I fished the first set of yarns out of the dyepot, and discovered (not entirely to my surprise) that the black did not dye quite as expected. Which in retrospect should have been obvious, since black dyes are generally combinations of other dyes and shift in lighter values, but anyway…what I wound up with, from different concentrations of Sabracron F “Rich Black”, was a series of black, dark indigo, indigo, shading to cornflower blue. Pretty, but gray it ain’t. I’ve posted to the dyers’ list asking if anyone knows of better ways to get gray on fiber-reactives. (With acid dyes it seems to be much easier, and I’ve gotten some great grays from black with acid dyes.)
I am also running into some difficulties with the live-weight tension brake. Initially, I couldn’t get the tension high enough to prevent skips; then I got the tension high enough, but either couldn’t get enough slippage to let the weights slide down when the counterweight hit the floor, or couldn’t get enough friction to keep the weight from hitting the floor. I can’t use the technique on the beam itself since it has a square cross-section, so I’m limited to using it on the brake-band section, and the cord I’m using is a little too wide to fit trebled in the section. Clearly this is a solvable problem, but it will take time and some experimentation to get it right. Meanwhile, I am probably going to put the standard brake band back on when it’s time to weave. I’m also going to call AVL just in case the state of the art (or at least of the WDL) has improved since mine was made.
One of the companies that I had originally written off (because our salary numbers were so far apart) is coming back to interview me again. I wonder if this will work out after all – hoping it does, since it is a telecommuting position doing some pretty seriously cutting-edge stuff. But I also have a few more irons in the fire; hoping one or more of them pans out.