Finally, after all the work, the Big Kahuna of a loom is ready for business. I have finally put on Tex-Solv heddles after my sweet husband mentioned he enjoyed my sanity and not the insane cursing and muttering in playing with making my own. I do know it can be done. And for that I am grateful… but more for having an understanding spouse! I purchased the heddles from my fellow weaving guild member, Barb Gallagher from Weaver’s Loft in Indiana. They were installed in less than an hour after the package arrived.
What took longer was threading the previous owner’s warp though them and setting up the treadling. One of the challenges was tying up the treadles. For whatever reason, the seven inch tie up cords lead to an uneven and narrow shed. After removing the threaded reed and disassembling the beater, lowering it, reassembling, disassembling again and reassembling, I still had the issue. It seems that the design of the treadles pull the warp unevenly. In order to make the cords pull consistently, I installed small spools in different combinations. Now I have the harnesses moving somewhat evenly.
Now I can weave! I have threaded the loom for a waffle weave which will give me a dimensional fabric. The warp is 16″ wide which I think will give me about 12″ of width after washing. I am not entirely sure what the original owner was going to make with the 16 -20 yards she wound on, but I am thinking there will be a lot of towels for Christmas!
Yesterday was the first time I have really spun in long time. I have been working on Guild activities, design and work and of late, finishing wood work.
At the moment I am still loopy from the wood work. In another vain attempt to finish the Man Room, I have had to stain and poly-urethene quarter rounds, shelving pieces and lots of base boards. I have learned that poly-urethene needs warmer temperatures than 40° (otherwise it turns from liquid to a sticky honey consistency) and that at the same temperature the stain gets sucked into the wood and asks for more.
Finally, after two full weekends and all my spare time, the wood work is all done and has been turned over to the husband for installation.
Now, I am spinning again. I think every time I really sit down to spin, I realize how much I miss it. It is my time and it is happiness for my hands and zen for my mind. I am spinning a blend of 60% Superwash Merino/40% Seacell impregnated with silver form River’s Edge Weaving Studio which is incredibly soft and spins quite fine. I plan to ply it with the same colorway in a blend of 60% Merino/40%Bamboo which has a more reflective quality to it. I am spinning on my Majacraft Rose wheel which is so smooth and I think knows my every move.
Okay, once in a while I have to whine. I would like to have time to finish what is on my loom, thank you very much, but it does not look like it is going to happen again until September.
At minimum I have to do all of the usual working mom things – work full time, cook (in theory), clean (again, in theory only), chauffeur the tween, shop, etc. If I do my planning right I can squeeze in time to weave after all of that is done. However, I have to factor in:
Unexpected guests (where the cleaning thing goes from being a theory to a frenzy)
Obligations and duties relating to leading a weavers guild which include meeting, demos, competitions, etc.
Social Media Summer Camp classes (which rocked by the way!)
Being in a wedding necessitating a dress to be made for the tween
Birthdays,celebrations, reunions, festivals…
All in all, it doesn’t leave much time for weaving. Another challenge is the pile o’stuff I have in the spare bedroom. Whenever we get a visitor to the house or overnight guest, all of the pile o’stuff and anything else on the floor or out of place gets shoved in and around my loom. And then it takes 4-6 weeks to clear off my loom again.
Can we say sticker shock? The Nilus (which I am calling the Big Kahuna) came with about 300 heddles total. On a 45″, 8-harness loom. Now, I like to weave fine – around 30-36 threads to an inch. I will need at least 1350 heddles if I want to weave full width on the loom at 30 threads to an inch. 1620 if I want to weave 36 epi.
Since eight harnessses can get pretty heavy with metal heddles, I looked at the wonderful TexSolv. And at $17 per 100 you can see where the sticker shock came from.
Luckily I spent more time in shop class than home ec. I made a jig out of a plaque from Hobby-Lobby and some 8D nails.
After each nail, I ties a square knot. I think this will keep me occupied in front of the TV for the next year or so.