I’m amused. I made the trek to AVL today to test my newly-upgraded loom, and discovered that I weave too fast for the CompuDobby IV! It can’t keep up with me, and drops shafts randomly when I weave at full (or even half) speed, because I change sheds so fast. Apparently this has not yet been an issue because, well, most weavers don’t weave the way I do!
So I left the engineers at AVL scratching their heads and muttering about changing sensor placement, timing, and firmware to accommodate my need for speed. (The funny part was when I mentioned that I weave on my Workshop Dobby Loom at 1.3 seconds/pick. Bob said something like, “Yeah, that’s really fast. As long as you don’t try competing with Laura Fry…” I laughed and said, “Who do you think taught me?” So thank you, Laura!)
Anyway, the discouraging part about all this is that I will have to make another round-trip to Chico next weekend. This means another 7 hours in the driver’s seat – it’s a 420-mile round trip, and while it’s a beautiful drive, it basically blows away an entire day next weekend. But oh well! It will be worth it if the loom comes back with a totally reliable compudobby. The CDIII drove me nuts and the CompuDobby IV is supposed to be much more reliable. We’ll see if the retooled version can keep up!
The fine folks at AVL also made some modifications to my loom that should prove helpful. They rounded off the tops and bottoms of my shafts, which will help solve the problem of heddles leaping off one shaft and catching on the other. They also replaced my brake drum and brake cord – YES! – my brake is now functional. I may continue using live-weight tension, anyway, because I like it so much, but it’s nice to have the option of using the built-in brake. And, finally, Tracy put in a leather shim on my sandpaper beam that solved the Mystery of the Tilted Fell. The beam was canted very slightly, making the fell tilted as well. Now it’s perfectly straight. Mystery solved!
So all in all, despite not having the loom this week, I am feeling pretty cheerful. After the frustration of trying to troubleshoot problems myself (with occasional help from people on the phone), it was pure gratification to be able to point at the thing that wasn’t working right and have the expert folks at AVL fix it right there, on the spot. (Now if I could just get them to work on the rest of my life… 🙂 )
Anyway, having the loom away will give me time both to work on the jacket and to check out the two DVDs I got yesterday. Interweave (thanks, Pattie!) sent me review copies of Madelyn van der Hoogt’s Warping Your Loom and Jane Patrick’s Weaving on a Rigid Heddle Loom DVDs. I’ve been meaning to learn how to weave on a rigid heddle loom for awhile now (there’s an Ashford Knitter’s Loom gathering dust in my closet), and this is the perfect excuse. Watch this space for more details!
Jacket-wise, I have fused most of the inserted-weft interfacing to the yardage and have started cutting out pieces. Much to my horror, I mis-cut one of the back pieces, getting the stripe tilted by about 1/2″ at the bottom. I am going to see if I can cut several smaller pieces out of the mis-cut piece, but fortunately, I have plenty of extra yardage, so I’m not terribly concerned about running out. It was an object lesson in the importance of being careful, though!
And, finally, I went to Stitches West yesterday with my weaving friend Virginia, and found actually quite a bit of weaving stuff there! I was surprised, and gratified. So I came home with a three-strand fringe twister (much nicer than the one I had been using before) and two sewing patterns. I also spent a good long time in John Marshall’s booth drooling over his fine silk and fine metallic yarns – but finally decided that I’d rather spend the money on taking his katazome (Japanese paste-resist dyeing) class in July. It’s not clear to me that it’s in the budget just yet, but I think I’m going to start saving my pennies for it.