I’ve now woven the first yard of the fabric. It’s interesting – I had thought white on white would be very forgiving, since it’s all one color, but it turns out it’s extremely unforgiving, because there are no colors to distract from flaws in the pattern. Tension problems show up like a sore thumb if I advance too far, and if I break a thread and don’t find it in time, the broken warp thread shows up as a horizontal lump in the fabric. I wove one of my hairs into the fabric by accident, and promptly had a thin black line across the fabric. I spent the next ten minutes laboriously picking it out – no small deal given the fineness of the fabric, the hair breaking every inch or so, and the fact that my hair is extremely long. Next time I shave my head before starting!!
Rosie asked how I could cut off the fabric while weaving without creating tension problems. This is part of the magic of having an AVL loom! The breast beam (sometimes called the sticky or sandpaper beam) is covered with sandpaper, and holds tension. The fabric doesn’t slip on the beam because the sandpaper is rough and holds it. This allows the cloth to have two different tensions, one on the breast beam and one on the cloth beam, meaning you don’t get distortions from knots etc. in the finished fabric – you can wind it loosely onto the beam, rather than having to wind it at weaving tension.
What this means is that, on an AVL, you can simply unwind the fabric from the cloth beam, cut off part of it, roll the remaining fabric around the cloth beam again, tension it very lightly, and start weaving again. The sandpaper beam holds the tension unchanged while you’re messing around.
Weavolution is entering its final pre-launch phases…the alpha site has been shut down, and the database is being transferred to our final home at weavolution.com. We go live at 9am Monday morning (Pacific time)!
Super excited, but also super frazzled. I’ve been working double and triple time getting this site ready for launch, and I’m so close to it now that it’s impossible for me to judge it fairly. We have a lot of bugs (some of them fairly major) and I’m hoping people won’t be put off by this…we’ve had a lot of positive feedback from the alpha testers on the overall functionality, but I don’t know how the rest of the weaving world will react… so I am really nervous and really excited about this. I hope it goes well!