Four O’Clock Pattern, Time to Start Over

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After spotting this delightful 1932 article on creating a four-harness design using a two-harness loom, I knew I had to give it a try, and, naturally, I chose the most intricate pattern in the article, Four O'Clock (page 13). The only problem was, I didn't know how to warp it, or what to use to warp it. I didn't know how to sley the pattern. I wasn't at all certain how to read the treadling pattern, or what a treadling pattern was.

So, of course, I closed my eyes and jumped right on in, chosing a black cotton warp of size 10 cotton (Aunt Lydia's). The article used a cotton rug warp, which I think is thicker, but when you're going back to 1932, who knows? I warped about 8" wide on the Kessenich two harness table loom, carefully following the pattern. Instead of a plain weave sleying, where you do a front heddle, a back heddle, a front, a back, etc., this pattern was kind of nutty. You sley about seven front heddles in a row, followed by a bunch of back heddles, and then some front, some back… it eventually repeats only with the back ones swapped to the front and vice versa. It looked mighty odd when I finished, but I was still game. I tied on and started weaving with some scrap acrylic.

It was at that point that I realized I truly didn't understand what it meant to read a draft. It states something like Treadle 1 l., Treadle 2 d., repeat 4 times. So, I wove thinking it meant use the light color once, the dark color twice, and this is what happened:

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Interesting, but not quite right. I unwove, took another look at the instructions, and had a flash of insight. Treadle 1 meant the front harness. Treadle 2 meant the back harness. So, in fact, it reads that the l (l=light color) goes through when the front harness is up. The dark color follows when the back harness is up. After my little realization, the pattern started coming through, albeit in an exaggerated manner:

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I need to unweave once again and start over with a smaller gauge of yarn. The point I stopped was only the middle of the first set of "squares," and it should be much more compact. I'll be back with some type of result, good or bad. If it's good, I hope to be able to come up with a way to do this with a rigid heddle loom.

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