Someone on the 4-Shaft Weaving FaceBook Group came up with this brilliant idea.
Use number beads to map out the treadling for each row of weaving. The numbers tell me which shafts I need to raise (or which treadles to push) for each row of weaving. Rows are separated by a different, smaller non-number bead. You just work your way across, filling lines of weaving on your cloth, and marking it done by pushing over the next section of beads. When you're done with a pattern repeat, you just flip all the beads back to one side and start over.
Makes me feel like I'm using an abacus -- which is cool -- even though I never learned how to use an abacus (I'm not that old) as calculators came about in my generation of schooling.
At present, I have the beads strung on a string atop the reed / beater. This seems to be working well for me. Though a wire might be easier to thread (those wooden beads are kind of "hairy" inside and the string catches on the rougher wood inside.
I tried it this afternoon --- It is such a great help to keep me on track in a pattern repeat. Less chance of messing up the pattern, but repeating or skipping a line. And it's so easy to throw the shuttle, and flip the next round of beads to mark your place. Much easier than trying to follow the index cards, and keep track of where I am on paper. Although, I'd argue they work together -- Index card for planning and record keeping; Beads for the doing/execution.
It also holds your place if you get interrupted, or have to refill your shuttle, or have to go and eat supper, or see what the dogs are barking at ... You know exactly where you left off because the beads tell you what's next. Brilliant!
This is Draft Pattern #14 from my Craftsy Class for Floor Loom Weaving.
It's called 2/2 Dornick.
As you can see from the beads above, there are 6 lines to this pattern repeat, and with the bead markers, I don't think I made any mistakes in my sample runs. Hurray!
And it makes the weaving go fast because I'm not hunting for what I need to do in the next line of weaving. It's right there on top of the beater bar. ;-)
I couldn't find number beads at my local craft store, so I bought some generic wooden beads and wrote the numbers on them, as needed. It's actually much more versatile to work this way. I'm using a green separator bead (that's what I had in my stash) in between lines.
Turns out I need to get another round of wooden beads. The next pattern I wanted to try required more beads than I had!