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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Simplicity Itself

I think I posted this photo once already but it pretty much shows everything that needs to be seen.

The live weight tension system is simplicity itself.

One long cord, long enough to wrap around the beam three times which will support the weight of whatever you use to provide the tension (via the weight used) plus a small counter weight on the other end of the cord.

My loom is just 36" weaving width and I rarely dress this loom full width so providing tension on just one end is fine.  A wider loom might require the weight at either end to make sure it stays put.

Kati Meek has published a monograph on this tool and the warping trapeze (as she calls it - same idea as my warping valet) so do buy her book to get the details.

The original brake has not been removed from the loom because when I'm beaming a warp, I need that brake to keep the warp rolling on with good tension.  Once the warp is dressed, the cord gets wrapped around the beam, the weight applied (in this instance 25 pounds at the heavy end, 2 pounds - I think - it might only be 1 pound as I was tweaking the system over the weekend), lock the loom's brake system in the 'off' position and away you go.

At the moment I'm weaving scarves which don't require a whole lot of weight.  If my warp was wider or required higher tension such as place mats, I would add more weight to the cord.  Up to 40 pounds, according to Kati.  The counter weight needs to be sufficient only to prevent the heavy end from sliding down - gravity, you know?

The AVL has a type of live weight system so I'm used to the warp beam 'rocking' as I open the shed, but if you've never experienced that, you might find it a bit off putting at first.  This is normal!  It's not unlike the Louet beam that rocks - a little disconcerting the first time I wove on one, but you do get used to it when you realize it's not a bad thing.  Quite the opposite in fact.  There is less stress on the warp yarns when the system has a little 'give' in it.

The big thing is that I no longer have to reach out to the right with my foot and depress the brake release.  With the beginnings of arthritis in my right hip, I needed to reduce the stress on that joint.  And once the tension is set, all you have to do is just crank the fell line forward - the tension will stay the same from one end to the other - unless the cord gives way or something.    But as soon as you put the weights back onto the cord, you're back to where you were.  Automagically, as it were.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Messing About

Messed about a bit more with the camera today.  I think the top picture, which shows a bit more of the cloth in the background, is better than the bottom one, which is too out of focus.  Neither one really captures the cloth as cloth, though.  Going to have to play around with this more.

I think one of the best books I've seen which really seems to capture the nature of the fabric in it's photos is Jack Lenor Larson's Material Wealth.

Friends gave me the book when I got the master level of the Guild of Canadian Weavers certificate and while that is a very long time ago I still have yet to actually read the book.  I open it and start turning the pages, sucked in by the exquisite photos.

I think I need to pull that off the shelves again and take another look.

For those of you who have purchased the dvd's I did with Interweave Press, and you think they are worthwhile, I would really appreciate your passing along the word to your guild mates, on the internet (including posting a review to the Interweave site), etc.

I realize that the dvd's are not comprehensive - how can they be in a 70 or 90 minute time frame?  But hopefully they will be useful.

Please and thank you.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Scary Warps

Doug has done some more tweaking to the loom and I'm dressing it with another painted warp for scarves so I can double check the live weight tension system, which also seems to need a bit of tweaking.  I had wrapped the cable in one direction and found that it was creeping towards the warp. Which would be okay except that when it got to the apron rod, the rod would get wound underneath the cable and then dump the weights off - which was kind of counter productive.

So I'm going to wind the cable on the other direction and see if it will stay put.  If not I might have to get Doug to put a higher flange on the warp beam at that end.

I had thought there were only four painted warps left but discovered this 'parrot' coloured warp in a box - obviously way back in July I had started to get it ready to be woven and then the box got shoved in a corner and forgotten.  I won't get all five warps woven, never mind fringe twisted or wet finished, but I'm hoping to at least get this one done.  I'm low on inventory of 'true' reds so adding a bit more breadth to my inventory would be A Good Thing.

And Meg has issued a challenge to take really nice (beauty shots?) photos of textiles so I tried getting a good shot of my tea towels this morning.

Since this photo was to be for several purposes, I think I did okay.  What do you think?

I think I need to work on it some more...but not bad for a first effort...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Red Hot!

Getting a good picture of this cloth is a bit of a challenge - red on red?  Especially on the loom.

But I think it's looking good, and it's weaving up quite nicely.  this afternoon and evening I managed 3.5 towels.  I think that makes me 1/10th the way through this warp.

I need to do some weaving on the small loom, too, though, so tomorrow morning I will probably dress another painted warp for scarves on that, then do the final tweaking (or at least I hope it will be the final tweaking) of the live weight tension system.  We'll see if I get back to the AVL tomorrow, or not.

Friday, October 17, 2014


And it's out!  The Efficient Weaver DVD was launched today at the Interweave Press store.

It is currently on sale so now would be a good time to purchase.  :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Even after loading about 3 dozen bobbins with yarn, this very red linen cone still has 2 pounds 3 ounces for weight.  The cone is plastic so probably no more than an ounce of weight for that, so essentially there is still a kilo of yarn left...

There is enough of the 2/16 red cotton to beam a 36 yard long 25"/section warp.  That won't use up all of the red cotton, but I'm hoping I won't run out, either.  Whatever little dribs and drabs left will get donated to someone who can likely use it.  Any tubes with any kind of length left on them will be kept to use as accent in other warps.  Or eventually given away as well.

When I was teaching, those tubes would be used for workshops.  Now that I'm likely 'retired' from teaching I will either have to use those dribs and drabs up myself or pass them along to others.

It won't go to waste.  :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The End...

is in sight...

I use fairly thin cord (seine twine, don't remember the size) for the sectional beam sections and when the cord starts showing through the layers of warp, I know I'm approaching the end...

The goal is to finish this warp today so I can beam the next (red) warp tomorrow.  Or at least get started on it, in between the myriad things that also should be done tomorrow.

Currently reading The Corpse Bridge by Stephen Booth