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My grandfather's loom - first timer would love some tips

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Marius's picture
Joined: 06/16/2010

Hi guys!

I was wondering if anybody could help me out with a some general information about starting to weave.

My grandfather recently gave me his loom, which he built in the fifties. I believe it's called a "table loom", but I'm not even sure about that!

Could anyone point to some beginner's resources for weaving in general and particularly for this kind of loom? It has four frames with heddles. I've been experimenting with it for a few days and I'm busy weaving a simple rug, but I'd love to get an idea of what it's capable of!

Thank you, and this is lovely forum, by the way.


Marius, an eager beginner.

My new loom!

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LauraFry's picture
Joined: 05/25/2009
You can go to the Leclerc

You can go to the Leclerc website and download a small booklet by Robert Leclerc.

Essentially the basics are applicable to any shaft loom regardless of it being a table (lever) loom or a floor loom with treadles.  The only difference is that instead of using your feet to create your pattern (treadling) you'll use your hands to raise the shafts with the levers.

http://leclerclooms.com is the website I think.

Welcome to the wonderful world of weaving.  How lovely to have the loom your g/father built!  What a wonderful connection to him.



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Claudia Segal's picture
Joined: 05/13/2009
Hi Marius, Welcome to the

Hi Marius,

Welcome to the wonderful world of weaving.  And, welcome to Weavolution, so glad you joined.

For starters, there is also a Weaving 101 group/forum where you will find other newbies and many of the experienced weavers respond to questions there, too.

This looks to me like a floor loom, not a table loom.  I suggest you look for a couple books, Debbie Chandler's Learning to Weave and Laila Lundell's Big Book of Weaving.  There are lots of beginning weaving books, Deb's is set up as a weaving class in a book.  The Lundell book is great for counterbalance and countermarche looms.  Weaving is weaving on almost any loom with slight variations.  You need warp and a way to tension it and you need weft to interlace the warp.  There are various tools and methods for how warp and weft meet and that's in the details.

Where do you live?  You could check the Resources on Weavolution here and see if there is a weaving guild in your area.  Most break for summer but you will find tons of resources in a guild and I strongly recommend it.  There are teachers listed here and that is also a great start.  Many have classes happening this time of year.  There are also tons of fiber festivals going on right now and there is a list of those here

Please feel free to ask anything.  That's what this community is here for, hand weavers helping each other.

Claudia, Weavolution co-founder

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Sally Orgren's picture
Joined: 06/08/2009
Your grandfather's hand-built

Your grandfather's hand-built loom — How COOL is that?

Being the owner of a hand-built, no-brand-name loom myself, I would suggest taking detailed photos of every aspect of the operation of this loom while it has a warp on it. So you have a visual record of how the warp moves over all the parts, how the brake works, how the harnesses are attached, etc. (Sometimes when people build their own looms, there may be aspects of their machine that are different than standard looms.)

Next, as you might be new to the weaving process, I would consider NOT cleaning off the loom completely when you finish your current fabric, but rather just cut your fabric off at the front of the loom, leaving yourself enough warp to tie a new warp onto. To see how to do this, you can visit the "projects" section here at Weavolution, and look for detailed photos of how to tie a "weaver's knot" under "tying a new warp onto old."

Just making a new warp will require a few more tools, so getting a book about warping is quite helpful. Two of my favorites are Debbie Chandler Learning to Weave, and Cay Garrett, Warping by Yourself.

By adding a new warp to the old, you can practice "beaming" a warp and then weaving again fairly quickly, before you go through the *whole* process of warping (including threading) the loom (which is a very different process than weaving!)

I am thinking these incremental steps might get you to warping AND weaving with confidence on this loom quicker than tacking everything at once.

Is your grandfather still living? If so, give him a hug from all of us!


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Caroline's picture
Joined: 06/09/2009
What  wonderful gift! It

What  wonderful gift! It definitely looks like a floor loom because I cannot visualise a table big enough and strong enough to take the weight! Does it have treadles for changing the shed? It looks as if it might be a two shaft counterbalance loom built for rug-making.

Lack of treadles is not a problem, I have a floor loom with levers not treadles - it just takes a little longer, but when you weave for enjoyment, its not necessary to be in a hurry. I find it easier not to have to worry about what my feet are doing.

The Deb Chandler "Learning to Weave" will help you get started, and has excellent instructions for when you have to warp the loom up again. I second the suggestion of taking loads of photos, and making diagrams if necessary, to show how everything works. There are also several excellent rug-weaving books around. You are not limited to rugs of course.

This has been built for years of faithful service; enjoy!

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