This morning I rode the Tour de Max with Mike – 40 surprisingly hilly miles. Mike finished nearly an hour before I did and was getting worried about me when I finally showed up, about four hours after starting. I averaged nearly 12 mph over the course, which is not bad (for me) on a hilly course, so I’m satisfied.
On the way back, we stopped and picked up a new bolt for the warping wheel, which I have now assembled. Haven’t tried using it yet – that comes after I finish weaving up the current warp. Looking forward to playing with, er, using it, though.
I have also converted my AVL loom’s brake from a static brake to a live-weight tensioned brake. Here’s a photo:
I have wrapped a cord two full times around the brake-band cylinder on the back beam (so there are actually three layers of cord on top where the cords overlap, two on the bottom). On the left side is a small weight to keep enough tension on the cord that it doesn’t slip. On the right side is two sets of ankle weights from the gym (which I had lying around from my old physical-therapy days). The ankle weights are pulling down on the warp beam, adding tension to the warp (since the warp is now supporting the weights). The amount of tension on the warp is proportional to the weight of the ankle weights – which is handy, since the ankle weights are designed to be adjustable. Each one contains ten 1-pound steel bars that slip into a little pouch, so I can easily calibrate the tension on the warp.
The theory here (which, incidentally, comes from Kati Reeder Meek’s excellent pamphlet Warp With a Trapeze and Dance With Your Loom – I recommend it highly) is that the tension is now kept continuous and even, rather than jerky as it would be with a traditional brake. As the warp advances, the weights rise further up (keeping the same tension the entire way); when the counterweight hits the floor, the cord slackens and the weights slide down until the counterweight comes off the floor and puts friction on the cord again. At all times an even tension is maintained.
At least, that’s the theory. I don’t know yet whether the cord will slip correctly once the counterweight hits the floor, but I suppose I’ll find out soon. 🙂
I believe this is actually how AVL tensions all its “regular” looms, so I’m a bit mystified why the live-weight tensioning isn’t done for the AVL workshop dobby loom. It might just be because I have an earlier model – I notice that the current brochure for the AVL WDL says it uses the automatic warp tensioning device. I might call AVL up and ask if they have a conversion kit.
At any rate, if you have a loom with a traditional brake, you might consider trying this. I’ve tested out advancing the warp and it works great! Perfect, even tension, no jerkiness.
And now, off to dye the yarns. I have 16 skeins to dye, which will be done in two batches in quart canning jars in the canning kettle. In between dyeing the skeins I will probably cook ribeye steak (grass-fed, dry-aged beef from Prather Ranch – the best meat I’ve ever tasted) and some sort of vegetable for dinner, and do a little bit of weaving, enough to test the live-weight tensioning. I don’t know if I will get to the tomatoes tonight – it might have to wait for tomorrow. Or I might be able to manage them in between the second batch of dyeing.