Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Happiness is couscous...

I'm a lucky girl.

I've been home yesterday and today, sick and grumpy because I'm not doing things and I like to be doing things.

I started warping my Northwest Pioneer loom for the Davis Spinners' Guild spinning and weaving demonstration at the Yolo Wool Mill-In this coming Saturday. The Pioneer loom is an innovative  design with open top reed and heddles that is supposed to make it easier to sley the reed and thread the heddles and wind the warp all at the same time. Theoretically, you could change threadings or sleying in the middle of a project if you so desire. My loom is a 12 harness loom from the 80's. They've made some design changes since then so they're supposed to work a bit better now. I got my loom from a woman who called it a Norwood loom which is an entirely different beast. It wasn't until I drove to Lake County to pick it up that I realized it was such an unusual loom, but I got it anyways since it had 12 harnesses and my floor loom only had 8 harnesses and there was something I wanted to weave that needed 10 harnesses. (I'm now pretty happy with my 16 harness dobby loom, but Charlie has pointed out that I haven't woven since he's known me so maybe that says something.)

At any rate, I've barely used the Pioneer loom. It doesn't like close setts or thin strings; the strings ride up into the open slots of the heddles. And I don't like weaving with heavy yarn, so we're just not right for each other. But I want to like it. It's such a cool idea. Plus now seems like a terrible time to try to sell a loom.

So since we needed a portable loom for this demo, I volunteered my unloved loom and decided to try out warping on the loom since I can't find my warping board anyways. It worked!

The front beam extends out and little warping attachments with pegs fit over them. You can then wind the warp across the pegs, each thread passing directly into the reed then the heddle, around the back hook and back into a heddle, then the reed and back around the pegs to the front. It is ingenious and I think it was faster than winding, sleying and threading conventionally though it's been too long since I did it to remember. 114 ends took me 1 hour 15 minutes. Ergonomically it's terrible though, leaning over the loom. I think I may try it on a taller surface next time.

Here's the loom with the warp wound on. I had Charlie help me wind the warp on instead of using lease sticks for friction. Hopefully it works ok. I'll have to find some weights for Saturday just in case.

You might notice the mess of lamms resting on the treadles in this photo. I think this loom may work fine as a table loom...the few times I've used it, the levers work great. But for more than 4 harnesses, I really want treadles! As far as I can tell, the new Northwest Pioneer looms don't have the option of stand and treadle attachments which is probably a good thing. These haven't worked well so far, but I can't give up so I decided to try to use them again.  This unfortunately means making some adjustments to the loom.

So when Charlie came home today, I was under the loom, scowling and cursing while trying to maneuver tiny wire loops with sharp ends onto little wire hooks. Why didn't they make those loops just a little bigger? Or cover the sharp ends of the wire? Arrrgh! At first I didn't even notice the roses he was carrying. 
He also had a very sweet card with an old fashioned sewing machine just like mine and the caption "hoping you're on the mend." Then he started making dinner for his friends who have just had a baby.

Here's dinner for the family. Doesn't it look delicious...and healthy?

He made me a plate too!

What an awesome guy!

1 comment:

Mel said...

How sweet of him! And that loom is indeed interesting! My friend up here is the opposite of you: thick yarns and weaving rugs is her passion (she was making some towels with fingering-weight yarn and cursing)... she might enjoy this type of loom. I hope you have fun at the Mill! It sounds like the owner is more active these days. :)