A few AVL-tips

So many tips-and-tricks are obvious, once you’ve heard them... here are some of mine.

From the ground up; front to back:

Those irritating metal bars that protect the treadle pulleys, where the apron bar (and sometimes the cloth) so often catches:

now covered with a piece of cardboard – no more catching:

(I used a piece of paper for years, but when it tore it got replaced with cardboard)

The beater top that goes with the double fly-box used to be attached to the boxes. As I quite often change between single and double box, I had problems every time I wanted to change: how to handle a 60” beater top with a heavy lump at each end?
The answer (unfortunately out of focus):

My shafts are numbered. (Thank you, Laura – when you told me, I was still so much in countermarch mode. On the CM I constantly take the shafts off and on – no way I would number them) Numbering them "the American way" also helps if I print out a threading using numbers.

Next, I have a permanently installed holder for the brake weight:

Then, following the ground-up-rule of above, there is the “grenade pin” on the cloth storage roller – it has got a hole for storage when not in use. (OK, it is nearly always in use, but once it fell into a box full of yarn – that never happens anymore.)

(The number comes from the time I was disassembling the loom to take it to a show. Nearly all older Swedish looms are permanently marked some way or another.)

At the back, first comes the numbered sectional. It is numbered two ways: from the middle outwards and from left to right.

Lastly, I have taken the top off of the tension box "raddle". (Laura has a much more sophisticated system here – I just use painter’s tape if needed.)

The pivoting reed still has it’s top – I would like to take it off, but the tines get unstable and I don’t think it would survive for long without the stabilisation.

Still no luck on the picker return front. The buttonhole elastic now has survived about 10000 picks each without sagging, and I have a whole roll of it...


Twist and ...

then, more twist.

One can go to any lenght in search for the perfect fringe.
I don’t.

What I do is cut (in this case both layers) the unwoven warp to the desired lenght, on a gridded cutting board with a rolling knife. Usually I cut the other end to the same length (but not always – the double-layer shawls with offset selvages and offset beginnings/endings don’t necessarily need to be symmetrically fringed, IMO).

After that, I knot all "half-fringes", Then I twist them two-and-two, and trust my fingers to make all end-knots "the same".

The reasons I knot "half-fringes" are two: I don’t like too skinny fringes, and I don’t like too big/wide knots. In this case the fringes contain 12 ends, and at 10 epcm that would be over one cm, which I think is too much.

Of course I take care to count the number of turns, adjusting for yarn grist (in this case the blue warp is finer than the brown, so the blue fringes need relatively more twisting), adjusting for different lengths. (A longer description of my way can be found on my website, here – for Swedish, click here.)

Does it work to use fingers for final length-adjustment?

As you can see, the answer is yes (and no – but I think it is "good enough".
(For those of you who think my practices are sloppy, I recommend Susan Harvey’s tutorial. Myself, I never twist "backwards", for reasons given here.)

Fringes done, it is time for wet finishing.
I forgot to change the spin-cycle, so I had some very wrinkled scarves to deal with. No pressing was gong to help... but I decided to try mangling before I put them back in the washing machine. A small smoothing with the iron, twice through the mangle and another good press with lots of steam took care of the wrinkles.

Here they are, on the rack for the final drying:

All the same, but all different...


Gla’hål och vävfall

Or: "happy-hole" and "weave fall" - . Gla’hål is what it is called (in Swedish) when you can see the warp beam. Traditionally this is cause for a special coffee pause, but as I drink coffee all the time anyway, and don’t like sweets, I just went on to the next part of the weaving: testing all kinds of unlikely colour combinations.

The dark olive combined with the light green gave a quite nice result, I think. (Nothing is finished before it’s wet finished, and that goes for samples, too!)

Vävfall is the cut-off time (goes with another special coffee, traditionally). I cut off 4 double scarves, all slightly different (with another mug of plain coffee):

Here is part of the colour, hm, "gamp"?

Now I only have to make the fringes, wet finish and mangle...


The double warp

The double layer scarf that caused the buttonhole elastic experiment would (preferrably) have to be warped with eight ends, as I did not want to bother with wding spools for such an odd colourway. As I have shown before, warping with four ends is no problem - but how to get eight ends separated by just fingers?

Answer: use a reed:

All ends cleanly separated, I then took them two at a time through my fingers, and wound each section on the warping mill, using an eight-end cross..
As I felt adventurous, I just grasped the cross flat between fingers, and dropped it into the tension-box raddle, and tensioned the bout "by feel".

Some of the sections do look a little wonky, but I'm now nearing the end of the 12m warp without problems: I think I can pronounce the experiment successful.

The first scarf on it's way to the cloth beam:

and the second at the sandpaper beam:


What time can do

Other than gallivanting around, I have done some weaving, too!

I planned this double-layer scarf, and decided it would do well on the AVL. As it is so much more work to weave with the double-box, I usually change to the single-box when I don't need two shuttles.
The double-box attachment had been sitting in a dark corner for several months, but now I took it out and mounted it. And found... the rubber picker-returns were completely unusable, both of them. Only time had eaten them - they were relatively new when I last used them. And I had only one spare spring.
Obviously, it was time to do some radical thinking (and also find a fast fix). While still thinking about possible "final solutions", here is my fast fix:

Yes, buttonhole elastic and a pin.
It works quite well, especially when I had devised a "deflector shield" to ensure that the shuttle could not be trapped under the picker.

But I am still pondering a final solution... or at least a solution with springs that will only deteriorate with actual usage. I'll keep you posted.


Another trip

Yesterday I went to visit with Monica at Madesjö museum, where she sometimes weaves.
We admired the huge loom - look at this fantastic beater, for instance:

(We also failed to understand some of it’s ... features?. But we agreed that we, both of us, do not like a sloping warp. Whatever the old books say, we both prefer our warps to be horizontal!)

After that, we went on to her guild room, with a gazillion looms, many of which had (shaft) draw attachments. I was surprised to see the drawlooms had no (or very short) warp extensions.

BUT... there was this fantastic old loom (which has me in it):

Look at the details:
It has five-shaft pulleys:

I liked the nice pattern the height-adjustments on the beater swords:

And... to prove it: here is Monica herself, in the middle of all the looms:


On a day-trip yesterday

I found this sign:

... on the other hand, there wasn’t much "spouting" either. I may never have seen such close-fitting lock gates:

And of course, before the gates proper can be opened, the smaller gates are under the lowest level:

(The total level difference was about 2,5 metres)


A modern mail sack

The other day, I found this on the porch:

It turned out that it was a modern mail sack from Britain. (I remember when mail sacks used to be linen – because linen withstood abrasion so much better than any other material...)

Inside the sack was a perfectly normal package:

and inside the package was this:

I used to own this book but lost it. Now it exists in a paperback version, much cheaper than the old hardback. And the same contents!

Then I looked closer at the mailbag. It is woven of narrow strips of plastic – and it is woven in the round!
I wonder how they handle the strips to keep them flat? I can’t see a single twist anywhere – and I remember my own experience with the flat paper yarn...

And I also wonder why I got the whole sack...