25 April 2013

Fall back and regroup

I'm back, baby!

Last May I had my first medium-sized problem with the project. It had been a growing problem for a while, but I was slow to put the pieces together to recognize what the real problem was. About the time I figured it out, and figured out how to fix it, Life intervened. In this past year of illness, family obligations, and deaths, I have been slow to return to my loom. But it's really hard to ignore a warped 7' loom in your dining room forever, and sooner or later I knew I'd have enough je ne sais quoi to deal with it. So I'm back.

The trouble had to do with those damned heddle rods.

I knitted the heddles back when I still had the warp weighted with one weight per inch, 12 ends per weight. Redistributing the weights so that they weighted an inch and a half of warp, 18 ends, was the right choice for the project, but it left me with a difficulty that I was slow to identify.

Many of the warp threads in the center of the project had broken and needed to be replaced. All of them came from the warp bundles attached to a particular pair of warp weights, the centermost front and the centermost back weight. I finally realized an Important Principle that I will have to remember for the next project. If you're going to use a pair of heddle rods instead of a single one (which I actually doubt I would do again, but that's another issue), it is important that the division of the warp between the two heddle rods occur at the same point as a division between warp bundles. Otherwise you'll get a mess that looks like this.

When I first warped, I followed the Important Principle. Somehow, though, when I re-weighted the warp I failed to realize how important the Important Principle really is! But I understand now. I have successfully repaired the broken warps, re-divided my warp, undone some heddles from the sinister heddle rod and re-knitted them onto the dexter heddle rod. Here's a photo of the re-knitted center of the warp, manipulated a bit so you can see clearly how clean the division is between the sides.

Notice that all the heddles on the upper (dexter) rod control threads on the left side of the central divide, which matches the division between the warp bundles on the fixed shed rod at the bottom of the photo. All the heddles on the lower (sinister) rod control the threads on the right side. I will no longer have the problem of a warp bundle whose strands are controlled partly by one heddle rod and partly by the other. I feel like an idiot that it took me so long to figure that out!

When the piece is finished and off the loom, there will be a lengthy period of repair weaving as I work out how to handle and weave in all those broken warps. Fortunately, that won't be nearly as challenging as the rectification process I just finished.

I think I am almost ready to recommence weaving. The next thing I need to do is read back in my entries and remind myself of what I'd worked out about the dance of it. Also, I'll need to move the piece of dining room furniture I recently inherited that currently stands right about where I did while I was weaving. But I feel greatly relieved that I have finally managed to fix the problem looming over my dining room. It's definitely worth the backache it gave me.