Friday, July 27, 2012

Used Looms are Always a Puzzle

Progress on my new loom...

Four Harness Upright
Tapestry Loom by Fireside
I bought this used four harness upright tapestry loom before Convergence, moving it from the third floor studio of a house in Venice to my studio.  It moved in pieces, of course.  How else to get it into our mini-van or for that matter through our very narrow front door?  Quite a puzzle taking it apart into pieces I could lift.   I didn't want to take it all apart...just into enough smaller pieces to get them down three flights, or into the elevator, into our van and through our front door.   Our front door is quite narrow as we discovered the first year we bought a Christmas tree to match the high vaulted ceilings in the living room.  We discovered the fact again when the new refrigerator was delivered..and returned.

I tried to keep as much as possible of the original set up of this loom since it looked quite complex.  I am not familiar with a cantilever loom; all I can say is that it has a lot of cord.  Unofrtunately, I did have to cut all the cords for the move but I carefully taped and tied them for future study to aid in the assemby process.  I could see I would need all new rigging and the metal would need some work.  The salty air of Venice did a number on the metal; the rigging was discolored.

There was lots of cotton seine warp wound onto the top bean that I decided to save.  I'd like to use it if I can since it looks to be 12/6, a favorite warp of mine for smaller tapestries but not sure on such a potentially larger one.  The warp looks to be about 40 inches wide; all the reeds are 48 inches.

I bought lots of texsolv rigging for the loom at Glimakra in the vendor hall at Convergence and spent yesterday and today refurbishing.   First I had to remove all the rust and corrosion on the metal.   That was quite a mess and my hands were not happy. Then I cleaned up the beautiful wood a bit as my hands suffered some more.

Next I started on the rigging which was a tough yet fun puzzle.  I have never seen so much cord on one loom!  It was all over the place.  There looks to be more than 50 yards of the stuff.   I do think I now understand how it works at least with the harnesses..the beater is an altogether different puzzle.  I was able to get the sixteen pieces of cord going from the four harnesses through all the right alleys, over and under the many pulleys and down to the six pedals.  I set it up as a straight tabby to test my theory for the set up...but... it is not quite right...sigh.

In the process, I broke a small piece of the wood which has now been glued.  It needed to dry so I looked for something else to work on.

Since all the warp in already on the top beam and I secured the warp which went through the heddles when I removed the heddles; all I have to do it tie-on vs. re-thread the heddles.  Lots and lots of knots are in my future...   I just started to tie on the warp and have noticed that it looks like what I have is a straight 1-2-3-4 tie-up so I can easily do a tabby or a twill if I want to get fancy.   So far I have only about 20% of the warp tied on.

Sigh.  So much more to do...

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