Before I became a weaver, I thought the only thing one needs for the job is a loom. I couldn’t have guessed then how far from the truth that is. And I wouldn’t have had the faintest idea of how heavy all the related machinery can be.
Growing collection: a cone winder
The latest addition to our miscellaneous and growing collection of weaving equipment is a cone winder, or rather, a heap of oily cast iron and metal that will be a cone winder once again in the near future (fingers crossed).
A cone winder is a piece of equipment that allows us to quickly and evenly wind up a large number of cones for warping.
From the heart of British textile production
We got our (new) cone winder second hand from our Yorkshire spinners and picked it up from a semi-abandoned warehouse in Halifax. Once the whole area around there was the heartland of British textile production, but unfortunately most of it has moved overseas. Now you only see a few big, old mill chimneys pocking out in between large, new and shiny retail stores. In our own little way and small scale croft house industry, we are hoping to help reverse the trend and bring some of the textile production back here.
So off we went from Skye with our long wheel base hire van, spent the night in its spacious back and arrived fresh and chirpy in Halifax. There we phoned our friend and font of all weaving knowledge Bob, and asked him how to go about taking the incredibly solid looking cone winder apart. ‘Just start at the top and strip it down’ was the basic advice, which we followed with great results. Unfortunately some of the pieces of cone winder still weigh about a tonne after taking even the last removable bolt off. Anyway, through a variety of manoeuvers we managed to haul everything into the well-laden van.
The second half of the day went with dismantling and loading yet another big piece of equipment – an adjustable width warping creel. To cut a long story short, we just managed to finish and leave the slightly derelict ware house before the sun set over Halifax (which is surprisingly early if you are used to the short hours of darkness in the Hebrides at this time of year).