Saturday, October 19, 2013

Technical Difficulties

My technical difficulty has been getting my AVL loom operating again. 
I am ashamed to say that I have not used it in several years. 
Last summer I warped and threaded the loom for a large overshot wall hanging but since then the loom has sat staring at me, making me feel guilty and just taking up real estate in the studio.
 Finally I said enough is enough. 
Either the loom is used and earns its keep or it will be sold.

This is an older 60” AVL loom, built in 1987 with all the bells and whistles of its time.  
 I bought it second hand from a lady that had rarely used it and it was still in the original boxes! 
 It’s the Rip Van Winkle of looms. 

The loom came with both a compu-dobby, manual dobby, double warp beams, double fly shuttle box, reeds, shuttles etc. etc. For those of you who do not know what a dobby is, it is a device on a loom, which controls the action of the harnesses. That is the most simplified way to explain it but if you want to know more then look up Dobby Loom on Wikipedia. 
The only thing not on the loom, I wish it had, is the auto cloth advance, 
which could be added except the price would be around 700 dollars. 
That is not going to happen unless this loom earns its keep, 
which it diffidently has not been doing.

I finally have gotten the courage to tackle this loom. 
Yes, it does take courage at least for me. 
This is no simple loom to use. It took me a whole week just to put the darn thing together.
 I had worked on an AVL during a two-year program taught by Catherine Ellis at Haywood Community College’s Professional Fiber Arts Program, 
which I graduated from several years ago. They can be amazing looms to work on and
 I had wanted one just so I could weave my large overshot wall hangings. I think I have forgotten most of what I learned about these looms during that time so I have had to relearn so much.

One problem I have had is the loom has an older dobby so all of the connections are older too.  I had an older computer to hook up to the dobby but it was cumbersome and took up too much room. I checked with a local computer geek to see if I could somehow connect it to my laptop, which he said would not be possible. Then he proceeded to tell me in complicated terms why not. He told me you cannot find the right connections anymore and that I should just buy a new interface for my dobby or accept my old bulky computer monitor.  A new dobby would be around 3500. dollars so no that ain’t gonna happen either.

 Some times I can be like a dog with a bone. Worry it to death, which is what I started to do with being told something can’t be done.  So, Pog built a caddy for my old CPU tower. Now it can sit beside the loom out of the way and is also on wheels for easy moving if need be. 

Then I found on EBay a 5ft. older VGA male-to-male 15-pin plug for only 3.99 and free shipping, which fits an older flat screen monitor we already had and connects to the dobby. 
 Pog then built a hanger to fit on the loom, which can be moved or taken down as needed, so the monitor hangs directly in front of me. 

Turned everything on and the dobby just started clicking away!!
Knock on wood but this thing might actually work after all these years!

 Now to work on getting the threading errors fixed, 

the pattern keyed into the weaving program, get the fly shuttle to work and then maybe be able to weave a hanging after all this trouble and hard work.
I am taking it a little at a time so my brain doesn’t overload and explode!
I’ll let you know how it goes.


  1. Good Morning,

    What an interesting post, I love it. My SIL weaves and it amazes me, in fact she just wrote that she finally brought her loom up from the basement. Must be a "weaving bug biting".

    Have a wonderful weekend up in the mountains (4 weeks from today we will be Weaverville bound, 1 hubby, 2 dogs, 4 orchids and three cactus - thank goodness we don't have a partridge in a pear tree) in an SUV. Giggle.

    1. Foggy and drizzly this morn. The leaves are slow to turn but with coming cold weather next week may be the peak. Have a safe trip and stay in touch!

  2. What a big undertaking to get this computerized loom to work. My daughter is a master weaver and teaches weaving at the N.B.College of Craft and Design and she works on a computerized loom and says that they are awesome when things are going well but a huge headache when they have a glitch. They can make intricate designs.

    Good luck getting this big project underway. Don't give up, you have made some huge progress already.
    I'm looking forward to seeing your progress.

    1. Thanks Julia, I need the encouragement.
      I will have to look up the N.B. college since I have not heard of it. So cool that your daughter is a weaver!
      The loom has so many possibilities and I have been very fortunate to own a loom like this. It is way past time to see what I can do with it.

  3. Holy cow! That is all so complicated--my brain could explode just reading about it! I am so impressed with your perseverance . . .

    1. Maybe my brain is about to explode and that is why I woke up with a headache this morn!

  4. It makes my head spin just reading about it! :) Looks like it is coming along well and I like how you all set up the computer and screen. These are the kind of things that you have to works on a little at a time and walk away to clear your head. Keep chugging away and you'll be weaving on it in no time!

    1. I hope to weaving on it next week! Thanks for the encouragement.

  5. You have me a little confused....if you have a mechanical dobby, why do you need a computer?

    1. The loom came with both dobby's but I am using the compu dobby not the manual one.

  6. I think I will stick with my hook. MUCH less complicated!
    Hugs :)

    1. Yes some times it is too complicated and I walk away to do something simple like hooking or quilting!