2023/06/25

Loom Update

No, still not about tied weaves, but about the loom. But it's not all bad. 
 
In all we went to the air compressor (and other industrial machines) shop four time over two and a half weeks. I spoke with the specialist engineer, who told me there was clogging somewhere beyond the foot pedal, i.e. with the mechanism controlling the lift/drop of the shafts, and air traveled back to the pedal looking for an outlet. Ben spent some hours cleaning, plodding, blowing into, etc. He replaced the pressure gauge, "serviced" the compressor, (this was also done by the pro 13 months ago,) got rid of condensation in the tank big time, and confirmed there was no problem from the compressor to the foot pedal. There is still a dodgy valve where tank connects to the hose(?), but the latter is permanently, not requiring valve action, so we left it as is. 
 
Ben then determined the problem is somewhere around the "down/drop" piston, but he couldn't access it easily with the warp already on, so we shall investigate after I weave this warp.   

The air appears to leaks at a similar rate to when the leak was first discovered, but we've increased the pressure, so the shafts lift marginally faster, (super slowly for a functioning loom at the best of times), but drops slowly enough I could almost put the kettle on between picks. I'm not 100% if all the required shafts lift all the time, either. If I step on the pedal before all the shafts have completely dropped, sometimes the same/previous shafts go up, sometimes the next, so I'm keeping an eye on the shafts as much as on the web as I weave, which isn't too bad with the somewhat predictable tied weave, in comparison to say a fussy twill. As well, this project requires carefully thinking of weft colors at every step, so compared to a swish-swish one-shuttle weave, the speed is annoying.
Earlier in the week I reached the high/low point of hair-pulling agitation. Opportunely Ben found a bunch of card stock about to be discarded at work, so I started making more paper bobbins. I prefer gray, but these are white, and slightly stiffer than my usual, so they're harder on the fingers, but good distraction. Then I found more recyclable material at home, tabbed dividers in old ring binders; at this rate I'll never run out of paper bobbins, but I do go through them quickly, including winding off unused wefts after a project, so... bring it!
I also wound some pattern wefts, in the blue-green/green/yel-green/yellow/orange/red range. I'm not ignoring the purples/blues, but this is enough to start sampling and maybe one piece. Because this is the first time I'm weaving irregular tied weave on the big loom, I want to experiment with a broad range of issues/possibilities, so I'm sampling to my heart's content, and if the loom proves too dodgy, I'm OK if I don't get a proper piece off of this warp. 
I was winding the bobbins upstairs because that's where my cotton cones are, fuming about the state of the loom. Then I noticed there is a tied-weave warp ready to be woven at any time not too far from me. I am ever so one-track-minded.
With the loom ready, I needed some tabby wefts. (I rewound all the unused ones on the new white bobbins, so I see right away if something is a 2/60 tabby weft, not 2/20 pattern. The thread sizes are not hard to distinguish, but this way it's instant.) Lacking in some darker/saturated wefts, I wound a few more. 
And this is the start of sample, this one with white pattern weft to map where/how the pattern wefts. I threaded in undulating twill on shafts 6-16 for the most part, but there is a small section of network twill towards the right. Because the pattern wefts are threaded at random, this is how I learn/see for the first time where they sit. The slight color change reflects the change in the tabby weft, except the very last bit where I ran out of white and used a yellow pattern weft. The next portion will be woven with a black pattern weft, in a similar fashion, for more mapping. 
 
I am weaving standing up on a footstool Ben built me long ago for my office chair. The height happened to be perfect, but for weaving, I prefer wider so I can move around. The pedal needs lowering, but I can't tell how much. I like weaving standing up because I have a broader view of the web, and feel as though I can weave wider pieces more comfortably. I can also see exactly which shafts are up. With the current setup, however, I'm not "walking" the treadling/pedaling, and hope to remedy it when Ben works out the footstool and pedal height.

Alright, extra credit to observant readers who spotted the dent I sleyed 14 rather than the usual 7 ends.

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