Sunday, August 10, 2014

Both feet together, bend the knees, weight on the balls of the feet, look ahead and ...


So when the loom was bought (yes we are talking looms again today, there is knitting but I can't share it yet) the tie up was left intact. The idea was I could weave using the tie up already inplace without having to worry about mastering the tie up first. That could come later. And I thought it was a good idea, I measured out a warp, some soft grey fine yarn I had on a cone, 3 m, scarf width, with an idea if it worked it could be a scarf, if not a sample, a learning weave.

I wove a little with this warp, almost immediately finding out the yarn was too fragile, too soft and not really able to be stretched across a loom and lifted up and down. Oh well - I thought I could learn from the warp until it frayed and broke into nothing - so I played a little with the treddles and the beater and the winding on, and the shuttles along the shuttle shelf on the beater. Well I tried to play, except when I treddled the warp didn't open neatly, the weaving term was the shed wasn't even. So I read around and thought I would try and adjust just a few of the cords holding the countermarch in balance.

When I tried to adjust the cords it was clear they were not able to be easily adjusted, the knots had been in place for too long. Parts of the cords were green, and stiff, I'm not sure why but wondered if a resin had been applied to help the knots hold, to provide some tack. Most of the knots had become so tight that any effort to prise them open risked damaging the cord, or me as I forced a sharp point into the knot. So I thought about how best to go about adjusting the loom and decided to cut the cords off and replace them. My theory was that in doing so I would own the loom, I would understand how it was set up and be able to adjust the set up as needed. Problem was that all the easily available online instructions are for using Texsolv, a looped cord made specially for adjusting looms. It is not something one buys off the shelf around here and I was impatient. I had instructions for tying up a countermarch in cord for a universal tie up - one where the treddles needed to be used in pairs or groups - but I think I wanted to experience the classic one treddle per shed tie up. I eventually found these, not based on specialized looped cord but simple non stretch cord. A trip to the local hardware store resulted in a purchase of 2mm nylon Venetian blind cord, a good match for the size cord I had cut away. Anyway I had been told that the holes on this loom were not right for Texsolv - so I need to order a sample to test before committing to a full order of a loom quantity.

I followed the instructions, looking up and mastering the butterfly knot, at once trickier and simpler than the picture makes it look.

I then moved on to supporting the heddles and mastering the snitch knot. That one was much easier to understand, tie, and adjust. While I had instructions for fitting the cords - they didn't always have measurements and if they did the measurements might not have been for my loom. So I erred on the side of caution, cutting the cords longer than needed rather than shorter. I can always trim them later.



In setting up the heddle frames I needed to have the eyes of the heddles where the warp yarns would be. So I tied two guide threads from the back beam to the cloth beam ... You can just see fine pink thread in th photo. Looking at it I realised the loom was taller at the back than the front. This is a nice feature that means the weaving isn't parallel to the floor but tilted forwards a little. This, in theory, makes the warp and cloth a little easier to view. I also realised that the eyes of the heddles, the original string ones, dont all line up when the top bar of the heddles are even. I ended up adjusting the heddle frame height so the eyes do line up - but suspect that at some stage I will measure the heddles and buy new ones. I realize that to weave there are some bits that should line up - like the warp threads that form the shed, and others that only need sit where they allow the important parts to align. I suspect heddle frames are in the second category, and the shed needs to align.

Then I worked down the loom, tying the jacks and lower bars of the heddles to the lamms,

I finally finished with two of the eight treddles tied to the lams - at this point I had returned to the hardware store and purchased a second 20m of cord and exhausted that second supply. It was time for eating, and wine, and turning the lights on, drawing the curtains - and this week I will return to the hardware store for another 30m of cord. That would be 70m in total - plus 20m of a narrower 1.5mm cord, which is way more than I would have predicted. I bought the narrower cord right at the start - and decided it was too thin or use, but then when I first ran out of cord thought it would make the tie up loops for the treddles - so far it has worked well. One of the reasons the amount is so great is most of the cord is used doubled, I now see I could have used the thinner cord - which was slightly cheaper, live and learn. I guess if I was to use Texsolv it would need half this amount. And if I was to use Texsolv (if it fits) then the tie up would be neater, here there are so many long tails hanging around the working bits.

And I now can easily adjust the knots - which was the goal of the excercise!

Normal service - knitting may resume during the week, I think loom play is a daylight affair - and Monday to Friday most of my daylight hours are filled with work.

Na Stella


1 comment:

Rachelle said...

Mine came tied up with green waxed cord; definitely hard to undo but I did manage as some of it wasn't quite right. My shed is now pretty clear, but what is now obvious is that string heddles are all slightly different, resulting in a shed that isn't quite as even as I want. I will have to live with it in the meantime, but eventually want texsolv heddles as I know they'll be uniform and light enough for my loom as well.