Wednesday, 31 December 2008

At the year's end

I've been working on a Bibliography for my blog, for which you'll find a link in the sidebar.

This has entailed reading back through all my blog posts and running back and forth to the book shelves to check details. It's a task I was indirectly prompted to do by Leigh - who asked several months ago if I would think about joining up to the Library Thing. I had time this week to look at Leigh's books on the Library Thing (click on the tag on her blog page). She's listed 133 books - that's a lot of work, well done Leigh! I realised I already had lots of book details in my blog pages, and for some of them I've written reviews, or some information about why they interest me, so the "Bibliography" link seemed a sensible way way for me to organise information about my library.

I spent a few days trying to work out how to make nice page tags, as I've seen Leigh and several other bloggers using, but after three days of reading my book on html and css and other people's source code I'd had enough and took a short cut. The Bibliography is made in a blog post that I gave a posting date to that pre-dates my first blog entry, and then it was easy to link to this page and easy to find it for editing.

One of the interesting things I discovered in the process of this task was which books I have written about, and which I have omitted. Ahh! Now I am well set to write about the rest of the books on my shelf, so you can expect more reviews in 2009. There's only 62 books in my bibliography, far more than that on the shelf, and I ordered another 4 weaving books just yesterday (!)

Something else I did this week was to read back through all my posts for 2008. Not because I particularly like to dwell on history, but because I've had flu for two weeks and not felt much like doing anything else! I was interested to re-discover how much I have done, and learnt, in the past 12 months. This has to be another good reason for keeping a blog. Sometimes I feel very frustrated at my lack of progress, like many hobby weavers the day job(s) seem a great obstacle to my ambitions.

Good news for 2009 is I have (as of 20th December) cut the day jobs down to just one (a year ago I had three jobs, cut in July to two) and my going out to work week is down from six days to four. Hurray! Will this mean more weaving time? I hope so.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Colours - theories and practice

I've been meaning to get back to writing about colour, and hanging up multi-coloured Christmas lights in our front window on the evening of the winter solstice brought back many thoughts about colour.

There is a fashion for blue Christmas lights. A nearby town has a magnificent tall Christmas tree, it passes muster in daylight, but at night the sole decoration tiny blue lights leave it looking dingy, dull and mean. Not what I call Christmassy, no spirit of joy, of giving and sharing. It looks like they couldn't really be bothered (who are they? the councillors? some official with a small budget?). I don't name the town - it's local and I'm ashamed of it.

There is no doubt colour and colour choices are important. Everyone knows their own likes and dislikes for different colours in different places. I realised recently, when discussing colour samplers, that I have been building my own ideas about colour interactions steadily over many years, and I take what I know for granted.

Because my understanding of colour is in patterns in my mind, and because colour is a complex subject, I found to my surprise that I lacked words and phrases for talking about my views on colour.

So what could I say to someone else about colour? This is where I feel comfortable:
  • I can talk a bit about rainbows and the spectrum colours when white light is split with a glass prism.
  • I know the terms "warm" and "cool" and associate them with the colours of hot things and colours of cold things.
  • I know that colour temperature relates to how "white" a light is and gives an indication of a tint towards yellow or blue.
  • I know that colours look different in different lights.
  • I know that in my box of drawing pastels, where each colour is available in 5 tints, no. 3 is pure pigment, 2 and 1 have white added and 4 and 5 have black added.
  • I know that pigments in paints and dyes interact with each other differently to mixing colours of light.

That seems like a reasonable list now I write it down. But I didn't seem to be able to explain to other people how I choose colours and how I predict what combinations I decide will work together, and I was shaky on the details of the above - like how to explain why pigments behave as they do, what light temperature is about, what happens with different colours under different lights.

This set me off in two directions however, both seemed to involve buying more books! (I find it hard to ignore any excuse for another book.) I read a lot, learnt a lot, got a bit confused and then ended up about where I started!

I learnt that colour theory in relation to making colour choices seemed to take off at the end of the 19th century, and that modern "colour theory" crystallized with the Bauhaus movement and teaching. Since early 20th century, "colour theory" has been passed on often with little of the context or background for the theories. Some modern colour theory books present us only with a set rules and no reasoning. Personally I react against rules without reasons. I was born to ask "why" and remember getting into trouble on many occasions in my childhood for insisting on having "why" answered, and refusing to obey rules that had no whys!

Hunting through bibliographies and references to ever older texts on colour brought me to the purchase of two lovely old books.

Colour Matching on Textiles: a manual intended for the use of dyers, calico printers, and textile colour chemists, by David Paterson, published by Scott, Greenwood & Co., London, 1901,

and

Colour in Woven Design: being a treatise on the science and technology of textile colouring, by Roberts Beaumont, published by Whittaker & Co. of London and New York in 1912.

The first is a lovely old text book, written for those in the trades named in the title, and begins at the beginning - by looking at how the human eye perceives colours with full description of the parts of the eye and how the eye works. Chapter 1 is all about this, chapter 2 is about the qualities of different natural daylight sources (artificial light sources are not mentioned until chapter 8) Chap. 3 is on hues and purity of colour, other chapters are specifically about dye matching for textiles.

This book introduced the name of a man who seems to have been one of the first to try and develop rules about how different colours interact when used together: the French chemist M. E Chevreul.

Principles of the Harmony and Contrast of Colours and Their Application to the Arts, M.E. Chevreul, 2nd edition pub. 1855, Longman & Brown.
(Fairly recently republished in the U.S.)

It was Monsieur Chevreul, a chemist in charge of the dyeing department of the famous Gobelins tapestry workshops in France who seems to have been the first to examine why, in the words of David Patterson "a colour may appear rich and saturated in one pattern, and yet appear dull and wanting in vigour when put into another pattern with a different scheme of colouring". This seems to be the root of our modern colour wheel organised theory. I tracked down an early edition of this book at a second hand book shop. It was priced at £50 and not in good condition, so I did not buy, but I was interested to hold a copy of this book and see what it contained and how it was organised. M. Chevreul developed his theories of colour behaviour based on close examination, and it seems asking everyone who came near him to take a look at different colour combinations and say what they thought (reminded me of my optician asking which colour is brighter now, red or green, and now...?) His book ends with chapters applying his ideas to different arts, e.g. a chapter on weaving giving recommendations for ways to use colours in stripes in order to produce pleasing results.

By the time Roberts Beaumont writes in 1912 he describes different well known and recognised theories of colour, and this book is very much a practical handbook for textile designers. He deals with Theories of Colour, Attributes of Colour, Contrast and Harmony in the first three chapters, then following "Colour Standardisation" he is on to chapters about weaving cloth with stripes, checks, compound colourings, spotted effects, etc.

This is a similar approach to that of:
William Watson, in Textile Design and Colour, pub. Longmans, Green & Co. Ltd, my 6th edition dated 1954.

Meanwhile, another line in development of colour theories is beginning as Johannes Itten, born in 1888, started studied painting and colour formally in 1913. He joined the famous Bauhaus as a master and was there 1919 to 1923, developing a course on form and colour. Itten's major contribution to colour theory was:
The Art of Colour, by Johannes Itten, pub. 1944
I have before me now (from the local library) the abbreviated version of this work (condensed text of the above, without the original colour plates):
The Elements of Color, edited and with a forword and evaluation by Faber Birren, published by Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1970.
Reading this book, about complimentary colours, contrasts etc. I find that more recent books on colour theory seem to add nothing to what is here. If you want to study colour theory, this is probably about the best book. If you want to play with colours and see how they behave for yourself, then I think it is worthwhile also having:
Interaction of Color, by Josef Albers, published by Yale University Press, 1963
which provides a course to work through to study and learn about colour interactions by experience.
(I was able to get a copy of this through my local library also).

The only more recent book I think well worth a mention is:
Dyeing to Knit, by Elaine Eskesen, published by Down East Books, 2005, ISBN 0-89272-667-9 and ISBN 978-089272-667

Why don't I mention others? Because certain other authors use the colour wheel based theories as rigid rules without applying judgement and common sense and produce a lot of combinations which to me look like mud, or shades of grey. One particular author gives no bibliography and no history so it is as if she made it all up by herself. I mention no names, yes, she is famous and everyone else likes her and will jump up and protest at my words if I mention her name. So I don't. I just say, use your own eyes, your own common sense, decide for yourself and don't follow blindly.

Now I like Elaine Eskesen because she attributes the ideas in modern colour theory to their originators, quotes Chevereul, includes Ittens and the Faber Birren Elements of Colour in her bibliography so you know where her ideas come from. Then she adds something of her own, she explains ideas that have evolved through working for many years in using dyes and using dyed yarns. I like a section in the book where she has given some very different yarns she has dyed to famous knitters and they have knitted something and then comment on the yarn and the colours.

So should you go out and buy any of these? That's up to you, I'd say borrow them from a library or a friend, read them through, then move on. I think that understand colour theory ought to be at background level when you are designing. I would compare studying colour theory together with learning scales as part of learning to play a musical instrument, useful, but not an end in itself.

I like the way people put colours together by looking at a favourite picture, and saying "here are some colours I like to see together", or collecting a little pile of coloured objects, or coloured pieces of paper, cloth or yarns, or a coloured sketch of something they have seen, and then saying "I will use these colours".

Also, I like to read about Bonnie Tarses' amazing colour combinations, which always seem to work (she talks about it in WeaveCast episode 9) I think part of the secret of this is good quality yarn colours.

Oh, I nearly forgot to mention, Bernat Klein developed a theory of his own that the colours that suit a person are the colours to be found in the irises of their eyes. An interesting idea. I wonder, does it work for you, reader? Comments welcome! I neither strongly agree nor disagree with this, but I would say that for a person with chestnut to strawberry-blonde type red hair, as I have had (now fading) with very blue eyes, this doesn't quite work. My best colours are greens and autumn shades, but then I seem to recall he said somewhere that the red-haired are an exception to the rule.

Season's greetings to all.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Boat Shuttles and End Feed Shuttles

I have both end feed shuttles (2 makes) and boat shuttles (2 makes). I am going to write here about my Crossley (no longer made, were also sold in the U.S. as AVL) and Schacht 38 cm end feed shuttles and my Schacht boat shuttles.

I also have an Ashford shuttle, for some reason this one likes to dive down and vanish to the floor through the middle of my warp threads. Instead of weaving with this shuttle I use it when tying on my warp to the apron rods (!) I'm keeping it for this use and because I'd like to give it a try with a jack loom someday. As Ashford make jack looms I expect it is designed for them.

Thoughts on using a boat shuttle compared to an end feed shuttle.

  • Boat shuttles weigh less (Schacht boat shuttle, 159g, Schacht end feed 188g)
  • When I throw a boat shuttle, if I'm using a plastic bobbin, the bobbin rattles as the thread unwinds. This indicates uneven rate and feed of thread.
  • End feed shuttles are silent. Nothing rattles. Thread release is smooth and even.
  • As above, the thread unwinds smoothly from the end feed, but not from the boat. The first difference I notice when I recently used a boat shuttle for the first time was that when I had tucked the end of my thread in the warp before the first shuttle throw, the shuttle pulled it out. It was pulling on the thread already laid. This does not happen with the end feed. One conclusion from this is that an end feed shuttle is better for fine and delicate threads.
  • For bulky threads and novelty threads, I believe the boat is better because the tension device on the end feed shuttle is designed for a certain range of yarn diameter. I first used my boat shuttle when I had a chenille weft.
Shuttle type and good selvedges.
What about selvedges, you may ask?

Everyone says to use a well tensioned end feed shuttle for good selvedges.

I had been weaving about 2 1/2 years with end feed shuttles before I first used a boat shuttle. When I used a boat shuttle for the first time I was surprised to discover I had no problem with selvedges, I expected problems because everyone had said this was why the end-feed shuttles are better.

However, I have learnt that when my bad shoulder & arm are playing up (I have problems with the nerve that runs from neck to finger tips tightening up) I can't get good selvedges with any shuttle. This should be no surprise, as it also messes up my piano playing and my typing - I'm normally a 70 wpm touch typist but when the arm is bad then it is slow and the left hand works faster and leaves it behind. The only answer to bad selvedges is to leave the loom alone for a couple of days and do all my physio. exercises and stretches.

Now let's look closely at my shuttles:
Here's a photo of my Schacht end feed shuttle and one of my Crossley shuttles. The Schacht shuttle is maple, 38 cm long, has a plastic pirn and weighs 159g. The Crossley is made of Persimon wood - hard and dense - weighs 331g and has a Honex double tensioner. I have two other Crossley shuttles, both single tensioner, another in Persimon wood weighing 341g and one in a very dense light-coloured wood weighing 398.5 g.

So, some basic differences between the Schacht and the Crossley are weight. Also the tension system, and the means of retaining the pirn.

One of my Crossley shuttles needs a crochet hook to pull the thread through, the other two don't. This is down to how the tension device fits in the shuttle. Tension is adjusted on the Crossley shuttles by using a small screwdriver to turn a screw.

Curiously, all my Crossley shuttles have different Honex thread tensioners. This reflects the fact that I bought the last 2 when they were closing down the business and clearing out their building in June 2006. When I phoned with my order they had to look around to find what they had left before ringing back to take my order.




The Schacht end feed shuttle needs a little allen key to change the tension, and is very easy to thread by wrapping the thread through a slot in the shuttle and lifting over a pin.



This (below) is what the underneath of the shuttles look like, the Schacht shuttle is shown in the middle of two Crossley shuttles. The thing to note here is that the Crossley shuttles are semi- closed, but the Schacht has same opening around the pirn either way up. This makes the Crossley shuttles bottom - heavy. I find that bottom - heavy shuttles tend to be easier to control, not sure why, curiously I have found as a motorcyclist that low centre of gravity makes a motorcycle more stable. I'm sure there's some relationship between these findings.

That hole near the front of the Crossley shuttles gives access to a screw for unfastening the tensioner. This reflects the fact that Crossley handweaver's shuttles are based on industrial fly shuttles, but without the metal tips.

The Crossley shuttles are very well finished and smooth - see the shine on the wood in the above photo. The Schacht shuttle is adequately smooth, but without the polished feel of the Crossley shuttles.

I paid £49.50 plus VAT each (£58.06) for the Crossley shuttles, £85 for the Schacht.

Another difference is how the pirn is retained in the shuttle. Both have steel shafts to take the pirn, split and sprung open. The Schacht pirns fit tightly on the shaft, and need gentle twisting to ease them off.

The Crossley shuttle has one extra feature. See above, and below. There is a short bar accross the shuttle, under the shaft, that retains a collar at the top of the pirn, clipping it in place.




Both systems work, however, the Crossley shuttles are clearly the product of the development of industrial shuttle design. They are especially beautiful.

Which do I prefer to use?

The Crossley shuttle is lovely to hold and works perfectly. They are my favourites.
BUT
The Schacht shuttles are lighter weight, so there is less hand and arm fatigue when using the Schacht.

I wish I had one of the Bluster Bay end feed shuttles, and a Leclerc end feed shuttle so I could see how they compare.

Looking at the Schacht boat shuttle

I've got two sizes of these shuttles, and for the larger one I have both cardboard and Schacht plastic bobbins. I prefer to use the cardboard bobbins. Why? Because the plastic bobbins poke out above the top of the shuttle by a few millimetres, and this sometimes catches a warp thread. I e-mailed Schacht about this, and they kindly replied. This is not a mistake. It is designed like this, and is no problem on a jack loom because the angle of lifted threads is such that there is clearance for the bobbin.


I prefer the larger shuttle size as the end of the shuttle fits neatly and effortlessly in my hand to throw & catch. The other is a little too small and so I have to concentrate harder.

Pirn winding

I used to wind my pirns with an adaptation to my spinning wheel.

Now I use a bobbin winder. The hole in the pirn is much wider than the shaft of the bobbin winder. However, with a cardboard bobbin on the bobbin winder and a piece of folded paper as a wedge I can wind pirns too.


How many shuttles and pirns/bobbins does a weaver need?

This was a question I could find no answer to when I started weaving. I especially found it was no use asking the advice of the people selling them! Now I can safely say there is no single answer to this question.

My opinion of my own requirements is:

I need end feed shuttles for smooth delivery of delicate yarns and because they are lovely to use.
I need boat shuttles for yarn that won't go in end feed shuttles.
I need as many different shuttles for each type of weaving as I might use colours in a short repeat.
Ideally, I need as many pirns / bobbins as I am using colours in a piece of weaving.
I need rug shuttles for rug yarn, minimum 3 for different colours.


Other bits and pieces:
On a shelf near my weaving bench, next to the bobbin winder is this little wooden box. It has three trays, the top one is open here. In the top tray are all the little bits and pieces that I need to hand when I'm weaving.


Here is the most recent "gadget" to go in the box. I found it at a dressmakers shop. It's a little ruler with inches and centimetres marked and a sliding guide. Useful for measuring hem allowances when sewing, or inches woven on the loom.


Just to finish, here's a different gadget, made of cotton string and a fir cone. This is invaluable for distracting Annie cat when she decides to help out with the weaving by cutting dangling threads and chewing on Texsolv!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Photo Meme

Funny thing is, I don't know what "meme" means. But I know I've been tagged by Leigh to go to my 6th photo folder and pick the 6th photo. So off I went, and I pulled this one out:
Click on the picture to see it enlarged.

I took this photo of the hares in January 2007, I was leaning over the back wall at the top of our garden. The hares were moving very fast and covering a huge amount of ground. I didn't have a long range lens and it was difficult to focus. However, I think it caught a rather magical moment and I love this picture. The birds are Jackdaws, the tree against the stone wall looks like an oak, there's a bramble (left) and some sort of thorn tree (Hawthorn or Blackthorn) in the foreground.

I've not tagged anyone else as when I looked around the first couple of people I was going to tag have been tagged by others already. See Carol who has tagged Barbara. Barbara hasn't responded yet, but if you have time you should see this wonderful picture of Barbara and the teddies!

Thursday, 4 December 2008

The latest colour sampler

Here is a reminder of my latest warp colours:
I set out to weave a colour sample in more muted colours than I used in my first colour sampler in September, see below.

I spent a long time not getting started on this 2nd sampler, wondering how useful / important it was. Now it is done I am very pleased with it and feel it was well worth while. Not only did I get to explore how different colours with a lower degree of contrast to each other behave, I also used my bright yarns with this warp and was interested to see how they toned down.

This first picture shows the plain weave section in which the same colours were used in warp and weft:

The next shows the brighter yarns against this warp, again in plain weave:

..and to demonstrate more clearly the effect of the softer / duller warp colours on the bright yarns, here are two photos showing the same weft colours on the different warps:




I was running out of warp by the time I'd been through all my colours in first plain weave and then twill, but I made use of the final inches to weave horizontal pleats, sections of 1/3 twill alternating with 3/1. These turned out lovely and are I feel inspired to do some larger project in these colours & weave. Please note these photos were taken to show off the colours, not the weave, so I had pulled the pleats out and pressed them flat, but before I did this it really did hang in nice soft pleats.







A note on weaving pleats

Here is a link back to my first attempt at weaving pleats, a year ago in November 2007.

Since then, I have learnt more about pleats by talking to other weavers and by reading. I would especially like to recommend Anne Field's new book Collapse Weaves, because she looks into the "hows and whys" of creating textured weaves. It's a discursive book, not a pattern book. If you are already weaving and designing weaves and want to explore the possibilities of texture this book should be on your shelf - or in your hand, being read!

One reason why these pleats work better than my first attempt, in spite of the same 2/12 mercerised cotton yarn being used in both samples and this one using in warp and weft, is the sett. Last year I was working at 24 epi (ends per inch) and the cloth was loose and soft, then I increased to 36 and a finer weft. The finer weft worked and denser warp worked, but so did this latest sample at 30 epi. Once again, this shows what can be learnt by getting to know your yarn by weaving samples.

Here's a note to myself: when I try a new type or size of yarn, I should put on a sample warp and test out basic weave structures at different epi, and finish my samples by washing and ironing before planning any weave project.

Book details:
Collapse Weave: creating three-dimensional cloth, by Anne Field, pub A & C Black, London, 2008, ISBN 978-1-4081-0628-0, £19.99

the same book in the US is published Trafalgar Square Books (September 1, 2008), ISBN-10: 1570764042, $26.95.

Anne Field spent 3 years writing the book and over that time it became a bigger book than originally intended, because she had explored further and had more to say. Her definition of "collapse weave" is that:

"when taken from the loom and washed, the change from a rigid arrangement of threads on the loom to a cloth that bends, distorts and deviates from the usual linear movement of most other cloth is amazing".

Doesn't that make you want to read on?

Friday, 21 November 2008

Getting a warp onto the loom

Many thanks to Peg for the series of posts she has written this month showing how she prepares her loom for weaving.

The first one she wrote, on 3rd November gave me an idea. Peg uses a table behind her loom. When I first read this it slipped into the back of my mind. When I came to put a warp on my own loom last weekend, and I was thinking through the process, I remembered the table. So much easier than crawling around on the floor as I have done before now. But I don't have a handy little table.

After a bit of thought; loom bench - too low, wallpaper past table - too big, buy a new table - hmm, no; I looked around and saw my ironing board - perfect!
Peg also uses two wooden bars the length of the loom to hold the rod and lease sticks level. This won't work for my loom, but a solid support for the lease sticks is a big advantage, so I came up with this:
That cloth wrapped "table" is a combination of the cloth beam (the one that lifts woven cloth above my knees when I'm weaving) and a large raddle. I wrapped it to stop any thread groups dropping through the raddle gaps.

These new ideas saved lots of time and back ache (thanks for that, Peg!).

Here's the sequence I went through to get my warp on the loom.

First, end of the back apron is on the warp board under the warp, unattached at this stage is the apron rod threaded through the ends of the warp groups.

The warp groups were then spread in the raddle (clamped to the back beam)...
... and a peice of string tied along the top of the raddle pins to retain the warp in the raddle. I passed the warp forwards onto my "table" the other side of the back beam.

Then it was easy to thread the lease sticks thorough the carefully tied thread groups (above).

To tie the apron rod with the warp ends onto the back apron, I used my trusty little Ashford shuttle. This is just right for giving even length ties. See the next two pictures for how the rod at the end of the cloth is bottom of the pile, on top of it I place the rod with the warp, then the shuttle placed on top and a tie made of thick linen warp thread. I use bows because they hold tight but are quick to undo.
Moving to the front of the loom I was able to pick up my warp chains from the "table" and draw them forwards for weighting in front of the front beam while winding-on.
This is a close up of the raddle I was using on the back beam. After the comments on my last post about setting up the loom, I decided to make a new raddle with pins at 1/4 inch.
But I had tied the warp in 1/2 inch groups on the warp board. To begin with I spaced it in every other section, later when there was tension on the warp (with the chains weighted for winding-on) I split the groups into half.
This gave the most beautiful evenly spread warp for winding on.
Now for something different. When I visited my friend at Bolton Art Studios a few weeks ago, I bought (in aid of Studio funds) some odds and ends that had come from Bolton University who are very sadly giving up teaching weaving.

Here are some of the goodies, three old Dryad rigid heddles, a sley hook and a couple of threading hooks:
The little threading hooks are comfortable to hold and easy to use. Definitely an improvement on the 3mm crochet hook I was using before.

When sleying the reed, with it resting in front of the heddles, supported on carboard boxes on the sides of the loom, it occured to me an advantage of working this way is being able to see easily how many threads you have pulled through each reed section...
... and having a clear view back to the heddles to help avoid crossed threads between heddles and reed.
I say help avoid, because I still managed a few crossed threads. (!)

While tying-on the warp to the front apron, I made use of the new posts at the side of my loom (and more linen warp thread).
I used the larks head knots that I prefer but I have noted from Peg's writing that this doesn't work well with slippery silk threads, so when I get to weaving silk I shall try to remember that.
Related posts:

Colours and thoughts on looms
Setting up for colour and weave
Along the way

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Success: 14 treadles on my countermarch loom

My loom now has 14 treadles, all set up and working beautifully, the warp is on and I'll be weaving later tonight.

Here is part one of the story.

The difficulty with adding treadles is that, as Sue commented on my last post, it unbalances the loom unless you add shafts at the same time. The countermarch system doesn't have "balance" in the name, but it is all about good balance. The weight of the treadles is balanced by the weight of the shafts.

This is how the lams on my loom were behaving with 14 treadles in use and 8 shafts (I'm only going to weave on 4, but have some ties on the back shafts to lower lams to help with the balance):


Toika looms should have parallel lams, with equal spaces between treadle - lower lam - upper lam - shaft. The above arrangement was not going to work. So, next stage, down to the kitchen drawer and out with my trusty spring balance (originally bought for use in setting up cam tension on a Ducati motorbike I used to own!).

Going back to school physics lessons, I remember learning about balancing things and diagrams of seesaws with different length arms and different sized weights. I'm not sure I can explain in full, but the further you are from a pivot point the more leverage there is and the less weight is needed to get the arm to balance.

I started by moving the treadle weight closer to the pivot points. There are lots of extra holes in my lams and treadles. I moved treadle 1 to as close as possible to the lam pivot, and I also moved the shafts back relative to the treadles so they were closer to the treadle pivot.

Then to find out how much weight was needed to balance for the four new treadles we had added, we used a peice of string around the top lams and pulled down with the spring balance until the lam was in the level position. In the centre of the top lams, the balance read 7.5 pounds (it doesn't have a metric scale). At the outer end of the top lam it was 5 pounds.

We divided the weight by the number of shafts (8) and made up lead weights from folding lead flashing left from a roofing job. With a couple of holes drilled in the top of each weight they were easily hung under the end of the top lams. Note, for safe handling I shall be making tough cloth covers for the weights.

This shows the new position, see the weights at left hand end of the upper lams:
I've got a warp on now and have been using treadles 13 & 14 for plain weave. The action is beautiful and the shed a good 3 inches.

Now for a different kind of change to the loom. When I bought it, the previous owner had stuck adhesive numbers on the treadles, 1-10. Most of these have peeled off over time, I took off the last few and replaced them with a different labeling that I find easier.
I wrapped green thread around every 3rd treadle, red around every 4th, blue on 5 & 10. I'm better at reading colour and pattern than I am at numbers, I think this will work for me.

Some notes on tying up the treadles, I followed the system used by a friend who has a Toika loom modified to take 16 shafts - she's familiar with lots of shafts and treadles! Her tip was always start with the treadle nearest the lam pivot (the one I think of as number one) and work along. With the treadles not tied up supported (I've got a cardboard box to rest them on) you can see as you go along if one particular tie is putting the lams out of balance. Of course there are times when it is temporarily unbalanced, and you have to make a note of what changed the balance and decide how to counterbalance.

Here's another new tool. With less space under the loom, this time I tied the treadles from the front and was glad of a small homemade cushion:
My old cushion - the phone book - is still in place at the back of the loom in case I have to squeeze in to make changes with the warp on the loom:
One last tweak, the beater was just catching the new uprights on the loom frame when it was swung back, a little foam cushioning does wonders:

This is the warp I put on the loom, it's for another colour sampler:

and bobbins - ready to weave, but that is a story for my next post. Bye for now!