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Topic: Advice on buying a table loom?  (Read 1140 times)
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« on: November 21, 2007 12:27:42 PM »

I am obsessed.  That's all there is to it -- I'm obsessed.  I must buy a loom.  If need be, I'll get a note from my doctor stating that I require the purchase of a loom.  It might come to that to convince my husband that I really, really need this...

Actually, it's going to be my Christmas/Surviving Fall Term present to myself this year, but after deciding what I want some time back, I discovered that there are Other Options I hadn't considered, so I hope someone out there can help with advice about which choice is best for me.

I am a Very Beginning Weaver -- aside from potholders, my only experience is once having warped my rigid heddle loom.  (The cats helped.  Otherwise, it might not have taken nearly as long as it did.)  Note:  I warped the loom.  I haven't actually woven on it yet...  So, no experience, but I don't want to limit myself too much by buying something that I'll outgrow in a short time.  Space is very much an issue -- I also knit, spin, sew, etc, so you just know I've got Stash.  (I have a closet approximately the size of my first apartment FILLED with stash.)  So I'm looking for a table loom, and it almost has to be a folding model.  (Money is an issue, but not nearly as important as space.  I guess you can say money is an issue, but space is an extended subscription...)

My original choice was the Leclerc Voyageur in the 24" width, with 8 shafts.  Now I notice the Leclerc Dorothy also folds, and it's a good deal cheaper.  Again, I'm thinking 8 shafts.  Does anyone have any experience that would help me decide between them?  Also, should I consider going for the 12 shaft Voyageur instead?  8 shafts seemed like a good compromise between cost and flexibility, but I'm pretty much running blind here.

Once I buy the loom, is there anything else I need to consider?  Reeds, heddles, flying monkeys?  I really know nothing beyond the part about being obsessed by the idea of weaving.

« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2007 09:35:33 AM »

Table looms aren't worth working on if you have ambitions to become a weaver. The action of stopping to change the sheds manually, necessary on all table looms, interrupts the rhythm of weaving to the point of tedium. You'll end up getting less done, and your sense of accomplishment will be diminished, and possibly with that, your enthusiasm. It's like the difference between pushing a kid's scooter with your foot and using two peddles on a bicycle to get where you're going. LeClercs are good looms. I have a Nilus. LeClerc will sell you modifying equipment to turn their table looms into floor looms. But why bother? A floor loom is an essential for a serious weaver. The foot treadles free up your hands to work the shuttle and battern rhythmically. There is joy and speed in that. The LeClercs will fold down to take up little space, and they are conversation pieces that won't destroy a living area if you have to double up room use. By all means get a floor loom. And I'd get one with a sectional beam attachment, which will save you all kinds of time and prevent the problem of uneven tensions in warps that are an inherant problem with using warping boards and transferring warps to the loom from them. Too, with a sectional beam, you can warp a loom unassisted. You'll need a bobbin rack to hold enough spools for all the threads you will have in each division of the warping boards. With LeClercs these are two inches. But if you're handy, you can make your own sectional beam attachments just by using long finishing nails put straight into four wooden slats and screwing these into the existing back beam (removing the apron first), and you can make a bobbin rack easily, too. You'll need to buy a tension box to put on the loom when you wind on the yarn. And don't be discouraged thinking you can't vary your warp threads this way. You can. It's easy, a heck of a lot easier than fighting the uneven tension resulting from the traditional warping board method, and the hassle of getting such a warp on the loom. But I diverge. I wouldn't bother with eight harnesses; you can make very nice weavings with four harnesses, and they cost less. The problem with eight harnesses is that you'll find few patterns that call for them, and if you don't use really thin yarn, you're going to get overshots that are too wide to lend structural integrity to the weaving when you do pattern weaving that uses all those harnesses. Find Marguerite Porter Davison's A Handweaver's Pattern Book and you will have a wealth of four harness patterns that will serve you for a lifetime. Feel free to write me back with any questions; I'd be happy to coach you and walk you through it. Megan
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