Tuesday, January 12, 2010

20+ Tune Up Time

This is nine and a half yards of 2/10 twill towels all folded up and waiting by the serger and sewing machine. These will turn into proper towels very soon! It has a very satifying 'weighty heft' to it. I decided to start on the countermarche loom's tune up right after NY's. There was quite a bit of lint associated with the last warp so my usual post project vacuuming will be extra careful.

Here I have put the locking pin in place so all jacks are perfectly aligned. The tops of all my shafts and all my lamms below are all at the same height. Great! No adjustments are needed here. The texsolv cord here is as old as my loom so all 'ease' is long gone!

Here my treadle has been hiked up as high as it will go...

At the back of the loom at the peg board where all tie up's are controlled, I have pulled and placed one peg to hold it up. I also pulled all the other cords so they don't dangle underneath.
Below they have all been pulled and so all treadles are up in the air. Why??

So I can vacuum up all that nasty black lint! I'm using the peg board as additional hands. The carpet visibly brightened up. The lint and dust from weaving can be quite hard on your lungs. You may be more 'relaxed' elsewhere in the house, but here I recommend vacuuming after each project and sometimes during when the lint is bad! Case in point: tencel, linen, cottolin and chenilles. Wearing a dust mask might be a good thing if this causes you problems.

Now we start the tune up job. Here I have placed a thin board across from side to side of the loom. My hubby made this for me so it elevates the treadles at the correct height as recommended by Woolhouse Tools in their loom assembly guide.

So they are held firmly in place and now we need to prevent them from lifting upwards. I placed my breast beam across (it's heavy!) Then I placed full magazine boxes on top. That should do it. Connor is going to watch it for me.

At the back of the loom, at the peg board, I systematically pull *all* slack out of the cords so they are snug. I'm using the resistance of the weight on the treadles to play off against. If I can feel lift, then more weight is needed!

What ever clear slot is just at the hole in the board is where the peg goes. You can just see the old tie. The difference is 1 cm.

Here a large number have been done: where you see red, there is no change and if it's all white, then it need a new marker. The snippet of yarn marks the 'sweet spot' for peg placement when doing the tie up. This adjustment should last for a good long time.

Here, out of sixteen treadles I have only done the centre twelve. I use eight treadles quite often and they had a lot of fresh white showing. The treadles towards the outer areas had much more red showing. I have used up to twelve treadles in some projects but most often eight or ten. I made a decision to leave the outer two treadles on each side as they haven't been used, so no easing. Those ties on these treadles I will leave red so I know they have yet to be done.

I have leaned over the back beam and here you can see that the centre fourteen are tight and taut!

Where they travel down from the lamms above, each tie point on each shaft is taut! There are no slackers to be seen. This is a very good thing. Far easier to spot and correct them now. While there are a total of 384 cords underneath, minus the 96 getting a pass this time, there is a method to all this texsolv madness. This tie up assist is set up so that absolutely every possible tie up combination is prepared and follows a dedicated path. In some ways, it's like a hands on dobby, with all the treadles in play. I would hazard a guess that my pegging the cords is quicker than setting the dobby bars.

There is a lot of tension on the cords and now that all are pegged, I need some slack to do the next phase of the tune up. I take the weights off and remove the treadle board. Nothing moved!! They are all perfectly level. Trust me, this is a very good thing. If something had moved either up or down then some small adjustment to find 'level' would be needed, but not today...

If you are still with me at this point (thanks for sticking this out!) now we get to the really boring part (oops, just heard some of you leaving.... :) Each freshly pegged spot needs a new tie cord to mark that particular section. This is so in the future I can just pull the cord quickly, stick a peg in and build a eight shaft/ eight treadle tie up in 5 to 6 minutes, as opposed to being stuck under a loom and then endless tweaking. In the picture above you can see the old red tie, the peg and the new purple tie. Once marked, all red ties will be removed. You can see the difference in this one cord... some cords are even two slots out. No wonder my shed was all ahoo!

I won't bore you with the making of endless new ties.... but I'm chipping away at it. I will also be placing the sectional beam back on and reverting to my hybrid warping method. I have no regrets about trying to warp a la Louet but unless my loom sheds it second warp beam, it's not a good option for me.

Ta Da! Here she is ... all finished and ready for action!

This loom has an oil finish and does look a bit dry in places. I will give the old gal an oiling come spring when the doors and windows can be opened. That's a fun time as I get right into it and any wood tool will be dragged out and buffed up. Its part of my spring cleaning ritual.

I've decided to quickly do another towel warp once the loom is ready. With the coming renovations, I want something that I can just sit and weave, nothing too complicated as there is going to be lot of noise and fuss upstairs. I can hide down here with my iPod on.

Now, the second anniversary contest is still ongoing (see previous post if you are new here). If you haven't yet, be sure to place a comment on the post before this one. The draw winners will be announced in the next post. There are quite a few entries and with just the two gifts, so I'm bound to disapoint some of you.... but heck, you might just win!


Charlotte said...

Hi Susan, you've really been grafting at maintaining your loom. How often do you go through this process? I'm quite fascinated by your back board - it must make setting the treadles much less awkward than pegging underneath. I want to re-read your post a couple of times to fully understand the fine adjustments you made with the purple and red thread. As a beginner seeing a post this detailed is really helpful! Thank you.

Susan said...

Hi Charlotte,
It's a lot more simple than it looks...its just all the cords that make it look complicated!

It is so nice to sit on a small stool at the back and pull the needed cords and then slip the peg into the marked spots and then get busy weaving! Much nicer than crawling in underneath and getting cramps etc.

The red marker is the spot marked from when it was all set up 2 years ago when we moved here to this house. Those red markers were removed and only the new purple ones remain. The cords were still relatively new. Now, 2 years later there was some slack and hence the adjustment. I don't think this would need to be redone again for a long time.

The only part that *might* need to be done again is the outer two treadles on either side of the loom as they really hadn't been used in the past and so I left those. If they get used, then they would need to be reset down the road.

The beauty of this system is that if your loom has rear mounted treadles, then this system could be adapted to your loom too.


charlotte said...

This is a very fascinating post, thank you for explaining so much in pictures and in words.I've never seen anything like this peg board, I think most weavers here adjust by crawling underneath, which is quite an awkward method, I think. Do you think this would work with a countermarch loom?

Anonymous said...

Your "boring" posts are the most fun! Thanks for the pictures, and step-by-step. Your vacuuming advice is right on. I am inspired to go clean up some lint.

Susan said...

I guess I didn't mention in my post that my loom is a countermarche. I'll edit to say that.

This set up is for any rear mounted treadle loom... but makes sense that its a countermarche due to the double tie up .


Lynnette said...

Great post Susan! Loom maintenance is something often forgotten, I've been at workshops when the looms literally fall apart due to untighten screws etc. It's a good idea for all of us to go around our looms and give them a good tune up.

Anonymous said...

This post was like reading russian to me. (I don't know Russian, as you know) but still really cool to see/read the ins and out of looms. I watched the loom portion of my kromski video and it was so much information even for just a basic loom like that. Perhaps one day it'll be my next passion, but for now I live vicariously though you :)

My favorite part was the wooly Conner head though. I swear I squealed when I saw him and awed at how cute he is wooly.
Love you!

bibliotecaria said...

Umm, would something like this work for a jack loom?

And am I understanding you correctly that the texsolv stretches over time? That might explain something that was puzzling me about my current tie-up!

Susan said...

bibliotecaria: Texsolv, the company, says that their product doesn't stretch. I would agree in principle. But over time the constant tension seems to cause some 'easing' and as you saw in my photos it can be up to a centimetre. This took two and a half years of constant use. Now that it is readjusted I expect it to stay more or les the same now for a long time.

Yes. This would work on your jack loom and so reorganizing your tie up cords will give you a better shed. If you are referring to the 20+, this set up will work only if you have *rear* mounted treadles.


bspinner said...

Amazing how much lint and dust looms can get on them. Your's looks so much more complicated than my eight harness jacks. I think it would take me forever to figure out a countermarch loom.
Great posting and very interesting pictures.

Susan said...

bspinner: On the surface of things, yes it does look much more complicated. The tie up assist is there to simplify the countermarche tie up (which is like yours but double the ties). This loom has 12 shafts and 16 treadles so that makes for a lot of cordage and clips! (384 to be precise) but my tie up is most likely faster than yours now if we use 8 shafts as a base line :)

Once you get familiar with the loom and its parts, its like putting on a pair of comfortable shoes. Sort of...

:) Susan

Benita said...

Well, you're nothing if not thorough, but this will all pay off in nicer sheds and less boo-boos while weaving.

The scary part of this is that it all made sense. ;)

Margreet said...

Susan, what a clear and thorough post on the tie & tune up of your loom. Thank you for that. The 20+ system looks like a good idea. My Glimakra has 10 shafts and 10 treadles and I hate having to go under to re-tie! I've been dabbling with the idea of making it into a dobby loom with the help of a Toika dobby unit which would fit.
I like your new blog look too!

Life Looms Large said...

The 20+ sure is cool!!! Plus it's good for me to see that some one is actually doing beautiful work on a countermarche with lots of shafts and treadles!! Spurs me on....although I'm still holding at 4 for one more project.

I know what you mean about the dust! When I wove for a day at Vavstuga, I was working with linen and the dust was really noticeable.


Deb McClintock said...

Thanks for taking time to document the 20+ options, I just had back surgery and am going to add this to my Cranbrook. John and I have been exchanging photographs today. I just have to overcome my drill fears,