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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.


Comments on: "Summertime and the weaving is easy" (5)

  1. Nice post, Robyn. Our tools really do become an extension of ourselves. That may be why I find it so hard to part with my first loom in order to make room for the loom I’ve been dreaming of. sigh

    • loomchick said:

      I completely understand. I don’t feel it would be appropriate for me to get rid of my first loom. It originally belonged to my great-grandmother and I feel it really belongs to my family. I still refer to it as her loom after weaving on it for over 40 years. First looms are like our children, but sometimes it evolves our own legacies when they become someone else’s first loom.

  2. do you have a project planned for your new addition to the family?

    • loomchick said:

      Not yet. The acquisition of the loom was unexpected and a bit of a surprise. Since I plan on keeping this loom, I need to figure out how I’m going to use it. Why is it the first project for any loom is so difficult to plan?

      • probably because it IS a momentous decision. What should the fabric be? Will it be right for this loom? Will it be successful? It’s like the entire future of a loom rests on it’s creative integration into one’s studio. The feeling that you’ll get from that first project off the loom can color how you feel about the loom in general… and we always want to be friends with our looms, not adversaries! Best wishes for a happy integration!

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