Introducing me and my loom

 Greetings to Weavebird owners!  

I began weaving in 2001, but it was tablet weaving and it took a while before I aspired to "shaft" weaving.  After some false starts, I did add two table looms to my tablet-weaving equipment.  Then, less than a year ago, I got the bug to have a floor loom.  I wanted a dobby, because after the design freedom offered by a table loom, I couldn't bear the thought of being tied down by a tie-up.  I investigated mechanical dobbies, the AVL, Toika, Louet (Megado), and Weavebird looms.  I decided I wanted a computer-controlled loom with an "infinite" length of dobby chain.    The choice of loom was not difficult.  I wanted a countermarche action, which eliminated the AVL.  I wanted a hanging beater, which eliminated the Megado.  Finally, I wanted minimal automation, which eliminated the Toika.  I had to travel to New England to see a Weavebird in action, where three generous Weavebird owners let me sit at their looms and throw a few picks.

I bought the Weavebird new and put it together (aided by two friends) at the beginning of September.  I got the 36-inch width and 24 shafts.  It was a few weeks before I could use it - some teething problems with the loom driver and cable adjustment - but eventually I got going.  The first warp was a straight draw on all 24 shafts and I wove it in plain weave.  On the second warp I used twenty shafts to make a five-block twill and the other four shafts for what was meant to be a basket-weave selvedge strip.  

There has been a lot to learn.  Floor looms are new, using weaving software is new, using an end-delivery shuttle is new and all that newness is a challenge for me to deal with all at once.  But I'm having fun, and looking forward to planning the next warp.

Looking forward to hearing from the rest of you!

Carla in Bethesda, Maryland, USA

Comments

Posted on Wed, 02/17/2010 - 14:21

Hi, I've been weaving since 1985 and weaving on Weavebirds since 2004.  I started with a 24S 45" and then upgraded about 18 months ago to a 32S 36" bird. Several factors influenced my purchase of  a Weavebird - countermarche action, metal heddles, feeling of a sturdy traditional loom, balanced on both legs, price, and local support.

The current warp on the loom is an alpaca silk huck lace scarf.  I posted a picture of a canvas and twill project a few days ago.  Would love to see more projects woven on these looms.  A search of Weavolution shows 8-10 Weavebird owners.

I am not connected to LeClerc, but manage a yahoogroup for Weavebird owners and potential owners.  There are 43 members currently, some of whom are on this list, too. 

Laurie Autio, in MA

Posted on Sat, 02/20/2010 - 02:12

Wow Carla, you have come a long way in a short time.  How do you thread the loom? Front to back?  Have you had problems threading this loom.  My loom is 45" 16 harness and I can barely reach from #1 harness to #16 harness.  The first time I warped the loom (and the only time so far) I didn't know about putting  in the lift plan to treadle the pattern for correct threading.  I'm looking forward to doing that this next time.  I have always warped from back to front and it's been a real learning curve for me to thread from the front. 

Posted on Sat, 02/20/2010 - 02:33

Laurie, I am in awe of your expertise.  I will definitely find the yahoogroup for Weavebird owners, wish I had known about it before.  I have been weaving about the same amount of time as you but am not nearly as advanced.  I worked with color/texture and plain weave for 20 years before venturing into patterns.   I am not mechanically inclined so my husband has been the "mechanical" part of getting this loom set up.  The biggest problem has been the jams.  I just got my first practice warp off the loom and am eager to put on a bamboo scarf warp for the second.  I also have problems in threading as I have always sectionally warped and threaded from the back and that is not possible (that I know of) with the Weavebird.  I also am not experienced in the software, another learning curve but with so many patterns on handweaving net for now I will just use those. Lots of new experiences for me but I knew that would be the case and feel sure I can conquer whatever obstacles come up.  There are few weavers in my area and none of them have computerized looms so I can't just meet with others in person for help.  I am so thankful for my internet weaving friends/mentors.

Posted on Sat, 02/20/2010 - 04:40

Hi, To join the yahoogroup for the WeavebirdAerie go here:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/WeavebirdAerie/

You may be able to find someone who is nearby through the list. 

I am not a mechanical expert, but this is what I have learned from Tom Beaudet and Francois Brassard.  For jams, first try working your way through the LeClerc Weavebird trouble shooting guide (on their website).  Watch and write down what happens with each jam.  Is it all the shafts every time?  A few shafts every fifteen picks?  One shaft all the time?  Does it happen only on one treadle?  Which one?  Does the motion feel smooth or "crunchy"?

     Make sure you only have one foot on a treadle at a time (no back pressure on the other one).  This is the most common problem of new users as it is different from many other looms.

     Make sure you don't leave the treadle halfway, always complete the cycle, pushing all the way to the bottom.

    Check that the treadles bottom out before they hit the ground (should hit bottom an inch or so above the floor so that you are sure the cycle completes).

     Check that all cords run through their pulleys (both shaft and treadle).

     Check the shaft cable tensions.

     Watch the solenoids to see if they extend and retract as they should.

     Check the motion on the cam board (the end plate) - it should go around a full loop, not up and down on the same line.  If it doesn't, the stoppers that limit the arms' (forks') movement may need adjustment.

If none of that does the trick, and the Aerie can't help, email LeClerc looms with a picture of where you think the problem is. These looms are great when they work well, but have a learning curve.

Laurie Autio

Posted on Sat, 02/20/2010 - 04:58

There are some tricks that make threading easier.  As I understand, you are warping sectionally, then threading from the front after beaming (aka back to front)?  You may not have been using a cross with sectional warping, but the depth of the loom makes threading easier if you add a cross. 

     Hang the lease sticks vertically from the back of the castle. This is easier to see at the distance than horizontally hung lease sticks.

     Remove the breast beam (it just pops off), the top of the beater, and the reed. 

     Get a low chair or stool and sit inside the loom. 

     On the 24 I was able to treadle the threading, but I did a variation of it.  I would lift the shafts in groups.  So, if the first 40 threads are on shafts 1,2,6,7,8,9 I lift those shafts and count out 40 heddles on those shafts and 40 threads, just like threading a 6-shaft loom.  Lifting them singly does not provide the double check I like for getting correct threading.  It takes a minute to program out the lifts (rather than just telling the program tromp as writ), but speeds me up in the long run. 

     On 16 you should be able to thread with your fingers or a hook, however you prefer.  On 32 shafts fingers are a real challenge, but you can tie the shafts together to get a few more inches.  However, it is impossible for me (at 5'7") to treadle the threading and reach to thread the back shafts, so I don't treadle.  You won't have this difficulty. 

    After you thread the shafts, transfer the cross to the front of the shafts and re-insert the lease sticks.  Put the beater back together and sley the reed.

     Put the breast beam back in, tie on, and weave :-)

Laurie Autio

Posted on Sat, 02/20/2010 - 05:04

Which software are you using?  I am using Fiberworks Silver, which I love, but the Aerie group uses a variety.  You should be able to find help with software questions here or there.  WeaveTech yahoogroup and Complex Weavers CTools study group yahoogroup are other very good places to get software questions answered quickly.

Laurie Autio

Posted on Sun, 02/28/2010 - 02:10

Hi Laurie,  I just found your notes on this forum.   After watching the video with Francios weaving on the bird I think one thing I was doing incorrectly was not taking my feet off the treadles.  As soon as I get it rethreaded I'll try again.  Linda

Posted on Sun, 02/28/2010 - 02:15

Okay Laurie, since I have always beamed sectionally from the back to the front, I have never had occasion to use a cross and do not know how that is accomplished.  I also never used lease sticks.  I figured out to hang those horizontally but I have no concept of how to do this vertically.    Linda :)

Posted on Mon, 03/01/2010 - 03:36

I am a new Weaverbird owner and I am so happy with my purchase.  The first warp that I put on the bird was a black bamboo warp threaded in a straight draw.  Tons of problems - first with using a black warp the first time I threaded 24 harnesses!  The warp was long enough to do 5 scarves and I figured that I would use that warp as a learning experience. 

That warp is finished and now I am just threading the loom with my second warp.  I'm very excited as I took a 16 harness pattern and added a second structure to the remaining 8 shafts to create a 24 harness pattern.  I've been lucky to only have a few mechanical problems with the loom... My challenge will be to learn how to design for so many shafts.

Looking forward to sharing my next project with Weavolution!

Mary

Posted on Mon, 03/01/2010 - 16:01

That's terrific.  It's taken me a year to get one warp woven off of mine.  Can't wait to see pictures.  My eyes would be crossed trying to thread that much black :)  I am getting ready to put on a white bamboo warp (16 harness) with a pattern taken from handweaving.net.  There are so many patterns all ready for us to use, just download and go.   I don't have time or inclination to actually design my own patterns at this point.  

Linda

Posted on Mon, 03/01/2010 - 19:13

Depending on how you warp sectionally, you may have a little tension bx with posts.  You can make a cross there, or you may be able to not bother with a cross and just run a piece of tape over it.  I suggest asking this question on the yahoo group since I'm not a sectional warper, though many there are..

To hang the lease sticks vertically, tie the support threads to the top back of the castle and have the lease sticks one over the other instead of one behind the other. It makes the cross easier to see on a deep reach into the loom.

Laurie Autio

Posted on Mon, 03/01/2010 - 19:16

A few days ago I saw on another weavers' Weavebird a different reason for jams.  If some/any/all of the clips that hold the heddle bars in place are not firmly in place, the bars or clips can catch on adjacent shafts and cause absolutely MAGNIFICENT jams.

Laurie Autio

Posted on Mon, 03/01/2010 - 19:32

Laurie - I'm hoping to weave the samples for Barbara H's Collapse class on the loom as well as a few new pieces.....I'm hoping I'll be able to bring some show and tell to that meeting!  Mary

 

Posted on Tue, 05/11/2010 - 05:03

Hi - I'm thinking of buying a Compu-Dobby and am leaning towards the WeaveBird just because it's Leclerc and I love my Nilus. LOL I'm planning to test weave different brands while I'm at Convergence. A concern of mine is problem solving as I live in Colorado and there is only one LeClerc dealer and they are on the other side of the mountains. With that said, I intend to be a lurker until I actually buy one.

 

Posted on Wed, 04/27/2011 - 20:58

I own an older Weavebird: purchased 8/11/2005.  I stopped weaving in summer of 2009 because I became frustrated with all the jams and lack of technical support in Western Colorado.  I have recently found the Leclec trouble shooting guide online, as well as joining complex weavers, and learning about you.  Francois recommends upgrading my loom with the new cable system.  I am able to get the lifting cables for the shafts in balance when I have those type of jamming problems, but now I think my problem lies in the loop cycle, which is the treadle cables.  I don't have the newer treadle cable turnbuckels, so I can only make so much adjustment.  I have shortened my R treadle which was hitting the floor by 1 "textsolve" loop.  Even still, every so often, I can feel that the loom is going to jam, and it is when the forks are open, so it doesn't make a full loop.  It seems to get stuck at the top of the  loop- the right treadle cable.  This is the one I shortened because it was resting on the floor.  Before shortening, I was getting a ton of jams, (partly because my #15 & #13 shaft cables were too loose, but partly because the right treadle cable was too loose.)  Well, #13 & #15 are adjusted, no longer jamming, but I still have the sticky loop cycle when the right treadle is depressed, just not as often.  Does it sound to you like I need the cable longer or shorter?  Either way, I need a fine tuning system, like the turnbuckle, because the textsolve loops don't give me a fine enough adjustment.  Please tell me what you know, have experience, or have heard about the Leclerc's newer cable system.  My husband is very skeptical, because the loom was so expensive, & I've had so many problems with keeping it in balance.  I need some feedback from WB users before I purchase an "expense fix" which may not fix the jamming/balance issues.
Posted on Wed, 04/27/2011 - 21:17

We have the same loom.  After beaming the sections, I go to the front of the loom and remove front cross piece, (it just slides off) and unscrew the wingnuts on the beater, removing them & the reed.  Then I get a low stool, so the warp is at eye level, & I can see the cross in my warp & my heddles.  I also use a clip on halogen light.  Threading quite easy once you get close enough to the threads.

Posted on Wed, 04/27/2011 - 21:28

Linda, to put a cross in your warp when you are warping sectionally, you need a tension box that will give you a cross as you beam.  I use an AVL tension box, which makes 1" sections.  After each section, I insert the cross into 2 strings which are attached to the castle.  I do not use lease sticks. For me, inserting strings into a cross is easier than inserting the lease sticks.  I learned to warp sectionally using Peggy Ostercamp's warping book.  It has many diagrams, and very easy to learn.

Posted on Thu, 12/01/2011 - 16:25

Hi there. I have a 36" 16H Weavebird. I'm in Berkeley Springs, WV. "Fear of warping" keeps me from really using this baby to the extent that it should be used — pretty stupid, I admit :)

Posted on Mon, 05/20/2013 - 18:11

Hi I was very interested to see your post.  Although looking at the date you posted all your problems must be in the distant past..... I notice you had problems with the cable adjustments.  The cables on mine are flapping about and jamming constantly.. they are longer than the manual specifies and there is not the 3/8th inch gap between bottom of the weight spring and the cable.  is this the problem you had?  I'd be interested to know if you (or anyone out there) has had similar problems. And how they were rectified?  At the moment I am weaving at a slower rate than  on an 8 shaft table loom!! which is not the idea!!! Do you have any other tips when learning to use this loom?

All the best, Clementina in Somerset UK.

Posted on Tue, 05/21/2013 - 04:01

I purchased my Weavebird direct from Leclerc, in 2011. It was adjusted in the factory and then dismantled for shipping. When we assembled the loom, we took care to match each cable, which came already attached to the weight, with the correct shaft (all numbered) and I have had no problems. Make sure you clear each shed fully with the left treadle before depressing the right one.

If you bought the loom second hand, seek advice from Leclerc. The year of manufacture should be attached to the frame.

Posted on Mon, 02/23/2015 - 09:35

Carla i am wondering what your cable adjustment issues were. I am in the process of setting my 16 shaft wevebird up and am having lots of issues which may or may not be the cable tensions

Posted on Mon, 02/23/2015 - 12:46

there oughta be a wee rigid heddle on the tension box. you can use that to add the cross with long strings. I don't beam sectionally but if I did, i'd do that and then put the lease sticks in afterwards and hang them behind the shafts to thread up. To each their own though.