Threading a rigid heddle.

One of my first YouTube videos showed how to thread a heddle: Threading the rigid heddle for narrow band weaving.  I like to have the heddle upright as it makes threading easier.  My heddle stand was very crude - just a square piece of wood with four screws in it. The stand is not elegant but it works. My husband and I are not woodworkers and it shows!

It was a great pleasure to meet Gunnar Karro in Estonia.  He has a love of wood and woodworking which shows in the quality of the weaving implements that he makes. When I spoke to Gunnar, he had seen our rather primitive design.  His craft knowledge immediately set to work to design a better version.  This is the result. I will show you his stylish heddle stand in action.

Threading a heddle.

1. First make the warp according to your warp plan.  I always use a singles cross to separate the threads.

cross sticks in place.

2. Place cross sticks through the singles cross. The cross sticks are two strips of wood with holes at either end.  I use treasury tags to hold them together but a length of yarn will do.

3. Weight the end of the warp with a heavy book.  This stops the warp ends moving when you are threading.  Spread the warp so that you can find the centre threads.

Reed hook and two examples of threaders.

4.  Here are examples of threaders.  I use the left one for threading through the slots in the heddle. Threading through the holes can be tricky.  In the centre is a needle threader and on the right are the simple plastic threaders from Stoorstalka. Either will do.

Setting up to thread the heddle.

5. Here is the set up.  The heddle is in the stand and the warp is spread. The threaders are ready.  Sit facing the side edge of the heddle so that you can use both hands.

The heddle stand is lined so that the heddle fits snugly.  The extra slot in front is for the shuttle.

Threading the warp ends through a hole.

6.  I always start threading in the centre and work out towards the edge.  Return to the centre and start on the other side.

Here I am threading a white warp end through a hole.

It is easy to have your hands on both sides of the upright heddle.

Here is another photograph. Hold the thread on one side of the heddle and pull the threader on the other side.

Threading through the slots.

7.  I am using the reed hook to thread the warp end through a slot. When you sit facing the edge of the heddle, your hands can easily manipulate the threads on either side.

The threading is complete.

8.  The threading is completed.  The cross sticks can be removed.  The heddle is ready for use.  Use a slip knot for the ends of the warp.

The stand holds the heddle in exactly the right position to make threading easy.

Gunnar sells his work at

I started to weave the band which is made of double knitting wool. There are 60 warp ends. It is a copy of an old Irish crios band which I will be going to see later in the year.

Happy threading!

Susan J Foulkes  2015

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