A Day in the Life of Looms, 2012

January 1, 2012

I was wondering why taking a few en deshabille photos of my looms and looking at other people’s looms in the same condition turned out to be such a refreshing exercise last year.  Here’s what I think.  It’s hard to get a clear look at something you walk around daily, dust around weekly (Ha! Fat chance!), and the very nature of which is to be a means to an end.  When I look at my looms I see cloth or lack of it.  Easier not to look.  But you can’t not see something when you stick it in a rectangle, click the shutter, and pass it around for others to see too.  Somehow it just feels right to look at things squarely on the first day of the year.  A great idea, Meg.

Bergman 8-shaft countermarche:  The ironing hanging on it pretty much tells the story.  My Bergman has not had a warp since we moved to into this house nearly three years ago.  My hips may allow me to weave on it again someday, they may not.  C’est la vie!  (Sorry, feeling French today, I have been watching surrealist cartoons.)  The wooden pieces on the bench are components of a band loom I mean to make.

Spears rigid heddle:  Here is the end of a warp for 3 large napkins in an adaptation of Erika de Ruiter’s “Magic-Step Towels”–only the final border and a little extra are left to weave off.  I was intrigued by the idea that such a complex-looking pattern could be woven on a rigid heddle loom.  Word to the wise: just because you can weave something on a rigid heddle loom doesn’t mean you should.  This was the slowest weaving I’ve done.  Ever.  Eternity napkins.  I should bronze them.

Standing inkle:  20/1 linen band.  I would like to weave a bunch of these in different colors and designs.  I have a plan for using them together, and a lot of this vintage linen thread.

8-shaft table loom:  Fooled you!  The homemade 8-shaft table loom is GONE.  What you see below is a different loom entirely.  A few months ago I sold the old 8-shaft in just the way I had hoped–remodeled into good working order, for much less money than I paid for it, with a clear conscience, to a deserving new weaver!

Pysslingen 4-shaft table loom:  I had decided that if I ever bought another table loom, it would have to be an older Glimåkra because no other kind was worth the trouble.  I did not really think I would find one.  Then I did.  This loom has never been warped or even fully assembled.  It is essentially a brand new 35-year-old loom . . . without heddle sticks.  The original owner stashed them somewhere years ago and wasn’t able to find them when she put the loom up for sale.  Pre-milled lumber doesn’t come in the right size for replacements, and Glimåkra no longer stocks parts for this loom (its successor the Victoria has metal shaft bars), so at the moment I am in heddle stick limbo.  I might get an email telling me that the former owner has found them in her basement the same way she found the reed and cords and heddles a week after I bought her loom, or I might just get help from someone with a table saw.

Happy winding, warping, and weaving in 2012!


7 Responses to “A Day in the Life of Looms, 2012”

  1. Susan Berlin Says:

    Thank you so much for having the courage to state that you haven’t woven on your Bergman for a while! Me, too. I moved to Ontario in 2010, got stuff out of storage and into the house at the end of October of that year — and my ‘work room’ has been stuck at ‘storage’ since then. All this is bad enough, but I know that the real reason I haven’t got back to weaving on my 8-shaft Bergman is that the tie-up needs adjusting since the move knocked things about a bit, and I’m just scared to tackle it. My 24-inch Bergman is almost ready to go — again, the tie-up….sigh.

    But I just got a Glimakra Emilia rigid heddle loom, and I love working on it — I learn something every time, and warping is such a simple, quick process.

    So I’ll focus on moving forward in 2012.


  2. Thanks for the pointer to Erika’s Log Cabin/Basket Weave project – fabulous looking. The progress with your table loom is exciting, too. I hope th ex-owner finds all the pieces.

  3. Cally Says:

    The napkins look gorgeous (such a classy colour scheme; says “banquet” in a very understated way) but I’ll take heed of your warning. Not that I was about to start weaving on a rigid heddle, but you never know when the urge might strike.

    And I agree with your perspicacious opening remarks. I was feeling rather depressed about the empty Delta until I realised it wasn’t quite. I can’t get those nice portrait shots of my looms though, because they are too close together and there’s nowhere left for me to stand.

  4. deborah Says:

    I was so struck by seeing your wonderful and huge Bergman that I am inspired to comment and may start writing my blog again. It was your posts that got me writing and weaving in th first place,I have never stopped weaving (and now spinning and dyeing) but once I fell behind with monthly blog writing I found it impossible to get going again. Now is the time for Resolutions so I will reconsider.

  5. Karl Burton Says:

    Note: I’d send this as an email if I could figure out how to do it

    “I might get an email telling me that the former owner has found them in her basement the same way she found the reed and cords and heddles a week after I bought her loom, or I might just get help from someone with a table saw.”

    I’ve got a table saw, and a router, and all sorts of ways of making things like this – am working to restore/improve/get working again my wife’s old custom-built loom (36″ 4 harness that would be a jack loom except that it lifts from the top.).

    Will consider trading custom-made heddle sticks for support as my wife gets back into weaving.

    • Trapunto Says:

      Thank you for the kind offer, Karl! My heddle stick project does seem to be underway, though. I found some oak at a millwork place where they were willing to rip it down for me, the rest of the work should be possible with my sanders and hand tools.

      I think it’s lovely you are helping your wife get her loom working. As for support as she gets back into weaving, some really fantastic books that have been released in the past few years, with lots of clear photos and diagrams, miles more reader-friendly than much of what was available in the past.

      Another newish resource is the website Weavolution–a lot of active, experienced weavers seem delighted to chime in to answer other weavers’ questions on the forums there. Local classes and workshops are good too, for hands-on refresher courses and hands-on help. I know a little about weaving education options in the Pacific northwest, not so much other regions. Where are you located?

  6. Catherine Conrad Says:

    You can order warp sticks from Glimakra and they will cut them to specification. I ordered 60″ ones and had each cut to fit both my 36″ loom and 22″ loom and saved aboout $20 instead of ordering a dozen of each actual size. Lois of Bountiful placed the order for me. Just in case you still want them.

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