A few weeks ago I was lusting on a computerized loom fascinated by complex beautiful fabrics that can be woven with them. I researched several possibilities and concluded that the Leclerc Weavebird Compu-Dobby loom was the best deal with the best customer support and best customer reports. I looked into several possibilities and price and flexibility are definitely in favor of the Weavebird. Some time if there is interest I can write a comparison and the why’s and how’s of this conclusions. One of the people I wrote to asking about more shafts was Joanne Hall owner of Glimakra USA. Joanne, wise woman said, before you do anything, sit back and think what it is that you want to weave. The question though simple is wise and certainly got me thinking….
Right around the same time I found out that I will be graduating next May. A second doctorate degree is something few people have the honor to obtain, it was a lot of work and well worth the effort. It is also a big occasion and my dad will be coming from Colombia to attend the ceremony, there is also a small chance that my sister will be able to come. That sure brought me into a halt, stop dead right there and think! My dad’s room is upstairs untouched and ready for him and his wife anytime. But the second guest room is where my Glimakra resided since it came to live with me several years ago, as some of you might know the loom takes over the complete room! Meaning NO ROOM for anyone else!
DH said we should take more advantage of the basement and rearrange things. It was swapping my knitting machines room and turning it into his office and me moving the knitting machines and the loom into the larger basement room. It took three weekends and a lot of work to do all this. DH and I did most of the work but had a son in law and the grand kids come and help with the loom move. I took the loom apart almost alone and the men came in to help hold the side frames and carry those down the stairs. In the mean time the kids took the pieces downstairs one by one but quickly without pressure or strain on any one. In about 30 minutes the loom was totally disassembled. An hour later the loom was downstairs and back together again. I double checked the manual to make sure we had all the parts in the right place. That night I was dressing the loom again. That would never ever happen with a more complex loom. Tools: the mallet that comes with the loom and that was it! No screws, no plans, no fuss, no problem.
The good part is that now I have a lot more space around and it is easier to dress and tie up. The best part of all is that I fell in love with my loom all over again. I also found out I could for under $200 add two more shafts. Bringing it up to 10, not bad at all! If I wanted to have a Compu-Dobby I would have to give up the Glimakra, there is no way I can do that. The other alternative is to give up the living room, an option that makes perfect sense to me but not that much to others. There is no sense in getting into a more complex piece of equipment for a lot more money and a lot less room. There is only ONE of me and only so many hours in a day and so many days left in life. There are a number of things in my ‘to weave list’ and all of them can be woven in what I have now. What I need to do is learn more about structure, understand drafting better and weave, weave and weave some more. There is more I can add to my loom….if I decide to go the more shafts route. Not as conventional as a regular multi-shaft system but just as fascinating: Double Harness Weaving aka drawloom and such other devices. I have not been known ever to venture into simple things…..
I joined Complex Weavers it can be called an online guild. In spite the name, Complex Weavers is not complex at all. It is meant to bring together people with common interests. CW has two very appealing aspects; one is the lending library, huge list of wonderful and out of print books. The second one the study groups, people with common interest in different methods or structures. There is a Double Harness study group and no drawloom ownership or sample weaving is required. So I signed up and intend to read as much as I possibly can about the techniques involved. I might or might not end up getting a drawloom or a computerized loom for that matter. What I have gained is a wealth of knowledge throughout the process.
I have no one to thank but my local weaving guild for all this. The Mary Meigs Atwater Handweavers Guild is a group of women with varied interests always willing to share and teach. Some of the members never stop finding ways and things to show and teach us. Every time I go there I come home with something new I have learned and a whole new world to explore. Mary Meigs Atwater can rest assured that her request for lending her name for the Salt Lake Guild is being completely fulfilled.
I have read more about weaving in the last couple of months than I ever did in the past, I have met wonderful and giving people. One of the phrases I came across is probably one of the most inspiring thoughts for a fiber artist: Peter Collingwood said: “The simple starts where the complex is exhausted”.