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Welcome to Musings – The Loom Room Blog

16 December, 2012

Winter weaving….

Filed under: Art,Education,Life,Nature,Philosophy,textiles,Travel,Weaving — admin @ 6:10 pm

Although the Xmas period is generally one of crazy activity, I always like to warp up my loom so that, when I need recharging, I can disappear into the Loom Room and do a little weaving!  You know that lull between the excesses of Christmas and the indulgence of New Year?  When your body needs calming down and your mind needs something else to ‘chew’ on?  That’s the time to contemplate the threads and do some therapeutic shuttle-throwing!

I always find the week between Christmas and New Year incredibly invigorating where weaving is concerned.  This year I have a series of pieces to try to weave for the Stage 2 assessment in January for my masters degree.  It’s also coming up to a year of frantic weaving to create some amazing pieces for a joint exhibition that Agnes Hauptli and I are touring in 2014.

As some of you may know, Agnes and I are travelling companions when we meet up every 2 years in the US for Complex Weavers Seminars, and we try to take a road trip of around a week to explore the area around the seminars’ location.  Two years ago, we spent some time in Arizona and Utah, visiting the Grand Canyon, on a boat trip down Glen Canyon, were wowed by Bryce Canyon, and stunned by the beauty of Antelope Canyon.  This year, we visited the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virgina, and took in the wonderful caves full of stalactites and stalagmites.  Our joint exhibition is all about the geology of these amazing places, and fits in really well with my masters topic of expressing geology through weave.

Our exhibition tour will start in New Zealand in February 2014, and probably be in two venues before moving on to Lyssach in Switzerland, then on to the Seattle area in time for Complex Weavers (we hope) and finishing up in the UK.  I hope you notice that all the locations are areas of great geology!  We’re really excited about this – it’s a huge undertaking and will challenge us in many different ways, not least writing exhibition proposals and finding venues.  We also are planning on publishing a catalogue.  But first, we have to do some weaving!

As part of my masters, I am hoping to set up a new blog to record the process of organising the exhibition and doing the weaving, and hope to include short videos and photos as we go.  This will also keep anyone interested in the progress of the work for the exhibition updated, so this will need to be set up over the week between Christmas and New Year.  I have to say that I’m really excited about this adventure.  It is a chance to work in large-scale and to put the philosophy and theory of what I’ve been researching into practise.  It’s a daunting prospect, but as Susan Jeffers so eloquently put it, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”!!!!!

I suddenly realised a while ago that Richard and Chris Jeryan challenged me to put on an exhibition of my work when they were here learning jacquard weaving all of 5 years ago!  We agreed on a 7 year window, and this will just fit the challenge!  So I can put all the blame on Richard and Chris when it all gets a bit stressful!! :^))  Thanks, guys.

So whilst my DH is slaving over the hot stove preparing the Christmas lunch, I’ll be chilling out (literally!) in my workshop working on some stalactites!

If I don’t get round to posting next weekend, can I take this opportunity to wish you a peaceful and happy Christmas time, whatever your religious convictions (or not…) and

Happy Weaving!

2 December, 2012

Looms for Xmas

I’ve had a number of requests for advice on what looms to get as Xmas presents in the past couple of months, so I thought I’d put some of the responses in a blog for anyone to access.
First thoughts were – lucky people having someone wanting to buy them a loom for Christmas.
Second thoughts were – I hope it’s what they wanted!!! :^))

One lady asked for advice on a loom to get her 9-year-old daughter. She already had a ‘kiddy’s loom’. I suggested that she upgrade to a more sturdy rigid heddle loom. “Do a web-search for ‘rigid heddle looms’ to find suppliers in your area (not sure whether you are in the US or UK). There are a couple of books by Jane Patrick with rigid heddle projects:


If you are wanting to get her a more sophisticated loom with 4 shafts, then I would go for the Ashford, or Louet looms – again a web search with the term ‘table loom’ gives you relevant sites so that you can compare between them.

These days, the quality of loom is generally good, so it all depends on whether you are looking for new or second hand. You can pick up bargains on e-bay, but the usual caveat of buyer beware applies…. If you are in the UK, there is a website called The Loom Exchange where you can pick up second-hand looms which is always worth a look.

Ancillary equipment : for rigid heddle looms, two or three posts that you can use for winding warps and a means to secure them to a table or similar surface. A variety of different sized rigid heddles. And some nice shuttles (depending on price and ease of use – stick (cheapest), boat, roller (easiest).

For a table loom, you require more ancillary equipment : a simple warping frame (can easily be made from spare lumber and dowels), a raddle (for spacing the warp), threading hook, sleying hook, spare heddles, cross sticks, shuttles and a couple of different sized reeds (10 dpi and 12 dpi are good to begin with).
A good beginner’s book is Deb Chandlers ‘Learning to Weave’ book but like every book that tries to describe ‘how to’, there’s a lot of words to describe a simple action. You’re better off with some online video to help get going, or a short course.”

I’ve also been asked for advice on floor looms. I’ve never bought a new floor loom, so I recommend that you look at the major suppliers, such as Louet, Leclerc, Glimakra, Toika, and better still, go to a suppliers such as Handweavers Studio in London where you can try them out. You need to find something that suits your body proportions, although different height chairs help, of course. If you try them, you’ll know which ones work best for you.

One word of warning, if you have gammy knees or are not happy about scrabbling around on the floor to adjust tie-ups, go for a table loom or a dobby loom!

If a new loom is too expensive, go and look at the Loom Exchange, or if you are a member of one of the Guilds of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers, you may find someone in your guild who is willing to loan or sell you a loom.  The Online Guild has a virtual market where members put ads selling and wanting equipment, so it’s worth looking at that, too.

I just had someone contact me with a floor-loom to give away, which has been snapped up by a student who was here this weekend, so if you know of a teacher, ask them if they know of any for sale or available!

Happy Xmas and happy weaving!!