Saturday, August 28, 2010

Still threading

I am now halfway through threading the warp for the Big Block Blue Blanket. I think that the seond half is going to progress much faster beause of two changes I have made.

My life (ie Weaving)/ work balance was all wrong. I had got into the habit of getting to work just after 7:30AM with the idea of getting away smartish to do some weaving in the early evening. I didn't work as I frequently didn't get away on time and was often too tired to do any weaving when I got home. I now get up at the same time and get in at least of hour of weaving before I leave for work. Now it doesn't matter what time I leave work in the evening or how tired I might be as I have already done some weaving work.

The other things I have done is change the way I hold the threads in place just before threading them. Rather than having them held in place by a snitch knot to a piece of cord attached to the breast beam I now spread them out in a small open topped reed (from my warping wheel) and hold them in place with a strip of velro. Having the threads in order right in front of the heddles means that I am not straining to pick up the correct thread from the cross on the lease sticks which is behind the heddles. I am sure that this is being done by loads of other people but I am quite pleased with myself for stumbling upon it. My shoulders and neck are thanking me for it.
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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Threading position

I am finding the threading on the AVL much trickier than on the Nilart.

Try as I may I cannot get myself into position where I can see the lease sticks and heddle being threaded all at the same time, unless I m sitting so low that I can't operate the treadles. I need to use these so I can lift the shaft that is to be threaded. This means that there is a bit of craning and squinting, particularly when putting the thread on the hook. I messed around with mirrors and I even tried using a web cam mounted behind the loom but to no avail. However it was  OK as long as I g0t up and stretched every five minutes or so.

I have just read  what Laura Fry has to say on the matter (Threading Motion) and I see that the threads that are next to be threaded are taped to the bottom of the back shafts. The answer for me must be either to follow this method using Velcro to preserve the cross or to substantially lower the lease sticks. I shall experiment tomorrow!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Keeping the cross safe

Over the weekend I took the dust sheet of my AVL Workshop Dobby Loom and did the upgrade to the ratchets and pawls on the cloth and breast beam. The original ones were plastic and just not up to the job of maintaining any decent sort of tension. I must have bought my loom just before they corrected this design flaw, so I had to buy an upgrade kit. The templates that came with the upgrade kit were as not as accurate as they might have been, or I am cack handed, as I had to re-drill one of the holes for the pawl. All done now but one has to ask what sort of testing they did with the original design.

I have put on a 21" wide warp for a stitched double weave shawl. I use an AVL warping wheel with a cross maker attachment (didn't come as standard; should it have done?). In the past I have tied the crosses before winding the warp on to the beam. This time I tried using a stationery ring to secure the cross and it worked a treat. When the warp was safely on the beam it was a simple matter to replace the ring with the lease cords, which were tucked up between to rakes when I was doing the actual winding.
Ring on the cross
In position on the beam
Warp being wound on

Lease cords threaded
Ring removed

Lease cords secured to a couple of rakes

Friday, August 6, 2010

Bi Colour Warp on a Pointed Threading

I have mentioned earlier that I attend weaving classes at the Hand Weavers and Spinners Guild of NSW. Out tutor is Liz Calnan.

Last term we built on some work we had done previously on Summer & Winter and moved onto Taquete, Double two tie Summer & winter, other DoubleTwo Tied Unit weaves and Stitched Double Weave and then Turned Taquete. I did some samplers of some of this ( see Stitched Double Weave and Back to the Tent Stitch) but I put it all to one side when I started on the Big Block Blue Blanket.

Classes started again last week and after a nice catch up (Liz had been to Convergence) we studied Interleaved Threadings. What was of particular interest was the insight that we were given into the number of different things that one can weave with an interleaved threading.

Armed with my class notes and handouts, several reference books and magazines and my weaving software (pixeLoom) I have been combining what I have learnt in the classes with things that I have read and thought about in the past and only partially understood. I have ended up with a set of drafts that fit onto a 22s pointed bi-colour threading (I started with 24S as that is what I have but gave up two shafts for plain weave selvedges.) I think that there is sufficient here to keep me going for years!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Threading the heddles on Big Block Blue Blanket

I have been away for a week in new Zealand (part business part pleasure)  so progress is slow. I think that I have to accept that this blanket is going to be for next winter. With that in mind I can take it nice and steady and have a couple of other projects going at the same time. Our weaving lessons start next week so I shall do what ever we will be learning on a table loom and keep on plugging away at his blanket at the same time.

Having finished beaming the warp I then had to insert the lease sticks. I am not sure if I am doing this in the most efficient manner but I picked up all the warp crosses (one for every section on the beam) with a netting shuttle and threaded a cord through them before trying to put in the lease sticks. I did it this way because I found that 5' lease sticks were a bit to unwieldy to insert directly into the crosses. The photo below shows the lease stick in place and the warp divided into 4 bundles (only three visible) ready for threading.

In preparation for this I took off the breast beam and the cloth beam. This presented more opportunities to do a bit of cleaning and polishing!

Threading is proving fairly easy as the blocks are large (120 ends each) so it is practical to tie up shafts 1 to 4 when I am threading shafts 5 to 8. The important thing is to sit at the right height so that I am not struggling to clearly see through from the first shaft to the lease sticks. Bi-focal glasses are proving to be a bit of a problem as when I glance up to the lease sticks I am looking through the long distance part of the lens. I might need to get special threading spectacles!