorection for?


Again thank you all for your time. 

Posted on Mon, 05/04/2015 - 15:58 has a class with Janet Dawson. There are dozens of topics sold as digital downloads. Craft Daily has many, including mine.

Many baby wraps are being woven with 2/8 cotton. You might want to join a baby wearers group for weavers to find out more about that specific textile.


Posted on Mon, 05/04/2015 - 18:46

Not many of us are lucky enough to live close enough to a yarn supplier to look at the yarn before we order.  All the major suppliers (Halcyon, Yarn Barn of Kansas, The Woolery, etc) offer sample cards.  Most offer what they call a yarn store in a box, which is a binder of all of their weaving yarns.  This is very valuable, both for seeing what the colors really look like, and for getting to know different weights of yarn.

Posted on Tue, 05/05/2015 - 12:36

it's not generally necessary for multiple layers in cloth to weave them simultaneously, you can simply weave them one after the other.


I myself want to one day build a jacquard loom but I have to build up my engineering skills first. As you say you're an experienced engineer so this might not be such a difficult concept for you.


There's a very interesting video on youtube describing the development of the Jacquard loom from the old-fashioned drawloom


Worth watching. As far as the Jaquard head goes your best bet is probably building a mechanical one. I think most modern Jaquards are based on solenoids and I figured out if i was to replicate the J head at work here it'd cost me about £5-8K simply for the solenoids. There are other ways probably, but I'm not that on top on the old 'leccy.


You'll definitely want to find an old Jacquard, preferably working, in an industrial museum. Or perhaps what you may want to do can be acheivable on a dobby loom with a lot of shafts, which may be a simpler prospect.


"handloom weaving and technology" is a good book on this subject, covering all aspects of warp tension, take-up and so on. A very good technical overview of weaving, I find it immensely useful.


Personally I'm in the process of designing an automatic takeup system but it might be some wee bit of time before I implement it what with movign house and working and all that.


Do keep us up to date with whatever you're doing, I love this kind of stuff. On the train the other day calculating gear ratios and stuff. So much fin



Posted on Tue, 05/05/2015 - 14:51

Andrew, I know you have a lot of weaving experience, but for others following this thread - all this talk of "just making a Jacquard loom" is idle chatter. Surely, even you must be aware that while there are still a number of fully functional mechanical Jacquard devices out there, the number of functioning sets of card making/binding/duplicating equipment is becoming less all the time - people keep the looms and throw away the peripherals that are also needed to keep the looms running. I've had a number of people talk of developmet projects failing because there was a Jaquard device, interesting in using it to make quality product, and no source for getting a card chain stitched up and no source to have that chain replicated.

Then there is constructing the "harness" with all the necking cords - which on a full sized loom takes months of intensive labor.

The electronic machines of today, runing on solenoids, are made in factories where the cost of a single solenoid does not torpedo the project. The resulting digitally controlled looms offer so many advanced possibilities, they are crowding the older mechanical looms out to only museum settings, if that. Even the auto advance is done now with electronic pick gears instead of what I was told used to be large pieces of metal weighing up to 10 pounds.

Having had the luxury of working on both the TC-1 and the very well maintained industrial looms at RISD and Oriole mill, I admit being spoiled - and cannot really imagine how one goes about constructing a "home built".

In addition to the head that lifts individual warp ends, there are multiple other functions regarding producing quality fabric that need to be addressed. 

Then there are design issues that are not the same as making cloth on a dobby or shaft loom. There is no threading/tieup/treadling draft, but only a liftplan. Learning to weave is incremental. Plain weave and quality cloth needs to be mastered and understood before moving on. Jumping over several learning steps just leads to a mess on the loom. 

Say what you want, I give individual instruction on our shop - topic chosen by the student - and I gently discourage those who come in, look at my Morris samitum in four color polychrome and say brightly -"That's what I want to make". They have just indicated that they do not have the patience to see that you get there through simpler steps.

Posted on Tue, 05/05/2015 - 20:05

From an engineering point of view, problems with a great number of constraints are more interesting than those with few constraints, at least to me.

I toyed with the the engineering of Jacquard looms while working in the CAD/CAM shops in Silicon Valley many years ago.  Although I had taken weaving in school and of course had woven on rigid heddle, backstrap, vertical warp, and potholder looms before this, I took floor loom weaving classes in the evening while writing printer device drivers and graphics primitives libraries in the day.

It eventually dawned on me that the more interesting problem was not how to design a machine to do multi-layer Jacquard based on a computer-based image, but how to do it without one.  It is true that there are interesting problems such as variable sett in designing Jacquard looms, but they ceased to be as interesting to me as I learned more about weave structures.  By hiding threads between the plies you are essentially removing constraints, as you are by going to "primitive" weave structures like tapestry and pile knotting.

I think the structural answer you want would be found by reading about summer-and-winter or double-weave.  Either of those, used with pick-up, will give you any design you want. Also, check out the mechanics of "analog" drawlooms -- even take a Vavstuga class!  Graphically, a two-color anchor in those designs, though, is pretty boring once you see and understand the possibilities of other weave structures.  Check out "Weaving with Echo and Iris", for example.  

As to yarn sizes, although I don't use it nearly as much as I used to before most of my yarn became hand spun, "Warp, Weft, Sett" is indispensible before ordering yarn.  Don't forget to add "take-up", "loom waste", and "shrinkage" when calculating how much yarn is needed for a piece.

I actually don't use weaving software as a rule because if I can't figure it out in my head with graph paper (that is, the scale is too big, etc.) I write my own software to figure it out.  Software is written by developers, and who trusts them? ;-)

PM me if you want to discuss Jacquard looms from an abstract engineering point of view anyway.

Posted on Tue, 05/05/2015 - 20:58

One possibility that I haven't seen explored on this thread, but may be interesting is the drum Jacquard looms used in Asia.  Much lower level of technology.

Posted on Sat, 05/09/2015 - 11:15


You are of course correct in terms of taking the small steps, but I think you are overstating the technical challenge here. This isn't all idle chatter either. It's not something that can't be done. But it would take a team up between a technically minded weaver and an experienced engineer. 

As far as access to Jacquard machines go, I don't know where you are or what you have access to, but I'd see Jacquards as being exceedingly rare in Scotland at least, certainly in terms of those one can have access to. And those you can need to be paid for in top dollar. What I'm essentially talking about is replacing the money needed to rent or buy one with the time needed to learn to construct one. Mechanically speaking it's not a hugely complicated proposition, there's many people worldwide who build motorbikes almost from scratch in their garages, and those things are greatly more complicated.

Part of the reason I'd like to see a home built mechanical Jacquard built by someone who knows something about weaving is my disillusionment with the OSloom project. With all the brains in the world they appear to be building a lifting head that works slowly and unreliable on top of a poorly thought out loomframe using unnecessarily expensive materials which aren't really fit for the job. 

Anyhow, maybe at some level it is idle chatter. I'm still building up my resources, and to be honest at the moment the more interesting challenge for me is going to be modifying my floor loom so I can get consistent cloth takeup and warp letoff.

Something about sitting with a notebook designing gear chains is just so satisfying

Posted on Sat, 05/09/2015 - 13:27

When I was looking at Jacquard looms as an output device for CAD/CAM software, the challenge was not the lifting device (or it could be a sinking device) but rather the ability to do so at variable spacing (sett).  Embroidery machines are similar to plotters in that they move back and forth over an existing surface, and are fairly easy to engineer.  Creating that surcace with any degree of complexity is much harder.

We came up with a number of ways of getting the warp threads to rise and fall -- cams, solenoids, magnetic heddles (my favorite), but the tough part was to find a way to do that while varying the distance apart.  If I were doing this today rather than fleeing to the weaving room to escape my computer job, I would go with the magnetic heddle idea and treat each heddle magnet as a node in a simple, primitive network.  The only trick would be to devise a system to keep the active and inactive heddles vertical while varying spacing.  Perhaps a "countermarche" system implemented with top and bottom magnets.

You can adjust friction brakes on conventional floor looms to make it unnecessary to touch the brake pedal.  If the beater turned the front beam a tiny amount with each tap, you'd have that problem solved.  The gothca is that the relationship between the amount released and the amount to be taken up is not 1:1, and varies according to weave structure.  But I would abandon the idea of a conventional warp beam altogether and just go with live tension and feed directly from spools of warp.  That would save a lot of time.  

What then is left to the weaver?  Color, choice of fiber, what to make in general?  I actually looked at the industrial AVL seriously, and then asked myself this question.

Posted on Sun, 05/10/2015 - 11:51

I'll admit I simply don't understand the second paragraph here. I somewhat assume you're talking about varying the EPI on the Jacquard loom, which of course is limited by the spacing on the board between the lifting head and the heddles. 

I would suggest a simpler approach would be to have multiple harnesses. Just as one has multiple tie-ins for an industrial dobby. 

Look at it this way, not every possible lifting hook on your loom needs to be used. Our college loom has 864 active lifting hooks, each attach through the harness to 3 heddles creating 3 repeats. However, only 3 out of those 4 heddles is strung with a warp end. We actually have 1152 lifting hooks, we just don't use them all as the cloth we weave (which is a very versatile cloth we weaves again and again and again, 2/20's cc cotton at 72epi/dpi woven as interchanging doule cloth) calls for 72epi.

However we would also be capable of other setts as well just with that one harness by simply threading or dethreading extra heddles. Of course, one has to program an extra harness file for the loom and so on, but that's not a big deal which just leaves you with the threading.

As to your next paragraph relating to take up and let off, the first issue with tension is not so much to do with the beater actually pulling the warp forward. I always look to the mechanical loom to figure out the best way to solve these issues. So, you'll find that it's not the beater that moves the warp forward, but the take up roller. The motions are simply linked. But the beater always comes to exactly the same place when beating the weft back. Even if the picking density on the loom is set completely inappropriately, it'll keep doing it even if it means the loom starts shaking.


As you say, if the beater turned the front beam a tiny amount you'd have that problem solved. Which is a problem I am in the process of solving. I've done all the math already while I was on the train the other day. It was a long journey. The only thing I can't solve yet on paper is the problem of creating the gears and figuring out exactly what gear ratio I can reasonably build in each step without simply tearing the smaller gear in half. This wouldn't be an issue with metal gears, but I don't have metal gears or the ability to make them, so wooden gears it'll have to be. In the absence of a reliable source of hardwood in this area I'll be going with thick ply.

Anyhow, there should be at least 4 stepdowns. Then I have the issue of figuring out whether the beater frame can reasonably pull that force or whether I'll be needing motorised or pneumatic assistance.

Now, as for feeding directly from spools of warp, I don't see how that'll save either time or money. Or space for that matter. Where am I going to store this creel containing 1800 spools of warp? Creels containing a mere 500 spools used for warping are huge, like literally bigger than a shipping container, because people need to get in about them to change the spools. Also, it'll cost a fortune in time spent breaking down cones of warp to small spools when you could simply stake warp pretty much as long as you like and beam through a raddle onto a flanged beam.

I still think there's plenty left to the weaver even with a fully automated loom. Each step in automation simply replaces skill with technology, but at a certain stage unless you're running a factory it stops being economical to automate further due to the different skills needed to operate, load and maintain the machinery on top of the skills needed for warp handling, repair and the knowledge of textile design. 

I think when considering automation for looms you've really got to ask the question "do i really need to do this?"

For me, I need automatic take up and consistent warp tension as I need the ability to make perfectly reproducible cloth both for myself and industrial commission I'll be seeking in future. As to all the rest of it, it's not necessary.

I am very curious about whether there's some way to vary the spacing of jacquard heddles though.

Posted on Sun, 05/10/2015 - 12:39

There are two reasons why so much time andspace is consumed by weaving threads about warping: 1.) The better the job you do, the fewer problems you have while weaving and the better the result, and 2.) warping the loom is time consuming and although an important part of the weaving process, it doesn't feel like the "fun" part -- the actual weaving.  This is why a lot of professional and semi-professional weavers put on long warps.  Three days ago I was at the house of a local weaver that uses such a creel system -- all homebuilt from wood, multi-layer.

Be aware that the rate of takeup is not constant but dependent on yarn, weave structure, sett, etc.  I don't think a fixed gear ratio would wook unless it could be manually overridden or you limited your choice fo weave and yarn to things that worked for the built-in ratios.  Underslung beaters on big heavy looms like my Macomber certainly are capable of driving the cloth takeup.  If the fell line is closer to the weaver than the apex of the beater arc, the beater accelerates towards the weaver unless it is restrained. And yes, on light weaves on can adjust the amount of drag on the warp beam so that each time the beater hits the cloth, the warp advances a tiny amount.  This can also be accomplished with a live tension system.  You still have to roll the cloth forward, though.

To me, these are minor issues.  The really interesting one is the heddles -- how they're driven and how to vary spacing.

Posted on Sun, 05/10/2015 - 14:35

I'm not talking about a fully fixed gear system. You just have to take it down enough that a reasonable range of picking densities can be obtained by varying the gears on the last step-down or two. Thus the majority of the gears can be fixed but the last couple of step downs can be interchangeable. This would allow for a greater variety of picking densities than just the one.

As far as warping goes, I'm actually quite fond of warp-making. The reason I'd put on long warps is simply efficiency, but I'd only do it if it made economic sense.

I think an interesting experiment may be a miniature jacquard head. Such things are used in some factories to weave lettering and logos and such up the edge of the fabric (made in scotland, etc). They're not large(about the size of a beer bottle), and heddles extend freely from the bottom of the thing down to their springs. The sett is defined by the reed rather than a spacer board.

If the spacer board could be broken up into columns, such that it could be taken out easily and replaced with another, which you'd simply place the harness cords into the appropriate holes of one column at a time, then you'd be able to vary the sett of the heddles, and leave empty those you didn't need.

Alternately, the space board could be made to shrink and grow in such a way that the spacing changed.

As far as how they're driven, I'd say solenoids in order to place the hooks in the way of the lifting knives. I haven't dug too deep into the maths yet of how exactly solenoids work in terms of the electrical properties of the coil, number of turns, etc, but I don't see why it shouldn't be possible to simply make the solenoids once you get the design down. I've made a few in the past, rough as hell and running on 12V, but it is one of those pleasing sitting-on-the-sofa tasks (much like making heddles) that don't interfere with your life too much.

Posted on Sun, 05/10/2015 - 16:43

OK, I've worked with the TC-1 at EMU, an industrial Jacquard at both Oriole Mill and RISD, studied the literature and tested the AVL Jaq3 series. I know how difficult access to Jacquard equipment is. That said, the level of understanding presented here is more wishful thinking than actual experience. 

Yes, thread density can be altered by "casting out" as Andrew describes - not threading every heddle. The TC-1 and TC-2 looms can change the density by moving modules to be one or more deep and combine that with casting out. They now achieve high densities. The AVL adjustable Jacquard apparently works, but is incapable of adjusting to much more than 30 epi at full weaving width which is pretty coarse for Jacquard work. The idea of having multiple "harnesses" with the long connecting cords to achieve thread spacing is impractical due to the need for precision and the long setup time as well as room for storage.

The advance system - the TC-1 and TC-1 and AVL looms are with hand thrown shuttle - I haven't worked on the TC-2 yet, the the TC-1 had an automatic tensioning and advanced the warp under tension by pressing a button every little while depending on the piece. With the sliding beater, each pick was pressed optimally with a perpendicular movement. The auto advance on the mill looms advances the beams in a similar manner, calculated by the number of picks per inch set on the dial. The beater doesn't actually beat - the fell line is always slightly ahead of that "beat". If it were to actually beat, there is the risk of warp breakage.

Warping the looms - the hand thrown Jacquard looms available are warped similar to a dobby for handweavers. The industrial looms are warped "offline" on professional warping equipment with the heavy beams lifted into the loom by an overhead crane - and then tied on to the existing warp. Warps for Jacquard equipment are long because of the time involved and the precision needed. 

Flexibility - this is an odd issue. On the surface, it appears that a Jacquard machine is capable of doing "anything" - but there are serious constraints. While one may cast out some heddles, each module in use must be filled entirely - it is not possible to make a run of scarves 10" wide and have the next set be 11.5" wide unless those widths coincide with the width of the module. Warping for less than 50 yards on a hand thrown loom or less than 1000 yards on an industrial loom is too time consuming. Therefore, rather neutral warps with fine threads are the norm - for coarser weaves, two or more warp ends can work as one. Yes, any design can be woven, but if the machine is not electronically controlled, cards must be created by hand, stitched and TESTED. A small mistake in a chain of 500 or more cards makes designing new patterns very tedious.

The design below was created in a course at RISD pre-Convergence 2014. I would love to clean it up and have enough fabric woven to make a bed cover. However, the requirements are pretty specific and finding a loom with the proper setup - even though it can be made coarser if need be - will be difficult. The piece is double weave based on a fine warp of alternating charcoal/taupe cotton at 142 epi (71 epi per layer) and the pick density best at about 130 ppi - determined by testing two or three settings on the advance system. Every hook was in use with 4 repeats on 54" wide fabric. It would not have been possible to weave 36" or 45" fabric on this loom - every piece is 54" wide.

I never thought much of the osloom project, I corresponded with the lady in charge and felt she had no real understanding of the issues involved. The biggest hurdle to making any "home built" Jacquard device is that a mechanical one is no longer practical. Without the full electronic control of the TC-2 or Jaq3 it takes a whole workshop of talented people to rig up a Jacquard weaving device. Nobody does point paper any more. Where do you invent or find equipment to make and remake the cards to create your design? How do you learn to make minor changes to that design without electronic design software?

The "inexpensive" Jacquard looms ARE the TC-2 and the AVL iteration of their Jacquard - as pricey as they seem, they are really at the low end of the spectrum.

I've had enough experience on quality Jacquard devices to know that a cheap knockoff won't be satisfactory. As an alternative, I took up double harness weaving - both with damask and supplemental weft techniques - and do have a book on the subject - "When a Single Harness Simply Isn't Enough" - presenting several ways to produce complex patterning without a Jacquard device.


Note to a previous post - the "Asian drum device" is NOT Jacquard, but a variation of the second harness - the most common being the vertical pattern storage unit.




Posted on Sun, 10/11/2015 - 10:34

Hi All,


This is my first post here. Thank you all for your willingness to share ideas.


(EDIT: I tried to get the paragraph breaks to look good but my posts on Firefox look all scrunched up unless I put two blank lines between paragraphs, line breaks seem to be ignored when it displays the post, go figure)


I have enjoyed all sides of this thread and arrived here because of my interest in Jacquard weaving and modernised looms. I have placed a bid on a wooden hand loom with a metal Jacquard head (416 holes) with a pneumatic power cylinder. The loom has a professional take up that I want even if I have to sell the Jacquard head and put in a compu-dobby. I presently have no space to put it up as it needs more than 3 meters of headroom.

Not sure how to upload a picture but perhaps someone here would even recognise the type of head it has.(I managed to put up a picture in the General Help section in the forum, seach for my name)

So I would like to respond to Sara's following comment with deep respect for her ideas and no intention to make light of her wisdom, merely to educate the readers here:

"Nobody does point paper any more. Where do you invent or find equipment to make and remake the cards to create your design? How do you learn to make minor changes to that design without electronic design software?"

I think the last 3 days of internet research has shown me that where there is a will there is a way. I will not pretend that the way is easy or even looks easy, just that there does seem to be a way. Below is a list of links I hunted down in the last hour from what I remembered seeing in my research, the manual puching dude was a new find for today. There is a life time of existing research, films, documents, blogs, books and photos to study that could keep a person so busy they will never have time to weave. One has to focus on what is profitable use of time, I like to read a lot so have a wide general knowledge and googling skills too.


Here is a video of a modern computerised card punch


Here is a link to a supplier of computerised card punching machines.


Here is a video of a boy using a manual punch, also the process of lacing the cards together on a simple jig. The guy has made a custom silkscarf loom for a vintage wood Jacquard head.


Here is a link to a manufacturer of manual punches, the site indicates 4 standard punch arrangements for different types of heads, very interesting bit of information for someone like me possibly wanting to get started with a restoration or restart of a old Jacquard head,


Here is a link to a project that made use of laser cut cards for a Jacquard loom, it took place at the Henry Ford cultural vilage

Here is a link showing the loom with two chains of cards, one for the design and one for the ground (I think).


Finding a suitable machine to sew the cards into a chain would be unlikely, there is one a way down this page with three heads to speed up the process.


Punching the cards by hand in this day and age as way down this page is not to be expected from impatient westerners. Artisan pictured near end of page.


And this is a computer attachment on an older mechanical Jacquard head, it should at least be considered before an old unit is sent to the scrap metal processor. There are a number of other videos of the equipment on the YouTube channel.


But also like Sara writes, these are all old tech solutions and the new way is individual thread control. I have to agree with that as the tieup time and hard to adjust spacing are not for the modern era.

I am an electrical engineer with a interest in all things electro mechanical and vintage machines, I have a longstanding passion for weaving but little hours at a beater.  I also do believe that a more affordable Jacquard system is due and we will see it before long, I have some of my own ideas but they still need tons of work and trials before they are worth airing in public.  I wish OSLoom and the other engineers on this thread the best of luck with any developments they may come up with.





Lahti, Finland

The only stable form of government is Open Source Government. - Kalle Pihlajasaari 2013

Posted on Thu, 10/08/2015 - 07:48

Hi Sara,

You wrote:


"While one may cast out some heddles, each module in use must be filled entirely - it is not possible to make a run of scarves 10" wide and have the next set be 11.5" wide unless those widths coincide with the width of the module."


Would it be possible to use a 11.5" warp for the wide scarves and then to weave a 10" wide scarf using a subset of the warp, leaving 1.5" of the warp threads un woven.  On a hand loom the stretcher could span the 10 inches worked and one just has to take up the slack in the spare warps occasionally so they don't tangle the heddles.  On a machine loom one would leave a cutting line and weave the spare warp ends with more selvage pattern. 


All this should in theory be possible although wasteful on a electronic Jacquard, punching new cards for a mechanical head would likely not be worth it.



Kalle Pihlajasaari


Lahti, Finland

With just two ducks, they are always in a row. Kalle Pihlajasaari 2013

Posted on Fri, 10/09/2015 - 14:12

...but I have to laugh, too!

I am working with a new weaver from an engineering background. He totally "gets" the theory, mechanics of the process, and I didn't have to spend much time explaining project calculations (yay!). But borrowing a loom and throwing a shuttle led to completely different conversations. I think it has been a great learning experience for both of us!

Posted on Sat, 10/10/2015 - 23:03

Apologies for the formatting mess in my first post.  The editor and the paragraph leading do not correlate. (I will edit it a bit to tidy up soon)


I just received mention of the Distributed Proofreaders work done in transcribing a book on Jacquard heads, I volunteer my time there sporadically. (Jacquard machines; instruction paper by Hector William Nelson). It is already available for smooth reading (checking for flow and missed errors) so is almost ready for prime time at the Project Guternberg archive of free e-books.


You can read the advance (and offer corrections if you register).  The instructions are on the page linked here.


You can fetch the copies with images from the dropbox link that is included, I have looked at the ZIPped HTML version and it is a pleasure to read. Project Gutenberg normally also created PDF and varous eBook versions of the final layout.








Lahti, Finland


It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it! - Upton Sinclair 1935

Posted on Tue, 10/13/2015 - 12:20

Even though I make my income in the engineering world, I have woven a long time and even had college-level courses in it.  Nonetheless, with my engineering-shaped brain, I can personally attest to the fact that throwing the shuttle is the most difficult part of weaving.