Yesterday Maaike picked me up and we drove down to meet Yannick at Colette’s studio. I was giddy and excited and Maaike poked me in the arm and said “You feel like someone who’s getting a loom today!”
But then there was a bit of a mixup with schedules and for a short period of time it looked like I might not be getting a loom.
Luckily things worked out, and after a quick lunch at apparently the ONLY restaurant/cafe/place that sells food you can eat in the entire area, we met back up at Colette’s and…
…what does this face tell you?
(The other half looked like it didn’t even belong to me, was blurry, and I think there was a crazy eye).
I got an Ashford Knitter’s Loom and it’s awesome! Set-up was non-existent, it was 99% ready right out of the box. I asked Yannick to help me set it up since it was a gift from him (the accessories were a gift from me) and I wanted to remember that he had set it up for me. Well “set-up” meant putting the 3 plastic ties through each of the 2 flat boards for either side, and then attaching them to the loom. About 45 seconds, and done!
I then went to Maaike’s house so she could show me how to warp it. I’d taken an “Intro to Weaving” class with Maaike and Deb at Colette’s last winter (by the way, when did seasons no longer require capitals?) and so I remembered how to do the basic plain weave, move the heddle, knew a bit of terms like “shed” and “shuttle”, “warp” and “weft”. But the looms that we’d used were already warped when we got there.
Oh- and those looms were Crickets. And I was so, so tempted to get a Cricket. They’re tiny and cute and a bit cheaper and while you can’t upgrade to a double heddle later, you can still do umpteen types of weaves with it. Yes, I said umpteen. The only thing, literally the ONLY thing that ruled out the Cricket for me was the width. You can’t weave wider than 10″ on it, and while I expect to seam larger projects like blankets, I wanted to at least be able to make placemats or kitchen towels without having to seam. I don’t need 8 million scarves.
Once the Cricket was out, and I knew I wanted a smaller, more portable loom that I could use sitting on the couch, that left me looking at the AKL and the Glimakra Emilia. I was really taken by the ratcheting system of the Emilia, as well as the extra width (13″ vs 12″ of the AKL). But in the end the AKL itself, and its accessories were more affordable, it had better finishing (the Emilia isn’t varnished or even fully sanded), and Yannick can always change the plastic ratcheting system of the AKL to metal one day, if I really want it.
So Maaike taught me how to warp, and it was much faster, easier, and more zen-like than I’d expected. It really wasn’t bad at all, and before long (maybe 1 hour, with chatting, to warp for an 8″ wide, 5.5′ long scarf plus 5″ fringe per end) I was weaving!
I’ve got the scarf-in-progress hidden in these pics ‘cus I told my mom my first project would be for her as she babysits so very often so I can attend guild, workshops, and this particular loom-purchasing trip, and while she knows she’s getting the scarf, I want the finished project to be somewhat of a surprise.
I’m using the size 12 heddle (12 dent? 12 DPI? Still learning the lingo) which means there are 12 strands to the inch, and it is warped (the strands that run the length of the scarf) with 100% wool, black fingering weight that I bought on a cone (along with another one in white) from Colette. I figure I have tons of fingering sock yarn in assorted colors, but while I have some black that is marked for projects, I don’t have white and these 1 lb cones will last a long time.
This pic is from overhead and shows the loom on my couch with a white sheet of paper covering the scarf, and a tissue box resting in front of the heddle for scale. This loom is small! Maybe 14-16″ wide total, and about 2′ long or so. Plus it folds even with the weaving project on it, and fits easily into one of my tote bags. It’s awesome!
Side view. (The loom is in weaving position, and lies completely flat for warping).
In about 2 hours at Maaike’s last night I managed to warp the loom and weave 5″ before coming home. This morning I sat on the couch while the boys played and in about an hour got up to 20″ out of the total 66″. I’d have more to show tonight but I need to get some work done for my actual day job that has a deadline so I can’t put it off. That said, I plan on weaving more tomorrow…