Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy Birthday Blog!!

There are many reasons to celebrate this week! First of all we celebrate the one year birthday of the "Macomber Looms and Me" blog.   

Happy Birthday!! Thanks to everyone for your kind words of support. I celebrate with you the power of community and the sharing of ideas/information to help us all be better weavers and better human beings!

And another celebration is due...I cut off the "Tree of Life" commission from my loom. The cutting off of any weaving is always a bit nerve wracking, nervous tension as well as anticipation and excitement. There is still a fair amount of embroidery and finishing to do, but here it is in the raw.




And finally here is a photo of a part some folks ask me about ~ the warp separator for double weaving. This part keeps your two warps from riding over each other and causing problems as you advance one warp and not the other.
Happy Weaving....and another reason to celebrate...it is officially spring!

Happy Spring!!
 Sarah

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New tricks for an old-ish weaver!

OK...I'll admit it, well ...no, not my age...but the fact that I have been weaving for over 40 years...can this be true??  And for over 30 of those years I have woven on Macomber Looms. Well, this week I learned a new trick for my loom! (By the way my loom is 35 years old!)

Fellow weaver Morgan Clifford sent these pics to me. I will give her credit for this wonderful technique of safely viewing your work in progress. As you can see in the photos, simply unhitch the front breast beam by lifting the side arms up. Then release the dog/ratchet system, and unroll your work for a preview. Let the weight of the breast beam roll the work out with even tension.

When you are done admiring your beautiful work, use the cloth advance handle to crank up the work. Let the weight of the breast beam create the tension you need to rewind the work in progress to a healthy tension.

Such a brilliant and beautiful idea! Thanks Morgan! Thanks Christy (the weaver in the photos) for sharing your beautiful rug in-process!

Happy weaving from Maine where the crocuses are getting plump and ready to pop open!
Sarah

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mystery part number one

My weaver friend Al out in Seattle sent me a photo of this part.

And here it is on my loom. This part is the cloth beam advance handle. When not in use it hangs freely from the cloth beam , between the ratchet and the right hand support for the cloth beam. When you want to advance the cloth beam, you push it into the ratchet and lift up, engaging the teeth of the ratchet with the handle.

 

Hope this solves the mystery Al!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

CP brakes and a TLC gallery

Oh you wonderful weavers! Thank you for all the great images of your looms that have been lovingly restored. I will post a few here for viewing pleasure and perhaps a bit of inspiration for those of us who are contemplating a TLC effort!

Plus here is an extra bonus, a photo of the CP sectional friction brake system, as requested by a fellow weaver. Enjoy!! And happy weaving! 
A CP in California that has been restored.
Gertie, the lovingly restored vintage 1950s loom in upstate NY.

I will post more images soon. I also have a few images of adaptations that weavers have made to their looms. So stay tuned. Meanwhile...happy weaving!

Sarah

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sit up Straight!

Mother was right. Good posture is important, especially when you are using your body in a repetitive motion such as weaving. I know from personal experience how extremely important ergonomics and good body mechanics are.

In 1990, after weaving for 20 years, I ruptured a disc in my lower back. The physicians agreed it was from the repetitive motion of weaving, the lifting of heavy harnesses and twisting associated with throwing the shuttle. So my advice comes from experience.

Here is an article that I wrote for Handwoven Magazine, March April 1993. You can read what I learned and how I made the necessary changes, so that now, 20 years later I am weaving with no pain, no problems and a healthy back. Click on the article and you can read it!

I made two significant changes in my studio after the back injury. I switched to an air dobby, so with the 56" loom I no longer use my legs and lower back to power up the harnesses. You can read more about this system in a March 2009 blog posting.

The other adaptation I made was to have a woodworker friend build me a 60" wide bench with a sliding seat. This bench is magnificent, the seat glides across the width of my loom allowing me to catch and throw shuttles without the twisting ordinarily found in this motion. This was a custom built bench, but with a bit of research, I bet you can find a happy woodworker to make you one!

I also find that a daily practice of some kind of stretching is crucial to maintaining good body health. (I practice yoga.) I LOVE to weave, so I am faithful to the changes I have made. These changes make the difference to me between weaving with a healthy back and not weaving at all. What do you do??

PS~~~ We have had a streak of bad weather here. Lost power for 3 days. The shop is still closed as of today (Mar 1st). So for those of you waiting for quote, info or a response from me...hang in there!