Thursday, July 2, 2015

Bring Out the Champagne!

My new Coccodrillo!
Beautiful new (to me) Leclerc Nilec!
Sometime last week, a lovely package arrived on my doorstep: a Leclerc Nilec. It's a beautiful little table loom with 2 shafts (plenty enough for me, as I do mostly plain weave anyway) with a 15" weaving width. The lady who sold it to me also generously included in the package a collapsible warping board, two boat shuttles, and an extra 8dpi reed so I could get started right away.

Unwind the champagne!
30/2 cone yarn in colour "champagne"
I knew I wanted to weave at finer setts than I could get with the 250 heddles it came with, so I cleared out the 400 wire heddles from Romni's at a highly discounted price ($6/100) since that was the last of their stock. The new heddles are significantly easier to work with and get caught on each other much less, so I'm really tempted to just replace all of them, but that would require me to make another purchase of 100 heddles (at a higher price + shipping, most likely), so I'll just use what I've got for now. I wanted to weave 15" using the champagne cone at 30epi, so I needed 450 heddles, which meant 225 per harness. That came out to 2 threads per slot in the 15dpi reed.

The three musketeers. Cut down.
3 warp chains, cut before their time. The three musketeers, if you will.
Warping on the board went fine, more or less, though it did end up taking me a couple of days to get around to actually doing it. Beaming, on the other hand, did not have me beaming, but rather wanting to sob in a corner. I had no raddle, and didn't want to have to pull all the threads through the reed to beam the warp on, then have to sley the reed again, so I kind of just went at it. A couple of issues came up:
  1. The warp wasn't spaced properly. Duh. I really should have waited a bit to go to Home Depot and just make myself a raddle, which I ended up doing... two days ago. I was already threading the heddles at that time.
  2. For some reason, the first warp chain got very very tangled. That might be because I warped it up over the course of several days? The other two warp chains were more or less problem-free, and I had done those both in one day.
  3. The cross wouldn't let the lease sticks slide along the warp! I had to keep tugging at the warp chains to straighten everything out so that the lease sticks would be able to slide along the chain. I'm not sure if I just did something wrong or what. I tied two t-shirt strips from the front to the back of the loom and made the cross using them to hold the lease sticks in place. I think I'll try tying them to the front of the loom next time? I really don't know what I did wrong here. It might have had to do with issue#2 though, since the bulk of the tangles that interfered with the lease sticks at the cross occurred at the first chain.
  4. Due to tangles and threads starting to stick to each other making a mess of the cross that I could not brave with the lease sticks, I cut the warp before I reached the end. I'm guessing I only got half the warp on. Oops.
I think that was it for the beaming process.

Rocky beginnings
What's happening with this harnesses over yonder? Also, see that broken warp thread? Fixed.
A couple of other things though:
  • The paper covering the top and bottom of the 15dpi reed is coming off more and more with every beat of the beater. Maybe I can just rip it all off and tape it over?
  • The harnesses don't lie completely evenly with one another. I don't think that's too much of an issue though. I've also had to put a magnet on top of both sides so the lever would stay up in position. I'm not sure if that is more due to issues with tension in my warp or if that's just the loom. Again, not a big issue.
  • I feel like the shed isn't actually big enough for the boat shuttles. If the loom was any wider, the shuttles might just get stuck halfway, but it works since it's only 15" across. Actually the shed is plenty big for the boat shuttle, as long as I don't weave too close to the reed. The shed shrinks with each pass of the shuttle, the closer the woven cloth gets to the reed, so I have to advance the warp pretty often.
That's all so far? They're all pretty inconsequential, I think, and I'm really enjoying weaving on the Nilec despite those issues (plus a couple of snapped warp threads)! It's so much quicker than weaving on the AKL (especially since I'm doing mostly double sett with two rigid heddles on my AKL). And besides, now I know what not to do next time! I think this quote sums it up really nicely*:

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." (Samuel Beckett)

*I have a confession to make: I've never actually read any Beckett. I have seen this quote everywhere though. And for good reason, I think!

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