Thursday, 7 February 2013

Sleying the Reed

This is how I always try to sley the reed. You can't do it this way on a table loom usually as that's the way they're built, but I expect there's always a way to work this way on any floor loom.

Firstly, I've removed the beater and breast beam from this loom in order to thread the heddles.

Once the heddles are threaded, I hang the reed in front of the shafts. This reed is 41" wide (I had to cut it down to fit, but that's ok, cos this is the widest of the beaters we have) and my warp is set 40" wide, so I just start, like, a dent or two in from the side, do all the difference it makes.

The reed, as you can see, is hanging perpendicular to the shafts (at right angles, if i'm using the right word, i think i am) in order that I can easily get in-about the heddles for to pull out the required number of ends for each dent. Also, not hung so low that my heddling hook has difficulty getting up there.

In this instance, I was threading up a pretty chunky reed so there were, like, 12 ends or something in each dent of mostly heavy yarn (this is a treble-layered cloth with 2 faces of heavy worsted and a centre cloth of 2/48's elasticated worsted) so the normal heddling hook was too petite and delicate for the job, so I found a mangled old heddle and cut it down to make a bigger hook with and used that instead.

The main  benefit to this technique in my mind is that it allows you to compartmentalise tasks and consequently increases efficiency. I used to thread up before I came here by laying groups of warp ends on top of the beater and pushing them down to be caught by the heddling hook, but this is so much quicker, it rarely takes me as long as an hour to sley the reed now, unless the yarn is being troublesome or i'm tired and distracted and make a mistake. Anyway, here now be the appropriate video, enjoy.

As always, I welcome feedback on these videos. Would subtitles be useful? Can you actually hear what I'm saying, or is my mumbled Scottish accent incomprehensible? If you can give me an excuse to remove audio from my videos and replace it with subtitles I'd love it, as I hate the sound of my own voice on videos.

Coincidentally, this video and all the others have been taken with my cheap and nasty wee phone. I continue to be amazed by how brilliantly ubiquitous high-quality computing technology is these days.


Michelle said...

I love the term 'sleying the reed' - it sounds so hardcore :P

Sorry, but I like the talking on the videos - adds character ;) You do get used to listening to your own voice - I do a couple of online radio shows, and I've learnt to stop cringing!

Kerstin på Spinnhuset said...

you asked for feedback - here it comes: this is the first of your vides I've watched with the speakers turned on.
Your method makes excellent sense (as do the others, maybe because they are at least cousins to my own :-) - but: I can hardly hear you talking at all... both video window volume and local volyme turned to highest setting.
SO... maybe subtitles would be a good idea? (Yes, yoday's technology IS amazing... wonder what tomorrow will offer...?)

Andrew Kieran said...

OK, I'll keep that in mind. I need to learn how to do subtitles now. I think maybe I can do it in youtube online.

The difficulty of course is that the weaving room at college is a very noisy place when there's a few people working at once with fly-beaters. Also, I'm shy about the sound of my voice, like I say

Andrew Kieran said...

Michelle: Isn't the a Gwar song "Let us Slay!"?

Which reminds me, when I lived in the trees, back in the crazy days (i believe the australian term for my people is "ferals"), we used a lot of blue polypropelene rope and I used to go around singing "blue rope polyprop, da na na na, it keep my treehouse up, da na na na, it makes the tightest lashing, da na na na, there's be no hippies, crashing doooown, blue rope polyprop"

To the tune of "my girl lollipop", of course.

We also used to sing the greatest hits of bob marley to the tune of "Flower of Scotland", but only in England, because it drove people batty

Blossom Merz said...

I hate to contradict you, but your voice is fine. You know I taught myself so I've got a lot to learn. This is way faster than how I have sleyed, but I'll be doing it with my next reed in a few weeks. Thanks!

Andrew Kieran said...

Nae worries Blossom, glad to be helpful :-) like all these things it takes a little getting used to but it'll save you time in the long run

Michelle said...

I had to google Gwar - heavy metal, LOL!! It may all sound the same to some, but Goths hate heavy metal, death metal, etc. Strangely, it's not necessarily the other way around :P

I have a hilarious mental image of you now, dancing around the streets, singing ;)

Andrew Kieran said...

I'm big into Ska myself these days. Surely the greatest force for world peace the world has ever known, in two-tone.

Early NIN never gets old either. Listen to a lot of Corvus Corax (german folk metal with excellent bagpipes) and The Algorithm (something electro-techy) when I'm weaving at college.

Not really into Gwar actually, I just think they're hilarious.