Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Loom: Update 3-5

Okay, a lot has happened since my last update, but much progress was made. Here's what I've finished over the last three weeks:

- The loom is completely built!

- I decided to white wash it... at first i thought about staining it a dark walnut color, but went the other direction entirely and chose to make it all white.

- I finished making the weights which will be used for maintaining tension in the warp threads. They are 11oz soda cans slipped into black + gold woven fabric pouches I had sewn up over the weekend. 2 yards of fabric yielded about 28 pouches that will fit a soda can snuggly, with 3-4" of extra fabric past the length of the soda can for tying to the warp threads. Even though I got about 28 pouches out of my fabric, I'm only using 24 weights.

- Today I finished making the warp (the vertical threads that hang down from the top beam).

This next week will consist of me setting up my loom in its full glory, and testing it out. There are still a few other tasks to take care of though. Specifically:

- Get a large enough drill bit so i can set the top beam's supports in place better with nuts.
- Sew the warp to the top beam.
- Attach the weights.
- Tie the back threads to the heddle (the bar that I'll be pulling to bring the back threads over the front threads)
- Attach the sensors to the heddle and 5 of the weights.
- Attach the wireless accelerometer to my shuttle. I finally got it in the mail today.
- And practice!

The last few weeks had some pretty frustrating moments. Making the warp was insanely difficult to manage alone. Typically it takes a couple people to get it done, but it was hard to find someone who had time to help me out. I did eventually get it done on my own, after working on it for about 10 hours.

Also, I had to switch materials for use in the warp (the vertical, hanging threads). I was using wool for felting before but switched to a chunky alpaca yarn, as the felt wasn't strong enough to hold the weights; it kept tearing.

I have realised that wood that has been pre-treated for staining and then stained, tends to splinter when you try to drill into it. I should have done all my drilling before painting it. Fortunately, this splintering only happened on my uprights while attaching the supports for the top beam, so it won't be too visible.

The project is coming along really well though; I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. From Thanksgiving on out, I should be able to use any time I have for rehearsal and max patch tweaking.

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