Sunday, 2 October 2016

Lemminkäinen* has Landed (Dreams do sometimes come true)

When I was starting as a tapestry weaver, I felt very grateful to be able to have an Ashford tapestry frame loom (known as Aragorn), and then to work on a scaffold loom at WD and subsequently acquire one of my own (Sid). I never imagined that I would ever have a 'proper' two shaft tapestry loom to accommodate the big work I long to do. Yesterday, thanks to the wonderful 'Eaton Fund for Artists, Nurses and Gentlewomen' and fifteen crowdfunding backers, I received two packages containing a 2.0m weaving width Varpapuu two-shaft loom, of unknown age, from Finland via Southern Ireland.

The packages. Three of us. No hernias!

Added by a previous owner :-)

Beginning construction...

From left to right: cloth beam, upper beam, heddling bar and bits, warp beam. The linen aprons are in good order, with only some minor repairs needed to the loops. A friend is sending me a copy of her original instruction manual for the same model of loom; the only other thing is to make two new lamms to attach the other pairs of treadles as I do not think the previous owner had these (the lamms; the treadles are there). They should be easy enough to do, even with my minimal woodworking skills. The reed is my favourite sett, but is not full width (I knew this when I committed to buying it), so I will need to order one.

I need to find my rubber mallet in order to knock the frame together enough to fasten the bolts - I have the big spanner to hand. Am also revising my knowledge of making a warp and dressing a reeded, beamed loom with heddles. I have been using frame looms for seven years, so it is a long time since I beamed, sleyed and tied up :-))

I have not known whether to dance for joy or weep with gratitude! So many kind people believing in me and my work.

Now, of course, I am wondering whether, rather than launching straight into the large version of 'Shrine', I should try a smaller project and make 'Geode(139:15)' on Lemminkäinen* rather than Aragorn. The reed is plenty wide enough, and it will give me the opportunity to acclimatise to a different way of weaving and make any necessary adjustments to the tie up etc.

* I shall explain the choice of name in a later post; this one is quite long enough!

Location:Cuckoo Fields,Chichester,United Kingdom

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