Friday, November 23, 2007

More Weaving Misadventures

I sat down this morning to finish sleying the reed. I had finished two-thirds of it on Wednesday. This meant that I was now working left of center. I pulled out the first group of threads and separated them into groups of two. I inserted my sley hook in the appropriate space and grabbed the first thread. As I did this I saw, to my immediate right, on the first shaft, approximately 30 empty heddles.

An occasional empty heddle is nothing to cry about. It happens. It can just stay there. If it doesn't mean re-threading too many threads, I will correct it. Otherwise I just let it stay there. But 30 empty heddles? No way.

How on earth did this happen? How on earth could I have skipped 30 heddles in a row on the first shaft? I did have a cold. I was also sick from my flu shot. But surely.....................

Fortunately I had tied my threaded heddles in groups such that each group represented one block. So it was very easy to figure out where I was in the threading draft. And I saw that this error had happened in an interesting place: at the beginning of the third repeat.

Anyway, I pulled all the ends out of their heddles, rearranged the heddles, put books under the shafts again to facilitate access to the cross, and am back at it.

Have been surprised that it's not really terribly awkward to thread in this way, with the front beam on, the cloth beam on, the reed in and the beater upright. The most awkward thing is getting on and off the bench because it is right up there close to the cloth beam. Fortunately I'm pretty agile. I just need to make sure that my coffee mug is out of the way so my feet don't kick it over in the process of mounting or dismounting!


Dorothy said...

Hi Peg, I get those "how on earth did this happen" moments regularly I'm afraid. The latest was wondering why I'd carried on weaving for several inches although I thought one of the floats looked a bit longer than it should be. Well yes, there was a good reason why. I should have stopped and looked at everything before. The realisation hurt. "Why did I make that mistake? It was so stupid, but how can I be sure I won't do it again? Groan! How can I weave if I can't get simple things right?"

Always it seems to come back to things that are avoidable if you check and then double-check everything as you go along. But there are so many things to remember and to check when you set up the loom, and every weave step-up needs a slightly different checklist, i.e. different threading patterns need different organisation and checking techniques. There's a mid-point somewhere if you can find it between paranoia and being absent minded.

I discovered talking to my neighbour she'd been employed in her first job as an industrial weaver. She found there was a lot to remember and get right, and she was younger than the other workers, straight from school. The mill was so noisy and everyone so busy she had to get on and couldn't ask questions. She told me that every finished bolt of cloth went to be checked, and everytime it was her bolt being checked she was so nervous she hardly dared breathe until it was signed off, as a fault in the cloth meant wages docked - and everyone would know. She said there never was a problem with her cloth, but she never, ever, could face the checking without feeling the same, almost unbearable, anxiety.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Dorothy, rewrite this comment for your own blog. There is much in it that many weavers would find useful.