Here are the boxes:
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 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?