I bought a mangle yesterday! If you don’t know what that is, it’s a machine that presses large lengths of fabric, rotating it around a circular pad and pressing with an iron. It was designed for pressing sheets, etc. (back in the days when people actually ironed sheets!).
Here’s a (small) photo of mine:
I don’t know exactly how old it is, but it was posted on Craigslist by the great-granddaughter of the original owner, so it’s pretty old for a working appliance. It will need some serious TLC before it is ready for casual use – for one thing, the woven covering of the power cable is crumbling, and is actually repaired with electrical tape in spots (!). It will need to be replaced, belts inspected, bearings re-packed in grease, internal wiring checked, etc. I plan to do at least some of that this weekend.
And…drum roll please…my loom is back and working!! I picked it up over the weekend and promptly blew out the processor. AVL cheerfully shipped me a new one on Monday, which arrived yesterday evening. Mike, bless his soul, generously offered to put in the new processor while I made dinner, and I was up and weaving yesterday night.
I’m still learning to work with the CompuDobby IV. It is significantly quieter than the Compudobby III, and because of the design, ought to be more reliable (only time will tell). I originally had loads of trouble because I change sheds super-quickly, but AVL rewired and customized my CD IV to accommodate my need for speed. Still, shafts were dropping. I spent some time thinking about the problem, which is basically pretty simple: I only stop for a microsecond at the bottom of the treadling, and I start lifting the shafts again so fast that the shafts don’t engage properly.
Anyway, I thought about this some, and realized that what I really needed to do was lengthen the time that the left treadle spends in a fully depressed position. I could do that by slowing down my treadling – but that could create errors if I accidentally started treadling at full speed. (I also don’t like slowing down if I don’t have to!) Or, I could insert something that would mechanically slow down the treadle at the bottom.
I decided to take the second approach. I inserted a spring into the treadle cable, and shortened the cable a bit. So now, when the treadle is depressed, it pulls on the cable in two phases. Phase I, with the spring unstretched, retracts the knife and releases the cables in the dobby box, just as before. But then, in Phase II, the cable reaches its stopping point and the spring takes over. It stretches out an inch or two, just enough to reach the ground, and releases as I start to lift the treadle again. This effectively keeps the treadle fully depressed for an extra fraction of a second, enough to keep the shafts from dropping. (It also reduces strain on the dobby, because the spring absorbs the shock as the treadle hits bottom.)
After making that modification, I’ve reduced my dropped-shafts problem to about 1 pick in 100, and I think I can eliminate it entirely by fine-tuning the mechanism a bit more. Going to play with it a little more tonight.
As you can probably imagine, I have made no progress on the jacket in the last day or so, having been preoccupied playing with the loom! But I will work on it some more tomorrow morning. I’m currently prick stitching the front of the jacket down near the piping, so I can get the piping precisely lined up with the edge of the front. (It also produces a flatter edge.) Still a lot to get done, but I shouldn’t have any trouble finishing it by the end of next week, when it goes to my photographer.