Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Christmas in July

My first loom was given to me by a woman in the Weavers Guild who had seven other looms in her house. She'd gotten this one at a garage sale for $200. The story was that it belonged to someone's great aunt in Alaska, then went to the niece in California, then somehow to another relative here in Missouri. It hadn't been used in at least 40 years. It's solid cherry and works well, but has some annoying glitches that need to be fixed by someone who knows what they're doing. I wove 3 or 4 projects on it, but they were all narrow--scarves or belts. (I didn't weave the one hanging on it.)

This year, my husband told me I could start looking for a used loom for my Christmas present--the type I wanted to weave yardage on, a Swedish style loom. I started looking around and within a month found this one. It is exactly what I wanted, a Glimakra 4-shaft with a 40" weaving width. If you look closely, you can see it's set up differently than my old one, which is an American style jack loom. If you ever are interested in buying a loom, I would highly recommend getting a used one. There are lots of people who think they're going to weave and never end up using a brand new loom. I paid less than half the price of a new one for this loom.
There are several perks to a Swedish style loom. First of all, a lot of things are adjustable including the bench height, the beater height and position, and the treadle (pedal) height. All that adjusting makes it easier on your body while weaving. It also has cloth heddles instead of metal ones, so no more "clank-clank-bang" noise--very important since I'll probably be weaving when the baby is asleep. Also, it's set up to produce a finer cloth with a tighter weave structure, which is what I'm wanting to do.

I've already started warping my first project: towels. Yes, towels. I never thought I'd waste my time making something like this, but I needed a quick sampler project that I wouldn't mind if it got ruined just to figure out the mechanics of the loom. I had a hard time resisting the urge to jump in and put a 40" wide, 5 yard long warp on right away. But then I actually started thinking about Christmas presents and decided to kill two birds with one stone and do a sampler project that would work for presents too. Thus, Christmas in July, for me and my relatives who will receive the towels. I'm also going to try a new pattern called "undulating herringbone" that I've been wanting to do ever since I started weaving. Hopefully I'll be posting woven towels on here in a month or so, if the baby is cooperative and lets me work on it!
Have you ever made a project that you weren't interested in? Did it end up being worthwhile or not?


Anonymous said...

Great question! I thought of you and decided to check back in on your blog. Something I regret over the years is spending too much time on projects that weren't interesting, or using poor materials, for instance, cheap knitting worsted for something huge like an afghan. I have knit many afghans, always out of cheap yarn. I think your idea of trying out the loom making towels is great, though, and you are making it interesting by trying the new pattern! Your husband is wonderful to encourage your unique talent.

Christy said...

I agree with you, I regret using cheap yarn in the past. I read somewhere that it's better to make less with quality materials than to make more with poor materials. I think I enjoy working with nice yarn--and that's at least half the purpose of a project is the making of it.