It seems like there is a huge list of things I am learning with this warp. Thing #1 is that the cloth storage beam system works. Instead of having yards of cloth build up on the front apron beam, the cloth feeds through multiple rollers to a storage beam at the back of the loom. The big trick for me is to remember to unlock the counter weight for the system.
|Mechanical Dobby head with pattern bars.|
The woven pattern is four repeats of pattern A followed by a few shots of plain weave, then four repeats of pattern B. I had enough bars to peg pattern A, the plain weave, and pattern B. I wove that. It was my wonderfully mindless weaving. To get the checkerboard design, I weave the six picks of pattern A, reverse the dobby mechanism and treadle through the bars (without throwing the shuttle) to get back to the start of pattern A. Then I re-reverse the dobby mechanism (back to the original direction) and weave the six picks of pattern A again. Rinse and repeat two more times. It has not been easy weaving. Hmm. That's not right. The weaving has been straight forward, it's keeping track of where I am that has been hard. Throw into the mix the fact that I cannot see the pattern well--though I've learned to feel it like Braille--and it's been challenging! The other night I was able to sit down and weave a full bobbin of weft. It felt like a great accomplishment! (And, yes, my children were in bed and the house was mostly quiet!)
So, every time I advance the warp it pulls the harnesses/shafts in use forward. I've been able to wait to advance the warp until the end of the pattern repeat sections. That means that the first few picks that I weave are plain weave, which makes it easier to separate the warp threads and go on with the weaving. I'm hoping that this is a yarn choice problem and not a more generic warp advancement issue.
Thing #4. Five yards is a long warp for me! (How embarrassing!) I feel like I've been weaving this piece forever! I either need to weave more (hmm. That might be a possibility now that we're done with construction!) or I need to use shorter warps. I'm still learning the waste allowances for this loom, and since I was testing the cloth storage beam system, I probably couldn't have used a much shorter warp this time. Next time, I'll know to either pick a structure that I can peg completely or use a shorter warp!
And, just because they make me laugh, here is thing #5: blocks. My legs are just too short to work comfortably with the treadle/bench height of this loom. So, I added blocks to the treadles (like blocks on the peddles of a tricycle!). These are just leftover pieces of construction 2x4's covered in shelf liner or rug underlayment (it's a wide open mesh covered with soft foam-like plastic), and attached to the treadles with plastic zip-ties. They work great!