At last we drove up to Squamish and picked up my new loom this past weekend, a Cherryville 8-shaft counterbalance loom. I feel quite lucky to have found this loom, as not only is it in beautiful condition (more pictures soon), it’s only been owned by one weaver before me and she kept the original information about the loom and her correspondence with it’s loom maker, Lyle Twan. I’d heard a bit about Cherryville looms before, they were made in BC from local fir and birch. This is pretty much my dream loom. I bought the loom from the family of this weaver, as she had recently passed away, I was also very lucky as they offered me any of her other books, tools and fiber that I thought I might use, much of which is wool and linen and will become some rugs and blankets this winter.
I have just invited a counterbalance 60 inch 4 shaft loom into my life. GULP. There was a posting on a recent newsletter from my Guild, someone was giving away this loom for free. The loom came from Sweden with a weaver maybe 30 years ago, she wove on it for years and then moved back to Sweden and wasn’t able to take it with her, so gave it to a fellow weaver who’s had it in her garage for years and is now moving house and the loom had to go. I was seriously second-guessing agreeing to take it in the week between seeing it and picking it up, it’s huge and in pieces and I live in an apartment that already has one 45 inch Mira loom in the living room. I won’t be able to set it up for the time being, but now that I’ve fit most of parts (save the beater) into my closet, I’m glad I got it. The warp beam itself is about 8 inches in diameter of solid timber and the bench is built into the frame! The former owner also threw in all of her old copies of Handwoven and Shuttle, Spindle and Dye Pot, so that was a score in and of itself.
Since all the blankets are done, fulled and ready to go with me to Germany in two weeks, I’ve got some time to organize my stash and figure out what to make next. I feel like I definitely need a break from plain weave and twill, so after reading through one of the old issues of Handwoven I’m going to get a Summer and Winter sample going this week. And as the weather gets warmer I can’t bear the thought of weaving anything more out of worsted wool, so I’m also going to weave a set of bath towels using a waffle weave treadling on a huck threading with 4 ply cotton.
Backstrap loom, new pots
My borderline obsessive checking of craigslist for looms and equipment (despite not needing another loom or any other equipment) discovered a gem last week, a handmade backstrap loom. The woman I bought it from had got it directly from a weaver she met while in Central America, all of the parts were made by the weaver
I love my new Mira. I got a warp on it over the last few days and sat down and wove on it last night and it
Loom crisis averted
I love this picture of the writer Angela Carter, with the kilim folding up from the floor, the tapestry on the wall and the baskets and rattan table. I nearly thought this week that I was going to have to buy another loom, as the friction break on my Nilus was slipping. Luckily, Leclerc has a FAQ page, where I read that I could remove the metal strapping, file the actual metal of the brake and put it back together. I was feeling very much uninspired to do so until I spent Monday afternoon in the Vancouver Archives (more on that soon) and was amazed at reading bits of newspaper clippings and newsletters from the 1930s where weavers were building their own looms, from scratch. With these ladies in mind I went at my loom with a wrench and a file and lo and behold it’s fixed. The only victim was the half made rug I had warped on the loom, but I wasn’t totally happy with the weight of the wool I was using for the weft (not heavy enough for a rug), so it’s not a total loss. I will need to upgrade in the fall to a loom that can weave a larger width for a collaborative project I’ll be working on, but for the time being my Nilus can keep doing the job… although after reading about another Vancouver weaver in the Archive who had 8 looms in her house, I feel legitimized in keeping two looms around.
I spent this past weekend on Salt Spring Island, where spring is pretty much struggling to arrive as much as it over here. However, it was nice to see some rhubarb sprouting and the latest developments on the wooden sailboat my brother is at work restoring and get some beautiful ceramics from Meg Buckley. We visited her studio which was cozy beyond belief, she was getting prepared to put a huge amount of stoneware work into her kiln as well as sitting down to throw in porcelain.
Above are some pictures of my loom in situ – I’ve just recently moved it home after work in a shared studio for a while, I was spending so much time weaving that I wanted to have my loom closer to hand and with loads more natural light than in the studio I was working in.
Spider plant assitant
Mora bobbin winder arrived!
A Nilus Leclerc (my loom), c 1959