Grace is now up and weaving! I didn’t have anything ready to weave on her, but my weaving buddy Sheila O’Hara had a piece she wanted to weave, so I offered to let her come down and weave it as a trial piece on Grace. She actually wove three copies of it – one as a single layer piece, and two copies weaving two layers at once! That took six shuttles – bravo Sheila!
Here’s a pic of the weaving partway through (pardon the mess!):
You can see Grace in the foreground and Maryam in the background.
Grace is behaving pretty well at the moment, but there are a few threads that aren’t weaving quite right, so when Ricki comes down on Monday, we’re going to have to replace some valves and pistons. It’s a tedious job for one person, but a quick task for two, so I’ll be glad to have help. Ricki will also be weaving some of their own work, and then starting to thread Maryam.
And Maryam, I’m pleased to say, is ready to thread! We figured out why she wasn’t talking to the modules that control her heddles yesterday (hint: Works better with power!) and fixed the problem. The modules are now activated, and the heddles move up and down. It looks like some of them may be stuck, and I’m sure some valves and pistons will need replacing, but I won’t be able to identify which until Maryam’s threaded. Ricki will be doing the threading for me (bribery is such a wonderful thing 🙂 ), so it may be a month or so before we reach that stage. In the interim, I guess I’ll just have to weave on Grace. Life is terrible sometimes. 😉
I’ve also wound, dyed, and beamed on Maryam’s first warp. It’s a double weave warp, and it looks like this:
As a painted-warp art piece, of course, it’s a huge yawn, but it’s not that kind of painted warp. This warp is dyed in multiple colors not because I want to produce gorgeous cloth like this:
but because I want to create a whole bunch of relatively boring swatches like this:
Weaving just one swatch like the one above isn’t too bad, but if you want to weave fourteen of them, each with a different color in the warp, you either have to warp your loom fourteen times, or put on a single warp and dye it fourteen different colors.
Now, I’d personally rather poke my eye out with a sharp stick than warp up a normal loom fourteen times to do a series of 12″ x 12″ samples. So warping a jacquard loom fourteen times? Not gonna happen. I have a major mental illness, but I’m not crazy!
So I dye my warps when I want to sample lots of different colors. I measure out the warp, put a tight tie on the warp where I want to switch colors, and carefully paint on the dye, being careful at the ends so I get a clean color change. I allow a couple extra inches on each end to allow for wobbly threads. Works great!
In the case of this particular warp, though, things are a bit more complicated. I’ve set this warp up for double weave, so I’ll be weaving two layers of samples at once. Each layer of warp is going to be a different color. For most of the samples, it doesn’t matter whether the color changes sync up. But for some of the samples, I do need to sync up the color changes. Which means making sure that the warps are tied off at exactly the same points. That doesn’t sound too hard, until you realize that the warps are 14 yards long, and soft and wiggly. Hard to line up. I do the best I can, but there’s always the potential for the inaccuracies to add up.
I’m pleased to say, though, that these warps stayed in sync, plus or minus about 3 inches, the entire length! Very pleased about that.
So now it’s just a matter of waiting for Ricki to thread Maryam, then a bunch of tedious debugging, and then I can start weaving samples on Maryam. The first batch of samples won’t be anything earthshaking – mostly, filling in gaps in my sample collection. But after that, I’m going to start in on weaving samples for my painted-warp class, and THAT is going to be a real hoot. And flat-out gorgeous, I hope!
Meanwhile, I have plans for weaving on Grace…and helping Chris with chocolates…hmm….so much to do, so little time…!