After some time of consideration and budget planning, I decided on a new table loom. The order was placed with the Eugene Textile Center in August. At the end of September 2022, “Louie,” a 16 shaft LeClerc Voyageur table loom arrived at my door.
Getting the packaging open presented more of a challenge than did assembly of the loom. Finn was eager to help with packaging but not so much with assembly. Louie is a very well-made piece of equipment.
My goal in obtaining this loom is to play with more complex twills and, more importantly to me, to learn more about woven structures. Given the slowness of weaving on a table loom, this will undoubtedly take a good deal of time.
I am imagining a series of different structures utilizing the same profile draft and then an exploration of a variety of tied weaves.
While waiting for Louie to arrive I had decided to weave a 12 shaft draft from Handwoven. This was an “extra” for subscribers and is a Summer & Winter draft of cats for dish towels. Working primarily from stash and from pictures of my two grandkitties, I planned to make two towels as a holiday gift for dearest Kiddo.
I used KnitCompanion to track the lift plan. It turns out there is a fair amount to learn about weaving on a table loom after being focused on floor loom weaving. The first towel, a rather ridiculously long towel with several mistakes, now graces my kitchen. I tied on more warp and had another go, including adjusting colors to better depict the cats. Meanwhile, I was getting a better feel for Louie’s brake, weaving sweet spot, and other adjustments. We are getting along pretty well now, despite the slow going.
Of course, time is one thing I usually feel rather short on, especially as holidays approach. While learning Louie’s intricacies, I was also working on landscaping the front yard, dealing with several veterinary encounters, and making plans for the holidays that happen in November and December.
If you have read my previous posts, you know gardening is important to me. I took several months of leave taking from my yard in California where Michael and I grew fruits and a variety of herbs and vegetables. We both knew we wanted to simplify and have much easier maintenance in our new yard. By the time I found Pam, the perfect person to help us design and plant our front yard, the yard was looking pretty ugly. The backyard will be Finn’s with the exception of some planned raised beds and we have left dealing with that until spring.
In a nutshell, with great help and guidance, we got rid of a good deal of lawn and other unwanted vegetation. We planted a lavender hedge, two good sized birch trees and a scarlet hawthorn, and lots of perennials and bulbs. We now have a front yard that I am excited to watch develop. The 20-year-old rosemary bush we brought with us is planted there, too. Our faery altar is graced with a large piece of granite from the Sierras. As things start blooming this spring, I will start taking photos.
So landscaping was a major development during the autumn and consumed a good deal of time. Finn continued to take up a good deal of time and energy with daily exercise and training as well as some unanticipated veterinary needs. In the end, Finn was fine and fit as a fiddle, but we nicknamed him “CreditCard.”
One of his veterinary excursions nearly derailed my long planned trip to a weaving workshop. Fortunately, he recovered, and, at the end of October, I headed to the Eugene Textile Center for a workshop on Transparency weaving with Suzie Liles.
It was wonderful to be at an in-person workshop (my first since COVID) and to be learning. Suzie is a great teacher and the topic strikes me as a possible way for me to work with some ideas in my head.
Once again, the issue of time creeps in and I’m sad to say that I have not done anything with the warp since returning. My Wolf Pup has been rather neglected since traveling with me to Eugene.
Early November brought more veterinary encounters and nursing of Finn who, once again, thankfully, is quite fine.
About this time another new piece of equipment arrived. In the summer I placed an order for a motor for my fabulous Clemes and Clemes Elite drum carder. Again, lots of thought and budget planning went into the decision and I know the workmanship of Henry and Roy Clemes is fantastic.
I have plenty of fleece, lots of ideas, and not enough time, so the motor seemed like a good investment. It is a beauty and exponentially shortens the amount of time it takes to process fiber.
I’ve been blending some of my wool and alpaca with a project in mind that involves lots of spinning and then weaving. This is, of course, a very long-term project but I have completed spinning samples and made some decisions regarding the blends I will be using and a herringbone draft. Stay tuned for more information as this project slowly unfolds.
In late November we celebrated a day of gratitude with friends, including my decades old tradition of making pie from real pumpkins. Training and beach walks with Finn continued and I worked on knitting and spinning when I couldn’t get up to the Loom Room.
Then, of course, there was all the holiday planning. Finn needed a Christmas stocking and dear kiddo was bringing a friend, so they needed one as well. I was not undertaking any major holiday crafting, but it was still very busy.
Finn loved the snow we had in December. Fortunately, both my beloved kids arrived after that storm and left before then next big rain, ice, and wind event. We had a great holiday visit with plenty of good food to share.
In the end, in addition to the cat towels, I made two stockings, a sheep ornament, and some gnomes. The sheep ornament included some of the Shetland fleece from Riplet that I needle felted onto the fleece woven base.
My dear friend, Mary, got me going on knitting gnomes. This seems like a great way to use up all the many bits and bobs of left over fingering weight yarn in my stash. Alas, the arthritis in my hands will definitely limit my gnome knitting but if I plan well and do a little bit at a time ... maybe there will be more gnomes under our tree next year.
Winter was here and we had passed the longest night. A new project was on the Mighty Wolf and on the table loom.
The towels that took months to weave were ready for inventory and Michael’s sweater that I had been knitting for most of a year was ready for seaming. And sometimes we even enjoyed sunshine.
Knowing Imbolc was just around the corner, I was planning my annual meditative lace knitting project. The wheel of the year was turning, and I was encouraged by the additional minutes and then hour of daylight.
And ever grateful as we carry on in our new homeland.