Tuesday, June 3, 2014

It's called OLAD

Obsessive Loom Acquisition Disorder. OLAD. I knew about the malady, but never expected to be infected so quickly. Looms have very specific functions, designed for specific styles of weaving, sort of like the way sewing needles are designed for specific tasks, only taking up way, way more floor space. And I've got it bad.

My OLAD was still manageable when I had just the Baby Wolf and the Mirrix, each designed for specific purposes.

This sweetie is a terrific loom, but it has its limitations. It's considered a portable loom, so it's not quite sturdy enough for weaving rugs. (With all this fabric around me, I see many, many rag rugs in my future.) And, it only has four shafts (patterns are made by threading the warp through different shafts), the more shafts a loom has, the more complex the patterns can be.

I have woven several things on this loom, not the least of which is the beautiful overshot pattern to the left. With careful threading of the shafts and repeated sequences of treadling, marvelous designs can appear.

It was the "mathyness" that drew me to quilting originally, taking just simple bits of algebra to cipher out an entire quilt. Weaving is also mathy, and I love it!

But just as, after a time, all those straight lines in quilting designs began to chafe, so it is with weaving. So, I needed a tapestry loom.Tapestry weaving lets me draw with yarn. It's the weaving world's equivalent of applique. I am taking an online class from Rebecca Mezoff, and so far we are only up to geometric forms. The class has been just marvelous, Rebecca is a terrific teacher.

This is my final project for Part One. Curves aren't actually covered until Part Three, which is next month, but I couldn't help myself. They were supposed to be circles, those blobs, but at least the top one ended up a convincing oval. Even the triangle was a bit of stepping out, we're only just now getting the the lessons in triangles, in Part Two.

And now to the OLAD, one more type of loom, this one a for-real floor loom, a heavy duty loom that can handle rug making, and also with more shafts for more intricate patterns. I've been watching for a used loom to come up for sale nearby, and one did, just last week.

Introducing the Norwood. These looms have a delightful Michigan history, built by a furniture maker out of cherry wood.

She has eight shafts, and a weaving width of almost forty inches. She also has a sectional warp beam (it's the spiny looking thing on the left), so I'll need to learn how to work with that.

I wish I could say that I was done buying looms, but I fear I have a couple more in my future. I'm certain that I will eventually want a larger tapestry loom, and I'm also considering a band loom, to weave intricate, skinny bands of color. But that's it, really, who actually needs a loom with more than eight shafts, or hooks up to a computer, or is just bigger? Nah, I'm done with OLAD, really I am.


  1. gee Beth, and here I'd been thinking I'd drive my 60" Nilus Leclerc to you...

  2. wait, what? Oh, you tease! You got me there!

  3. Congratulations on your new Norwood - they are great and beautiful looms. It should give you years of joy. The sectional beam may take some getting use to but it's worth the effort in that you can put a lot more warp yardage on in one go - then get to the fun part - weaving! Enjoy :-)

  4. Anonymous6:02 AM

    I see a new studio needing to be built.

  5. Love it. Doug Kreinik just bought a loom and he is addicted! He is weaving all kinds of Kreinik threads and making some cool stuff. I'm impressed. But haven't bought a loom just yet.....

  6. Nothing better than looms! I love the OLAD designation. It almost makes GLAD.

  7. Anonymous12:46 AM

    Hello! I found you on a search for info about the sectional warp beam that I thought as unusual on the 8 harness Gilmore I just purchased. Apparently I have a bit of OLAG m'self I can't say I never dreamed I'd find this because I pined for something like this since my 20's when I first learned about tapestry weaving and discovered larger looms. She is an "X" Frame series of the Gilmore original folding loom, upon research. Mine is supposed to be portable, but requires two to move it. WOW! I just bought a 36" rigid heddle Kromeski for real portability, but as you mentioned, there are limitations. I have an over one hundred year old 4 harness loom that needs oiling and replacement metal parts. I got that about 25 years ago. OLAG it is. I write to say that since I bought this Gilmore from a thrift store, the previous owner wasn't available to tell her story. I was only told that she wove for a living, therefore it is the explanation for the mystery box and the spiny beam that I have now come to learn is a tension box and a sectional warp beam. I tried to look up how to use the tension box, but there were about 7 or 8 excited women all talking at once so I could never make out the view or instructions! Please, if you know, explain or would you by chance have a link to some kind of tutorial on Youtube? She was a steal with 2 sectional warp beams, 2 additional reeds, a tension box, a bobbin frame, a yarn counter and herself! (as well as 5 shuttles) I'm so wow'd. I'm glad I found your blog. I am a Craftsy fan and user, btw. Much love. P.S. Really not bragging, more overwhelmed by it all. Need encouragement in all this energy! :>