Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Loom Doctor--Sticking Shaft Repair

 I got to play loom doctor today--twice!  The second time was the bigger fix, so it get's to go first.

See that bolt there on the left?  The problem for the day is a rod, hidden underneath it that all the lams that lift the shafts use as a pivot point.

For a while now I have had problems with shaft #7 sticking on my Mighty Wolf.  I've checked the usual things--pushing in on the little pins that connect the wood to the metal--but really the problem seemed to be that the lams were all pushing together at the back of the loom on the right side.  I've messed around with this before and been able to shift all the lams back towards the front of the loom, but it never stayed properly positioned for long.

Today I finally got in the right position to see the hole.  Unfortunately, I took the photos after I fixed the problem (a working loom is more important than blog photos), but I can tell you where it was.  There, one inch under the back of the bolt, right where the rod should rest, was a hole.  I could see it!

A quick peek at the Schacht website let me know that my loom wouldn't fall apart if I undid the lock-nuts on these bolts (there are two of them).  I loosened the nuts, flexed the wood and pushed up on the  lams at that pivot point, and after a moment or two of wiggling, got the pivot rod reseated in the hole.

Boy does my loom weave better now!  Shaft #7 is no longer sticking and all the rest of the shafts seem happier with the right amount of wiggle room!  Hooray!

Here's a bigger picture view of the front of the loom with the bolt on the right side of center.

 Loom doctoring #1--although technically this was a warping issue and not a loom one.--One side of the scarf warp was looser than the other.  I tried a quick fix with a few bamboo skewers and some weights, but it didn't help much.  In fact, I realized as I looked at this, the fat warp threads probably increased the diameter of the wraps of the warp on the back beam making that side fatter than the other.  Translation?  I wound a bump into my warp and a "quick fix" wasn't likely to solve the issue.

The solution?  Re-wind the warp on the back beam.  I wound the warp onto the front beam, untied the fat warp threads from the back beam, then re-wound the warp onto the back beam without those fat threads.  The warp went on smoothly and I hung the fat ends on the raddle and provided a separate weight for them, ala suplementary warp threads.

I like weaving--especially when the loom and the warp work! :)

Monday, April 09, 2012

Ply, Spin, and Warp (All in one day!)

 A while ago I spun some naturally colored cotton on my Akha spindle.  Now I'd like to use it for one of the entries in the COE in Handspinning that I am working on.  Unfortunately, my skeins need to be 1 oz and the original sliver I purchased was 1 oz....which means that I probably had less than a full ounce of spun fiber. 

No problem!  I just pulled out another sliver that contained the same color (it happened to be a tri-colored sliver, so I pulled out the desired color) and started to spin.  Today as I got started plying I noticed something--the newly spun "red" is redder than the older spun "red".  Oh dear.  I went ahead and plyed the original red...0.93 oz.  Not enough!

I do have a back-up plan.  "Mocha" has a similar history--some already spun, some sliver picked out of a tri-colored one.  I'll try spinning some of the new mocha and see how it looks compared to the old.

 In other spinning news, I finished carding my yellow cotton into punis.  This is ginned cotton that I dyed.  There was a lot of vegetable matter in this cotton.  To remove it, I passed the ginned cotton through the drum carder which loosened the fibers and got some of the trash out.  Then I tore the batts into manageable strips and manually picked out the rest of the junk.  It was slow and tedious work, but it was easier to do that then to stop my spinning every few moments to pick out the rough and scratchy stuff!  The punis were made on my cotton hand cards.  The cotton was first carded, then rolled onto a dowel to make the punis.
 Here's a bobbin with the first few punis' worth of spinning.  I'm getting ~38 wpi which is considered a "fine" yarn.
And, I got my test warp on the loom and started today.  This is a fine cotton/poly yarn with some sportweight knitting yarn stripes.  The weave structure is from Strickler.  If this test works then I hope to repeat the scarf with a silk/yak yarn I bought a year or two ago.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Crackle Shawl

After I wove the black on black fabric for Martin's vest, I wove off this piece.  It's a black wool warp with a cream, thick & thin cotton/rayon (?) yarn for the pattern weft and the black warp yarn for the tabby weft.  It's a crackle pattern from Strickler's book (#494).  Sett was 28 epi and the finished piece is ~18" wide.

Things I like about the shawl:  the look.  I love the black/cream color combination.  It has the illusion of old lace.    The fringe.  I'm a sucker for twisted fringe.  I know it takes forever to twist, and yes, I twisted this all by hand, but I love the way it drapes at the ends of the shawl.

Things I don't like so much:  the wool.  Ack!  This is an unlabeled, hand-me-down wool and it isn't very soft.  I didn't get any scratches from my photo shoot, but it would be more comfortable over long sleeves.  And if you are already wearing long sleeves, do you really need a shawl?  The drape.  The drape is better than cardboard, but not as flowing as I prefer.  What's the best way to improve the drape in crackle?  Widen the sett?

And now, I have an empty loom.  I have a few projects percolating and hope to test some soon!