Ask Madelyn: Skeleton Tie-Ups and Countermarch Looms

I'm trying to use a skeleton tie-up on my countermarch loom for a 4-shaft huck-lace draft but it's not working. Help!

Madelyn van der Hoogt Aug 28, 2023 - 2 min read

Ask Madelyn: Skeleton Tie-Ups and Countermarch Looms Primary Image

Palaka-Inspired Canvas Weave runner by Kate Lange Mckibben. Photo by Matt Graves

Hi Madelyn!

I want to weave a draft from the Best of Weaver’s Huck Lace that gives a skeleton tie-up so you can achieve eight different sheds on six treadles. But when I use that tie-up on my countermarch loom and step on two treadles at the same time, nothing happens! What can I do?

—Linda Delaney

Hi Linda!

Most skeleton tie-ups can’t be done on a countermarch loom because you can’t ask the same shaft to go both up and down (which happens if you are using two treadles, each tied to all four shafts). It’s one of the disadvantages of a countermarch loom. But skeleton tie-ups can be used on countermarch looms if you remember two rules: every shaft must be moved no matter what treadles you step on (or there will be threads in the center of the shed); and you can’t ask any single shaft to go in two different directions.
There IS a skeleton tie-up you can use for this draft, which you can see above on the right. If you tie the 1s and 2s to one set of treadles and the 3s and 4s to a different set of treadles and always step on one from each set you’ll be able to weave this draft with six treadles.

You’ll use two treadles for every shed, one that operates shafts 1 and 2, one that operates shafts 3 and 4.

Pretty exciting!


Originally published 11/24/2015 Revised 08/28/2023