17/12/2014

Local newspapers


Who said that local newspapers mostly contain local gossip?

Well, at least that is what I have always thought. So today I went to the local archive to read Nya Wexiö-Bladet for 1847 - the year that Mlle Granberg was touring the county giving classes in double-spinning.

I anticipated coming home with lot lots of "gossipy" information, such as Joahnna Månstdotter and Lina Andersson did attend the class in Lenhovda, and after only a week were able to spin 3 "pops" (knäpp) weighing only 2 "lod", or somesuch. Hopefully I would find advertisements and, and...
But. No such luck. In fact, almost no luck at all.

I found a few names, but those all belonged to remarkable spinsters from before the classes.

I found no advertisements at all (for things relevant, such as the classes themselves, spinning wheels, "modern" hackles...). Also I found nothing about the actual classes, not even the slightest mention!

What I did find was a kind of "morality", in the form of a conversation between "Mrs X", "the girl" and "the uncle":
Mrs X didn't want to send her maid to the spinning school, but the girl (niece of Mrs X, in fact) was going, because the uncle had said it was a Good Thing To Do.
Enters said uncle, who proceeds to tell the Ladies why [double-flyer] spinning school was such a good idea: it was "ancient" (had been used in Brabant for over 100 years - imagine that!); it would give work to paupers [my comment: why couldn't they get work spinning on a normal wheel, if spinsters were so sought-after?]; he gave a long lecture about the economics [interesting, but it will take some time until I can untangle all the various measurements used]; last, but not least: the Ladies ought to resume the responsibility of being Role Models.
Nearing the end of the economic lecture, Mrs Y enters. She gets all interested, 'cos that would mean she could turn away beggars without any remorse. Mrs X is nicer, she doesn't like to turn away hungry women without giving them something to eat.
The girl is excited, says she wants to go. [But that was her intention from the beginning]

This was quite a long article, but it ended without any mention at all about how to enrol, who was organizing the event(s), when and where they were to take place.

(Ok, so there might have been mentions I didn't see, but if so, it was in the middle of the "running text" - no advertisements, no "marketing".)

Maybe it wasn't so strange that (at least) one of them had to be cancelled due to low interest? I have found, in another publication, that four or five *were* held, one of them with more than 20 students. There were students turned away because of lack of double spinning wheels. (If you follow that link, don't tell anybody. Taking pics was allowed; showing them is not. Makes sense?!?)
So here comes a "legitimate" picture:



15/12/2014

The never-ending story

or: yet some more pulleys

Considering I am a countermarche convert since first I tried one, it is interesting how odd counterbalance set-ups seem to come my way...

Have been to a flea-market again. Found some CB pulleys again. This time a pair of homemade(?) two-level type:


They look almost like the standard type, still sold:


- with the exception of all the extra holes.
They must be there for a reason, but which? To change the position of the pulleys? But if so, why?

DH speculated it was to be able to maximize the shed size.
But would that even be true, as, after all, the size/length of the horses (and their cords) must be so much easier to change than having to fiddle with a peg?
(Also considering the height of the reeds "way back when" - my old reeds measure between 5 and 8 cm, so theoretical shed size cannot have been a big question :-)

I left them at the flea market. Should anybody be interested, they will probably still be there for some time... light-weight and easy to pack. (Price? Don't know, unmarked) - come to think of it, there were also a couple of old-fashioned dräll pulleys, more or less like these
though I can't remember if 3, 4 or 5 levels. Again unmarked, but perhaps I could get a good price for both?
(If they are to be sent by post, they will probably not reach anywhere before x-mas)

05/12/2014

AHA - so that's why...!


Once I wanted to weave with paper yarn, and to that end used one of the old wooden reeds.

After a while, I noticed that the dents were not evenly spaced:

Yesterday I came across the doubleweave portion of Zielinski's "Master weaver" where one can get several suggestions as to how to handle the fold when weaving double width.

(Methinks the first idea is the best: "experiment")

Transcription of the marked section (click, and most might be readable):
"Another method is to have special reeds made with dents growing wider towards the fold. Such reeds of rather old vintage can be found in antique shops. The difficulty here is that regardless of the width of the woven fabric the fold must be always at the edge of the reed, which may result in weaving off the center of the loom, unless the reed can be shifted in the batten at will."

I found that an adorable suggestion, which also might have explained my "variable" wooden reed...
Except it doesn't, of course. The open part wasn't even near one end, and wasn't even near to be systematic, whatever that may mean. And no, there weren't dents missing/fallen out, 'cos they usually show...

27/11/2014

More on patents and mangles

Jean noticed what should have been obvious to me, too: the patent drawing is different from the "real thing". This made me read the patent text more carefully - and it turns out that the machine in the drawing probably was never built. It is couched in some complicated language, but essentially the text says "this is one possible construction".
Last, in the text, are three patent claims (is that right? "patent wishes"?) - 1) a tabletop mangle with a lower roller lifted with help of a two-armed swiveling lever and a spring, 2) same as 1, with the addition that the two-armed lever is angled and 3) same as 1, with the addition that the arm which connects with the spring is longer than the other arm.

Here are a couple of detail pictures:


How the spring is mounted:


The rollers (and the "swing", or two-armed swiveling lever) exposed:

(yes, the picture is turned - this is the way the rollers go when the mangle is operational)

And now we all can see that the actual construction is even more different from the patent... And, yes, it is the right patent, because the patent number is written on the side piece:


As for "apron" or no apron - I don't know. Before the mechanical mangle, there was the roller and the "plank":


(for many fantastic carved boards - they were often very decorated - go here)

Anyway, from what I have read, these were used either "as is" or with a special "mangle sheet": roll the cloth (with or without the protector) as tightly as possible onto the roller; grab the board, lean hard on the board and roll in the same direction as the cloth had gone on; when you reach the end, slide the roller back towards you; repeat.

Next came the box mangle - like this or this (or, for the scary pictures, this!). From what I understand, one of the ideas with the mangle sheet was that you could load several smaller pieces in one go - but I think that it also helps with the "sheen".

All the older "small" mangles with the big spring on top I have seen have been without apron. Come to think of it, mine may be one of very few having the apron.

All modern mangles have it, though.

As for adding one: I think the important bit is getting the roller smooth again - no ridge, no screw heads...

22/11/2014

Yet another mangle



this one compact, and patented.
The patent is interesting, as it is granted in 1937, but valid from '34. It contains a drawing, a very enlightening one (as you can see):


It was a bit fiddly to get apart - and I couldn't get the right-hand piece off. Or, well, I decided I did not need to get it all apart. (The cog wheels are very securely mounted)


(So why take off the left-hand piece at all? 'Cos the rollers needed some work, that's why.)


The spring is, well, a standard one:


There are some "golden" details:


The rollers, after some sanding and lacquer:



Now all that remained was to put it together again. Should be a piece of cake, yes?

Well.
It really wanted to have four pieces in four holes at the same time - the back connexion rod, the upper roller, the bottom "swing" for the bottom roller and the front "spring-holder" all connect to the left side, plus the bottom roller needed to be in its cradle on top of the "swing".
Everything would really have been easier if I could have had the spring in place, too, but I only have two hands... After much fiddling (and some new words) I managed to get the spring in place, later. (This type of spring isn't one one just "wrestles" in place.)

Before putting the table in place:


(When do I have 'nuf mangles, you ask? Well, I like to rescue them - and on occasion I do re-home them. This one has just moved to Denmark, and I might consider selling this one, too - weighs about 25 kgs, so pick-up is a good idea...)

17/11/2014

Picture perfect - but I forgot :-(



Meg (over here) called all weavers to publish "beauty shots" of something woven.

I decided to participate, but... I forgot. What can I say? Old age, other things to occupy my mind, or just hopelessly sloppy?

Anyway, too late or too late, here are my contributions:

A "sun screen" with cotton warp (fishing line for accent), horsehair weft, fan reed:


Scarves with differential shrinkage:




More differential shrinkage ('cos it photographs well... or, at least, looks interesting)




Even if I am too late, kudos to Meg, and get over too look at the other contributors! (link at top)

12/11/2014

Double damask?


Last year, when Laura and I were in Macclesfield, England, we saw a small piece of cloth described as "double-sided damask", also said to be "the same technique as used for cloth of gold". I had never heard of "double-sided damask" - to my mind, the nature of damask is to be double-sided. Jean gave me a tip: Murphy's "A Treatise on the Art of Weaving" (1824), but it is too complicated for me to understand. (Yes, I *have* tried several times :-) So I just dropped the problem, after all we have all seen strange labels in museums, yes?

However, yesterday someone posted a link to an article in NYT (or something), I went on from there and landed on the site of Thomas Ferguson Irish Linen - and they have a definition of "double damask" (link goes to the definition of "ordinary" damask, but both come up on the same screen).

I'm copying some of the text, and want discussion:
Linen damask is a figured fabric made from one warp and one weft in which, generally, warp-satin and weft-sateen weaves interchange. Twill or binding weaves are sometimes introduced.

I have no problems with this - sounds like "ordinary" damask, which incidentally is double-sided, or maybe I mean reversible.

But:
What is the difference between Linen Damask and Linen Double Damask?

Double damask is different from ordinary damask in that it has a lower warp thread count than weft thread count; this allows a dense high thread count fabric to be produced, as the weft yarns are beat up tight in the fabric. However, it is a much more expensive way of weaving because it takes longer to weave a given length of fabric. Also, to allow this dense packing of yarn a looser twill weave is used than in ordinary damask.

(there is some more text, but this will have to do for now. You can always use the link above)

So: ordinary damask is a warp-faced structure contrasted with the same structure, only weft-face, regardless of "thread count" or "balance" (same # of ends and picks) - but double damask is UN-balanced? And therefore better, because it has more picks than ends? And it is (always?) woven in twill? Because twill is a "looser weave" than satin? Huh?

Further down, they mention that they use finer yarns for the double damask, which gives better pattern definition. I am OK with that, of course finer yarn give better definition, but...

Another quote:
As stated earlier, to allow the dense packing of yarn, a looser twill weave is used when weaving double damask than in ordinary damask. This requires a high thread count to stabilise the fabric. With a low thread count this was not the case.
These poorly made fabrics were sub standard, and normal damask was in many instances a better buy. This forced the hand of the Irish Linen Guild and they brought in a minimum thread count for double damask.

(Unfortunately, the Irish Linen Guild does not tell what kind of counts they used for their definitions - at least I can't find them.)

Conclusion: still confused, perhaps more than before (when I could still blame the museum label).

Or: can it be another of these different culture, different language things again?
I sometimes discuss fabrics with my neighbour, the cloth merchant: he is a textile engineer, trained in industry. We can usually (but not always) agree on plain weave, but in industry there are (apparently) so many more parameters in industry a "trade name". (Edit to make sense!)
Sometimes they (he) use a structure name when they mean to include a lot more information: fibre content, weight...
And sometimes they use a structure name for something quite different: "cord" comes to mind. At least here I Sweden a "cord" in a fabric shop is what we weavers usually call "corduroy".
In the UK, a "corded silk" (at least in conjunction with academic dress) is typically a warp rep, very seldom woven of silk. (Yes, I have analysed a piece, and burnt it.)