Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Little jobs

Fall has definitely settled here in coastal Maine. What red maple leaves are left, cling to branches and we had our first frost yesterday. My studio work has been busy with the typical activities of a self employed teaching/artist/weaver.

I have been so busy that my website and blogs are crying for updates! The long-promised PDF Macomber Manual is still in the hang on to your will be available soon! My public art project "Caught Between Us " that hung on the Portsmouth (NH) Public Parking Garage, came down last week. So summer must be officially over!

There are many little tricks and gizmos on the Macomber Loom. Here are two that you might now know about.
  • The Anti-Backlash Cord ~ this is a piece of short cord, attached to a spring. This device is used on a warp beam with a ratchet brake and prevents the beam from a rapid release of warp.  This cord/spring winds around your back beam with on the opposite end from the ratchet brake. The cord/spring creates a small amount of drag on the beam so that it will not lurch forward and release too much warp. It comes standard with all B Model Ad-a-harness looms. If you need one, they cost $20 for the chain, hook, rope and spring. 
I LOVE this little gizmo. It saves endless amounts of frustration with the warp unrolling too quickly. If you have one, be sure that it is wound around the beam in the opposite direction that your warp winds on. Often weavers let this rope device slip down in the space between the beam and the loom upright. It won't work unless you have it properly wrapped with enough tension to hold the beam for jumping forward when you release the tension.
Instruction from the shop for installation

  • Heddle Bar Clips ~ On the B Model Ad-a-harness floor looms, the harnesses have heddle bars for the heddles to slide from right to left. In the middle (top and bottom) and to the right and left side of the harness are a set of steel wire clips that hold the heddle bars in place. These clips can be un-done to slide the heddles right and left as needed for threading. Granted, this is a REAL knuckle-buster of a job. As a weaver, you know that is is important to give your warp a straight journey from the back of the loom to the front. So it is imperative that you slide the heddles right or left to allow your warps to travel in a straight line from the warp beam through the harnesses to the cloth beam. 
    In order to slide the heddles right or left, you must unclip this gizmo. It is a hard task, agreed! My best method involves squeezing the heddle bar and using the harness top (or bottom) as a lever. 
    Occasionally these things break. If you need a replacement, give me a call. Your heddle bars do need this supporting clip to work properly. 
    I hope this helps you keep your warp on a straight course back to front! 
       Remember if you are nearby, please check out my one person exhibit at Maine Fiberarts in Topsham Maine (near Brunswick). Saturday November 6th at 2:30 I will be giving an artist talk. I'd be pleased to meet you if you can come! Plus I am in a  Surface Design members exhibit at the University of Southern Maine in Lewiston, "Altering Matters". Check it out!
    Well that's it for today. Keep your emails and order coming! Thanks for all you support!


      1. Here's a hint on how to make the task of unclamping the center clip gizmo easier: it's actually the heddles themselves that make the job more difficult - they are a specific size and don't have much room for lengthwise play. Therefore, before you tie on to the front/cloth beam, simply slide heddles near the gizmo to the right and left. If you're already tied to the cloth beam before you see the problem, release the warp enough to provide sufficient slack to slide those heddles right & left. The center clips will then be relatively easily removed & replaced.

      2. I don't have the anti-backlash gizmo, so what I do is manually release the tension (at the front) before I hit the brake pedal (which releases the tension at the back). If I just hit the brake pedal without first releasing some of the warp tension, the warp does, indeed, come whirling off. This approach has worked well for the 15 years that I've owned this loom (it was previously owned for some 25 years or so by another weaver), so I don't really feel the need to invest in the $20 gizmo.

      3. Blue Loom: You are exactly don't need the little gizmo, and you can save the $$ for threads. But for those who do have helps to know what it is and how to use it. Weave On!

      4. I was wondering what that cord and chain were for!!! I have recently purchased an older/used loom which has this item. I am so very thankful to know what it is for. I have woven several warps and the warp does come flying forward (if I don't remember to loosen it in the front). I will be glad to try it now that I know what it is there for. I can not believe that I have woven for 30 years without a Macomber.They really are the cadillacs of looms.

      5. Nice to know about the little cord. However, as a teacher with looms that are older than my undergrads, I've found that the teeth on the ratchet wear out faster if one doesn't release the front beam tension first. All it takes is a little wear on a tooth and it won't hold up under tight tension. We have a box of old ratchet fittings if anyone needs some...

      6. I have a new (Used) Macomber loom that has 2 warp beams. The bottom beam has the anti-backlash cord. I used the top beam for my only project woven on this loom. I know this is a stupid question, but should I be using the bottom warp beam when only one is used?

      7. Great question! If it were me, I'd use the top beam. But you do not say if this one has a anti-backlash cord...curious. Theoretically you can use either beam, but I guess as a creature of habit, it makes more sense to me to use the upper one. So if that back-lash phenomena is bothering you, I'd get a cord for the upper beam. Hope this helps!

      8. Im so glad to know that it is hard to unclip the heddle bar....I thought it may just be me and that I was missing some great secret! Thanks!

      9. I just drove to Ohio and back to pick up my third Macomber! This one is a 56 inch and cannot be more excited! Thanks for all your information here.