Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'm in Love...

I've never had too much enthusiasm for owning a counter-balance loom, with no real reason as to why. Most likely, because it wasn't the first type of loom I ever wove on. Since I prefer the familiar, the comfortable, the unchanged, I haven't really given this type of loom more thought. But say "Free Loom" to me, and suddenly I have developed a desire to own one. I believe I've developed a tendre for the smaller Lane loom over the last week or so. Which means, I'll probably become rather attached to the larger, once I start putting its pieces back together.

As usual, it took Floyd and I a few attempts to get the smaller Lane loom through two doorways and into the Loom Room."How about this?" I asked, wondering whether or not we turned the frame sideways would help.
"Still need some clearance," Floyd said. We set the loom down, and studied door number one.
"I bet we need to take the door off. We always need to take the door off, " I suggested.
"Yeah," Floyd said, staring at the door. "I was just hoping, just this once."
"We're always hoping, 'just this once' but we always take the door off," I replied.

Floyd chuckled ruefully, "Ok, back her up." We walked the frame back out of the narrow hallway and out onto the wide landing at the top of the first set of stairs. Setting it in front of the bathroom door, we walked back down the hall to take the door off its hinges. After which, we walked the loom back down the hall again, only to discover we had to further disassemble the loom frame. We were also hoping to avoid that as well.

"Ok, back her up," Floyd said, yet again. Walking back wards, we set Li'l Lane back down, again, on the landing. Floyd grabbed his tools and took off the two front upright supports of the frame. That was the moment we noticed someone had stamped part numbers onto the loom."Saaa-weet!" I exclaimed. "It's even easier to put back together than usual, because the parts are numbered. Look!"
"That's a good thing," Floyd said.

Third time's the charm, so they say, and it certainly was true for us. We got Li'l Lane situated in her spot and began putting her frame back together.

Then began the re-arranging of the Loom Room. I now had seven looms into a small space. "How can we make this work?" I wondered, determined TO make it work. After several configurations and "No, that's not right. No, I don't really like that arrangement either," I apologized to Floyd. "I'm sorry. We've re-arranged this several times. I know we'll find the right combo. Maybe if we move this here..."
"It's ok, I'm married to your mother. It's no worse than re-arranging the living room a thousand times." He said.

Finally, we got it set up so that the flow of room traffic was as unimpeded. as possible. It is crowded, but I've yet to work in a weaving studio where it wasn't. Most times, someone's back beam, nearly became my back rest. Two of the looms are a little smushed together in this picture, because I've been moving them around as I work on them.

Later that week, we took off Li'l Lane's aprons, and I disassembled the shafts. I greased up the heddle bars, and replaced her heddles. Using Murphy's Oil Soap, I lovingly washed away the basement grime from her previous home on all her wooden parts. Once dry, I polished the wood with Old English. I don't know why I like Old English, but it works like a charm on old looms.

Floyd and I did our usual stalking of the mega-monster-hardware-store for parts and pieces that would work to refurbish the loom: new rods for the apron, four bolts and washers and wing-nuts for the beater. We were struggling to find the right diameter of rope to replace on the pulley-system, and we weren't happy with the choices of foam rubber we found to put on the frame to keep the beater from bashing up the old wood. However, we did score in the slat-wall accessory department, and found some parts and pieces that will work really well for organizing all of the reeds and equipment. After all, I'd just taken up all the floor space with looms. Now I need to take up the wall space with the auxiliary weaving equipment.

Using some old-fashioned ingenuity, Floyd thought of flip-flops for the beater bumpers (say that ten times fast) and we decided I'd hit a dollar store later to pick up a pair. Cut up the flip flops into rectangles, and tack onto the frame, and voila! The perfect bumpers, at an affordable price. A few days later, I stopped at JoAnn Fabrics for new cloth to sew into aprons. for the cloth and warp beams. The only thing I have yet to obtain is waxed cord. I prefer it for the aprons over any other string. I found several jewelry beading online supply stores, but as I'm not a jeweler, I couldn't tell one diameter from the next. I guess I'll be leaning on Rebekah's expertise for that.

In the meantime, I've been working on the two Macombers we picked up from Bowling Green University in Ohio. I washed them down, and have been waiting to polish their wood, as I have had some repair to do first. Their aprons and shafts are off, heddle bars greased. My daughter has been sorting flat heddles to be put back on. I sanded down the back beam of the one loom, where the varnish was all but gone, and so far, put two coats of satin finish on to protect the wood. I would like to put at least two more coats on. It will never look 'new' but the rest of the loom still shows signs of use and I didn't want to completely refinish the beam and make it stand out. Maybe I'm a little crazy, but I prefer the markings on a well-loved, well-used loom.

L'il Lane, along with the two Macombers are still in pieces, waiting for their make-overs to be complete. Big Lane is in even more pieces waiting for her make-over to begin. And while I love working on a Macomber, something about this Li'l Lane speaks to me. I don't know if it's the aged wood, the size of her, or that by still existing, she speaks of a time and era that came before mine. All I know, is I'm attached to an inanimate object. And I can only hope she'll be a joy to use when all is said and done.


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