Sunday, March 29, 2009

Meet Rick and Learn about the Air System






Last week I was over at Macomber's and guess who I got to pose for a great photo? Meet Rick Hart! Many of you have spoken to Rick on the phone, as his family has owned and operated the business since the 1930s when his Uncle designed the original loom. I promise that in another post I will share more of Macomber Loom's history.

Today I want to give you a VERY brief introduction to the Air Dobby system. I have used this system for at least ten years ( I am embarrassed to say I cannot recall the exact date...note to self..ask Rick) and I have to say that it has been a true life saver (translate to mean back saver, more about that later).

The Air Dobby system will fit on any Macomber Loom and is basically used to raise the harnesses in a specified sequence. The raising of the harnesses is accomplished by the use of pressurized air delivered by hoses to the air cylinders. Each harness is linked to one treadle which is linked to an air cylinder.

To weave, you create a draft using weaving software complete with treadling tie-up and sequence. This weave-draft information is sent electronically to the Air Dobby power supply which tells the air cylinders whether to engage or not. The weft pick sequence is advanced by pressing a small button on the castle of my loom.

This is a VERY simple explanation of the Air Dobby system. Basically what the system does is the heavy lifting. On a 56" Macomber the harnesses are solid steel, so for a 16 harness weave construction, this is a hefty proposition!

The photos here are of the air cylinders, the air pressure gauge, the air compressor (in the garage) and the power supply. I hope this helps you understand the general idea of how the Air Dobby works. Let me know what you have questions about and I will gladly elaborate!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Did you know this??..and today's loom activity




Did you know that every couple of years you need to do an important maintenance job on your Macomber Loom? I didn't know this until I had owned my loom for about ten years. The jacks on the loom are made of brass, and anywhere that the brass comes in contact with steel, you must apply a good coating of Vaseline.

From what I understand when the brass and the steel come into contact, the brass erodes. This means that on your loom's jacks, the little place where the steel rods insert into the brass jacks must get a dab of Vaseline. The Vaseline acts as a buffer between the two different metals. Here is a photo of me doing this job on my loom. I used a Q-tip to dab the goo in the spot.

Here's a photo of my studio and loom. Notice my lap top, I use it with Patternland software to drive the loom. I cut the piece off the loom and hung it up to review the work. At this point I will do much more to the piece with hand stitching and embellishments. But I thought you all might be interested to see my work in progress.

Happy Day! Sarah

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Eddie and the REALLY BIG loom




Today I dropped by the Macomber Looms shop as promised. Here's a picture of the outside of the shop. In Maine we are in the the beginnings of mud season. Not a pretty time of year!

Inside the shop I find Eddie (all-round-loom-builder-extraordinaire) hard at work making a fitting for a beam. He shows me this really BIG loom being made for a weaver in NY state. It is 122" (that's over 10 ft!!). It does not have the harnesses yet, but you can get a feel for the size of it. All the parts seem to be on steroids! It has two sets of treadles and 8 harnesses. I plan to go back when it is fully dressed out and take more pictures for you! Meanwhile, it is time to weave!
Sarah

Monday, March 16, 2009

Fourty Years Ago Today......


Well not quite, but close. I started weaving when I was nineteen. If you are fussy about the math, well, let's just say it is pretty darn close to forty years ago that I began my love and fascination with the grid and patterns composed of threads.

About a month ago, I decided to create this blog about my connection with the loom of my choice, the Macomber Loom. This fine machine, made just around the corner from my house/studio, has been built by the same family since 1936. It dawned on me that Macomber Looms has no website itself. So I have taken up the task of creating this blog to tell stories about my connections to Macomber Looms and welcome others to contribute.

As a weaver who has used a Macomber Loom for 35 years and a sales rep for the looms, I am well acquainted with the loom's history and the possibilities that this equipment offers to weavers of all abilities.

This first posting is just to say "hello". I will be posting soon with photos of the Macomber shop, the loom builders and my current projects on my 56" Macomber.