Flax field

Flax field

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Oh Where Has the Month Gone

So much of the month has past and I have not published.  I want to try to publish more often, but I spend my computer time reading all the other great blogs.  

The past couple of weeks, I feel like I have just been putting heddles in order.  A slow and often painful job.  I finished the work on the folding Gilmore at the Pioneer Craft House and when the students cleared the warp off the Gilmore compact, I decided to start on it.  I have a soft spot in my heart for a Gilmore compact, it was the loom I learned to weave on.  Way back when, this was the main loom type that was in the university weaving studio where I first learned to weave. I really wanted this kind of loom for my own, and when I called Gilmore to order one, he had a 48 month waiting list.  I moved to a different loom, but I still enjoy weaving on these.  You have to finesse the back brake a bit, but you get used to it.
Gilmore compact
This loom is in better shape than the folding Gilmore, but once the warp was off, I found several things that need replacement.  I was concerned about the apron bands, they did not really fit well, but they were working fine and I decided not to order any when I sent the order to Gilmore for parts.  However, when the warp came off, I could see that they were worn much more than I thought.
Gerry-rigged apron band
The back beam bands obviously need replacement, so I might as well get the front replaced also.  Then the loom will be in much better working condition.
One part I don't think I will be able to repair is the tracks for the shafts on the castle.  We have a broken piece.
See the broken piece between shafts 3 and 4?
I don't think I want to have a piece made and try to glue it in.  The loom was working fine, I asked the weavers who took the warp off, so I guess we will have to just live with that one.

My big problem was the heddles.  I like to have my heddles in order.  The "eyes" all face the same direction, and there is less chance for them to tangle.  However, on this loom they were going every which way!
Heddles all mixed up!
Here is the top on one shaft.  There are even a couple of different types of heddles...there is no way these will all line up and nest properly.  
Here's the bottom of the heddles.
If the "wavy" opening is on the top, the straight opening should be on the bottom.  You can see in the second picture that quite a number of the heddles are upside down.

I know that mixed up heddles are not a problem for everyone, but I hate them.  And anyway, when the heddles are in the right order, it is faster and easier to thread them.

So I have spent about a day on each shaft (there are eight shafts) and since I spend three days a week at the PCH studio....that is a little over two weeks to get the heddles in order.  Right now I have several groups of 50 heddles in order and on safety pins ready to put back on the shafts after I get the loom washed and waxed.  I think this will be a great loom to have ready for students to work on.  I know it is in good working order, so I will probably not put a test warp on it. 
I do need to cut some more texsolve cords for the tie-ups.  I decided to keep the texsolve on this Gilmore and I put the "old style" snitch knots on the folding Gilmore.  I like to have a variety of looms, and methods in a teaching studio.

My weaving has been going slow, but I have been making progress.  I put the pillows on the Baby Wolf and have finished one and a half pillows, which is good--that is half way done.  But I needed to take one of the ski shuttles downstairs to the Big Mac. 

 I have put on a warp for 2 rugs that need to be finished next week.  
Half way through threading.
In the picture, you can see the next six heddles waiting to be threaded.  I like to weave these rugs in the in a six thread, four shaft pattern from Meany's Rag Rug Book.  I figured that I could thread a straight draw on six shafts and if I do a straight draft on 12 shafts, I can do several different patterns on one warp.  This works well because I usually put on about 20 yards when I thread this loom for rugs.  I can treadle the "chicken foot" pattern, or rosepath, or twill, or plain weave, or whatever I want.

I would like to get the rugs off this loom and then put on the yardage that I tested with the hand-spun. 
Do you remember this yardage from way back?

 I received the yarn, and I want to get it on, but since I will be threading full width with 24 or so ends per inch, I will probably need to put some extra heddles on this loom so that I will have enough.  But that is next weeks problem, for now I need to get back to the loom and weave those rugs off.

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