Update on the ramson seeds I planted: Not a single one came up. My mom, the Master Gardener, looked up some info on growing them from seed and says they only have a 10-20% success rate, which makes the 100 seeds I got seem like less of a bounty. Her book suggested putting them in the fridge in a wet paper towel for a few weeks before planting, so I will try that on the next batch.
My main update since my last post is some progress (and some setbacks) on my big weaving project on my Laurel's floor loom. First, I can say that carrying that enormous blasted thing up the stairs of our split-level house made me nearly homicidal, and I'm very thankful that my buff husband took the harder end (the upstairs end) while I just propped up the lower end). I still have bruises, and that thing won't be moving again until we move house. We decided to move it from the family room downstairs (where the carpet was damp from being shampooed) to the living room. Now the darn thing takes up half the room, but it's set up.
Last weekend she, my friend Mistress Giliana (who is a loom guru), and my student sister Beatriz came over and helped me get warped. The loom is big enough to have two sitting in front and two behind to pass the threads to each other, so things actually went pretty quickly, once we did some major re-arranging of the thread heddles. Each harness had wildly different numbers of heddles on it, so I'm not sure how the person who used this loom last was actually managing to weave anything wider than a belt. It seems like there's a fair bit of finesse required with these heddles, but I'm learning!
I learned a lot about how countermarche looms actually work, and now I know that it's kind of like having a car with power steering. The tie-ups are done in such a way that each heddle is tied to each treadle, with either a lever that lifts the heddle up or one that pulls it down. That means you only have to push the pedals down half as far as you otherwise would have to get the shed open enough to weave with. I need to do a bit more research about the history of countermarches, but I'd venture a guess that they're a 19th century phenomenon.
The pattern I'm using is not a medieval pattern. It's actually from an 1895 German book I found on Handweaving.net. Here's the link, and here's the image of the pattern. It's pretty, and even more importantly, has really simple treadling and threading patterns.
I hit a snag when it came to weaving the actual piece, since the ratchet arm thing on the cloth beam seems to have broken again. It's been removed and hopefully I can get a new one made soon. For now, here are some loom/warping photos.