If I taught a workshop/seminars at ANWG '19 would you be interested?

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Road Trip


We set out at 7:30 in heavy fog, which lasted far too long, then it cleared and showed off lovely blue skies.  I forget how low the sun is this time of year but the constant sun in my eyes as we wended our way ever more southward was a reminder!  Thank goodness for wrap around sun glasses...

By the time we got to Hope the sun was hidden behind the clouds snagged on the mountains.  As we turned west heading towards Vancouver it rained.  They call this the wet coast for a reason!

As dark descended, it got very black and we were more than happy to stop for the night.  Hopefully it won't be rainy tomorrow but this IS the wet coast...

I'm glad I brought lots of yarn with me because I finished one scarf already.  In the hotel room I cast on for another.  There will be several more hours in the van before we arrive at our friends house.  Can't have idle hands!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Belt and Suspenders


A lot on my mind, so warp winding, leaving some ready for me to slam onto the loom when I get home seemed like a good idea.

Seems like there is a surge in people interested in weaving happening all over the country, which is great.  It also means a flood of people trying to learn a craft that is subtle and nuanced, usually re-inventing the wheel.  They are either far away from personal assistance or on a very limited budget, not wanting to buy books or DVDs or travel to take classes.

Inevitably they run into problems and wind up with disasters, disappointed in their results, not understanding that weaving takes a certain level of knowledge and skill, which doesn't come on the first or even 31st stab at it.

They wind up being afraid, tense, wary.  They tend to use what I call a belt and suspenders approach to the craft, often doing things more slowly than necessary, partly because they just haven't given themselves enough time to practice the physical skills or have enough knowledge to know when extra time needs to be taken in order to get good results.  

So often warp winding becomes a problem because they hold the thread with a death grip.   If they wind more than an inch worth of warp the first threads are longer than the last because the extreme tension they are using causes the pegs to bend.  Or they can't get the warp chain off the board it is so tightly wound.  

They use massive numbers of ties along the length of the chain and tie the cross round the waist as well as the arms.  

All of those ties take time, both to tie...and untie.  Frequently I see ties made from one strand of very thin thread, tied loosely.  To me this is not helpful, especially if the ties are the same colour as the warp.  A loose tie really doesn't do much except prevent the chain from spreading.  

A new weaver must first of all learn the vocabulary and physical skills including how to most effectively handle their tools.  The definition of 'effective' will vary with each person, so learning a variety of approaches is imho necessary.  The more the weaver knows, the better able they are to choose appropriately.  And to know when belt and suspenders are necessary.  And when they are not.



Thursday, February 25, 2016

Happy Place


I can hardly believe that in just over two years I have used up the majority of Lynn's fine linen.  But today I finished off the very fine three ply and started using an even finer singles cotton/hemp blend.  

Since it was just a tad finer and more supple than the linen I 'cheated' and added a shaft to the twill tie up.  This increases the number of interlacements and I didn't have to change the auto cloth advance.  If I hadn't increased the interlacements, the cloth would have been a bit on the sleazy side.  Since it is weaving up nicely, I feel I made the right choice. 

The photo shows the hem and the beginning of the towel body.  The pink line is the cut line.  This marker makes it easy to cut the towels apart once they are off the loom.

Tomorrow is fraught with errands and final packing so I won't likely get back to the loom.  But that's ok.  I have to order in yarn for the next warp so having this one waiting for me means I can get right back to weaving when I get home.  Even better that I feel like I have made some good progress on the stash busting and that I really like how this cloth is turning out. 

Currently reading Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling)

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Showing Up



So many people comment on how productive I am and wonder if I sleep at night.

Well, not as much or as well as I would like, but yes, I do sleep!

One of my secrets - other than honing my skills and becoming as efficient as possible - is that I show up.  I try to show up every day, regardless of how I'm feeling.  I make weaving a priority, not an after thought.

I know all too well how difficult this is when life is full.  Full of obligations.  Full of family commitments.  Full of...stuff.

A long time ago I was talking to someone who very badly wanted to turn her creative work into her 'real' work.  But she had to work a 'real' job so that she could collect a 'real' paycheque.

She wondered how I was managing to turn weaving into a career.  I told her that I set aside a certain amount of time every single day to get into the studio.  Even if it was 'just' fifteen minutes.  That I never said to myself "I only have 15 minutes, it's not worth going to the studio."  What I said instead was "I have 15 minutes.  What can I get done in that amount of time?"

And then I would go do that.  Even if it was just winding bobbins for the next weaving session.  Even if it was just choosing colours for the next warp.  Even if it was just tidying.

I showed up.  I showed up every day.  I showed up even when I didn't feel like it.  Even when I had a headache, or a back ache, or would have much rather been taking a nap.

My studio time was a serious commitment and I showed up.

There was a meme on Facebook the other day.  It said something like 'inspiration is for amateurs'.  Creative people do not wait for 'inspiration'.  They go do the work.  They make their art/craft - badly - until they gain the skills to make it well.

You have to show up.  And you have to do the work.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

8 Years


This week marks eight years since my life was turned upside down.

Life is always...difficult.  There are always, always, challenges, stress, strife.  But generally one charts a course and pretty much stays on it through thick and thin, better or worse.

And then something happens to change all that.

For me it was the untimely, much-too-soon death of my brother.  I will never forget the phone ringing, shortly after 7 pm and the voice asking "Your brother is turning blue - is he allergic to something?"  "It's his heart" I said.

And dammit if I wasn't right.

I didn't want to be.  Oh, how I didn't want to be.

I thought surely, he is young enough, fit enough, strong enough, to get through this.  Surely he can.

But he couldn't.  He just couldn't.

And then the phone call from the coroner.  Since he died at work, his death had to be investigated.  So she phoned to talk to me and find out if heart disease was an 'issue' in our family.  Well, yes, it was.  And so she recommended that I get checked out.

And dammit if I wasn't having 'issues', too.  As I found out more, I began to put the pieces together.  The increasing fatigue.  The shortness of breath on exertion.  The purple fingernails - something I had noticed both my brother and I had at our last family dinner at Christmas.

After months of adverse medication reactions, I was finally on a medication regimen that seemed to be working.  But the fatigue never stopped.  Yes, I was 'better', I was back to a regular routine, I could do aerobic activity without tiring quickly.  I was even back to being able to walk up four flights of stairs.  Everything was looking...normal.  Except I knew that it wasn't.  I knew there was something wrong.

Never in my life did I think that the other Big C was in the wings, slowly eroding my health.  And so I went through chemotherapy.  And as I got over that, it was back to 'normal'.  Until gradually it wasn't.  Back with the fatigue, back with the shortness of breath under exertion.  Back to not being able to walk up four flights of stairs, or hills.

This time surgery.  Major surgery.  Surgery I really don't want to go through again.  I don't want to go through chemotherapy again, either, but my cancer is 'incurable', although indolent (slow growing) and even though I am now well past my due date, as of October I was still in remission.

So what has all of this done to my life?

Well, it has 'saved' it, for one thing.

There is a meme on Facebook that says something to the effect that Big Pharma doesn't create cures, it creates patients.  Well, I am here to say that, thanks to Big Pharma, I am still here.  Yes, I take lots of pills, but I AM still here to take them.

While I feel I need to tweak the medications to have a better quality of life, I am still here to moan about the adverse effects, not under six feet of ground.  Like my brother.

So what has really changed since this week 8 years ago?

Having to repeatedly stare reality in the face, I am all too aware that life is uncertain.  Life can be sharp and short.

And this realization has made me feel - well, many things.  First of all, survivor guilt.  Why am I still here when my younger brother isn't?  Why him, not me?

Then gratitude.  Yes, I am still here.  Therefore, I have been given more time to do...what, exactly?  Try to become a better person, mostly.

Having gone through both of the Big C's, I find myself less judgmental.  I never thought I was very judgmental until I became even less so.

I find myself reacting less to situations where I may have gotten angry.  I am more accepting of differences.  More...mellow...if you will.

I try to be more helpful and encouraging.  I find myself less tolerant of things that I feel 'waste' my time.  Because time is precious, the less of it you have (thanks Bonnie Raitt).

Ultimately none of us knows how long we have.  Illness can sneak up on anyone, regardless of fitness level or health.  Accidents can happen to anyone, at any time.

As I look back on these 8 years, I am reminded that I have wonderful supportive family and friends.  And really, what more can anyone ask for?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Point of resistance


There is a bit of a trick to being able to weave a very open cloth.   The goal, of course, is to do it as consistently as possible, but how to achieve that?

If the density of the warp is close to optimum, there is a natural point of resistance as the beater comes close to the fell.  It is up to the weaver to determine if this point is the appropriate place for the active pick and, if not, how much firmer to squeeze the pick into place. 

The weaver must feel how much force is required to place the pick and then do the same thing every time for each pick.  

Mastering weaving means being able to control the equipment and the materials to achieve the desired results. 

Currently reading Stoney Creek Woman by Bridget Moran

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Hubris

There is a certain amount of hubris associated with creative work.  You have to have enough ego, confidence, what have you, to think other people will actually pay you for your endeavours.

How much of what I make/write is 'valuable' enough that someone else will pay for it?  How confident can I be that all the time and effort I put into making something, writing something, offering up my efforts, will result in some sort of income?

What on earth made me think, 40 years ago, that I could achieve even a tiny bit of 'success'  (however success may be defined)?

At that time I did not weave.  I had not even touched a floor loom (other than to admire them in the weaving studio).  I had some small experience with knitting and a bit of spinning and a few small items woven on inkle or other small looms.

And yet...and yet...I quit my job and started weaving.

I wrote Magic in the Water because I saw - and people told me - that there was a desperate need for a book about wet finishing.

But what about the current effort at word smithing?  With so many books and magazines already addressing the many and varied aspects of weaving, what on earth has given me the idea that what I may have to say about it will result in people being interested in buying it?

And so the argument in my head goes between me and my Inner Critic.

I have received initial feedback from my alpha reader and she has given me very good food for thought.  But I can also see that anything short of two years to completion is the stuff of fairy tales.

Writing a book is not the same as writing a blog post, or a magazine article.  It is a much bigger, much more complicated task.  And no one person is ever going to create 'the only book you'll ever need'.

Each person brings their unique experience and vantage point to writing, be that a magazine article, blog post or book.  Each person has their own vocabulary, their own creative intuitiveness about how threads interlace and interact.  Each person reading the text has their own way of learning.

So it is a good idea to read a lot of books, read a lot of articles, read a lot of blogs.  Explore how other people think, especially about threads, colour, texture.  No one book will provide all of the information required for a serious exploration of textiles/weaving.

Over the years I have accumulated a wall of books.  Over time I have sold some of them as no longer being useful to me (not to mention I needed the space!)   I have kept my favourite 'go-to' books.  Some I refer to frequently, some rarely.  The ones that only get referred to on rare occasions are not less, they just have a different focus, a different slant, but I know that and I keep them because they encourage me to think about cloth differently.

I won't list all my books - there are far too many.  But I will mention Robyn Spady's new publication
Heddlecraft.  

I know Robyn from my time as a member of the Seattle Weaver's Guild.  I have seen countless glowing reviews of her workshops and publications with Interweave.  I have not seen her new magazine, but I feel confident that anyone wanting to understand more about weave structure and other aspects of weaving will find Heddlecraft interesting.

In the meantime, I am mulling over the feedback, thinking about what I want to say and how best to say it.  One thing I've learned over the decades is that my ego is alive and well and I have enough hubris to keep putting words together.  Why I thought I could do this book faster than Magic, I'm not sure - but I also have enough hubris to keep working on it.

In the end, I'm doing this as much for myself as I am for anyone else.  Just like when I started weaving.  I had to.  Something in me locked onto the concept and would not let go.  I just have to tame the Inner Critic - but that's what hubris is for, isn't it?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Sample, Sample, Sample


For many years I have been wanting to explore a particular aspect of weaving and something always seemed to get in the way.  

Now I have all the materials I could want in order to explore this technique.  Since we are hoping to publish our results I won't give details except to say that the initial sampling will consist of nine 3 meter long warps, three or four samples each, so a minimum of 27 up to 36 samples in total.

What will these samples be after weaving?   Knowledge.  They will be a repository of knowledge and experience.  In other words, priceless.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Hurt

 

I once worked with a gal born and raised in Newfoundland.  She had many phrases that were uniquely found on The Rock, one of which tickled my fancy.  When I mentioned a local department store was having a shoe sale, she said she couldn't go because none of her shoes were 'hurt'.  

Last November a customer brought me this scarf which she had purchased and worn until it was 'hurt'.  She said it was her very favourite scarf and could I make another?

I told her I couldn't get the same yarns but I could make something similar.  

This project has finally risen to the top of my job list so I just analyzed it and will set about trying to make a scarf for the customer to wear until it, too, is 'hurt'.  

Currently reading Kicking and Dreaming, a memoir by Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart 

Friday, February 12, 2016

Considerations


Starting to wind the warp for a special order of place mats, thinking about how far 'behind' I am where I had hoped to be nearly half way through February and from there the thought squirrels jumped to working efficiently.  And that any creative practice is not a contest with anyone but ones self.  

Since I was winding a warp I started thinking about the things that I do, and do not, do. 

I do not use a guide string.  When I was first starting out I did and inevitably I would tie the guide string into the warp chain.   Then I realized that after the first few passes it couldn't be seen, so why was I using one?  Instead the first pass of the warp became my guide.

Some of the people wind tiny warp chains.  For me this is way too time consuming.  Each chain has to be secured, then unsecured.  My warp chains do not exceed 15" (of 2/8 cotton).  If a warp is wider than that I will make two more or less equal chains.

I do not keep scraps of yarn to use for ties.  Instead I have a cone of yarn next to the warping board.  People are constantly giving me odd packages of yarn not suitable (imho) for weaving with so I use that for ties.  Some people would consider that wasteful, but I choose to waste yucky yarn rather than my time.

My warping board is securely affixed to the wall so that I can work as ergonomically as possible.   Since I lay each pass of the yarn parallel to the previous one and then push the threads together, I need the board to be secure, not leaned against a wall, laid flat, or hung from one hook so it can wobble or sway.  

I don't chain my warps any more.  My warps do not have active twist in them, though.  If they did I would use Peggy Ostercamps 'kite stick' method for controlling the yarns, keeping them under tension and therefore under control.

When I tie the chains I do not tie the 'waist' of the X just the arms.  I found that, regardless of the method used for dressing the loom, compressing the threads at the waist leads to difficulty finding the next threads in their sequence. 

I do try to use at least two yarn packages to wind from which effectively halves the amount of time required to wind a warp and I do keep a finger between the two yarns so that they don't twist around each other.

Everyone must find their own 'best practice'.  For me, I want to work as efficiently as possible.  Once the coin of time has been spent, there is no making more.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Sweet Spot


The Leclerc Fanny has quite a large sweet spot - that is, the area where mechanically everything works at optimum performance in terms of the shed opening and the weft being beaten in.

In this photo the fell (the last weft pick) is approximately half way between the breast beam and the reed.   It may come as a surprise to some people that, imho, it is now time to advance the warp.   

The temptation to keep weaving needs to be overcome because from this point on the shed geometry will begin to change in ways that are going to adversely affect the quality of cloth.

The warp will have to open at a greater angle putting increasing strain on the threads.  If weaving continues much beyond this point, the weft will not seat properly around the selvedge threads and loops can develop which may not become apparent until the fell is moved forward towards the breast beam.  The angle of attack of the beater will change and the weft may beat in differently.  If the weaving continues even further, the shed will reduce to the point where the shuttle may not fit easily through the shed.  A tender warp will be under too much strain and the additional abrasion of the shuttle may damage the warp.  


This photo is immediately after advancing.  The fell is about two inches from the inside of the breast beam.  

It is much better to stop and advance more frequently than to try and force the loom to work beyond its mechanical ability.  Truly a case where stopping more frequently will get better results faster. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Aspirations



This cold has really knocked the stuffing out of me.  Normally I will weave for 45 minutes before taking a break - not because I'm tired but because I know it is good for my body.

The past few days I have been weaving on the AVL - just one towel at a time - then taking a break.  This morning I wove one towel on the smaller Leclerc and after one towel I was tired.  Normally I weave 2 and a half towels before taking a break, but not today.  I can't believe how weak I am although truth be told, it has been nearly a month since I have done any 'serious' weaving.  Don't use it?  Lose it!

On the other hand, I have had plenty of time to think.  One of the things I have been thinking about, of course, is The Book.  The one I intend to (keep) writing. 

Several things have happened over the course of the past few weeks which have called me to really think about and clarify what I am trying to do and why I am trying to do it.

With so many beginning type books already available, I feel that rather than simply add more to the heap of knowledge on that pile, I want to try to go beyond 'beginning'.  My goal has always been to try and explain the 'why' of weaving (as best I am able), not just the what. 

I already know that an ebook isn't going to garner the type of sales a 'real' book will.  Weaving shops won't carry it, it won't get wide distribution, I don't have a big advertising budget.  So sales will be low anyway.  My expectation of sales?  Not very high.

This will be more of a specialist presentation, not of interest to many, just a few. 

Then I read an article about 'best selling' books.  The definition was 1 million sales. 

Do I aspire to be a 'best' seller?  No.  Not at all.

The weaving community is tiny in comparison to the general population.  The percentage of people who weave who will be interested in what I have to say will be a tiny slice of that tiny population.

So what are my aspirations?  Do I want to sell the book?  Yes, of course.  Weaving is my career.  I earn money by teaching and writing about weaving - of course I want to make sales.

My aspirations boil down to this:  I hope that by sharing my experiences and whatever I know about weaving to assist others in their explorations.

I do not pretend to know all the answers.  I don't even know all the questions.  Because weaving - the creation of textiles using a loom with warp and weft - is huge.  Gigantic.  Mix in all the different fibres, the different types of equipment, the different qualities of cloth and the exploration of even a tiny part of the craft can take a lifetime.  It has certainly taken mine.  I was 25 when I decided to become a weaver. I have been a weaver for 40, going on 41 years. 

And I still learn.  I still make mistakes.  I still find weaving endlessly fascinating.  Right now I seem to be in a bit of a holding pattern in terms of learning.  I've been sticking to the tried and true - for the most part.  And that's ok, too.

Life goes through rough patches, smooth patches, detours and scenic routes.  And it is all good.  It is all life.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Watching Paint Dry

Weaving rhythm

Watching someone weave is a whole lot like watching paint dry.  The same thing, over and over and over again with the occasional 'break' to replace an empty bobbin with a full one or advance the warp.

And that is exactly how it should be.  Developing a weaving rhythm means working with the most efficient/ergonomic motions, motions that will pare the process down to the essentials all the while protecting the body from repetitive motion injuries.

Weaving doesn't have to be slower than it needs to be.  Extra motions can be eliminated.  Good posture encouraged.  Weaving by hand will always be slower than weaving industrially, for many reasons.  That doesn't mean it needs to take forever, or that weavers need to suffer for their craft.

When I travel to teach the one consistent thing I see over and over is the practice of weaving that means a slow pace and potential injury.  Weavers sit too low.  They sit with poor posture.  They have extraneous movements.  They work for too long without breaks.

Sometimes I feel like the worst coach/gym instructor/physical fitness leader ever, harping on good posture, sitting high enough, using motions that will encourage efficiency/ergonomics.

Different looms will require different physical adaptations.  A back hinged loom is going to be different to treadle than a front hinged loom.  A draw loom is going to be different than a dobby loom.  Different manufacturers have come up with different designs, different mechanics.  Some looms are just plain 'better' mechanically than others.  And of course weavers come in all sizes, so some looms are going to be too big or too small for an individual.

So remember these tips - sit with your hips higher than your knees, up high on your sitz bones.  Sit high enough that your elbows clear the breast beam.  Rock back and forth from your hips, not from a slouch (bent mid-back).  If you have a front hinged treadle loom, feet can slide back and forth or heel and toe to change sheds..  Sit with shoulders in neutral, not hunched.  Hold the shuttle 'under slung' not overhand (thumbs down position is 'bad' for the arm, neck and hand).

Work at developing a smooth transition between opening the shed, throwing the shuttle, catching it and beating in the weft.

Work at becoming paint drying.





Sunday, February 7, 2016

Hibernation


February.  The darkest month, in spite of returning longer days.  The month when hibernation seems like a good strategy to get through the rest of the winter.  

With both of us down for the count with colds, it has been a struggle to get up, get dressed, do anything more than just get through the day, hoping tomorrow will be better.

And it is.  But each day drags by leaving lack of energy and unaccomplished goals.  

Part of me rails against the wasted time, the goals not met, the things not done.  Part of me admonishes Inner Critic to just shut up already.  I'm sick and 65, not 35, pushing through isn't going to make this cold go away...in fact it might make it linger.

So I do what I can, watch the days on the calendar flip by and worry that I will miss an important deadline.

On the other hand nothing is really critical right now.  I won't make my word count but I have been thinking a lot about my target audience.  Who is it, and what do they want/need?   Is another beginning weaving book necessary?   Since it will be an ebook, not print, the market is going to be limited, anyway, so it will never be a 'best' seller.  

And so my thinking at the minute is that whatever I produce is perhaps best suited for the beyond beginner weaver.  The weaver that wants to go deeper than just replicating other people's designs, the weaver who wants to delve below the obvious, the weaver who wants to weave with, yes, intent.  

I don't know if I can produce something that will add significantly to the weaving world, but neither do I just want to repeat what others before me have done.

Sometimes a fallow period will bring clarity.  Hibernation doesn't mean nothing gets accomplished.  Spring is around the corner and growth and rejuvenation will happen after the 'rest' of winter. 


Saturday, February 6, 2016

In Praise of Samples



So many weavers lament about sampling, considering it a waste of time and money.  It's no secret that if you have been reading this blog for any time at all, that I am a big fan of sampling.

Recently I had a long think about samples and decided that perhaps it would be good to show how people in other disciplines 'sample'.

Potters make dozens of test glaze tiles
Knitters make swatches.
Artists sketch.
Musicians run scales and practice fingering.
Dancers do their exercises at the barre.
Singers do vocal exercises.
Athletes practice skills appropriate to their sport. 

And so on and on.

It's all about doing their 10,000 hours of mindful practice.  It's about getting to know their materials and their equipment.  It's about honing the physical skills involved in their craft/art.  It's about choosing to learn, deeply, about how to make and be the best you can be.

Acquiring knowledge is never, in my world, a waste of time or money.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Dithering



This is an old photo, but the studio doesn't look a whole lot different than this at the moment.

With being sick for the past week and another few days of recovery in the cards, I am woefully 'behind' in my self-imposed schedule.  It is also becoming abundantly clear that I need to see about a new prescription for eye glasses as it is getting harder and harder for me to see...clearly.  But I hesitate to go for an examination when I'm congested and bleary-eyed from a head cold. 

As I watch the calendar days flip by, I am confronted by a long list of stuff that I really wanted to have done before we left on our holiday - and which simply aren't going to happen.  My goal of having the text completed before we left was unrealistic, but I really thought I would be farther along than I currently am.  No point in trying to string words together when I'm so woolly headed.

And of course the homework from Olds is beginning to arrive.  Those boxes are going to have to take priority.  Unfortunately, Doug is in the middle of winding skeins onto cones, and my work table pretty much looks like the photo above...

And here I am, not doing anything productive, dithering about what I ought to be doing, accomplishing nothing.

Time to rip up that old schedule and make up a new, much more realistic one - one that includes a couple more days of rest and recovery before I plunge back into the fray.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

More 'Loom", More Problems



The AVL that I weave on has more mechanics than an 'ordinary' floor loom.  It has fly shuttle (which I only use when I'm weaving wider than 30" or so - otherwise I hand throw), auto cloth advance, computer assisted dobby, and the most recent addition - air assist.

When I first started weaving, I knew that I needed to invest in the most efficient equipment I could afford.  After doing some research, and test driving an AVL at a conference, I decided that was the direction I would go.

The loom was very intimidating.  It was 60" weaving width and the addition of the fly shuttle means that it takes up most of one end of the studio.  It also had 16 shafts when the most I'd had before were 8.  I very quickly realized that the more mechanical 'assistance' there was, the more things could go 'wrong'.

The AVL is set up mechanically differently from most floor looms as well.  In the photo you can see the levers that pull the shafts back down to their bottom position.  These levers are connected by chains and springs.  You might also be able to see that the chains are different lengths - one of them is dangling beside the yellow 'thing' in the centre left of the photo.

These dangling chains can catch on their neighbour's hooks, which is why the yellow 'thing' is there - it is covering the end of the chain and the hook on that shaft.

This morning I was weaving along quite nicely when the front shafts started dancing to their own music.  I looked and could not see anything amiss but as I continued to weave, the shafts continued to behave oddly.  It's a little tough when you are trying to operate the loom and see what's happening underneath.

Eventually I spotted the problem - the most obvious misbehavior was on the left hand side of the loom while it was the chain from shaft one that was catching on the hook from shaft two on the right hand side of the loom that was the problem.

There isn't a lot of space to get under the shafts, so I had to go to the back of the loom, eel myself in between the cloth storage roller and the bottom warp beam, drape myself across the roller and reach up and all the way to the front of the shafts to get the hook and chain separated.  I then taped the dangling chain back onto itself so that it would not be happening any time soon.

Ah, yes, the AVL Loom...you know, the one that does 'everything' for you, including making your mistakes???