I am the second owner of this loom, which I found through the wonderful resource of the Loom Exchange. The previous owner, Sue Foulkes of Durham, England, is a skillful and talented weaver. She now uses a Louet Megado dobby loom, and her work will be in a joint exhibition with another weaver at Durham Art Gallery in December. Sue also gives talks and demonstrations. She tells me she's pleased the loom went to a good home, it is certainly loved and used, I can only hope that given time and dedication I will learn to be as good a weaver as Sue!
I don't have a warp on my loom at the moment. Earlier this year I was working hard at learning to design twill weaves. I was using Bonnie Innouye's book Exploring Multishaft Design. Bonnie says on her web site (under "My Book") that most of the projects are suitable for 8 shafts. I found that I had to work very hard to find ways of making some of the weaves work on just 8 shafts, and I could see many patterns would be easier with 16 or more shafts! It was very interesting though, I created some pleasing designs, and, most importantly, I enjoyed myself.
While working through the exercises in Bonnie's book I used a long, narrow, warp. As I worked I found that the tension on one side of the warp went slightly slack. This was consistent with a problem caused by the arrangement of the texsolv cord loom aprons and them winding onto the cloth beams slightly crooked. What starts as a slight, imperceptible difference on one side of the loom increases as more of the warp is used. I realised this problem will occur more often where a narrow warp is used.
You can see the cord loom apron in this photograph of the back of my loom.
A big advantage of using this Texsolv cord apron is that it is very strong. I want to do rug weaving on my loom, which requires a very high tension linen warp, and so I will find this system invaluable.
However, after much thought I decided that the alternative system of lengths of cloth for loom aprons was likely to be better for weaving on lower tension warps, and especially for narrow warps. It will need less adjustment than the continuous Texsolv loops and should wind on to the cloth beams evenly.
I was interested when Leigh got a countermarche loom with the Texsolv system recently to see that the previous owner of her loom might have had similar difficulties, and had a different solution. On Leigh's loom the continuous cord has been cut and straight tie pieces are use instead - see here.
I'm a self-taught weaver and have only seen a couple of looms other than my own. I've never actually seen a cloth loom apron. However, I found useful advice in "Handloom Weaving Technology" by Allen Fannin (pub. 1979, by Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York), and fellow members of the Online Guild of Weavers Spinners and Dyers were very helpful.
I bought canvas cloth, medium weight, from Whaleys of Bradford. I bought cloth that was longer and wider than necessary. The cloth is a single piece across the width of my loom, one side utilises the selvedge and the other is only protected from fraying by having a wavy cut edge. It is does not have a sewn hem on either side because more knowledgeable weavers have warned me that the cloth will stretch unevenly if I stitch it. The ends of the aprons are folded over to hold wooden rods and have large slits to enable me to wrap texsolv ties around the rods. I used hard wood slats that are sold in the hardware shop for the sort of clothes drying racks that are suspended from ceilings. I cut the wood to the same length as my cloth beams are wide. I'm using six. One at each end of the two aprons, plus two more to tie to them and to which I will tie the warp.
Here is the new cloth apron on the back of my loom.
In order to attach the apron to the loom by the most simple, and least obstructive method I could think of, I have use texsolv ties that thread through the holes through the cloth beam and are retained by knitting needles threaded through slots in the cord. (I should have mentioned that texsolv cord is made with short slots in it, like a chain).
The next photograph is a close up of one of the slots in the apron (edges finished with a machine sewn blanket stitch) and the texsolv tie cord. You can just about see how I cut channels in the wood with a saw and chisel (I had to dust off my memories from school woodwork classes!) This prevents the cords sliding along the wood.