Monday, January 11, 2010

Spiffing up your loom!

I have had a few requests lately about how to spiff up (translate as clean or refurbish) a Macomber Loom. Usually one thinks of cleaning as a Spring activity, but here in my studio, I find that winter is the perfect time. I don't have the distractions of the gardens or summer activities and today's weather does not lure me to be out side for long. So here in my studio, the time is perfect to do a bit of loom maintenance.

I blogged about the Vaseline on the B4 and B5 models. Read about this in a March entry.  Similarly you need to occasionally put Vaseline on the CP models where the jack post inserts into the bottom of the harness.


Like so:



Here are some other CP cleaning/spiffing tasks.




Use a small brush to clean the dust and lint out of the wooden harness tracks.

Spray a bit of silicon spray on these same tracks.











 The same steps are followed to clean the tracks below where the lamms slide in the wooden tracks.

Dust, spray with silicon and apply Vaseline to the brass jacks.  

If the wood finish on your loom is looking worn and scuffed. Use a fine grade steel wool to gently rub the surface. Then use a Pledge spray or similar product to seal the wood. I find that weavers often use masking tape to hold down their raddle.  Over this habit over time will build up a gummy deposit on the wood. Steel wool will remove this material and the oil will bring the wood back.
 


If the finish is in very rough shape,  use the steel wool to remove the flaking and chipped varnish. Then apply a satin finish polyurethane such as Minwax.


If the finish is simply dirty (coffee, tea or perhaps wine spills!) use Murphy's Oil soap to gently wash it. Dry and apply the Pledge.

These looms are work horses, but like all animals they need TLC, feeding and tending. Love your loom and it will give you MANY, I repeat MANY years of excellent service. I consistently sell parts to weavers who have looms that are 40, 50 and even 60 years old.

You will be a happier weaver from your time spent caring for your loom. Trust me!

Happy weaving! As always, I enjoy hearing from you ~ Sarah

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Next Best Thing

Many folks ask me if there is a manual to go with the Macomber Looms. The answer is no, sadly. One of my efforts with this blog is to serve as a replacement for all topics that might be covered if such a manual existed.

Today, as I was dressing my CP, I realized that many weavers might not know about the sweet little feature on the CP that holds the harnesses up for threading.

This long thin wire with a curve at one end is the tool for this job.

On the front top part of the castle there are two holes. The upper hole is where this wire inserts when you are weaving. It is not imperative that the wire is inserted for weaving, but it keeps this wire from getting lost if you just leave it there!


When you are transporting the loom (it is a portable after all!), it is imperative that the wire is inserted here. When the wire is in position, it keeps the harnesses from sliding out of the castle during travel.

Now here is the really sweet part...when you are threading the loom, you can raise up the harnesses and lock them in this position with this same wire.

To do this ~ raise up all the harnesses, slide the wire out from the upper position, and insert it in the lower set of holes. You will need to wiggle it under all the harness frames.

If I do not have all the harnesses tied up to treadles, I use my hands to lift and hold the harnesses up while sliding the wire underneath.
Be sure to slide it all the way across the frame and insert it into the back of the castle.

Over the years, a couple of these wires have been bent due to some misuse or another. This makes it a little challenging to insert it in the back hole. But with persistence, I can get it in. The other alternative is to use wires from one loom on the other. 



Here is a picture of the same set up from above. It is hard to get a photo without a lot of clutter...remember this is a working studio! Avery, the dog (upper right), is waiting for a dog biscuit!

Hope this tip helps!
Happy weaving ~ Sarah

Friday, January 1, 2010

Once in a Blue Moon

Happiest of New Years to each of you! I hope that 2010 brings you much joy, good health and prosperity. I wish you many hours of weaving that offer a deep sense of pride in your efforts.


Yesterday, on New Year's Day eve, I wove this blue linen (left over from last month's small commission with the bird). As I was struck by the coincidence that last night was a blue moon and I wove this delicious blue fabric.

Blue is perhaps my favorite color, and this deep hand dyed indigio blue is simply my idea of perfection.


The blue fabric has been washed, pressed and pinned to hem it into towel. I just love it when I get a little unplanned bonus off a warp. Here is the hand towel ready to be hemmed.

January is my FAVORITE month to be in the studio. It is usually a slow month for teaching, there are no holidays that require gifts or decorating. I have long hours to sink into my work. Maine winters frequently serve up snowy days that require that I stay home in the studio. How sweet.

I hope the same for each of you ~ time to ponder, to reflect and honor the joys of building cloth by intersecting threads.Weave and bring joy to your world.

Peace, Sarah