I’ll just bet all of you are out there, sitting around, wondering what in the world happened to my weaving adventures.
Wonder no more.
After weaving a few articles, I decided I had learned enough about the loom that I should take a stab at a bit of rehab. Let me say right up front: if it hadn’t been for Sarah Haskell, I’d still be down there with my head stuck somewhere under the harnesses, wondering how I got there and how in the world I was going to get out again.
It was true, our lovely loom needed a little help after traveling five hours in a driving rain in the back of a pick-up to get to us. (To say nothing of the fact the I later learned she is about as old as I am. No wonder there are a few problems.) So first I took the harnesses apart and made sure all the heddles were on the bars correctly, cleaned and Vaselined the bars and replaced the end brads. Easy-peasy.
Then I got to noticing a few things that might not have been quite right: were those jacks supposed to be a bit snaggle-toothed? And how about those harnesses … none quite the same height as its neighbor, some a bit higher on one side than the other. Was that OK?
Enter Sarah the Savior. I inundated her with several thousand questions, all of which she answered promptly, clearly and with an amazingly patient sense of humor. And she encouraged me, which goes way beyond what I expected.
About a week later, our harnesses, jacks, chains and side wires are all straight as the proverbial arrow.
I sewed a new apron for the cloth beam, and then gave Gertie (I know, “Arachne” would have been a more appropriate name—but I love “Gertie” so Gertie the Loom she is) several baths and brushings and Vaselineings and silicon sprayings. We found some jack bumpers hanging out in a not very useful place and snuggled them under the jacks. We found super hooks and exchanged the older, looser models for these. I ordered new bumpers for the jacks and beater, and also bought a replacement foot rail.
On a roll now.
Gertie was practically whispering rather than rattling and clanking!
Then … uh-oh. I couldn’t get those back apron strings to come out even no matter how hard I tried. Finally I backed up to check the level of the apron rod and saw what looked like a sag in the back cross beam.
So I measured it, and yuckomundadoodle, yes, it was between 1/4″ and 1/2″ lower in the middle. Well, that gave me at least one reason why those strings wouldn’t even out. And it probably had something to do with why the end warps on nearly every project so far had kept snapping.
Back to Sarah. “Try to sand it down,” she advised, so our know-how-do-to-everything Companion Bill brought over the big sander and went to work. When he was done with the big stuff, I fine-sanded the edges and top of the beam, and added a few coats of protective varnish.
Now the only thing left to do is either get those warp apron strings evened out, or surrender and make one more cloth apron for the back.
Then … look out world. I’m going to be a weaving fool.