Friday, January 4, 2013

Pickled Heddles?!!

I know that sounds crazy, but that is what I am doing.  Several years ago, I bought an 8 harness loom from a friend of a friend.  Like all old looms it has it's quirks.  One of the things, that I thought I could fix about this particular loom, was the noise level.  It was a clangy bangy old loom.  I set about changing the metal bars that raise the harness to Texsolv.  Then I switched out the rusty heddles,( lots of them), to texsolv as well.  The loom was quieter, but since then, I haven't been able to get a decent shed!  Harnesses 1 and 2 hang about 1/4 inch above the others!  I should have left well enough alone!

I struggled along for awhile, until I finally cut off the scarf warp that was on it and walked away in disgust!  That was about a year ago, and the 8 harness has been sitting in time out ever since!  Finally, about a month ago, when I was re-evaluating my Studio practices (due to the lack of sales at the Foothills Guild Craft Show), I decided to see what I could do to get the old girl up and running.  The first thing I did was to put the metal bars that raise the harnesses back in place.  (no change in the harnesses)   The next step is to clean all those rusty heddles, and put them back into place.

I began this task by dividing the heddles into 8 different piles.  I figured I would tackle them one harness at a time.  That turned out to be 140 heddles per harness.  I then immersed the first group into a pan of vinegar, to soak for an hour, while I did something else.  I then wiped off the rustiness til they were dry, and then I lightly oiled them.  I was fairly pleased with the results, though not thrilled.  I put the next batch in to soak while I was drying and oiling the first batch.  I continued on this way through the first 3 batches, then I was done!  I couldn't do any more that day!  I had a batch in the vinegar bath, and I decided to just leave it in there over night!

 This is what I woke up to.  They were positively bubbling!  After chores I tentatively pulled them out, and began to wipe them dry.  I was amazed at how much better they looked!  Sure there were some corroded parts that wouldn't come off, but on the whole they were beautiful!

 I quickly oiled them once I had them all dry, and threaded them onto some long zip ties to keep them nice and neat.  I have 3 more batches to go, and now I need to decide if I am going to redo the first batches I did, sigh, I probably will.

Last night I was spinning for a little while and my back right between my shoulder blades was really painful.  I couldn't figure out why, until I went over to the heddle recovery station in the kitchen to dry some more heddles!  Yep, sure enough I was suffering from heddle wiping-itis!  Who would have thought that was possible!  Such a small movement, though I guess with over 1000 heddles it was bound to happen!

I have come to the realization that even if I can't get harness 1 and 2 to behave, I will still have a 6 harnesses that I can use, no need to throw out the baby with the bath water!

On another note, I am really pleased with what I made for our mothers this year for Christmas and I thought I would show you.  I felted some wool fleece around several bars of Yardley soap.  Each soap fragrance has a different color added to the felt, that way I could keep them straight!

It was a fun, quick project.  I love the felted soaps I had made to try it out, it does take a little getting used to, but it is an excellent way to get rid of those old skin cells. 

The packaging took a little doing.  I had to hunt around a bit to find something suitable.  I finally found these metal racks in the kitchen department at the Walmart!  They are really for holding recipe cards!  A little raffia, and a bow, and I was on my way!

Lou Ann tells me that I am doing post number 1000!  That is almost unbelievable!  Who would have thought we could have that much to say!  (I think it helps that we are a group blog and not just an individual.  That way we get a lot of variety in our posts.)

That is all for me today, it is back to the heddles for me!  Until next time, Happy Weaving and Spinning, Tina


LA said...

It does seem like magic...but vinegar does the trick when you soak overnight! Good luck on getting that wonderful loom back to production!

Linda said...

It is amazing how letting them soak longer makes such a huge difference. I need to work on the rust on a reed I got this week. Now to find something large to put it in!

Theresa said...

Vinegar is such a good cheap green clean cleaner. We use it a lot around the house. Lord knows, we have to keep up with the cleaning with all the little grit sponges (dogs). I've often thought about changing the Murphy loom over to Texsolv headdles. Since it's a CB loom I can't see that there would be a problem, but laziness has kept me from the task.
Love the soaps!

Maggie said...

Heddle wiping-itis! Tough to diagnose, I'd guess!