It Folds!

Between twisting fringe, washing fleece, learning to crochet, digging through dormant works-in-progress, winding warps, and planning new projects, this past month has been a busy one. A few days ago, I made a happy discovery while idly browsing Etsy*: the manufacturer of my baby loom! It’s a toy loom from Brio, and at least one other adult weaver has succumbed to its charms. I wasn’t able to identify it before because one supporting beam, which would have been marked Brio, is missing. It seems that later versions of this loom used a rigid heddle, but mine is definitely an older model.

In fact, it brings back hazy memories of a toy loom I had as a child. Maybe it’s the same one.

Once I knew its manufacturer, I could find a PDF version of the instruction manual. To my astonishment…

…it folds! When I saw it in the weaving shop, I tried to collapse it for transportation, but when nothing moved, I assumed the loom wasn’t made for it. Actually, it was just that the screws on which the braces rest had rusted, and just needed to be loosened slightly.

Now it can come with me wherever I go. Or, at least, places that my Fanny couldn’t. So, with an upcoming weekend trip in mind, I warped it up again. Using a finer yarn than last time meant tying another 40 string heddles and using two ends per dent, but as a bonus, this made the log cabin threading a piece of cake. The yarn is Lion Brand 1878, which is a new one for me: a review on Amazon compared it to Harrisville Shetland for half the price, and so far it’s very nice, though I did find one knot and one weak spot in the eighty meters I wound for this mini-project.  I’m looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

Meanwhile, the laboratory kitchen was taking on a suspiciously sheepy smell, so I could justify spending time happily washing fleece in lieu of dishes. Below, a smidgeon of California Red and Targhee from the Spinning Loft:

Fresh fleece is so delicious and squishy that I’ve contemplated using it as a pillow. Or just sticking my face in it.

The Targhee has a good bit of VM, so I’ll be spending some time picking by hand while plotting to build a box picker. I think I’m going to card the stuff and spin it before dyeing, but I did toss some commercial BFL roving into the dyepot. Having done all the samples for my gamp at once, now I’m focusing on one dyestuff at a time.

In addition to deepening my knowledge of natural dyes, it’s much easier to coordinate.

Since it’s been a while since my last post, and the holiday season looms, there’s plenty else in the works: a hairpin lace shawl, a crocheted hat, a knitted sweater, and a 600-end Mystery Warp, all to be revealed in due time. But for today, I’ll leave it at that. Hope you’re having a nice November!

*A too-frequent pastime. Help!

7 thoughts on “It Folds!”

  1. I have a baby loom too ! I enjoy it very much and am working to learn Pick up stick patterns ( you can indeed use pick up sticks with this little Brio loom. Its a bit tough to do at first since the rigid heddle (newer model) which is factory set makes a rather poor shed in the up position. but it can be done. I love this little loom.
    but will switch to a larger table loom some time in the future will pass this on to someone who might enjoy it then.

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    1. I’d love to see your pick-up! I’ve been thinking of trying a little needle-woven tapestry, in which case the shed would be of less importance. I find it hard to hold the shed in the up position too, and have gotten into the habit of holding the lever with one hand and passing the shuttle with the other.

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  2. P.s. I use warp sticks which i cut myself from lumber known as ” screen molding “found at my local Home Depot then cut to the size of the warp bars and sanded smooth for better working and less pulling of the warp yarn/ cotton string. this allows me to keep the warp even tighter all the way through the piece to the end.
    🙂

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    1. That’s a good idea! I’ve been using bamboo knitting needles, which are a bit slippery for that purpose, so I’ll give the molding a try.

      It’s so nice to hear from someone else using this loom! What kind of weaving are you able to do on the rigid-heddle version? For mine, I found a lightweight wool yarn (Lion Brand 1878) that makes a nice drapey fabric sleyed two to the dent in my old wooden reed. Bulkier yarns kept sticking in the reed while still sett too loose.

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  3. First of all my Pick up stick (weaving sword) is home made from salvage wood from an old painters easel I took apart years ago…about 15 or so inches long that I wittled down so it has dull point at both ends. (was actually fun to do but i nearly severed a finger ((well not really but I did get a nasty cut )) when my exacto blade sliped. ) hint : use the proper tools to do wood carving. Lesson learned here.
    I am going to try a thicker cotton warp the next time as of now I’m using a light cross stich type floss cotton as the warp and not to heavy yarn to weave with. If you don’t mind not using the knitting needles for anything else try sanding them to make them a bit less slick. but my screen molding warp sticks are flatened on one side and a bit rounded on the other they hold pretty well after a good sanding.

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  4. I’m still in the very experimental stages of pattern weaving … so when I come up with a piece that comes up to my standards…not very high as of yet … I will send you a picture of it. I’m having such fun trying though !!! May I suggest you get some extra fine sand paper ..wrap a thin flat stick…( wooden ruler maybe) to sand the inside of your wooden reed? inside each dent so that they are a bit more smooth ? the newer model also has a wooded reed.

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