All looms have a story . . . some are more remarkable than others, but all looms do have a story. I recently purchased a four-shaft Harrisville loom. It’s 22″ wide with a four-treadle direct tie-up. I purchased it from one of the men I know from the ice rink I skate at every week. Less than three weeks ago, he mentioned to me that he owned a loom and was thinking of getting rid of it. Surprise surprise! I didn’t even know he wove . . . frankly, most of our conversations at the rink have to do with ice skating. Anyway, he didn’t really weave . . . but, he had purchased this loom brand new in 1980 and recalls weaving on it once . . . maybe, twice at the most . Other than that, it was reported to be in nearly new condition.
I brought the loom home less than a week after he told me about it. It’s so convenient that Harrisville is still around and I ordered new cables for it. Even though the loom had not been used, it still had the original leather straps and they felt a little stiff. I also ordered a sectional beam for it. I set the loom aside until everything arrived and I could put the new parts on it and give the loom a good cleaning.
The box arrived yesterday and after unpacking it, I decided today would be the day to bring this little loom back into the wonderful world of weaving. After removing some of the parts on the loom, I started cleaning it. Even though the loom had been stored carefully over the past 30 years, it had areas that needed to be cleaned well . . . plus, nuts, bolts, and screws that need to be tightened up a bit. Much of it is normal loom maintenance, but on a new-to-you loom it’s like meeting someone new at a guild meeting or conference. I know we have something in common, but there’s still an acquaintance to be made and opportunity for discovery.
It was such a beautiful day that I decided to move the loom outside into our backyard (one of the many things I love about small looms . . . their portability!). While cleaning a loom, one makes a rather intimate connection with it . . . you start noticing the grain of the wood and those few small areas where the grain looks truly remarkable . . . and it tells you of a moment in the history of the tree the piece came from . . . or the little ding in the wood from a mysterious impact with an unknown object. But, what this loom told me about itself more than anything else was of its limited use. There were no areas that showed wear-and-tear like so many of our well-used looms have . . . It told me of 30 years of quiet existence. Well, as of today, those days are over! The loom is cleaned, reassembled with new parts, and ready to be warped . . . perhaps tomorrow if I can decide what to do on it first. But, for right now, it sits beautifully by the pond in our backyard. Before evening sets in, I’ll move it back inside and give it one more night before its new life begins.