Emmy’s New Home

This past Thanksgiving I had an adventure. I spent the day with my family, then bright and early on Friday, hopped in my car and drove from Seattle, WA to Mountain View, CA. A thirteen-hour, one-way road trip, by myself, in Black Friday traffic.

What would induce me to do such a crazy thing? Why a new loom of course! I was driving down to purchase Tien Chiu’s 40-shaft AVL Production Dobby Loom. She’d stopped using it since getting a Jacquard loom, so I was happy to get it out of storage and give it a new home.

Driving down was amazing. The parking lot of every mall I passed was entirely full. The only highway traffic I ran into was three lanes slowed down so much that I thought I had reached the inspection point to cross into California. Nope! All that traffic was from people trying to get into and park in an outlet mall. Yikes!

This is why I don’t shop in Black Friday sales. Though the irony that I was spending all day in the car the day after Thanksgiving to go buy something was not lost on me.

Ruth Temple and her wife Lise, generously offered me crash space for the night. I was supposed to get in around 8pm, but with one thing and another (I drive slow and sometimes get lost) I ended up there around midnight. Ruth was very kind and offered me a bed and a cup of herbal tea. I mumbled something like “You are a goddess of generosity” and passed out.

The next day, Ruth offered to help me pack and move the loom, which is a substantial gift of time and labor considering the many parts of an AVL loom. I generally have a hard time accepting help, but this time I gratefully accepted.

We dropped by Tien’s house to pick up keys to the storage facility. Right after Thanksgiving is when Tien does her massive chocolatiering for charity, which was fun to see in progress. Many hands packaging tasty things. If you ever have a chance to buy a loom from someone the same weekend that they’re finishing up creating 80 pounds worth of gourmet chocolates, do so. Tien generously gave us some samples of the goodies and they tasted as wonderful as they look on her blog.

The last question I asked about the loom was whether it had a name. Tien said that she’d named it Emmy, after Emmy Noether, a mathematician known for her landmark contributions to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. I usually like to come up with my own names for looms, but I like this one. It may stick.

Packing the car was…interesting. The question was, can you pack a 40-shaft, full-frame loom into a mid-sized SUV? The answer was, yes, barely.

Ruth excited that it all fit in the car

As you can see, Ruth and I were both happy that it all fit in the car. There may even have been happy dancing involved.

Then another 13+ hour car trip home! This time I stopped and spent the night in Grant’s Pass, OR, because the road was getting icy and slushy. Had a good night’s sleep and then the guys unloaded the pieces and parts into my studio.

Next step?  Assembly…


That’s only part of the loom. The compu-dobby and other e-lift aren’t pictured. Good thing I like puzzles!

How to replace a right treadle cable on an AVL PDL

I was weaving along on the Birthday Blanket at a good clip when the right treadle cable broke. This was frustrating, but I take it as a sign that I’m now a “real” weaver. Though as soon as I type that, I hear Laura Fry in my head saying, “Not until you fix it, you’re not.” Fair point, imaginary Laura, fair point.

Broken cable

I ordered a new cable from AVL and the following steps show how I replaced it. My loom is an Production Dobby Loom built in 1984. If your PDL was born in another year, these steps might not work for you.

First you need to loosen the set screw on the collar holding the cam shaft in place.Loosen set screw

Then slide the shaft out. (No sniggering, I can hear you!)IMG_3127_2

Next, unscrew the three screws holding the cam on.IMG_3129_2

It is a good idea to take a pencil and mark how the cam lines up before you remove all of the screws. This makes it easy to line up later.IMG_3141_2

Remove the cam.IMG_3142_2

The plug end of the cable is held in place by a ring of metal with a slot in it. The hole in the wood is big enough to put the plug and cable through, the ring with the slot covers part of the hole, effectively making it smaller.IMG_3143_2

It is a good idea at this point to measure your replacement cable and make sure it is the same size as the broken cable. (Ask me how I know…) And yes, I am wearing a leopard-print polartec adult onesie. It’s cold in my house; don’t judge.IMG_3144_2

Using a screwdriver and a hammer, gently tap the metal ring until the slot just barely clears the hole in the wood. Do not pound it all the way out, that would make it harder to put back in place.IMG_3145_2

Now you can slide the plug end of the cable out of the hole.IMG_3148_2

Reverse the previous steps to insert the new cable into the cam and attach the cam back onto the loom.

Take the cable up and OVER the cam.IMG_3153_2

When threading the cable down to the treadle, make sure to go over the wooden pulley. If you fail to do so, the cable will rub on the metal rod the pulley rides on and break again soon.



Attach the loop end of the cable to your treadle.IMG_3152_2

And viola! You’re back to weaving.IMG_3119

First Birthday Blanket Warp Done!

End of the WarpIt’s a banner day, the first of two warps for the Birthday Blanket Project are done!  Eric and Kai were away for most of the week, and I took the opportunity to weave on my big noisy AVL (the flyshuttle is loud) while they were away.  At first it felt as though the 13-yard warp would go on forever, but at long last it is done!  Huzzah!  Lessons learned include: Continue reading