I had been interested in weaving for a long time but never did anything about it. When I got to be fifty years old I said to myself....it is now or never! My other hobby is living history. I had heard talk of a tape loom and I wondered what it was. Then one day, at an 18th century event, I saw one for sale. I bought it. Tape looms, for those who don't know, weave narrow bands, The maximum width you can weave is about one inch. Another re enactor showed me how to use it and I was hooked! The narrowest I wove on that loom was 1/4 inch wide using seven threads. This became a cord for my stays. Stays are a sort of corset. After I mastered this loom I was ready for something wider. My next loom was a 12 inch Peacock loom. I didn't have a book to tell me how to warp it but I thought, how hard can it be, right? I warped it for a scarf and when I started to weave I immediately knew there was something wrong. No shed! I looked the loom over and then figured out what I did wrong. You can't have the warp threads running through the heddles in both harnesses! Boy, did I feel stupid! Once that was fixed it was easy sailing.
Once again I wanted to weave wider. My next loom was a Harrisville 22 inch. This time I bought a book, Learning to Weave by Debra Chandler. This is a wonderful book and I would recommend it to anyone.
My next loom was a Union rug loom. I decided I wanted to learn to weave rugs. I became a member of rugtalk, a yahoo group. Through this group I met Karen in the woods. She mentored me, sent me a video, and was there for all my...OH NO! WHAT DO I DO NOW, moments. She and I have remained friends and have even gotten to meet in person!
My next loom ( you can never have too many looms, right? ) wasn't exactly one loom but more like a pile of lumber. Edgemont Yarns was going out of business and some of the looms were for sale. I talked to my husband about it and he asked what his part was in all this. I asked him to fund this adventure. He smiled and agreed. What a guy! I called two of my fiber friends to see if they wanted to go along with me. Equipped with a pickup truck, trailer and a station wagon we were off to Kentucky. Whew, we loaded for a couple of hours! I wasn't sure what all I had! We got back late and just put everything in my barn. When I had all the looms assembled I found I had an ORCO loom and bench ( this went to my friend with the pickup truck as a thank you), two and a half barn looms, a 60 inch Macomber, a Cambridge loom, a 1916 Newcomb Daisy, a dobby loom with card board cards, an antique quilting frame, and reeds. I don't think I have forgotten anything but I may have. All were sold or given away and I kept the Cambridge for myself. This was a fun thing to do but I have to say that it was a lot of work and I will probably never do that again.
Sometime later I was gifted with another Cambridge loom that was prettier than my other one. After cleaning it up, oiling it and replacing the heddles and reed it was ready to go. This is a great loom! Nice and sturdy.
Next came an offer I just couldn't refuse! Remember? You can never have too many looms. I saw an ad for a 36 inch Schacht Standard floor loom for $200.00 and it was in perfect condition!. Now who could pass that up, right? The only problem was that it was 500 miles from my house. As it turned out, we were going to visit my in laws the next week and they live only 11 miles from the loom! How great is that? My wonderful husband took the loom apart and we loaded it into the van. He said this wasn't going to work out. It took up too much room. What he didn't realize is that where there is a will there is always a way. Expecially when you take into consideration you are dealing with a weaver and a loom! He was pleasantly surprised that we could get the loom in the back of the mini van with all the luggage and that neither he, three children or I had to sit on or near any parts.
Another loom I own is a Lervad # 2. This was a fun one to research. It has connections to the Hull House in Chicago. I found the ad for it several years ago but when I asked the weaving width I found out it was only 24 inches. I told the seller that it was too narrow for me but that night I found I couldn't stop thinking about it! It is the most beautiful loom I have ever seen. This one came home, too.
I have four other looms, too. One is a 32 inch Tools of the Trade table loom. I use this one for demonstrations, a Structo 8 harness on a stand, a Leclerc Dorothy and a mystery loom. One day I was doing a craft show and a woman came up to me and asked me if I would like to have a loom. Would I like to have a free floor loom? You bet! This one was made by her father or grand father, I forgot, and she thinks it was a kit. It only weaves 12 inches wide. No one I know has ever seen a loom like this one. It is made of walnut and is very pretty. It needed a good cleaning and oiling. It looks so much better now. It still needs some work but this may become my demonstration loom.
All my looms are used. There just is something about an older loom. A new loom might be nice but they are also expensive. I prefer the older ones. Sometimes I wish they could talk and tell me about their lives!
My advice to anyone looking for a loom? Dont be in a hurry. Keep checking the ads and the right loom will find you. Two of my looms came from Virginia and it just worked out that we were going to be near the seller. Another loom came from Missouri and the seller was coming to Tennessee. Two other looms fell in my lap when I wasn't expecting it. Only once did I have a loom shipped. The most I have paid for a loom is $350.00. Bargains are out there.