By being my usual cheerfully obsessive self, I got the rayon chenille warp wound and both warps threaded and sleyed yesterday. (Lest you be impressed, there were only 360 ends in this particular sample, as it’s only 12″ wide.) I also finished making my free-standing trapeze, which is basically an oversized sawhorse. I put 5’8″ legs into a pair of cheap sawhorse brackets ($7.58 a pair at Lowe’s Hardware) and stuck a 2×4 in between. Here’s the stock photo of how the sawhorse brackets work:
I’ve basically done the same thing but with much longer legs than a conventional sawhorse. I’m also leaving the top loose to make the sawhorse easier to break down; I’ll screw it down temporarily while using it, then remove the screws later.
I worry a bit about the trapeze tipping over, but if it looks like that might happen, I’ll follow Mike’s advice and run a big bolt through the back legs a foot or two from the floor, and hang some weightlifting plates from the bolt. I already have them for my live-warp tension system, so I won’t have to buy anything new.
Also, I plan to fix a raddle onto the back beam of the loom, like so:
The idea is that the warp passes over the trapeze and through the raddle on the back beam, spreading the warp out and bringing it level to the heddles. (All sorts of unintentional hilarity would ensue if the warp came in directly off the top of the trapeze!) A useful side effect is that it ensures that most of the pull on the trapeze is vertical rather than horizontal, reducing the odds of tipping over.
I had a lot of trouble getting the tension even on both warps while tying on, and finally decided to tie on the two warps separately. I had trouble getting the rayon chenille warp tensioned correctly, with the ends even, because it was not tied to the back beam. Finally I hung the chains off the back of the loom, weighted them with a couple of C clamps, and used that light tension to pull against, to get the ends even.
I am a bit worried that the two lashings-on will interfere with each other, preventing equalizing of tension, but I think I can manually adjust the tension on the strings if necessary.
On the whole, handling two separate warps, one wound on the back beam and one not, was a royal pain. For my next sample, I will try winding two warps together onto the back beam and using the weighted-rod method to make sure the looser warp gets tensioned correctly. I had been worried that the weighted rod would hit the floor before the end of a 15-yard warp, but Jean from Weavetech offered the brilliant idea of throwing the weight for the weighted rod over the top of a trapeze, thus allowing a lot more space for the rod to “drop” before it hit the floor.
The only possible problem with winding two warps together on the back beam is capacity – I want to put on a 15-18 yard warp, and I’m not sure I can fit a 15-yard warp in 1450 ypp rayon chenille onto my warp beam. Hanging a second warp from the trapeze would solve this problem neatly. The only way to find out whether it will work is to try, of course, and I plan to do so.
Anyway, I am now threaded, sleyed, and lashed-on. The only things left to do are to set up the trapeze, clamp down the raddle, toss the rayon chenille warp over the trapeze and weight it, and then – WEAVE!
None of which can be done until Mike gets up (in about an hour), so meanwhile, I’ll catch up on my reading. I finally got a copy of Doramay Keasbey’s Designing with Blocks, and it is fantastic. I also intend to play some more with WeavePoint, which Mike bought me as an early Christmas gift.
And, of course, there is always the Black Sheep presentation to work on. I have the basic framework in place and am now struggling to make it visually interesting, instead of a series of boring bullet points. I think I’ll be able to finish it before the deadline in January.