Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Excitement of the Wrong Kind

Yesterday, I dove into the ranunculus. Here's a photo at about 500 picks (about 1/3 of the total picks):

I decided to substitute a light pink yarn for the white in the original image, and I'm not sure I really like the effect. I may weave the image again someday with white; it depends on how well I like this version once it's woven and wet finished.

Anyway, at about 800 picks, I heard a loud, sharp crack and module 6 dropped all of its heddles at once. Another lifting cable had broken. The cable for module 8 gave up the ghost in mid-July; I guess the cables on the oldest modules (the eight in the middle of the array) are reaching their expiration date.

In January of 2011, DH installed a pick counter attached to the lifting mechanism, which uses a magnet and a sensor to detect each time a lift happens. At the time, we guesstimated that I'd woven approximately 22,500 picks, but I suspect that was a low-ball estimate. According to the counter, I've woven over 154,000 picks since then, for a total of over 175,000 picks. Which means the cables that lift the hooks, heddles, and knives have gotten a lot of exercise. (A typical piece is between 1,200 and 1,600 picks, so that's a lot of weaving!)

Thank heavens for the inhouse engineer! After the first cable failure, we asked AVL to send a set of spare cables, which arrived in early August. DH had a replacement cable installed in about 30 minutes, and I wove a few picks to test the installation while he watched, to ensure the cable was correctly routed around all its pulleys and clamps. While he worked, I wrote up an installation procedure, which should make it quicker and easier to install the next replacement...

My first task today is to do a visual inspection of the lifting cables on the other 6 of the older modules, to see which ones are showing signs of wear and tear. Then I can weave the rest of the ranunculus piece.


Laura Fry said...

in house loom doctor - a life and loom saver for sure!


Cally said...

My heart stopped just reading about that! I hate loud cracks from looms when I am not expecting them... Glad you had the foresight, the cables and the engineer on hand.

Alice said...

The noise we love to hate. I do have spare cables on hand, but that doesn't cure the sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach.

neki desu said...

shudder, shudder the dreaded THUD when the stuff hits the floor.
i bet the in house engineer came to rescue flashing his red super hero cape.