Heddles

mirrix heddles
Heddles connect your shedding device to the warp threads of your loom.

While many Mirrix customers choose to purchase our Swedish-made Texsolv heddles (or Texsolv heddles for an extended shed) for use with a Mirrix loom with a shedding device, you can also make your own reusable heddles.

First, what’s a heddle? A heddle attaches your shedding device to your warp threads. They are used only when weaving tapestry and bead weaving WITH the shedding device. You will need to make as many individual heddles as there will be warps in your weaving.

How do you know how many heddles you need? The number of heddles you need depends on your planned weaving width, the sett you want to weave at and whether or not you are weaving beads or tapestry. 

To figure out how many heddles you need figure out the width of your planned weaving and the warp coil you will be using (your sett). Multiply those numbers to find the number of heddles you need for tapestry. For bead weaving, multiple that number by two.

Here is an example: If someone is weaving a tapestry 5” wide at 8 dents per inch, the piece would need 40 heddles. They would need 80 heddles for that same piece for bead weaving. 

Click here for a blog post about how calculating how many heddles you will need.

What material should be used to make heddles? The thinner and stronger the string you use, the better. For bead weavers, cotton quilting or beading thread works great. For tapestry weavers, cotton crochet thread, linen warp or single-ply cotton warp works well.

Regular heddles vs. extended shed heddles
In September of 2021 we introduced the option to make the shed of any Mirrix loom with a shedding device larger using shed extenders. When using a loom with an extended shed, you need longer heddles. These can be found here. These heddles look slightly different than the other heddles because instead of being one large loop, they are connected at two places in the center of the heddle. This is because these heddles were actually designed for floor looms and repurposed for our needs. 

Both types of heddles are both used in the exact same way. Hook one end of the heddle to the shed bar on the shedding device, loop the entire heddle around the warp thread and then hook the other end of the heddle to the same bar. 

How to make regular-length heddles: To make heddles you want to make some kind of jig. This can either be made with a piece of wood and two finishing nails (nails without tops) nailed three and one-eighth inches apart or with a simple piece of cardboard (or thin piece of wood) three and one-eighth inches long.

Wood & Finishing Nails:

Cut twelve-inch lengths of your heddle material, one for each heddle you will make. Loop a length of your heddle material around the finishing nails. Secure the ends by making a loop with both ends and pulling the ends through that loop.

In order to get the knot to sit right next to the nail, slip a needle into the knot before it is pulled tight and push the knot toward the nail to tighten it. Trim off the ends of the heddles to within a quarter of an inch of the knot.

Cardboard:

Cut twelve-inch lengths of your heddle material, one for each heddle you will make.Loop a length of your heddle material around the piece of cardboard. Secure the ends by making a loop with both ends and pulling the ends through that loop.

In order to get the knot to sit right next to the of edge of the cardboard, slip a needle into the knot before it is pulled tight and push the knot toward the edge of the cardboard to tighten it. Trim off the ends of the heddles to within a quarter of an inch of the knot.

How to make extended shed heddles:

Cut twenty-four-inch lengths of your heddle material (cotton crochet thread, linen warp or single-ply cotton warp all work well), one for each heddle you will make. Loop a length of your heddle material around a piece of cardboard 5 3/4” long. Secure the ends by making a loop with both ends and pulling the ends through that loop.

In order to get the knot to sit right next to the of edge of the cardboard, slip a needle into the knot before it is pulled tight and push the knot toward the edge of the cardboard to tighten it. Trim off the ends of the heddles to within a quarter of an inch of the knot.