WeaveMaker FAQ
User's Manual
Q: I downloaded the demo version of the software, but there's no manual?
A: The manual is on the web, which helps keep the software download small (downloads faster). See the menu at left for its location.
Tools Window Repeat Options Grayed Out
Q: In the Tools window, when the Repeat or Action Options appear, some of them are grayed out. Why?
A: Some of the repeat and action operations only make sense if they operate on a square. For example, you can select part of the tieup and rotate it 90 degrees left or right. But that only makes sense if you grab a square chunk of the tieup.
Dobby Loom Drivers
Q: What dobby looms does WeaveMaker support, and what is the price of the drivers?
A: These looms are supported:
  • AVL (Types I, II, and III)
  • Macomber
  • Dobbytron
  • Louet (Octado, Megado, Magic)
  • Leclerc
  • SLIPS (Schacht, for example)
WeaveMaker comes will all these drivers installed. There is no separate charge for loom drivers.
Interleaving (Merging Two Designs)
Q: Can I combine two designs by interleaving their peg plans?
A: Yes. Here are the steps. Once you see how to do this, you'll also see that there are several variations possible on these steps:

  1. Open both designs you want to interleave.
  2. In each design, 'open up' the peg plan so you get alternating blank and filled-in rows. Use 'Expand' in the 'Loom' menu, setting it so it reads 'expand by inserting 1 pick before each existing pick'.
  3. Now for the tricky step! Lock every other row in the first design, using 'Lock Weft with a Pattern' in the Edit menu. For 'Threads you want to lock' put in '2' (no quotes around it), and set 'Repeat this pattern every 2 threads'. This locks threads 2, 4, 6 et cetera.
  4. Now go to the other pattern, select and copy the entire pegplan, and paste it into the first design. As you are pasting, adjust the point at which you paste so you visually see the interleaving on the screen before you release the mouse.

You have now interleaved the peg plans with the results appearing in the first design.

Analysis (Freehand Design)
Q: Can I draw freehand on a grid and have WeaveMaker figure out the threading and treadling?
A: Yes. WeaveMaker calls this "pickout". Go to the Special menu and then click on Pickout. You get a window with a grid. Draw in the grid. As you do so, WeaveMaker continually analyzes what you are doing, and tells you how many harnesses and treadles you'll need to weave this design.

Another way to do this is to create a threading, and then just draw your design underneath it. WeaveMaker will figure out the pegplan for your design (or the tie-up, if you are in treadling mode.

Grid Orientation
Q: Can the first end in the threading be on the right rather than on the left, and can the first pick in the peg plan be at the top rather than at the bottom?
A: No. In WeaveMaker, following a universal industry standard, the first end is on the left, and the first pick is at the bottom.

The first pick is at the bottom because that is how a fabric looks as it comes off the loom. Imagine that you are sitting at the loom. The first pick you weave is closest to you. If you have a draft (on paper) sitting alongside the fabric, you want the draft to look just like what you are weaving, which requires the first pick to be at the bottom of the piece of paper. There is no sensible reason to draw drafts upside-down, although some handweaving books mistakenly do it that way.

The location of the first end on the left is arbitrary (it could as well be on the right), but mills all put it on the left, so that is how WeaveMaker does it.

Dobby Weaving (without Threading)
Q: Can I dobby weave with just a pegplan?
A: Yes. WeaveMaker only looks at the pegplan as you dobby weave, so it doesn't matter if the threading is empty.
Dobby Ports
Q: What Should I See in my Dobby Ports Menu?
A: The question of "ports" on modern computers is complicated. The explanation here is written somewhat from the perspective of WeaveMaker and Macintoshes, but it's increasingly the same for Windows computers.

Older computers (both Mac and Windows) came with built-in serial ports. On the Mac there were two, usually called "modem" and "printer". Similarly, Windows computers almost always had a serial port, called COM1 (and if there were multiple such ports, the others were COM2, COM3, et cetera).

The problem with these older serial ports is that their design literally pre-dated computers. They were engineered back in the days of real Teletypes, the kind that were used to send real telegrams, delivered by a person weaving a uniform, complete with hat. These older serial ports were slow, and the way they worked wasn't compatible with modern computer electronics, and so they required expensive chips inside the computer to accomodate them.

To solve this problem, the Universal Serial Bus (USB) port was created. (Confusingly, this name contains the word "serial", which is also used to describe the older ports. Sorry, I wasn't responsible for naming these things!). USB is fast, completely compatible with modern computer electronics, and is therefore relatively inexpensive. USB is great for hooking up printers, extra disk drives, cameras, scanners, fax machines, music keyboards--it really is universal. So that's good.

Problem is, all the computer dobby boxes on the market today were engineered to use the older, slower serial ports. To get a modern computer to talk to a dobby box, you need a USB-to-serial adaptor. This lets a USB port act like the older serial ports.

Now, this creates all kinds of headaches for weaving software:

1) It used to be that the software could count on the computer having at least one serial port. Guaranteed. This is no longer true. If you don't have a USB-to-serial adaptor, then your computer has ZERO serial ports.

2) Merely plugging in a USB-to-serial adaptor isn't enough. There is almost always a piece of software you also have to install. It's often called a "driver", and without it, your computer doesn't know what to do with the USB-to-serial adaptor.

3) Even after you get your USB-to-serial adaptor set up and working, nothing stops you from unplugging it, at which point you still have the software driver installed, but you no longer really have a port, because the hardware piece of it has been unplugged. This situation may look different to the software than if you had never installed the driver (depends on the way the driver software was written).

4) There are other ways to put an old-style serial port on a computer. For example, you could do this with a Bluetooth adaptor. So your weaving software has to look beyond merely USB-to-serial adaptors.

5) The list of "dobby ports" that displays on one computer may be totally different from what appears on some other computer, and yet both may be perfectly fine and correct.

So what's the bottom line? Modern weaving software has to do the best it can to examine your computer and find your USB-to-serial driver and associated hardware. And as I've indicated, there are many ways to do this, and many ways in which it can go wrong. The software then has to issue error messages as appropriate, to try to help you resolve the problem. This is not easy!!!

If you are having trouble with your serial ports for dobby weaving, consider: is your USB-to-serial adaptor plugged in, and is your software driver installed? That's the starting point. If your "dobby ports" menu is blank, one or the other is presumably missing. Don't rely too much of what other people see if their "dobby ports" menu, because it's likely different from what you should be seeing. If you need to write to us, what brand of USB-to-serial adaptor do you have, and what model number is it?

Registering the Software, Over and Over
Q: When I put in my name and registration key, WeaveMaker accepts it as valid, but then it immediately asks me to register again. It's OK for a while, but then it asks me to register again. I'm going crazy!
A: Check your computer's clock (time and date). Chances are your date is set well in the past.
“Over32” Designs
Q: My design has more than 32 harnesses and/or 32 treadles—when I open it, it's all blank!
A: If you are using WeaveMaker version 9.0 or 9.1, this is a bug. Please upgrade to 9.2 or later, which fixes this. If you have upgraded to version 9.2 or later, and you're opening a file last saved in version 9.0 or 9.1, hold down the Option key while opening your design, which should then open correctly.

A Little History

Originally, WeaveMaker only handled designs of up to 32 harnesses and/or treadles. Partly this reflected the fact that looms typically don't go above 32 harnesses/treadles, but also at the time (the early 90's) typical personal computers didn't have enough memory, nor large enough screens, to handle such large designs. But then AVL introduced a 40-harness loom, and so in the early 2000's WeaveMaker was enhanced to be able to go above 32 harnesses and treadles.

Because this “over 32” capability was added on to an existing software product, certain compromises had to be made. In particular, the way such designs are saved as a design file is different from 32 and under designs. This difference is supposed to be completely transparent, being automatically handled by the software, and by and large it is.

Unhappily, when we wrote version 9 of WeaveMaker, we messed this up. We inadvertently changed the way “over 32” designs are saved. So version 9 of WeaveMaker could not open a design from earlier versions, if the number of harnesses or treadles exceeded 32. This error was largely hidden because version 9 was perfectly capable of opening “over 32” designs saved by version 9—the problem was only with opening such files created by pre-9 versions.

Once we found out about this problem, the question was what to do? After considering several possibilies, we determined that the best compromise (and this is a compromise among various choices, none of which is good) was to change WeaveMaker so it saved “over 32” designs the way it used to do, in version 8 and earlier. This new, corrected approach starts in version 9.2 and we hope continues onward (we will really try hard not to mess this up again!).

Long-term, we think this is the best solution. But it creates a problem: designs that are over 32 harnesses/treadles, created by WeaveMaker version 9.0 or 9.1, are in an oddball format. What to do about them? We did not want these files to become orphans. Our solution is to make WeaveMaker version 9.2 (and subsequent version) have the capability to open either the normal format or the oddball format. If you hold down the Option key while opening a file, WeaveMaker will try to open the file as though it's in the oddball format. Without the Option key, it proceeds on the assumption the file is in the normal format.

Summary (applies only to files with more than 32 harnesses or treadles):

  • If you are using version 9.0.x or 9.1.x of WeaveMaker, you should upgrade to a newer version.
  • Having upgraded to 9.2 (or higher), if you open a file and it opens correctly, you're fine. If the design is blank, or is otherwise obviously not what you expect, close it, and then open it again, this time holding down the option key.
  • Once you have the file opened correctly in 9.2 or later, when you save it it will be in the correct format.
Details of Rules for Opening Files with More Than 32 Harnesses/Treadles†
File saved in version: Opens correctly in version:
9.2 or later 9.2 or later, and in version 8. Does not open in 9.0 or 9.1.
9.0 or 9.1 9.2 or later by holding down Option key. Does not open in version 8.
8 9.2 or later, won't open in 9.0 or 9.1
X X (in other words, all versions open their own files correctly)
†If your designs are 32 harnesses or treadles, or fewer, you should ignore this table.
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