Weaving in the French Quarter
Ron and I were in New Orleans last weekend. Ron had lots of meetings to attend and I had a couple of days to eat and shop. Whenever I travel, I try to google fiber, spinning and weaving shops in the area to find fun things to do. For this trip we had no car and were staying at a hotel just west of the French Quarter so I looked for places within walking distance. I guess there aren't a lot of spinners in New Orleans because I couldn't find anyplace that sold spinning fiber. I did find a great weaving shop!
Louisiana Loom Works is owned by Ronda and Walt Rose and is located on Chartres Street a block north of Jackson Square. It's not a large space but is warm and welcoming. It's full from floor to ceiling with rag rugs and large looms. I thought my 5' Cranbrook was a huge loom until I saw Ronda's 6' and 10' Cranbrooks. Yes! Ronda can weave a rug 10' wide and as long as she wants! All in one piece! It's amazing.
Here is Ron standing in front of Ronda's huge loom. She weaves rag rugs and has a great eye for color and design. She also carries rugs made by several part time weavers. They are all wonderful! I don't have room in my house or my budget for one of her 10' rugs but if I ever do, I'll go back and visit Ronda again. I did buy two lovely smaller rugs.
Ronda has an interesting smaller loom that I was fascinated with. It's over 100 years old and was made in Iowa. She says there are many still in use in Utah. Many of the Mormons bought them on their trek from Nauvoo, IL to Utah in the 1800's.
The loom has two harnesses and no treadles. When you beat to the fell line, the loom automatically switches sheds. And when it's adjusted properly, the cloth is incrementally moved onto the breast beam so no rolling the warp towards you when you weave. Talk about a production loom! You could just sit and throw the shuttle and beat the beater and make cloth. It would be a great loom to have.
Ronda and her wonderful studio have inspired me to get going on my rug weaving. My Cranbrook loom has been set up since December but I haven't done the tie-ups or gotten it warped yet. Right now its acting the part of a yarn and fiber rack - a place to hang newly dyed roving and yarn. It's time to get out my countermarche instructions and get going!