Friday, 30 January 2009

Here she is... the new loom!

Are you ready?

Here are the boxes:

part unwrapped:

and after a couple of hours unwrapping and putting bits together... it's a Leclerc Voyageur, 24" and 8 shafts.

Note it was very well wrapped indeed - many thanks to Frank Herring & Sons of Dorset, they were very helpful in answering questions, delivery was prompt and their packing left nothing to chance.
Of course I was rather tempted to buy the loom that has my name, the Leclerc "Dorothy"! But I wanted a folding loom for convenience of storing and occasional travel, and I like the shaft operation levers being in the middle (the Dorothy loom has them on the right hand side).

See how she folds:

The literature says you can do this with the warp on, I haven't tried that yet. Of course as soon as I have a warp on I shall!

This loom took a lot of choosing, and I am very grateful to friends in the Online Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers who helped very much by telling me about their table looms and likes / dislikes. It's not easy to have to buy a loom without being able to see it. It did reassure me to discover that everyone with a modern folding table loom seems to be very happy with their loom.

The options in the U.K. for new folding table looms are only Leclerc, Ashford and Louet (anything else would be a special import).

If I'd wanted something more portable and just for samples I'd have gone for the Louet W30 which is only 12" / 30 cm wide but very nicely made and weighs a mere 12 lbs (5.5 kg) and a bargain at £250. Several owners of this loom got in touch to tell me how they love it. I'm sure the 40cm Louet Jane is also very good, but it's a bit bigger and heavier and costs significantly more, and the smallest Leclerc Voyageur (9 1/2") is also beautiful but 16lb in weight and costs nearly twice the price of the W30.

If I'd not been interested in porting it about I'd have chosen one of the small folding 8 shaft looms, there's a Harris countermarch, or two jack looms - the Schacht Wolf pup or Leclerc Compact.

I even gave some thought to one of the compact computer dobby looms, but they are not quite compact enough for me to find the space easily and I'm not sure I want a computerised loom. I get fed up with computers, they have dominated my working life.

I wasn't sure about whether to get my loom with texsolv heddles or wire. I'm used to texsolv on my floor loom, so was biased towards the familar, but then I had a helpful chat to David Herring who said that the wire heddles move more easily along the shafts. I chose wire and I'm delighted.

I'm including the next photo because I wanted to show the clever way the shafts are held in place by the heddle bars and they slide out of the bottom of the loom when you need to remove or add heddles to the shafts. The loom is lying on its side for this photo and you can see the little round feet it stands on.

I think I should add here that the loom comes with 600 heddles and I ordered an extra 300 in case I want to weave fine cotton or silk. I also ordered the second warp and back beam and a couple of extra shuttles.

I wasn't the only member of the household pleased with my new toy, remember the boxes in the first photo, with plastic tape strips? Thanks to Leigh's cat Rascal for drawing my attention to the possibilities of these. Annie and Pheobe have been having fun, especially as if one of them grabs one end of a strip, the other end moves and needs to be pounced on - so it's a two-player cat toy.

I can't give you a full review of these shuttles yet. One came with the loom, and I ordered two extra. They are special shallow shuttles as the Voyageur has a small shed. The finish on them is the most beautiful and smooth of any of my shuttles, and with the curved ends they are good to hold. They are closed at the bottom so a reasonable weight and balance.

I haven't got a warp on the loom yet, I had a promise to keep first. You may have noticed above in the photo of the loom unpacked that to the right of the loom and my tea mug there is a roll of orange/rust coloured wool fabric. I had promised my significant other a new dressing gown and knew that if I got a warp on the loom first the dressing gown (I think that is a bathrobe in US English?) might not happen. It is a lovely twill 100% wool flannel cloth, with good drape and he tells me the finished dressing gown is warm and comfortable. Maybe when this garment needs replacing I'll be using a handwoven fabric?


Laura said...

Hi Dorothy,

I'm sure and your Voyageur will travel interesting byways and highways together. :)

I use the Leclerc shuttles by preference. The shallow ones on the AVL, the regular ones on the Leclerc Fanny. They are by far my favourite shuttles.

Happy weaving!


Sue said...

So exciting!!! What a beautiful loom! Do you have plans to travel with it? That loom would be great for workshops and conferences.

On a fabric note, I love the background fabric for your shuttle picture!!

The suspense was worth it!! Wishing you and your new loom many years of weaving together!


Sunrise Lodge Fiber Studio said...

Congratulations on your new loom!!! The Voyager is a great loom and I can't wait to see your first project on it:)

Laritza said...

You will love it, I have the 12 shaft 24 inch weaving width. Yes, it does fold with the warp on no problems. I use dowels to beam, the distance between the table and the beam is too small to get paper in. Enjoy!

Leigh said...

Oh yes, Rascal and Catzee absolutely love those plastic packing straps.

The new loom looks great. I love reading your thought process and reasons for your choices. Very helpful. It will be awhile before I get another loom, but this post will help me when the time comes.

callybooker said...

Fun for the whole family! That looks like a lovely loom and with 24" you can weave all sorts of things on it.

Peg in South Carolina said...

I am so so envious! Every time I window shop for a table loom, the Voyager is the one I end up with.

kimmen said...

Oh congratulations! I've woven on many of these in round robins and they are very, very nice.

Susan said...

Congratualtions on your new loom!
How *exciting* for you. I'm sure you will have many wonderful hours creating on it.

All the best,

Tina said...

New looms are so much fun. I know what you mean about wanting looms and such because of their name. I'd like to get the Woolhouse Tools Gertrude loom, because that's my mom's name. And I'd like a Jensen Tina II spinning wheel because it has my name.

Geodyne said...

The others have said it so it's not original, but how exciting, Dorothy!

Do enjoy - this means you can have multiple projects going on at once, as well. *grin*

Janet said...

I'm so glad you are pleased with your choice of loom. May you many happy experiences using it.

Barbara Blundell said...

Hi Dorothy,
Wonderful. Hope you spend many pleasant hours working on the new loom. It looks exciting and I'm not a weaver !

Meg in Nelson said...

Oh, I'm so envious. I've only had one new loom so the shiny heddles in particular look absolutely wonderful!!!

Gwen said...

Congratulations! That is so exciting! I can't wait to see your first project! :)

deborahbee said...

I am fascinated in your decision to buy the Voyager. As a beginner I am wondering why you wanted a smaller table loom. Is it for sampling. I am intending to buy my daughter a loom as she wants to deign. She only has a small flat and doesn't want anything aas large as a Glimakra....but wants at least 8 shafts. I told her about the Voyager after reading your post but she was doubtful about using hand levers rather than treadles. Ideally she would like a second hand Mighty Wolf (she'll be lucky)I'll be interested in your weaving experiences.

Dorothy said...

Hi Deborah, yes this loom is intended for sampling as it will be quicker to warp and no treadle ties to change. It also gives the possibility of going to workshops, as I can move it about - but I think I'll get a luggage trolley so I don't injure my back as it weighs 29lbs.

I hope your daughter has started to save up in case she can't get the loom she wants 2nd hand! having said that, a wanted ad in the Journal might find her a loom. I'd also suggest looking at any of the Louet looms, they don't fold but are remarkably compact for floor looms. Why not ring PM Woolcraft for a chat?

deborahbee said...

Thank you so much for loom advice. I will follow up both your suggestiond, I regularly look at the Loom Exchange, plenty of looms I would like but Zoe is adament that she doesn'y want 'a large old dusty loom.' She probably means 'similar to my Bergman' except it is compact and 8 shafts.
I can really understand your motivation for a table loom, brilliant idea. Mt towels are Cottolin from Halls.

Meg in Nelson said...

Oh, Dot, you must post another post soon. The top and the fifth pics are driving me to loom-envy distraction!

Louisa said...

Congrats on the new loom! I'll be interested in your further adventures with the Voyageur. And you were very wise NOT to get a Dorothy loom. I broke several fingernails every time I've had to use one in a workshop. The levers are hard on the hands and they are darned noisy too. You made a much wiser choice!

Trapunto said...

Congratulations! I admired this loom at a weaving store. The wood was beautiful and it looked really sturdy.