Thursday, August 18, 2011

Meet The Tools Of The Trade

I am still so extremely excited about the new looms. I still can't get over the fact that I was given (yes, given!) two beautiful looms. The floor loom was made by Tools of the Trade. According to my web research, it was built by Arthur Weitzenfiled around 1978 - 1980. Mr. Weitzenfiled built approximately 450 looms in the 1970s, and weavers still look for these as good "working" looms.

There are no manufacturer's markings on the table loom, but after hearing the history of the original owner, I have a feeling that it was also one of the Tools of the Trade looms built in the early 1980's.

The floor loom is a 35"  four harness, six treadle loom, and it seems to be in wonderful shape. I just have to do some dusting, and maybe a little bit of wood oil. 

The loom is 49" wide and 43" tall. Fully open, it takes up 42".

But when I'm not using it, I can fold it up to just 26" deep. So it takes up the same amount of room as a bookcase would.

The table top loom is almost as big. It just doesn't have legs. And it doesn't fold up. It's 31" wide, 22 1/2" tall, and 26" deep.

This loom is also a 4 harness, but only has a 25" weaving width. (Listen to me: "only." That's a lot bigger than the 16" Kromski Harp I was hoping to get someday!)

The first thing I did after getting the looms was to visit the library for information. I've checked out all the books on weaving, and on recommendations by Ravelry weavers I'm reading Learning to Weave, by Deborah Chandler. There is so much to learn! Terms like warp and weft, shafts, heddles, and dents, shed, and so many more. It's an entire language to master before I can start to follow along on the how-to-do-it portion of the book!

My first step is to learn to do is to warp the loom. You warp the loom by threading the vertical lines on the loom. This is more complicated than I thought it would be, since the path each piece takes helps to determine the pattern in your woven cloth.You have to plan out in advance which heddle in which one of the four harnesses each length of thread/yarn will travel from the warp beam before it passes through the dent and gets tied to the cloth beam. Depending on the thickness of the yarn used and how wide you want the finished cloth, there could be as many as 600 to 1200 lengths to be threaded.

Are you feeling intimidated? Because I certainly am.

I was also given a whole bunch of extra stuff with the looms. Supposedly all of this goes along with the looms, but that was based solely on the fact that it was all stored together.

I'm hoping that something in this pile will turn out to be a warping board. I need a warping board to measure out all the lengths of yarn so that I can warp my first project. Too bad nothing in the piles look like the illustrations in the book. 

While I try to figure out if I have a warping board or need to get one, I'll probably start by organizing the many boxes of yarns I was given. I may not know what I'm doing, but I have enough yarn to do it for a very long time!

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