Sunday, August 26, 2012

Davey Weaves on the Weaver's Delight

My 10 year old grandson Davey was over to our house today with his mom and little brother.  He got a chance to try out the Weaver's Delight loom.  I let him weave the final hem on the second rug.  He got the hang of it quickly.

This is my first attempt at adding a video.  I took it with my daughter's phone, and just previewed it.  It is a bit blurry, especially if it is expanded, but I thought it was cute, so it's staying.  I am going to let Davey tell in his own words what he thinks of the loom.

He also told his mom that they needed to get a loom like it at their house!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Having Fun with Weaver's Delight Loom

The last time I wrote, I had a hem done for my first rug on the Weaver's Delight loom.  Since then, I have been too busy weaving to take time to write.
The hem that I showed in the previous post is is almost ready to roll onto the cloth beam, and the first rug is half done.
This is a closer view of the rug, which is called Double Seed, or Chicken Tracks.  This one was woven with a regular rug shuttle, since I was trying to adjust the tension.  The little crank at the right side of the loom is used to tighten or loosen the brake band.  I have found that just a quarter turn can make a difference.  If the tension is too loose, the beater ends up hitting the two front posts.  When it is too tight, the fell line moves too close to the beater, and it is difficult for the loom to change sheds, and for the fly shuttle to pass through the shed.

These were the three fabrics I chose for this rug.  I really like the mottled look the green check gives.  I had a lot of yardage of both the green and the black, so I was able to work with long strips of fabric without too many seams.  Each fabric was a little different in weight, so they were cut or torn at varying widths.  I used three strips of green, half a strip of black, two strips of the yellow print, half a strip of black, and they repeated three more times.

This first warp isn't very wide--only 24" in the reed, and the rug is weaving up at 23" wide, without using a temple.  The temple that came with the loom isn't that small, so I couldn't use it.  Here is a photo of it prior to fixing the missing prong and before it was cleaned and varnished.

I started weaving the first rug on Friday afternoon, a week ago, and had it finished that evening. 
A couple days ago, I started playing around with the fly shuttle, and just wove some short sections of thick yarn while I got the straps adjusted.  I had to tighten them a bit, but it didn't take too long.

When I got home from a half day at work today, I started cutting my next fabrics.
Here are the fabrics, and a few of my notes for this rug.  The long strips worked well for the first rug, so I'm using them again.  This rug has a hem of  black cotton which came from a recycled sweater.  The tan and black weave fabric is heavier than the black gauze type fabric, so they are cut different widths.  Once I wove one repeat, I was able to determine how many repeats to have in the rug.  This time, I used three strips of tan and half a strip of black.
The fly shuttle worked!  This rug is weaving very quickly.  The shuttles are cast aluminum, with a tube that looks like a car exhaust pipe.  They are kind of rusty, so now that I know they work, I will need to clean and paint them.
Here is a close-up of the pattern.
It is half done.  The remaining fabric is cut, and loaded into the tube, all ready to finish the rug in the morning.  It takes longer to prepare the fabric than to weave the rugs!

It's been fast and fun!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Weaver's Delight Restoration is Finished

My goodness, it has been about three weeks since I last posted anything about anything!  Chest pains and low blood pressure have taken all my energy for anything but going to work.  I had a stress test done today, after seeing my cardiologist last week.  Hopefully I will get some answers soon, and start feeling better.

I have been taking some small steps with finishing the loom restoration during the last month.  The good news is that I started weaving on it today!
The pattern that I decided to try first is the Double Seed Rug, also know as Chicken Tracks, from the Rag Rug Handbook, pg 69.  I'm using a 12 dent reed, and I wound 27 ends per section.  The orange section was where I was spreading the warp and trying to get the tension adjusted.  The green is my hem.  Now I need to get some fabric cut.  I still need to clean up the shuttles and tubes for the warp, so this first rug may be hand woven with a regular rag shuttle.

The cast iron parts at the bottoms of the back posts are there to bolt the loom to the floor.  This photo is evidence of why they are needed.  The papers on the floor by the loom were halfway UNDER the loom when I started weaving.  The loom moved about 1 1/2 to 2 feet while weaving the warp spacers and the hem!  I am going to have to get Bob's help turning the loom and bracing it against the foundation with a couple 2x4's.

Sectional warping was a new experience for me.  The spool rack worked well as long as it had weight at the bottom to keep it from tipping over.  I needed all the threads to come into the tension box from a low position, so I ran them under a barbell.
I didn't use the little gadget will all the little holes that came with the loom, because I wanted my threads to go onto the warp beam in a certain order.  I had a short piece of rigid heddle with just the right number of slots and holes for each section.  It worked well for keeping the threads in order.  I wound a few of the sections by myself, but it was pretty hard, so Bob helped with the cranking for the rest of them.

 This shows the correct direction for the straps to wrap around the warp beam.  The buckle ends fall between two of the bars, so the knots don't make any lumps in the warp.  I wound every other section with five groups of three threads in red and four of tan, and then reversed the order for the other sections. 

I cut eight pieces of plastic tubing and slipped them over the pegs to help guide the threads into each section. It kept the warp from catching on the tops of the pegs.

Not having a brake band pretty much stopped any work on the loom.  I had ordered one, but the lady that supplies parts became very ill and was unable to send the part.  I called my good friend Lou, down in Arkansas, and he helped us out with some photos and dimensions for making one.  Bob was able to get some angle iron, rivets, and a steel band from the hardware store and made one.  We had some trouble with the rod that screws into the bracket not having enough threads when we used the spring that came with the loom.  Instead of making a whole new band that was a little longer, Bob just replaced the spring with a shorter one.  The position it is in in the photo is about where it should be with the tension tightened for weaving.  When loosening it to wind warp on the sectional beam, the rod is backed out almost flush with the bracket.

The straps on the loom were in very poor condition, and were wired together in spots.  I contacted an acquaintance of my daughter Becky, and he was able to make new straps.
These are the new short straps.
This is one of the two new longer straps that connect to the picker sticks.
It was actually raining in this photo, and shortly after, we had a downpour that lasted about 20-30 minutes.  Everything is nice and washed outside, and the sun is shining again.

Along with helping me with some of the heavier restoration things, like the brake band, Bob has also been working on a treadle stand for the old Leclerc Jano table loom.  Here, he is working on marking the holes on the lamms.  It should be nice with the little shelves on either side.  It's almost done, except for the lamms and getting some finish on the wood.