An Embarrassment of Looms

IMG_7908My husband and I have issues with impulse control. It’s no secret.

When we discover a new hobby, we don’t tiptoe in and explore cautiously. No, we pounce with fervor, dive in head first, go hog wild.

This explains how we came by the room full of metalsmithing tools and lapidary equipment. And the piles of quilting and cross stitch supplies. And the 300 pounds of chocolate and the piles of vintage linens and the nice bikes and ice skates and snowshoes. I could go on.

So, now, it’s weaving.

We started weaving as a direct result of our impulse control issues. Neither of us knew the first thing about weaving when we saw the big, old loom at a garage sale. It was only $150 and came with a lot of stuff. We had no idea what that stuff was, or how to use any of it, but there was a lot of it, it looked really cool, and it seemed like a good deal.

And, hey, weaving sounded like fun.

So, we bought the loom, wedged it into the garage (did you know that some people put their cars in their garages?!), and a couple of years later, we took the classes in weaving I’ve told you about.

And we love weaving!

And love, as you may have experienced yourself, wreaks havoc with impulse control, which we never had much of in any case. And all this explains how, in a recent 24-hour period, we came to have six looms in our house.

Yes, six.

We have the big, old 150-dollar loom, which turns out to be incredibly idiosyncratic and difficult to weave on. We have the borrowed table loom, which I loved but wished was wider.

And now we have four other looms that we bought within 24 hours. As I said, impulse control issues.

First, we heard about some people nearby who bought two looms, years ago, for their daughter. Such thoughtful parents! But the ingrate daughter said, “I never said I wanted a loom!” and the looms went into the loft of their barn.

These folks were thrilled to sell us their counterbalance loom, as long as we took the big tapestry loom, too. We didn’t want or need a tapestry loom. We have no idea what we’ll do with a tapestry loom. But what the heck!

IMG_1846Then, the very day we bought the counterbalance loom and the tapestry loom, we heard about a garage sale an hour away. A weaver, selling all her equipment because she has decided to be a quilter (it’s just possible we aren’t they only ones with impulse control issues).

We said, we don’t need any more looms or weaving paraphernalia but let’s just go look . . .

And we came home with two more looms. One big loom, in far better shape than the first one we bought and with eight shafts or harnesses, and that pleases my husband.

IMG_1848And one for me. Not too big, not too small, just right . . .

IMG_1851And pretty, too! Made of cherry!

With these looms came lots more stuff—benches and books and shuttles and yarn and magazines and cool stuff!

The first big, old, idiosyncratic loom is back in the car-free garage and it may end up as kindling. The table loom will be returned to its owner. The tapestry loom . . . ai yi . . . who knows what will become of the tapestry loom.

And, for now, we have three looms set up in one room in our house. An embarrassment of riches, and looms, for sure.

I’d feel a lot better if I thought we weren’t the only ones with impulse control issues. Anyone out there willing to fess up?

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41 thoughts on “An Embarrassment of Looms

  1. Hello Kerry,
    I just bought a 4 harness 36″ Leclerc from someone on Grand isle. Not assembled and needs some parts, I think. I figure I’ll get it together when the snow flies. It’s calming to know there are weavers down the street! With impulse control issues at that… Phyllis

    • That’s exciting, Phyllis! If you want (novice) help with putting the loom together, let me know. And, if you’re looking for a beginner course or two, I have info about that, too!

  2. Clothes, Kerry…clothes. They sing to me, and I neeeeeeed them because it was just the right color, size and I can combine it with..on so and so occasion. The rule here in the Walker house is, when something comes in…something goes out. That works excellent but when it comes to my clothes…and dear Mr. Walke says just, ‘it does not matter sweety’.
    And oh well, I think the two of you are just adorable and it does not harm anyone right? And though I cannot weave, looms are very beautiful as an object in it itself. They fascinate me. Have a great weekend!
    ps I don’t know what was the matter but I could not comment via my wordpress acc. last time luckily it is fixed again

  3. In that I’m new to your blog, I clearly have missed much. look forward to reading more about the results of your impulsive purchases. How is the weaving coming along?
    For me, it’s books … while clearly smaller than a loom, I have already thought about the challenge my son will have someday of dealing with the many bookshelves of books. (and thank goodness for digital imaging or my house would be overflowing with photos!!)
    Love that first picture!

    • Me too Laurie – I think of the hordes of stuff in my craft room that were impulse buys and many never even used – that my girls are going to have to do something with when I shuffle off …. I keep encouraging my eldest daughter to ‘take up crafting’ seriously just to alleviate my guilt 🙂

    • The weaving is coming along well, thanks. don’t have as much time to devote to it as I’d like but I’m pleasantly surprised at how good our early efforts look! I can completely relate to your weakness for books and photos!

  4. Ah, Kerry, you weave a hell of a yarn. I was laughing out loud reading your post. I think you might need to take some classes for that tapestry loom (in your spare time, ha!)

    I have impulse control issues on silverplate with obscure backstamps or unidentified patterns. But at least these are relatively small items that can be tucked away in a drawer. Six looms…even four looms take up a lot of space! But I’m glad you found the cherry one that fits you just right.

    • I figured your weakness would have something to do with silverplate that needs to be researched! How clever of you to have an addiction that fits into a cupboard! We’ll have to make some decisions about which looms to keep but I know that little cherry one will stay.

  5. The last loom you show looks like my old Schacht loom. I sold that about 10 years ago and threw in a tapestry and inkle loom, plus shuttles and books. I just got tired of moving it all when I wasn’t really using it. My only regret is not hanging onto the tapestry loom. It was very simple and now I think I could use it to weave bits to use in quilts. I guess if I’m addicted to collecting anything it’s fabric, especially if it’s on sale.

    • The last loom here, my “baby”, is a Norwood. I guess they’re not made anymore but I love it (of course, I haven’t woven on it yet)! I’m always interested to hear about weavers turned quilters and vice versa. Once a textile lover, always a textile lover, I guess!

  6. Congrats on the newest additions! I do have issues when in comes to ipulse control. Moslty, I try to avoid craft supply stores. And I do collect religious bits and bobs, like rosaries and Holy Mary’s.

  7. I think it would be great to visit your home The air must be filled with fun and creativity. I confess that I have bought yarn for my sixth sweater. Right now I am working on sweater number two 🙂

  8. Welcome to the world of weavers. They collect looms, books, yarns, tools and fuzz balls. Looms seem to be able to find a weaver who is a sucker for just one more! I have 7 and 1/2 looms. Six are in the studio and the other antique one plus 1/2 of another is in the closet. Oh and beware, weavers tend to collect pets too. Can’t have a studio with out a cat (or dog) or two!

    • My collection of pets pre-dated my collection of looms! The other thing I can envision piling up are those bits of loom waste (thrums?) I hate to throw them away but what to do with them . . .?

  9. Mostly I love that you have a cohort in your addiction! [And that it’s not alcohol or other substance abuse issues 🙂 ] My addictions run to smaller things, but I have managed to acquire a room stuffed to the gills with crafting paraphernalia and art supplies! I love mixed media art mediums and have to try new things all the time…… I have recently taken myself in hand as my income is necessarily reduced since choosing retirement over earning and now I must learn to make do. Wish me luck 🙂

    • Working in mixed media must open the floodgates–everything is fair game! But you may find that using what you have on hand makes you more creative. I hope you’ll share your creations on your blog!

  10. Dear Kerry, I use to own my very own loom that I had no idea how to thread. It came from a dear old lady who I adore and I paid $800 for it, so there you go! I learned to weave in a class like you and found my home loom to be quirky and challenging but I kept trying and continued on with classes. At some later date I sold my loom to a lovely gentleman for $800. It all worked out fine. Personally I love being a little impulsive! It’s just more fun so, as my husband says to me, enjoy it!

    • I didn’t know you were a former weaver! It makes sense to me, though, since I know you’re interested in textiles and color and pattern. I think being a little impulsive is probably a good thing–we shouldn’t try to control everything in our lives.

  11. well that certainly is an abundance of weaving equipment, looms all have individual idiosyncratic behaviors. Hope you have fun getting to know them all and deciding which are your favorites. I confess to only 4 looms and 3 are teaching table looms which will find new homes when I stop teaching (which I’m seriously considering). As for impulse buying – books, books and more books. At least it is not cigarettes or booze!

    • So, what is your main, personal loom? My little one, that I think is so pretty, is a Norwood–I guess they don’t make them anymore. We have only ever used jack-style looms and one of the ones we bought is a counterbalance. That’s the one I have the biggest doubts about.

      • I started my weaving life on a very old LeClerc “Dorothy” table loom. Not the most friendly piece of equipment but it went to sea with us and carried on over the years and was the loom I taught the grandchildren on. Given away now. My first floor loom was a 4 shaft LeClerc 45 inch jack loom which I added an extra 4 harnesses to the year after I bought it, I wove on it for over 20 years. Sold it when I bought a 16 shaft AVL mechanical dobby, which is what I weave on now. I would love to change this one but space, money and age (mine) are significant considerations. The teaching looms are an 8 shaft Woolhouse table loom on a floor stand (with a double back beam), a 4 shaft Woolhouse table loom (they were built in B.C., are well built and nice to weave on) and an 8 shaft LeClerc table loom on a floor stand. Whew! Think I’ll go and weave.

      • That’s a lotta looms! I started on a Dorothy, too, and like it very much except for its weaving width–I like those little levers to lift the shafts! I haven’t actually ever used a treadle loom yet!

  12. Kerry, you make me laugh! Welcome to weaving! I’ve had several looms come and go in my house. I started with a 4-shaft Harrisville which I used until I decided 4 shafts wasn’t enough, sold the 4-shaft and got an 8-shaft Harrisville. Used that until I decided the brake didn’t work like I wanted, sold that and got an 8-shaft Baby Wolf. In between, went whole-hog and got a 12-shaft Glimakra countermarche with draw attachment. Then there’s my great aunt’s rug loom (in pieces in the attic because I can’t get the tension to stick) and my grandmother’s rug loom (which went to my brother who still hasn’t put it together). I also had a 16-shaft table loom at one time because I thought I’d use it for sampling more, but sold that because mostly it gathered dust. Mostly now I weave on the Glimakra and the Baby Wolf. I seriously considered the convenience of having another wide loom so I wouldn’t have to rethread so often. Maybe in time. If those weren’t enough impulses, I always seem to be drawn to those lovely space dyed yarns. Then I get them home and struggle over how to most effectively use them.

    • I feel better now, having read through your loom history! I think choosing a loom is very daunting, especially for beginners–we don’t know, really, how they work or what makes one different from another. Plus, most people don’t live near a big store where they can talk to knowledgeable weavers and try different things. I’m pretty confident I’ll never want a 16-harness loom, though!

  13. I knew that last one was a Norwood! It’s beautiful and I know you’ll love it! What is the one above it? And the counterbalance will be fine – it may not be quite as versatile as the other two floor looms but still very useful.
    I went through a lot of loom upsizing like some of your other readers – I have an 8 harness Gilmore but that is staying in the barn right now since we downsized into a smaller house. The only one in the house is a 4 harness Harrisburg that was adapted with a homemade sectional beam – that loom has seen a lot of use and is shaking to bits – it’s like a very old car that only the owner can run. I think I am going to bring the Gilmore in instead – it is such a lovely sturdy loom.

    • The one above the Norwood is a “Studio Handcrafts” loom–I haven’t found much about it and am sure it’s no longer made. It seems very sturdy and in good shape–I’m sure it’ll be an improvement on what my husband was using! We’re still trying to figure out the counterbalance–it seems to work as it should, except the frames don’t drop back to the neutral position when you take your foot off the treadles. We haven’t put a warp on it yet–that may make the difference.

  14. HEHE! This tickled me pink!..you’re going to have to start running classes to make use of them all…and I have a feeling that tapestry loom won’t be silent for long…can’t wait to see what you produce with these.. xxx

    • It’s all a little overwhelming! Now that we have them, we feel the pressure to create! And try to use them all at once! I didn’t even talk about the dozens and dozens of cones of yarn and thread we got–oy!

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