On our drive up to Oxford, MS last week we were carrying two looms. One was a Union loom that was pulled out of a hoarder's barn near me. Ron did a great job of cleaning it up and putting it together. Yes, we had managed to find all the parts and with a few adjustments it was ready for its next warp. That loom went to a nice lady we met in Oxford last January. Jackie actually lives in McComb which is on the road between Baton Rouge, LA and Oxford, MS. We met in a Lowe's parking lot and transfered the loom from our truck to hers. Ron is tickled it is out of his workshop, I'm tickled to have found a new home a loom that still has weaving to do and Jackie is tickled to have it. Pretty much a win-win-win situation. This is a picture of a similar union loom. I forgot to take a picture of the one we delivered.
The second loom on the truck was the Macomber that my grandmother bought for me when I was 13 years old. It has taken me some time to recognize that it needed to go to a new home. It has lots of memories for me, mostly having to do with all the people I loved who are gone now but who wove on it. I still have the wool blanket that my mother and father both worked on. One of the things about a loom is that it takes up a fair amount of room. It's one of the things you buy into when you start to weave. The Macomber was sitting unused in the corner of my studio and my studio is pretty claustrophobic as it is. I was so pleased that Patsy, of Knit 1 Oxford, was interested. Even better, she knew my grandmother so it feels like passing the loom on to a family member. This lovely loom now sits on a rug in front of the windows so Patsy will be able to look out at the trees while she weaves. There is no better place to weave. I'm sure my grandmother would be pleased. And I'm sure my husband expected us to come back completely loom-less. But, no.
One of the people we see every year at the spinning retreat in Moss Bluff, LA is Cheryl Dunworth. Cheryl is multi talented and among her many skills is weaving. She brought a new loom with her to the Moss Bluff get-together last June. Saori is a Japanese company that has been making looms since the late 1960's. The looms are the most friendly looms I've ever seen. They are simply and carefully constructed with the idea that people have very different body types, very different abilities and certainly very different interests in weaving. These looms can be used by anybody. By everybody. I sat down and wove on Cheryl's loom for only a few minutes before I knew I needed to own one.
Saori makes a 4 harness jack loom but their stock in trade is the two harness counter-balance and that's what I bought. It has only two treadles and weaving width of about 22" It is so easy to use, so easy to treadle it's just a dream. It's perfect for the funky, the wild, and the innovative. Think the weaving equivalent to funky core spun yarn made from art batts. I was totally hooked.
I had already told Cheryl one of the things I wanted was an "inside set" to go with my loom. This is an extra two harnesses, reed and cover for the warp beam so that you can take one project off the loom to work on another and then put the first project back on. How cool is that? I would be much more productive if I could do that on my other looms. Also they make a really wonderful frame so you can sit at a table and comfortably thread the headles and sley the reed. Again, how cool is that? No back ache? I'm not sure how to thread without my back complaining. I'll try to get used to it.
But Cheryl had one more trick up her sleeve. Long ago I vowed never to stand at a warping board again for the rest of my life. All my other looms have sectional back beams so I can use my warping wheel. But the Saori warping board is amazingly wonderful. It has feet so it stands on it's own and you can adjust the height. All the dowels lean outward so as you add warp nothing gets tight. You can actually take the warp off the board without feeling like you're ripping open a champagne bottle and waiting for the explosion.
Now I have a couple of things to re-think. I'm working on 15 yards of warp for curtains for my house and studio. I'm still going to use that fabric but now I'm trying to figure out how to add 18" sections of Saori weaving into the curtain mix. I have a huge 60" Cranbrook loom that takes up most of my studio. I'm beginning to think it needs to be re-homed to make room for a small sofa and my Saori loom. I have rugs on it right now that need to be woven off but if you think you might want a huge loom perfect for rugs.... let me know!