I am a hand and machine knitter, garment designer and maker and now want to make cloth. I also have done ceramics and want to try basket weaving and work with Fimo clay someday, but back to the loom. I have been researching for two years. I want to weave a wide variety of projects, but my hankering is to BIG items, blankets, tablecloths, bedspreads, draperies, upholstery and garment fabric and most especially weft face rugs, large ones. Weaving something 10" wide just doesn't do it for me.
I have researched the various types of looms (Jack, Counter balance, and Countermarche) I have talked to many loom owners, sat at some looms and thrown a shuttle or two. Here's where I am so far with sorting through all of the research. and advice.
1) Most weaving in the world is done on 4 shaft looms. One could weave for centuries and not exhaust all the possibilities of four shafts. Since a lot of what I desire to weave will require double width, 8 shafts would be appropriate.
2) Countermarche looms offer the best options for weaving what I want to weave. However, I have talked to a few weavers who frequently and routinely weave tight weft face rugs on their Jack looms (Macomber, Kessenich, and Gilmore.) Some shops have recommended Louet (any but the David) or LeClerc, (Nilus II C/M, Colonial II, Weavebird, or Kebec) or the Schacht Cranbrook, but the two front runners are the Harrisville Rug Loom and the Glimakra Standard. The Harrisville offering the shaft switching device (which it would be possible to install TWO if one could figure out a way to reach the switches on the 2nd one) and the Glimakra standard offering the possible upgrade to a draw loom, which, I am told would eliminate any need to ever need more then 8 shafts.
3) Try to buy used if possible.
What is the technique known as 'hatching'?
Thoughts and advice are welcome. I am not considering anything less than 45" wide, up to 60 - 63"
Not much activity on these forums eh? I would suggest a place like the Mannings in PA, they have TONS of looms that you could probably work on before making a decision. and craig's list will have used looms listed for sale, sometimes even for FREE!!! good luck, if you haven't already made a choice.
1) The number of shafts you need really depends on the complexity of what you want to weave. Assuming you want to weave patterned double weave (i.e. double width cloth in anything but plain weave), then you'll definitely want at least eight harnesses.
2) Countermarche looms take up a lot of space and are very heavy, but if you've got the room and muscles, go for it. Personally, I find my Harrisville 22/8 to be quite sufficient, but I do weave on a much smaller and lighter scale than you're planning. Really, that's just an endorsement for the brand. They make a good loom.
3) When I started loom shopping, a friend put me on to weaver's and spinner's housecleaning pages. http://www.kbbspin.org/ Great place to find used looms and other related items. I decided to buy new since I was looking for something smaller, but most of the other people on there seemed to be doing the same, so they tend to have a lot more big looms. Might be a good place to check.
No idea what hatching is.
I will say, try a few different looms out if you can. Everyone has different preferences, and what works for one person doesn't for another. Everyone I went to school with ranted and raved about Macombers, but I really didn't like them when I actually used them. Just make sure it meets your needs and is something you'll be happy and comfortable using for a long time.
HI Robb......since you do want to weave rugs, a CM loom is very appropriate. While rugs **can** be woven on jack looms, if you want to produce many of them, the CM is the better option. The Harrisville Rug loom or Glimakra are both good.....Toika and Cranbrook are good as well. You mentioned the shaft switching device....you don't need to add more than one.....with one you can do as many blocks as you have levers. You have all the possibilities available to you with one device. If you want to do doubleweave in anything but plain weave, then you do need more shafts. A drawloom would be more appropriate for intricate pattern weaving where you want to place motifs in specific places. I don't think I would want to weave a rug on a drawloom, but then that's just me.
Hatching is a tapestry technique where two colors are "shaded" together in the woven cloth. Imagine your hands with fingers spread slightly apart, interlocking so a finger from each hand fits in the space between each finger of the other hand......now imagine the fingers on each hand are two different colors......you have the two colors alternating in the sheds to form a blended color. You can learn more about hatching in tapestry literature.
Weaving width....if you want a wide loom, remember to think about your wingspan and how you will throw the shuttle from side to side. You may need to consider a fly shuttle if the width is quite a bit wider than your wingspan....
I did purchase a new C/M loom, a 63" weaving width Oxaback 10 shaft/10treadle with floating lamms.
1) Floating lamms were recommended for rug weaving for ease of treadling
2) 10 treadles are all that can be easily managed in comfort.
3) more shafts require thinner shaft bars and narrower treadles
4) vertical countermarche is required for the addition of a drawloom
5) a 50 cord drawloom can be added without a loom extension on this loom
6) a computerized dobby , flying shuttle beater can be added
7) a shaft switching device can be added
So now, I am trying to make friends with 'Nessie' and learn to master my strange new toy.