Keeping It Simple & Where There Is A Will

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I did finish my throw blanket and it is wonderful!  I would post pictures but it is being held hostage by my hubby who is in a comfy chair with said throw, watching the Yankees.

I have no idea where the time has gone, although I have had a few fun adventures as well as working a lot.  We visited Charleston which was great, it seemed like all we did was eat and walk.

I went hiking with some girlfriends overnight on the Appalachian trail.  Amazing views and great company.

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The following weekend I took my boys hiking to a different section of the Appalachian Trail. I love that my boys indulged me!

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So, back to this weaving thing.  After 4 months of procrastinating, I finally got the draw loom warped with the shaft device.  Due to the coupers being long, the cordage for the draw shafts interfered with the movement of the coupers.  After a couple of “MacGyvering” efforts I found the slotted board to work the best.  Looks like I may be getting some weaving done this week.  I have a 16/2 linen warped and hope to get some funky, crisp linen towels finished.  I cannot believe it is already mid June, I hope I can slow time down a little and get back to producing again.

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Forgot I Have A Blog

Hi, apologies for not posting, trying to see what happened after April.  Suddenly it is June and I have not done much of anything.  My personal training has been busy, trying to squeak in running, training and office gym time.

I Finally got the Oxaback warped for a draw loom project, I need to thread through the reed and set the pattern shafts.

I have an 8 shaft AVL home loom for towels and light projects set up in the bonus room area, I will put the large Glimakra warping reel there also.

My kids are grown up, one is a full-fledged adult, with a job and significant other, another one off to 2 more years of college and one heading to Jr. year of high school.

Will post pictures of projects soon.

 

 

 

 

Berga Savonia Review

As I mentioned before, I have been lusting after a new loom.  Something that looks and is or is nearly new and I was expecting to pay a pretty penny.  The Berga came up for sale at a very, very reasonable price.  The loom is probably from the late 1970’s and the finish was aged and crackled.  As mentioned in my previous post, I spent time sanding, cleaning and re-assembling.

The weave width is 140 cm, very close to the width of my Oxaback.  It has hooks for the shaft bars, lams and looks like hooks were added to the treadles.  The nuts have a tendency to come loose so once finished with this warp I will use some loctite thread glue to prevent this.

The breast beam is lower than that of the Oxaback and Glimakra but still high enough to be comfortable.  The beater has enough weight for rugs and falls back away from the fell nicely.  As with the Varpa and Toika looms, the holes in the lamms are a little stingy, requiring some poking through of the texsolv.  With the Glimakra the holes are big enough to drop the texsolv through.  I have experienced this on newer Toika’s and just try to be a little more patient.

In an effort to circumvent this issue, I ran one long cord through every hole, passing the cord through both the upper and lower lamms.  Depending on whether the shaft needs to be raised and lowered, I place an arrow peg accordingly.  This way the lamms are always threaded.  It looks a little untidy, and occasionally the cords get a little stuck but you can feel it as you treadle, re-depressing the treadle resolves this.

The treadle rod was very thick and too short, it also lacked the holes in the end to use the hitch pins.  This meant the treadles would come loose.  The problem was solved with a thinner and longer treadle rod ordered from Vavstuga.  Some owners have complained that the treadles are difficult as they are so close together, this is the nature of treadles on a Swedish style loom and requires moving the heel or toe gently from treadle to treadle.  Wearing thicker socks prevents discomfort of the feet and ankles.

I had parts for two additional shafts which allowed me to put a selvedge of plain weave instead of using a floating selvedge.  The current project is approximately 52 inches wide, it is a little bit of a reach but not uncomfortable to weave.  Using heavier end feed shuttles helps.

So all in all, I really like weaving on this loom!  It is nicely proportioned, heavy enough for all types of weaving and I like the “rustic” look of the older wood.  Not that looks matter, after all a loom is a tool, but sometimes it is nice to have something special.  Two very new Toika looms came for sale, with the worm gear, 8 shafts and in close proximity to me.  Very tempting, but not sure good looks and a worm gear are enough to sway me at this point.

Wide World of Weaving

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Go big or go home.

First project on the Berga – 54 inch wide cotton throw.  I was smart enough to prepare the warp twice as long, using two crosses which meant I only had to wind 7 repeats instead of 14 (the warp gets halved and the two crosses are placed next to one another).  I wound an additional single repeat chain for approximately 1100 total ends.

The loom is butted right up against the wall, I raised the shafts and dressed the loom using a raddle in the beater and weighted bouts from the breast beam.  In retrospect I should have made several more narrow bouts which would have allowed each bout to be weighted individually instead of trying to separate 1000 ends into groups.  Nonetheless, it is beamed and ready to be threaded.

Awaiting a new Glimakra Bench (Julia 25″) which should fit this loom nicely.

 

And Again K.I.S.S!

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I have been looking around for a wider CM loom, I was even considering buying new (at 3 times the price of a used).  I cleaned house, I sold a small loom and my beloved AVL……I just wasn’t using it, my work is more simple and slower and I just had a need to simplify. As I was posting my AVL for sale – I mean literally as I was posting, an add for a used Berga Savonia came up in the South area for an excellent price.  The finish was somewhat marred but nothing that affects weaving.  It came with counterbalance parts and double warp beams.  The nice thing about these looms is the side frames come apart so it fit easily in my Subaru.

It took most of Sunday to sand down and clean up.  The wood is solid with few dents, the patina was just a little funky and the varnish (pre-1980) was starting to crackle.  After a sanding, a swipe of restore a finish and a rub of Danish oil it looks great.  The loom is Finnish birch which is extremely heavy and durable.  I actually have additional parts to use 10 shafts if needed.  I put a mini sample warp on to allow me to set up the ties.  I am so looking forward to weaving on it!

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So I believe the first project is a soft cotton throw in a pinwheel in grays, teal and lime.  50 inch weave width, simple design.

Cleaning House

Mr. Mike wants his office back….. so I am straightening up.  As I have two big looms in one medium size room, space is at a premium.  I hit Ikea for some ideas.  Ikea has a new pegboard system which works perfectly for hanging draw loom lingoes, organizing shuttles etc.  I will probably add a couple more panels now I know how well it works.  I switched out the industrial shelving which was spacious but I would always find cones of yarn toppling over!  I went with a tall Billy bookcase which doesn’t hold a lot of yarn but is sleeker.  Ikea also has a wall shelving system which you can slot on shelves or baskets. This was perfect for small tubes of yarn, skeins and pancakes of yarn.  All in all I am quite pleased with the outcome.

I have to prepare a proposal for a potential new client/student who wishes to learn weaving.  The Cranbrook will have to go in the bonus room along with the giant warping mill.  I have been procrastinating about moving it as it i pretty heavy so now I have put it out in the blog world, I need to get it done.

Cutting A Rug

I have always had a thing for rugs.  I did my senior thesis for my degree on rugs, all kinds of rugs!  For the last few weeks I have been creating rag rugs and more recently, bound weave rugs in wool.

The bound weave rug pattern I began to weave required double ends of 8/5 linen (which is a lot of linen rug warp).  I found the pattern tedious and disliked the thickness and softness of the rug. Also, the selvedges did not make me happy!

I decided to design my own draft based on more traditional bound weave.

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The selvedges are a little better and the design more inspiring.  I have come to realize that I do not care for “squishy” rugs.  The warp is set at 4 working ends (double in heddle) per inch and the twill tie up along with the threading creates longer floats.  For me, this appears messy, if I chose to do bound-weave again I would go with a closer set and lighter weft.

Continuing my exploration of rug weaving, I found some great articles in Vav magazine.  I will make some sample warps and play around with taquete, kuvikas and 3 end block weave.

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The old Cranbrook is actually nice to weave on.  It feels more petite than the newer Cranbrooks and has a more traditional angle from the warp beam to the breast beam.

 

Getting it Going

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The sample warp on the AVL was quite pleasing, the supplementary warp was working well, that is until the cloth advance bolt broke.  After that the tension got wonky and the outcome was a few half decent towels.

At this point in time I have a linen warp ready to tie onto the sample supplementary warp.  This will be done using 2 sets of lease sticks.  One for the existing  remnant of the sample warp and the other set for the newly beamed linen warp.  I will post photos.  On the Oxaback the remnants of a Swedish twine warp for a last rag rug.  My daughter and boyfriend seemed to quite like the custom rug I made for them.

I rearranged what was Mike’s office.  He prefers to work in the bonus room with a big screen tv.  This room is generally used as a study/spare bedroom.  Now that my oldest lives a million miles away, this room gets no use.  I decided to spruce it up a little.  I had found some really cool prints in Paris from the 1940’s in red, black, taupe and grey.  The sofa is covered in an old quilt, with French script printed of course!  I love star lights, Ikea has great paper stars.

As of now I have an AVL 48 inch computer-dobby, a 54 inch Oxaback which has a draw loom attachment and most recently a very old Cranbrook loom.  The Cranbrook is one of the originals of the Cranbrook school of Design.  It is made of elmwood.  The owner (an incredible weaver who is retiring) re-fit it with a new castle, new lamms and new shafts.  It is approximately 46 inch weave width and has a downward slope from the back beam to the cloth beam and makes wonderful rugs!  It breaks down quickly when needed but is very sturdy!  I plan to use this specifically for rugs, wool, rep-weave and rag.

I am quite lucky in that I have two passions, running/Personal Training and weaving and teaching.  My new job at the local gym is going well, the trainers there are incredible, talented and fun to work with!  A good team environment!

Will post progress soon!

Long Days Night

The cloth storage crank on my AVL was a little wonky, then it broke.  Essentially, the weld between the post and plate fatigued and broke.  I was able to rig up something using a regular weight and began searching for a welder.

I found a welder who did it quickly and inexpensively, I was so excited.  While I was putting the front drum back on, I figured that I should finally replace the coil in the lower back tension drum.  This coil could take out an eye and is very tricky to work with.  The instructions in the manual neglect to describe if the direction of the coil is clockwise from looking outside the loom or clockwise from inside.

3 hours and many, many attempts later, it appears to be working.  I wish I could explain in detail but I can not recall exactly how I got it back up and running.  It appears that the coil top hook sits to the left of the pin, wind the drum counterclockwise if looking from inside the frame, the cord also goes counterclockwise (again from inside the frame).  The coil creates resistance when uncoiled, it recoils a little when the weight is being brought back up to the top of the front frame.

Looking forward to finishing these towels and my New Years weekend will be sewing up some woven projects.

 

Extra Ends and Bad Math

Still working on the supplementary warp project.  My ground warp has 500 ends and while working on KISS (keeping it simple stupid) I inadvertently combined the number of supplementary ends in that 500 instead of treating them as extras.  I found myself at the end of the threading sequence with an extra 2 1/2 inches of ground warp.

I simplified the supplementary design even more and re-worked the draft to now consist of 560 ends.  I had to make temporary heddles in some spots for the extra warp but now I am ready to sley the reed.

The goal is a simple repeating pattern in the warp where the color can be altered by tying on a new mini supplementary warp.  If I choose to, I can remove the extra colored warp and work with a plain ground weave on 12 shafts. I will then tie on the linen warp and add a silver-grey linen supplementary weft.  Essentially I am making 6 sample towels in cotton to ensure the idea works before using the linen.  I will post photos of the samples as they progress.