It seems more positive to name repairs as the theme of the week rather than emphasise the things which necessarily precede them. We do seem to have had a few of both.
The first loom glitch took me by surprise. I was dressing the table looms for the taster day this week and discovered that one of the Ashfords had a misbehaving fourth shaft. Misbehaving in the “goes up but doesn’t come down” way. This was unexpected because it has never misbehaved before. It seemed to be getting stuck on something, but I hadn’t realised there was anything for it to stick on. See that black knob on the side of the loom? It’s the one which is loosened to allow the castle to fold down and tightened to hold it in place. Well, naturally enough, there’s a nut on the inside of the castle which it tightens into. Somehow the nut had become twisted and started to protrude inside the castle, just exactly under shaft 4. So simple to understand, so easy to fix, so much brute force required to do it! Pliers were not enough. They had to have Stuart on the other end.
The second loom glitch was one I had been ignoring over Christmas as I hate tinkering with the cords on the Megado’s dobby box. The principles are straightforward enough but in practice… Well, experience has taught me that not tinkering often lets it sort itself out, which is my favourite kind of repair. Anyway, the trick with this dobby box is the balance of tension between the two strings attached to that funny shaped metal hook. When they get out of balance the dobby chain doesn’t advance correctly but can get stuck between positions. That is already sounding like way too much detail to me, so I’ll just say that a bit of combined Stuart-and-Cally guesswork got to the bottom of the problem and it’s all back in balance and weaving like a dream.
We were doing so well with our loom glitches, that it was rather a shame the third glitch involved the car instead. On Thursday I had the bright idea of going out to purchase some foam board — not too controversial a plan, I think — but as I drove into the car park the steering failed and the whole afternoon became a depressing story of gloom. It got even more gloomy when I finally staggered home and googled the cost of new steering columns. I emphasise the gloom in this tale so that you can appreciate the relief which followed on Friday, when the garage confirmed that Vauxhall would be footing the bill.
Back in the studio, I spent the anxious-then-relieved Friday shuffling looms about all over the place, with the very specific aim of avoiding future glitches. The studio is large but, as I may have mentioned a dozen times or more, it has a great big shelving unit in the middle of it which is too big to move. I anticipated that this might make it difficult to arrange the table looms appropriately for workshops, and hey! I was right! Getting four looms into positions which allow weavers to sit comfortably in front of them and still leave the sort of passage between them which considerations of health and safety require is quite a challenge. Today I drafted in the strong arm of Stuart once more in order to swap my sewing table with a storage unit, which has opened up some essential extra inches. It is tricky to get a picture of everything, given that we have a large pillar to contend with as well, but the (currently) final configuration looks like this:
The weaver at the loom on the right is not really forced to huddle up to the pillar — there is much more space on the other side than the photo suggests. (I really should apologise generally for my recent photos. The one thing I keep forgetting in my commute to the studio is my camera, and my phone is not quite the ideal tool. Nor am I the ideal photographer.) I’m pretty happy now with the way it is all laid out, so we just have to test it.