Pipe for our friends in the UK

Life is sure full of surprises.  The good news is that word of the PVC Loom is spreading around the globe.  The bad news is that Schedule 40 PVC Pipe is not very common outside of the United States.  Several people in the UK have purchased the book, but they can’t find this type of PVC Pipe.

Even worse, the Schedule 40 PVC Pipe that is available costs a whopping 13 times what it costs in the States.  A 9 foot section of 1 1/4″ pipe in the States costs $10.50.  But, in the UK, that same piece of pipe costs £84.00.  That’s $132.00 US.  There has to be a better way.

So, I’ve been contacting people in the plastic pipe business in the UK.  I hope to have this problem solved very shortly.  And, it may require a specific version of the book for the UK and Europe.

If anyone knows about plastic pipe and substitutions in the UK, please contact me.

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My Humble Booth at the GSSB Fiber Show!

PVC Looms at the New Jersey Fiber Show

PVC Looms at the New Jersey Fiber Show

The festival was a great success and a lot of fun, even though I didn’t have but 2 books to sell.  Being my first time out in public with the PVC Loom, I was amazed at the reactions of people seeing it for the first time.  I met the nicest people and they all thought the PVC Loom was a great idea.

I’d have to say that 100% of the visitors agreed that traditional weaving equipment is priced way too expensive.  Building a PVC Loom lets people discover the craft without having to spend a fortune.

I’m currently looking for other fiber and craft shows where I can demo the PVC Loom to more people.  If anyone knows of any shows, please let me know!

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Garden State Sheep Breeders Festival Saturday and Sunday

Special 25% discount price for the show until the end of September only at lulu.com!

Hey!

I got good news and bad news.  Or, is that Ewes?  Anyway, I’m attending the Garden State Sheep Breeder’s Festival this weekend to demonstrate the 4-shaft PVC Looms.   I’ll have 2 looms at the show.  That’s the good news.

The bad news is that my book publisher doesn’t have QUALITY CONTROL!!!!!! 

I received shipment of 15 PVC Loom books.  They all had the correct cover – and a completely different book on the inside!  So, I will only be able to point people to this website if they would like to purchase a copy.

Anyone know of a good PRINT ON DEMAND publisher? 

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Another New PVC Loom – with a twist . . .

Member jabberpaws over at ravelry has constructed a new PVC Loom with a very interesting modification.  Legs!  And, jet-black paint!  I think it looks great.  In operation, the base is held in place using your feet.  This is necessary since the PVC Loom is so lightweight.

When I use my PVC Loom, I place it on a card table I bought from Staples.  I stand to weave and use 2 techniques.  First, if I only have 1 or 2 harnesses to raise that are next to each other, I can steady the loom with one hand and grab the slider bar knobs with the other hand.  But, if I have to raise more than 2, or harnesses that are not together, then I use both hands to pull the slider bars and use my belly to steady the loom.  I suppose it’s good exercise.  😉

 

 

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Meet-up At The Coverlet Museum!

28 May 2011.  I drove to Bedford, PA again Wednesday night for our meet-up on Thursday.  It was a beautiful Spring day in Pennsylvania, and Bedford looked beautiful.  We didn’t meet at the museum until noon, so I grabbed some coffee (at He-Brews!) and headed South out of town.

The countryside around Bedford is spectacular.  Chipmunks darted across the road and birds sang in the morning sunlight.  I resisted the temptation to burst into song, mainly because I couldn’t decide on which song to sing.  🙂

It was so much quieter than where I live.  I’m from Collegeville, PA in the South Eastern part of the state.  During rush hour you can hear a constant “roar” in the distance from the millions of car tires rubbing down the highways to and from work.  But, just outside of Bedford, you don’t hear any roar.  It was very peaceful and still.  Something I long for these days.

Beautiful surroundings set the stage for beautiful weavings.  I arrived at the museum just before noon and met with our friends from Weavolution.com.  They were already in the gift shop talking with the Zongers when I walked in.  I met Alice Schlein and her husband Bruce.  Claudia was there, the owner of Weavolution.com.  I also met Karen, who loves to knit and was new to weaving.  And I also met Lavern who has a very interesting background, teaches backstrap weaving, and is currently living in Bolivia.  You can see a photo of us on the homepage of weavolution.com.

Since I had been there this past February, the museum had changed.  There were new coverlets being displayed, the restored Jacquard “head” had arrived, and the “Loom Room” was open for display.  The Jacquard head was not yet attached to the large barn loom, but we could get a very close look at the mechanism.  It’s just amazing to think of the impact this little box had on civilization.  One of the more fascinating aspects of the museum is Mr. Zonger telling the tale of the history of the Jacquard loom in France.

We all had a great lunch together at the “Bad Boys” restaurant in Bedford, and then Melinda Zonger gave us the grand tour of the museum.  She also talked about the history of the coverlets and of how the museum is open to donations of authentic coverlets.

Us fiber lovers had a wonderful time.  But, this might not be the best place to take kids, unless you have first introduced them to fiber arts, weaving, or “things that are not electronic!”

Melinda also told us that the old school house they had purchased for the museum was worse off than they first thought.  The school needs a new roof!  Just examining the roof ruins more shingles as the workmen walk on it, she explained.  Being much larger than most houses, the new roof will cost about $80,000.00!

I propose we have a “WEAVE-IN” to help raise money for the museum!  We could get sponsors just like the sponsors in a walk-a-thon to sponsor weavers to set up shop outside the museum and weave for a day.  The weavings produced would also be sold to help raise money.  And, the sponsors could pledge an amount for each hour of weaving that a weaver could weave.  (Sounds like wood chucks! )  It would at least be a start to help save the museum.  We’ll discuss it over at weavolution.com.

I wonder what I will find the next time I visit the museum?

Almost forgot!  While driving home from the museum, I traveled North past Altoona and stopped in Tipton, PA to visit my Grandmother’s grave.  I then went East to Bellefonte and then traveled down Rt. 322 towards Harrisburg.

It was close to 7:30 PM when it started raining – hard!  The further down 322 I went, the harder it rained.  I got 12 miles from Harrisburg when the rain got crazy.  I said, “Holy S$%^”, out loud – twice!  Right then, the traffic came to a stop.  It didn’t move.  But, I was right at the exit for Rt. 225.  I took that to see if I could find another way around Harrisburg, but there were trees down everywhere.  I must have seen over a dozen very large trees blown over by the near-hurricane winds that swept through the area.  Here is a photo I took of one.  Click for a larger view.

I couldn’t get a better shot of the rest of the tree across the road.  I had to drive through this tree as did the 2 cars in front of me.  It was like going through a car wash as the branches scrapped the top of my truck.

I couldn’t find a way East.  I tried Rt. 325 and got about 20 minutes down the road when I was flagged down by an approaching car.  The driver told me of another huge tree that completely blocked the road and killed the power lines.  So, I turned all the way around and found myself back on Rt. 322, stopped dead.

I played solitaire on my laptop for about 45 minutes.  Towards the end we saw a huge front-end loader pass us, which was able to remove the giant tree blocking both lanes of 322.  Things started moving again and I was finally able to continue back home.

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Where is Appendix A???

If you are looking for Appendix A in the book, you will probably not find it.  🙁  Sorry about that.  I started compiling a list of suppliers and places of interest for Weavers.  But, the lists were getting so large that I decided to remove the section from the book and create it here instead.  Plus, websites come and go as time marches on.  So, having an on-line resource will be more up-to-date.

I removed the Appendix but forgot to remove the one or two references made to it earlier in the book.  So, here is the missing Appendix A Page:

 

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Requests for PVC Loom enhancements keep coming in . . .

Greetings!

The website has been getting a lot of traffic since the March/April issue of Handwoven Magazine came out.

They wrote a nice little review of the Building A 4-Shaft PVC Loom book under the Media Picks section on page 14.

Ever since the book was published I’ve received questions from weavers on making modifications and enhancements to the design of the loom.  The main request is, “Can I add 4 more harnesses to create an 8-shaft PVC Loom?”  And, the other request is, “Can I add 2 more slider bars to handle shafts 1-3, and 2-4?”  I was expecting that people would be at least curious if these modifications could be done, and the answer is “YES!”  I’m working on those now and will make the modifications available over the Internet probably by early Summer.

The other question I get is about making the PVC Loom bigger.  “Can I make it 3 feet wide?”  Well, I’m not sure about this.  I think you may be able to make it bigger – but you may have to increase the diameter of PVC Pipe used.  Going out to 3 feet will make a frame that is more susceptible to bending.  The problem is that it may look great when you first build it.  But, after using it for a year or so, you may notice the pipes bending under the tension of the warp threads.

The current design uses 1 1/4″ PVC Pipe for the frame.  Using 1 1/2″ may work for a wider loom.  And, there is also a 2″ diameter pipe you could try.  But, remember that there are several other parts that need to be widened if you are going to try this.  Besides the front and back beams, there are the front and back rollers, the reed frame, the harnesses, and the action board on top.  The action board needs to be as wide as the harness frames so the Texsolv cord can reach the harness frame ends.

One other note . . .

I’m about to finish modifications to the very first PVC Loom I constructed.  It was the prototype and had an older version of the action board.  I am outfitting this loom with the improved action board and getting it ready to weave some towels.  The interesting thing about this PVC Loom is it’s narrower than the final design.  It can weave approx. 21 inches wide.  (This was before I noticed that a 24 inch wide frame only has about 21 1/2 inches of usable front and back beam inbetween the elbow joints of the PVC pipe.  Oh well – live and learn.   )  But, I noticed that it’s actually quite nice at this size.  It’s hard to describe, but I like the feel of this loom.  Maybe it’s the nostalgia of being my first PVC Loom, but I’m taking special care in reviving this old prototype.  I’ll have some pictures to post soon.  Here is a photo of the original prototype.  This is from about 2003.

Happy Weaving!

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Loom “Before” Photo


Believe it or not, these parts were turned into a real weaving loom!  I shopped for them at Home Depot, Sears Hardware, and Lowes.  The only parts you can’t find there will be the Reed and Heddles.

In a weekend, or 2, you can transform them into one of these . . .

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The Coverlets were amazing!

I finally made the trip out to Bedford, PA to the National Museum of the American Coverlet. I arrived about 3:00 PM Thursday and, since it was mid-winter, I was the only person there.  Located in an old Schoolhouse, the Museum has very tall ceilings and spacious rooms.  I was greeted by Mr. Laszlo Zongor who, with his wife Melinda, are the curators.

Mr. Zongor gave me a personal tour of the museum and, for the next 2 hours, told me the history of the American Coverlet and its importance to our early economy.  He also explained that these coverlets are a true American art form.  As cultures blended in the 1800’s, he explained, the patterns and motifs in the coverlet designs also blended.  He then showed me examples of coverlets with Scottish, German, and English influences.  There is simply too much history to relate in my humble blog post.

Click on the photos to zoom in.

The above photo is of one square in a coverlet.  This one is of a thistle and was blended in with German-style motifs.  From a distance, and to the untrained eye, these look like printed fabrics.  The designs are so intricate that its hard to believe they are woven into the fabric. Also interesting is the fact that the pattern is exactly the same on the reverse side of the coverlet, but in opposite colors.

Even more amazing is the fact that these handwoven coverlets were woven in 2 pieces!  Anyone who has woven knows that keeping an even beat with the reed is a challenge.  So, weaving 2 sides of a coverlet, and then having them match up side by side is a master-level skill.  Since the maximum width that any one person can weave by hand is 45 inches, these looms were approx. 4 feet wide.  If you see a 6 foot wide coverlet that is not made from 2 halves, it was made on a power loom.

And, here is their very old barn loom that is awaiting conversion to become a Jacquard Loom. Mr. Zongor explained that looms such as these were often converted to Jacquard Looms by removing the harnesses and treadles and installing a “Jacquard Box” on top.

A standard bed coverlet required 2,000 punched cards on the Jacquard Loom.  Here is a closeup of a deck of cards.  This deck only represents the draft needed to insert the name and date for the customer as shown in the coverlet on the left.  The Jacquard Loom permitted names and dates, which are impossible with other hand looms without using a labor intensive pick-up technique.

The museum gift shop has lots of Jacquard-woven table runners and fabrics you can purchase.  They are made on restored Jacquard looms by Family Heirloom Weavers, which is located just south of York, PA.  Their coverlets and fabrics are very authentic and have been used by Hollywood in period movies, like 3:10 To Yuma.  I bought a very beautiful German-style table runner with birds and roses.

It was a great trip, and I hope to return soon after they restore the Jacquard Loom.  Here are some photos of complete coverlets.

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The National Museum of the American Coverlet

This happens to be an original American art form created by weavers of the 19th century.  I’m planning a trip to the Coverlet Museum in Bedford, PA, soon and hope to get lots of photos.  They are planning on rebuilding an old Jacquard loom.

http://www.coverletmuseum.org/

Here are some cloth samples from the museum . . .

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