Brio missing heddle

I'm a newbie weaver. I bought a Brio at a secondhand store, but it's missing the heddle. I've seen pictures on the internet, looks like there's 2options for heddles on these, a red plastic one, or a contraption with strings. Does anyone have close-up pictures or instructions that will help me figure out the heddle? Will instructions on weaving on a rigid heddle loom get me going on this loom? Thanks!

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Posted on Wed, 12/23/2015 - 07:46

I don't know if you're still looking for the answer, but I'm happy to take a picture of my set-up, if my description isn't clear enough.  I own the predecessor to the Brillo - a Depression-era little collapsable loom that is virtually identical, as far as I can tell.  I just made myself a new set of yarn heddles.  Important question - do you have a round bar down near the base under where the heddles will go?  You really can't do string heddles on this loom without it.

The next thing you'll need are the heddle bars.  Mine came with them, so I can measure them for you and tell you what you need.  My heddle bars are flat pieces of wood that measure 1/8"x1/2"x7 3/4", with notches sut into them about 1/4" from the ends.  You need 4 of these - a pair for the top and a pair for the bottom.  There should be ribbon loops on the top, and your top heddle bars slip into those.  The yarn heddles hang down from there, and then go around the lower heddle bars.  A simple loop of string goes around the end of one lower heddle bar, under that round bar I mentioned earlier, and then up and around the end of the other lower heddle bar.

To make your heddles, you want to start by making yourself a jig so you can tie them all the same size.  The jig is just a piece of wood with pegs at fixed lengths so you can tie your knots in the same place.  The easiest way I know of to make these is to use finishing nails, since the head is almost as narrow as the shank of the nail, so you should be able to slip the heddles off as you make it.  My jig measurements are based on the original heddles on this baby.  To make sure yours will be the right size, measure the space between the bottom of the upper roller and the top of the lower roller.  The space on mine is 7 1/4" or so, and my heddles are 4 1/2" from end to end.  If your space is not the same size, I'd suggest making your heddles about 3/5 the size of the space, but that's just a guess on my part.

Anyhow, to build your jig, start with a 5 1/2" or bigger piece of wood that will hold nails securely.  Put one nail near one end.  The second nail should be 2" from the first nail.  The third nail should be 1/2" from the second nail.  The fourth nail should be 2" from the third nail, so you have a total of 4 1/2" from nail 1 to nail 4.  

To make your heddles, measure out about 11" of yarn.  Fold it in half around the first nail.  Tie a square knot after the second nail.  Tie a square knot after the third nail.  Tie a square knot after the fourth nail.  Do your best to tie square knots rather than reef knots, because heddles made with reef knots are more prone to twisting, which is annoying when you're trying to actually put your warp on.  When you slide it off the nails, you should have what looks like a big loop with an eye/opening in the middle.  The top and bottom of the loop go around your top and bottom heddle bars (the knot is the bottom of the loop).  The eye in the middle is where your warp yarns pass through.

Once you have your heddles on your heddle bars, you can hang your top heddles in the yarn or ribbon loops hanging from the top roller.  Then you can tie the loop of yarn that goes around the lower heddle bar, under the bottom roller, and around the second lower heddle bar.  It needs to be snug, because that's what pulls your heddles into the down position.  It goes in the notches on the lower heddle bars, which is what keeps it in place.

Does that help?  If not, as I said, I'm happy to take a picture, but I think (hope?) my instructions make more sense.  If you want a picture of the jig, and/or a yarn heddle, I'm happy to do that, too.