Saturday, 22 October 2011

     Is it really this long since I blogged?? Yes, it certainly is, and the reason is that I have been learning a new occupation - loom assembly and teaching weaving on the Hattersley single width loom! Now, at my advanced age, the acquisition of new skills cannot be taken lightly and my lack of talent in the direction of multi-tasking meant that while I was finding my feet, so to speak, the blog had to sit on the back burner like a dye-pot building up a good colour.
     I'm not saying I'm the world's best teacher, because I'm not. But it's very satisfying to see my two students progressing nicely. After four weeks of the twelve week course, we have studied the basics - drafting, tie-in and peddling. Then of course mistake rectification, a bit of design work with the point paper and now we're getting onto multiple colours and multiple shuttles. All exciting stuff. They have had one session on my warping mill and hopefully the part-warp languishing there will be finished during the coming week.

     The training project has been organised by Harris Development Ltd and funded by various bodies including Leader and the Heritage Lottery Fund. In tandem, a training course for double-width weavers is being run in Harris too and these weavers are destined to supply the mills, whereas my weavers will be setting up in business as independent weavers designing and weaving for their own markets. All very exciting.

     The loom building was, and continues to be, a real challenge. Though my own weaving course at Lews Castle College in 1994 included loom assembly and adjustment, that was a long time ago and it has been a bit of a steep learning curve aided and supported by my other and, some would say, better half!

     For fellow bloggers who like this sort of thing - and I know there are one or two or you lurking - I've got some detailed photos of loom parts for you. Now, settle down there at the back......

 This is the back part of the card reader assembly and shows the cam on the right which controls the hex card box and the slide cam which is fitted onto the low shaft and operates the levers which are connected to the hooks that turn the box back and forth.

Here's a back view, looking towards the revolving box and showing the top shaft fly wheel, the left hand picking stick with its brackets, the warp bar at the back and a back view of board 4.

Diving underneath the loom at the back, here's a good view of the tappets though they are a little furry from the linen warp I was weaving at the time.  Tappets control the boards and from this angle and reading from left to right, there are two plain weave tappets not in use, then 2-up-2-downs for boards 1,2,3 and 4 and then another 2 plain weave tappets on the right.  The toothed wheel on the right connects with the adjustable toothed collar on the shaft and this is how the shed timing is adjusted.

Here's a useful view of the top shaft pointing to the back of the loom and you can see the bottom cam pointing towards the front of the loom and the roller on the picking stick about 10 cm away from the join in the cam.  This is a good guide for timing the picking.  On the other side, the cam is pointing the other way and the roller is just a couple of centimetres away from the join.

The revolving box showing the bracing underneath which supports the extra weight of the mark 2 box and also a birds eye view of the box brakes.

The card reader in the foreground in its open state showing the fingers above waiting to descend into the card on the next shot thus telling the box which way to turn on the shot after that.

Close up of the revolving box showing the proximity of the horseshoe to the brass end of the box and also the gap between the end of the race board and the horseshoe.  Note also the trip plate at the back above the beginning of the race board which acts as a soft landing should the shuttle get caught at the entrance of the box.

Possibly my favourite piece of the loom - the take-up.  Toothed wheels elegantly fit and work together to operate the prickly roller which pulls forward the finished cloth to the required number of shots per inch.  The small toothed wheel is the shot wheel - note the jubilee clip between the shot wheel and the split pin at the end - this makes an ideal replacement if you lose the big nut that is supposed to go there.  Also, the right hand toothed wheel is the one which is changed if you need to weave larger numbers of shots to the inch.  For Harris Tweed it is customary to have this wheel fitted and the shot wheel moves forward to teeth at a time - thus a 36 tooth wheel puts in 18 shots per inch.  For using all the teeth on the shot wheel a smaller toothed wheel is fitted and a tubular hook fitted to the going part  is adjusted to reduce the number of teeth taken up.

Finally, here's a shot of the pirn winder showing the bottom rail which holds the spindle bases.  To adapt a mark 1 pirn winder to take mark 2 pirns the bottom rail needs to be raised.

That's enough of that now.  Today the rain is very heavy and very wet, but we have had one or two nice days.  The rams are getting ready to be loosed for tupping at the beginning of November and all the hens are moulting, so no fresh eggs for breakfast!

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