Friday, February 29, 2008

Temporary Farewell to an Old Friend

In the early 90s, we spent two years living in England. DH's employer at the time, British Telecom, had just purchased the US company he worked for, then transferred him to BT headquarters in London. We rented a house in Englefield Green, a very small town near Windsor, for two years. It was the first time since college that I wasn't working a full-time job, and I took advantage of the extra leisure to do some things I'd always wanted to try. One of those pursuits was beginning weaving classes at the Handweavers Studio in north London, near the Blackhorse tube station. It was a 2-hour journey by train and tube to get there, so I always brought something to read (and dreaded reading right past my tube stop).

My first loom was an Ashford rigid heddle loom. I didn't want to spend very much until I was sure I wanted to be a weaver. Of course, I was instantly hooked, and soon began looking for a floor loom.

I found a former weaver who had a Glimakra Ideal loom for sale - that's the smaller cousin of the Glimakra Standard loom. It had a 1-metre weaving width and 4 shafts installed in counter-balance mode, but included all the bits & pieces to add 4 more shafts and convert it to countermarche action. The owner had done some tapestry and rug weaving on the loom, and sweetened the deal with boxes of yarn that were taking up way too much space in her very small flat. Mostly rug wool, but also some fine wool and some very fine silk.

DH and I took some pictures to be sure we understood how to put the loom back together again, helped the now-former owner disassemble it, and were astonished to find the whole thing fit into our car. One of my first projects was a shawl woven in 2/2 twill with the fine wool I got with the loom. I'll take some pictures of the shawl to post tomorrow.

I wove on that loom for about 6 months in England, then it was shipped back to California as "household goods" along with an antique long-case clock we bought.

Not long after, all 8 shafts were in use, and I became more and more interested in complex structures. However, it wasn't until 1997 that I got the 24-shaft AVL. I still wove occasional projects on the Glimakra after the AVL arrived.

Yesterday, we disassembled the Glimakra and stacked the pieces in a spare bedroom along with a lot of the boxes that we've packed so far. It makes me very sad to walk by the empty space where the loom used to be, because I had such a good time weaving on it.

When I first got the loom, it seemed HUGE compared to the small, low-castle looms in the classroom at the Handweavers Studio. Now I've got the AVL for comparison, and the Glimakra seems very small, especially now that it's disassembled.

However, I'm looking forward to setting it up in the new studio, and have plans for a couple of rugs for the new house. All my weaving books are packed, but I've re-read Peter Collingwood's section on corduroy rugs in preparation. I've still got those boxes of rug wool, small quantities of many colors, so I think a rainbow-hued corduroy rug would be a perfect way to use them up.


Anonymous said...

Hi Sandra, best of luck with moving, my biggest learning in moving my studio was to label studio boxes better AND to sort my books by type. Going into the boxes usually is a time sink and takes way longer than expected to find anything. regards Deb McClintock

chris said...

2/5/17-do you still have your ideal standard floor loom
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