Friday, December 4, 2009

Threading the AVL

back of the loom - apron with roller on floor, reeds stacked behind leaning against loom

Sandpaper beam, cheesegrater beam (for rayon chenille) and beater top stored in corner

loom torn apart ready for threading

Different people have different approaches to threading their looms, especially the AVL. Some people don't take their loom apart at all. Others, like me, rip the front end apart.

I guess I didn't have too much difficulty with the concept of tearing a loom apart because the first loom I ever wove on was a Swedish style counterbalanced loom. And then a two week trip to Finland to study at the Varpapuu Summer Weaving School, where looms were routinely stripped to be threaded, made this concept seem quite normal.

Tearing the front end of the AVL apart became much simpler once I removed the bench. Permanently.

To take the loom apart, I remove the gear from the sandpaper beam that advances the cloth advance system (on the outside of the loom - I have the original style of cloth advance), undo the bolt holding the bracket for the beam and propping the sandpaper beam on my knee (foot braced on the cross beam below) remove the bracket. Then I tip the beam over to the right until it sits on the floor, pick the beam up and prop it in the corner nearby. A person with small hands will probably want to wear gloves, but my hands are big enough to grip it firmly and I never abrade my hands on the sandpaper.

I do wrap a cloth around the cheesegrater beam to hold it - that's a whole other magnitude of abrasion. :^) I also leave the cloth around the cheesegrater to protect the sandpaper beam when I lean it against the cheesegrater stuff.

I'm tall, so crunching over the sandpaper beam in situ just didn't make a whole lot of sense to me. My body is much happier about threading when I sit on my little stool.

I used to remove the beater and drop it down onto the side frame to give myself a little more elbow room, but after Doug installed the air assist that became impossible so I just found a slightly taller stool and I drape myself over the bottom of the beater, leaning against it for support.

A smaller person might find this position impractical, others might not want to remove all the stuff from the loom. Some people find it much simpler to simply raise all the shafts to get them closer to eye level. Some people treadle the threading so that they reduce errors, especially on extremely complex threading systems.

Each person has to find the method that works best for them.

One of the reasons I removed the bench entirely is that I never could get it positioned so that I a) didn't slide off the bench while weaving or b) cut the circulation off in my legs. Eventually I ripped the bench out - it only went part way across so I needed a stool to sley full width, anyway - and now sit perched on a tall bar stool with a heavily padded seat.

A loom that comes apart gives a lot more options in terms of setting it up.

Currently reading White Shell Woman by James D. Doss


Sandra Rude said...

Thanks for showing how much you disassemble the loom during the threading process. I thought I might show this on my blog, but now that you have, I don't need to! My mantra is "the loom is a tool; use it like a tool; do whatever you need to in order to use it wisely/efficiently/ergonomically."

Laura said...

I agree - make changes that need to be made to make the job more enjoyable.

Can hardly wait to see what you do on the Jac3. :)


Mary said...

I've been following your new threading challenges, and while I'm not sure this will apply to your AVL Jacquard I thought I'd mention what a friend does on her IDL. She lifts up the entire beater assembly. As the beater rests on pivot points on top of the side frames, she has rigged up cords/pulleys from the side frames to around the bottom of the beater. I don't recall exactly how, but this is the concept. This does require a high ceiling but looks like you have that. She's also a tall person and has found this to be a simple (once it's set up) and effective way to get everything out of the way. Looking forward to seeing your new work.