Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Wednesday, 3 December 2014
It's taken me a little while to get round to this.
Finally though, I have the space and, in the form of the remains of a large pile if shafts we got shot of from work over the summer, the materials. Lots of pieces of wood of uniform dimensions. Nice strong stuff too, tasty. Also, the drop saw makes short work of cutting the stuff down.
I drew up some plans the other night, and built the frame and Castle today.
The castle has been built in such a way that I expect to be able to be able to swap different shedding systems in and out.
The castle is probably a little tall just now, but I thought better bigger than smaller.
The first shedding mechanism I'll install will be counterbalance, then maybe a countermarche and perhaps eventually a jack mechanism, though I'll need a router to do that, so it may have to wait for some time.
Also, there are lessons to be learned in the process. Even in the building of the frame. But certainly in the building of the shedding mechanisms.
Anyhow, two pictures of it as it is, in folded and open conditions. I also need to dig out a track for the locking arms to travel on.
Once this is all done and tested, i'll have learned enough to try again with bought wood.
Friday, 28 November 2014
Here's that warp on the loom. I beamed it with sticks, despite the fact I don't believe in them. Sadly, my wee loom has a tottie wee warp beam, about the thickness of a broom handle, so it's really the only way. Still, it works for short warps. Heyho, we have to work with what we've got. The loom is currently beamed at 60 epi and sleyed at 112 epi. I'll really it after the festival two samples at something like 80 epi, which is a more natural sett for thus yarn. I'm trying to make denim, so am upping the epi in a bid to increase the density of the cloth.
I'm also going to try different samples with differing tension, to see if I can increase the prominence of the warp floats.
A part of me is wondering whether this is a useful exercise as I plan to weave a proper quantity on the big floor loom in the new year and the characteristics of the loom are very different.
For starters, the shed us a good deal deeper, which I'm sure has some kind of effect on the cloth, but the tension is also a good bit different as well. Also, if I succeed in putting a tension brake on it, then I shall have more consistent tension control, which ought to help.
I'm currently running on the theory that a lower warp tension will cause greater take up in the warp and increase the prominence of warp floats in a 3/1 twill, also that a heavier beat will help too.
These are things that I can't really control on the table loom. So, like I say, I'm not convinced that these samples will truly reflect what the big loom will churn out. I've got to do something in the meantime though and it'll at least give me a rough idea. So there's that.
The coloured samples are from the last warp and are 2/20's cotton set at 42, 56 and 70 epi
Saturday, 22 November 2014
Thursday, 6 November 2014
Sunday, 19 October 2014
So, last month I bought a scrollsaw and a pillar drill. And since then I have been getting a workshop space ready at a garage on a friend's farm. There's been a lot of work, and it still isn't quite ready yet. I'll have a lot more space when the car is out of the way. There's a long workbench for my woodworking tools and the desk where they're currently at will have a cheapo laptop and some of my 'leccy tools and projects, I also intend to build a very simple, but biggish, rug-weaving loom which I intend to have set up in such a way that I can fold it up against the wall when it's not in use if i need to. Thinking of maybe having the warp going up and over a rail at the top and weighted down, with the back beam of the loom sort of attached to rails on the wall. Difficult to describe, I have a picture in my head.
Anyway, I moved my tools in today and made a very simple and rough rigid-heddle loom for a friend.
A very simple counterbalance set up for now anyway, probably with an underslung beater.
Monday, 28 July 2014
These are drawings for Tablet weaving card. From left to right, 6 3-sided cards arranged radially, one 6 sided card, which I haven't figured out the best way to arrange yet, and an array of 4-sided card. Also, a comb and a shuttle.
Everything but the shuttle can be easily made in plastic by laser or waterjet cutting. The shuttle may be a little trickier as I would like the beating edge to have a gentle slope leading to a nice curved blade edge for good beating.
The warp can be tied into the comb with string on top, I see no need to make a hinged attachment to go on top.
I may make other shuttle shapes tonight, and rethink the comb.
I am undecided about what material to get these things made in. I reckon the cards should be as thin as reasonably possible, 1mm acrylic perhaps. They will be breakable, but these things tend to be. In my experience the thinner a weaving card the better for the turning, especially when not mounted on a loom or board.
Annoyingly, I made the shuttle 190mm long instead of 1900mm as I intended. And it was a very pernickety part to make.
I've found a number of manufacturers who specialise in laser and waterjet cutting in the UK. I am going to get some samples of square cards made, if I find the finish and material acceptable then I shall have a larger number made of all three types of cards. But mostly the square ones.
Thje square cards are 7cm square and I welcome any expressions of interest in this product, it would be cool if I had a box of several hundred of these and just got a wee trickle of ebay earnings coming in now and then.
Friday, 25 July 2014
Saturday, 5 July 2014
But far from it, who was I kidding?
Think I was being a bit daft. To be fair, the original purpose of the blog was to chronicle my getting-to and getting-through college, and that's done now. But it'd be silly to think it really ends there.
A lot of good has been built up here, I've been coming to realise over the last year, in the friends I've made on the comment sections and the things I've learned from the other weavers, sometimes seeing other people taking on similar paths to my own. It's all good.
So why waste it? I may work in education for the time being, but why should I limit myself to one job when there's so much more to do? I realised this truth recently when I got an email from youtube telling me that one of my videos, Tablet Weaving Lesson 1, had gained 10 000 views, which was frankly surprising. To be fair, it's the first video I put any serious effort into in terms of production values (I had my partner hold the camera, rather then simply tying the camera to a chair or something) but the number of views is still surprising. I suspect it was picked up by some other high-traffic crafty site or mentioned on a reenactors forum or something like that.
Also, weirdly enough, and possibly largely driven by that video, traffic for this site has, with normal peaks and troughs, actually climbed somewhat in the last year of complete and utter inactivity on my part. Weird.
Anyway, that's that, I'm back. Again. Whoop!
I'm not doing as much weaving these days as I'd like, for myself that is. But I am learning a huge amount about industrial weaving on power looms, which is extremely useful stuff and will no doubt continue to be useful in the future.
I am still trying to figure out how to become self-employed as a weaver, and in months to come I may share some of my ideas. Others I may keep to myself until they're ready to roll.
In the long run I think education is going to be a big thing for me. Something I've come to realise is there's a lot of people out there that want to learn how to weave in a social environment. So setting up a series of workshops in the Highlands would probably be a good idea. I feel like I have enough experience teaching basic handweaving now that I can approach that confidently.
At the moment, I can teach Handweaving on all types of handlooms including dobbies both mechanical and electronic. I can teach interchanging double cloth design, drafting and construction. I can teach yarn setting theory, basic design methodologies for translating concept into colourways and onto cloth. I can teach basic tablet weaving, double-faced patterning and the backstrap method of weaving.
Running on from that, there's a number of advanced weaving techniques that I'd like to develop, both for my own benefit and in order that I can teach them.
Off the top of my head, there's Leno. I can use leno for edge-bindings, but that's about it. I'd like to learn more.
There's terry towelling. That looks like an interesting technique that requires careful control of warp tension on the pile beam and particular use of a light versus heavy beat. It's acheived in industry by a modified batten that allows the reed to slip backwards on the light beats. Very interesting.
I'm interested in finding out how many layers one can practically weave on a rising-shed shaft loom before everything just gets silly and the shed refuses to open. I'm just curious, as a platonically perfect 24 shaft loom could theoretically weave a 12 layer cloth. If that cloth was woven with one weft going through all layers one after the other, it seems to me that it would be possible to weave a cloth 382" (nearly 32') wide. It would be amusing to find out how close to that I can get. Probably by setting up a straight draft on 24 shafts and setting it in the reed for treble cloth (I know I can do double). Then weaving a wee bit and setting it down again.
I'd like to figure out a better way of explaining to students how to create double layered cloths with extra wefts. Some people are naturally good at mathy stuff like that, and grasp it easily. Some people aren't, and I need to find a more natural way to describe it for those people, because they are most people.
I need to get better at stake-warping wide cloths to avoid the slide-at-one-side thing. In particular I need to get better at beaming a long warp through a raddle.
I would dearly love to be able to make double cut-pile cloth. This involves a whole post in it's own right as well as some very serious loom adaptations (two different sheds, two different sets of shafts on two different layers, two cloth beams pulling on at exactly the same rate and a cutter to seperate the cloth as it's wound on). I suspect this may never happen.
That's just off the top of my head. Do you good people have any techniques you'd love to learn in a limitless world of perfect freedom?