Friday, July 24, 2009


Posted by Peg in South Carolina

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have had a bit of trouble with floating shafts on this current warp.  I sent an email to LeClerc asking about purchasing weights for the shafts.  Their return email said that this particular loom does not need weights but can be adjusted to deal with this problem with the treadle springs.  Here is a photo.

Treadle Springs

Clearly the cords are adjustable, but what effect does adjusting them have on the shafts?  Maybe I will have to figure out a way to step on a treadle and sometime lean waaaay down to see what is going on back here.  Actually, harnessing my husband’s foot is probably a better idea.

LeClerc also suggested loosening the tension.  A funny thing that they should suggest this…….

As I have been weaving these end-of-the-warp samples,  I noticed that occasionally I had no trouble with shafts floating.   Well, maybe the tiniest tiniest bit.  But really, not trouble.  Why not?  Because I did not have the tension ramped up quite so high.

But there is a consequence.  On the first lift, many warp ends that lie at the bottom are just loose enough to cause problems with a clean shed.  The other five lifts seem to be fine.  So on the first lift, I try to remember to clear the shed by hand.

I am still curious about this.  If the warp were imperfect, this looseness should show up on all the treadles (i.e., shaft combinations). Or so it would seem to me.  This is not a draft like Summer and Winter where an exorbitant proportion of threads are on two shafts. 

A possibility.  The shafts that stay down on the first lift are shafts 3 and 4.  These are the rear two shafts of the four shafts I am using.  Perhaps a solution is to raise the warp ends at the back.  One way to do this is to leave the raddle in when I weave.  And I have done this.  But for no particular reason other than a New Mexico weaver of rugs once said to me, when asked about it, why bother removing it?

But there is another way.  I learned this on the WeaveTech list.

Here is a photo of the back of my loom from the side.

Rear of loom sidie view

The back can be let out or in.  I do this by raising the two back bars out of their slots and move the back of the loom forward into the slot of choice.  Up till now, I have used only two slots.  I have the back fully open for weaving, as the picture shows it.  Or I have removed the lowest bar from its slot and then removed the upper bar and moved the back of the loom forward until I could  get the loom back close enough to the castle that it could fit into the slot slot closest to the back of the loom would fit into the bolt on the castle. Doing this folds the loom up tight for moving or storing. 

But, as was pointed out on the WeaveTech list, there are more slots (three to be precise) in that upper bar where the back of the loom can be placed. I had never thought of moving the back to those positions.  I had never thought to ask why those slots are even there.  But from reading the WeaveTech email list, I have learned that there are weavers who actually do not weave with their LeClerc loom all the way back in the rear.  They freely use any of the slots. Doing this gives them cleaner sheds.

What happens when you bring your loom up towards the castle and slip it into one of those three slots?

1. You shorten the length of the warp.  The closer in you bring the back beam, the shorter the warp becomes. This makes really tight tension a little more problematic as there is less warp length to take that kind of stress.

2. You raise the height of the back beam.  The closer in the back beam goes, the higher the back beam goes.

3. You cause a downward slant in the warp as it travels from the back beam to the heddles.  The closer in the back beam goes, the sharper the slant. Is it this downward slant that might be the solution?

I am not a mechanic so I don’t understand any of this in terms of its impact on weaving.  And I don’t understand the mechanics of tightening or loosening the treadle springs. I shall just have to experiment.

More on Floating Shafts” was written by Margaret Carpenter for Talking about Weaving and was originally posted on July 24, 2009. ©2009 Margaret Carpenter aka Peg in South Carolina.


Leigh said...

Peg, I'm getting caught up on blog reading. Your posts are fantastic as usual. Such a wealth of experience and information.

I have to mention too, that I love the polychrome piece. It's a fascinating weave, and one that I hope to get back to. Someday. Hopefully this winter when it's too cold and wet to work outside.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Thank you, Leigh. I understand your desire to be outside. Right now the early morning is the only possible time to be outside here in SC but I'm not willing to give over my prime weaving time to that, unless I absolutely have to. The yards, front, back, and sides, are finally beginning to take shape and I so much enjoy walking around, pulling weeds, adding a bag or two of mulch, and thinking about what I am going to add in the Fall. We do have a watering system, but I still have to water new shrubs and trees once a week for the system does not provide enough water for them. Fortunately the rains so far have been good. Standing out in the heat with a hose is not my idea of a good time!