I've been trying to get my new-to-me dobby loom warped up for the first time. It is an older AVL 12 harness loom, with a mechanical dobby set up. And I think today I have made just about every mistake in the book.
Over the past few days, I managed to get the warp on the back beam, and threaded the heddles. Today I sleyed the reed, tied on the front beam, and started teaching myself how to peg a dobby pattern. Instead of lifting the various harnesses via foot treadles, the dobby loom has a mechanism that lets you pre-set your pattern through a series of bars and pegs. First thing I had to do was make a pegging pattern.
I'm using a fancy point twill pattern in the threading, and figured I could just tromp as writ for the weft. I figured and figured, and came up with something that I thought might work. Then I started pegging the dobby bars.
I got the whole thing done, and tried to install the chain onto the loom. Um...and tried again. And again. And then figured out that I had put every one of those pegs on the wrong side of the bars. See? I put them coming out of the narrow side of the bars. Wrong. They were supposed to come out of the wide side.
So I took all the pegs out, and screwed them back in on the correct side this time. After that, the chain went in to the loom, slick as a whistle.
Ah ha! I fiddled with the tension of the warp (that is going to take some figuring out still), and started weaving. It worked! Um....sort of. Something wasn't right. After about an inch, I figured out that I had installed the dobby chain upside down. So I took it out, flipped it around, and tried again. Much better.
Now I wove an inch or so...and found that there were warp threads that floated over more than 7 weft threads. For a serviceable cloth, those floats are way too long. They'd snag. I went back to my pegging pattern, and looked for where the trouble spots were. Then the dobby chain came back off again, and I changed the pegging in those spots. Back on the loom, and try again. Now I had weft floats that were too long. One more time back to the graph paper, another change in pegging, and I had the pattern pretty well close.
Except...I was getting elongated rectangles when I had been aiming for a square pattern. Even when I got the tension mostly cranked up, it was still elongated. Which meant that I had the warp crammed too close together.
I looked at it...and looked at it...and took a scissors to my warp. Back to figuring out my math. Now I'm in the process of re-sleying the warp into a different reed, spreading it out a bit more.
Crossing my fingers that it will work this time. At least I have a better idea of what I'm doing this time around. But it was heartbreaking to cut away hours of work!
Maybe tomorrow will go smoother. I hope. It can't be much worse than today...can it??
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