Apologies to anyone whose expectations have been excited by my earlier tweets: please note that the total number of holes made in the loom is only four!
So. The Megado is a beautiful loom. Everything about it is lovely as well as functional, and it seems like vandalism to change any part of it. So now I’m a vandal. I have dared to make — or rather to cause S to make — four holes in this gorgeous loom.
I was struggling to keep my selvedges straight on the bobbly shoreline warp, and was getting a lot of draw in. My warps are normally quite dense and not very wide so draw in is not a problem, but this cloth looked as though it was heading towards vanishing point.
Then I was reminded of Sandra’s clamp-and-string temple design. I’ve thought about trying it before, but my loom has very low sides and I wasn’t ready to fiddle with it. However, someone on WeaveTech suggested running a cord from the back of the loom to the front and using this to support the tensioning string. Now that’s a neat idea — but the Megado is full of Louet-esque innovations and the back beam actually rises up during weaving so it is not the ideal anchor point. I could, however, run a cord from the castle to the breast beam and it would be reasonably stable (the breast beam swings a little when the shafts are raised, but it’s nothing that would scare a piece of string).
Some kind of peg was needed to secure the cord, so I went on a raid of the Delta treadles. They have sufficient screws to tie up 12 shafts but I am only using eight. And yes, I chickened out of making the holes in the Megado myself and subcontracted this to S, who is much neater than I am. The result looks like this.
Since the screws in the castle and the beam are “official” Louet screws, they are perfect for holding a length of texsolv. And as Kerstin noted on my earlier post, even the full width reed is not as wide as the beater, so there is plenty of room for the cord to run through it. (After much discussion and experiment, we decided the cord should be horizontal even although the cloth/warp runs at an angle. However taught I try and make it, there is always going to be some give so that the effective height is lower than the height of the fixings.) Another length of texsolv is clipped to the cloth and suspended over the horizontal cord. An S-hook is slipped through the other end and weighted. On this side of the loom it makes sense to hang the weights down the inside of the frame where they are out of the way.
On the far side of the loom it is a bit more complicated: the cords for the dobby advance run along the side where the weights would hang, plus the brake lever sits inside the frame and it is all rather crowded. So we arranged the horizontal cord to run at a diagonal from the breast beam out to the dobby box (the vertical cord hanging down from the screw is just the excess texsolv — I don’t want to cut it, but may eventually get around to tying it up).
To keep the weighted cord from sliding along the diagonal, I have slipped a keyring through one of the loops in the texsolv and the cord goes through the ring — which is why it appears to be suspended under rather than over the horizontal cord.
So far so good. I have only woven a few inches under the new regime, but the cloth is getting wider! It was 21.5 cm before and is now 23 cm. I reckon that with a bit of adjustments to the weights I can recover another 1 cm and then we’ll be where we should be. The loom doesn’t appear to be in any way traumatised, which is a great relief. And it was all done with things we had to hand so it didn’t cost anything. It’s a tiny change, but a huge mental leap to give myself permission to do this.