Restoring a Lillstina Swedish Floor Loom

I am a new weaver and I just had the most fun restoring a Lillstina Swedish floor loom that I rescued from 25 years of storage in an old barn.  My loom has 4 harnesses and 6 treadles.  When I found this loom on Craigslist it was filthy and all the heddles and tie ups needed to be replaced but the loom had all its parts.  Murphy's oil soap, nylon cording, plastic buttons and cotton yarn as well as lots of hard work and patience ... and now I have a beautiful floor loom that is ready to be dressed!  During this restoration process I learned about the parts of a loom, how to tie up the treadles to lamms with a snitch knot as well as how to make string heddles!  Now I just need to learn how to dress this loom.  I found the original instructions for the Lillstina floor loom F-4 on the Internet.  I cannot wait to get started!  I am planning to make a weaving sampler using "A Handweaver's Pattern Book" by Marguerite P. Davison as my guide.

Comments

Posted on Sat, 07/13/2013 - 00:25

Thank you for your encouragement.  

Now I am researching how to dress the "Lillstina" floor loom.  I have dressed my table loom from front to back using leasing sticks. But the Lillstina loom is different.  It is dressed from the back of the loom.  I'll have to study the diagrams and instruction thoroughly before I attempt to dress this loom.

Posted on Sat, 07/13/2013 - 03:00

beautiful :-)

i have a lillstina that i got about six months ago.  it had been restored by the previous owner so it's in good condition.   my only complaint is that the tie ups are chains which often come apart (i'm not sure how they come apart because i have to use needlenose pliers to open them enough to put them back together.....).  these chains are attached to the shafts and treadles in a way that makes changing the tie ups a HUGE job.  it appears that someone intended for them to be permanant.   i'm considering investing in texsolve tie ups.  i'm interested in hearing more about your tie up method for this loom.

i have warped it front to back without any problems,  but will probably warp back to front next time as i'm thinking it will be less awkward to reach the heddles while sitting in the front.

i am currently looking for info regarding how to get the harnesses balanced properly.  the shed is a little wonky and i sometimes need to reach over and lift a shaft on one end in order to get the shuttle through.

Posted on Sat, 07/13/2013 - 19:28

It is so nice to hear from another weaver who owns a Lillstina loom!  

As for my tie ups I used nylon cording and Bakelite buttons from my husband's antique button collection.  He was so gracious to let me have them.  I tied my lams and treadles the old fashion way ... the snitch knot.  I decided to do it this way to keep the loom light without additional weight.  I read on the Glimakra website a very interesting article on Counterbalance looms and the importance of no additional weight for it to operate correctly.  

I used the buttons to keep my knots in place and to keep the narrow nylon cording from slipping out of the holes in the lamms and treadles. I had to use buttons with holes big enough to thread the nylon cording. I also used a flame to melt the ends of the nylon cording so it would not unravel. I tested out the treadles ..so far it is working well.  My loom originally came with Techsolv tie ups but I took them off because I had such a difficult time with getting the plastic pieces into the holes for the tie up.

My husband help me make a set of lease sticks from two oak stiles that were originally from an antique quarter sawn oak panel.  I made the lease sticks long enough so I can tie them to the front of the loom.  They should work.  I decided to dress this loom from front to back.  I still don't understand how to loop the warp around the bottom metal bar before bring it up to the back beam without the yarn getting tangled .  This procedure is specific to the Lillstina loom since this loom is so narrow in depth.  Any ideas?

Posted on Sat, 07/13/2013 - 19:48

my loom has the original aprons,  and the back apron is long enough to go around the beam at the bottom and then back up over the back beam.  i am able to easily tie onto the apron rod, directly from behind the heddles.

thank you for your comments on the tie ups.   mine has heavy metal eye bolts on the lamms and treadles,  with funky (and annoying) chain connecting them.    i am thinking i need to get rid of they eye bolts as well as the chains.....

Posted on Sat, 07/13/2013 - 20:04

My Lillstina floor loom also has the original aprons.  I was wondering why the back apron was so long.  Thanks for the insight.  It really helps talking to another weaver who uses this loom.  This should solve my problem.  

However I still don't understand how to attach the lease sticks to the back of the loom as suggested in the original Lillstina loom instructions.

As for the lamms & treadles ... go to the website suggested by Joanna Hall: http://glimakrausa.com/learning-looms-we....  That is where I found the information on setting up a counterbalance loom and the importance of no additional weight on these types of looms.  It was very informative.

Posted on Tue, 07/16/2013 - 19:40

Just finished making 150 warp sticks from an old wooden Venetian blind I found up in the attic.  I love reusing things for another purpose!  

I am still getting ready to dress my loom but it is just so hot here ... 95 degree weather for 3 days straight and more to come and no air conditioning!

Posted on Tue, 07/16/2013 - 21:53

very cool.

i've been using paper,  but would love warping sticks (which is how i learned to weave, back in the day).  i think i'll start watching the thrift store for some wooden blinds.  :-)

Posted on Tue, 07/16/2013 - 23:59

I am still having a hard time visualizing how to dress this loom.  I understand that the lease sticks are attached in the back of the loom. I assume I tie the warp to the apron rod which winds the warp around the lower metal beam and then back up.  I assume that I wind the warp onto the back beam before I thread the heddles and reed.  Working from the back to the front of the loom.  Is this correct?  

Also how do I maintain the tension as I wind the warp onto the back beam?  

And lastly, are the lease sticks kept in place during the entire weaving process?

Posted on Wed, 07/17/2013 - 00:03

if i am understanding your explaination of beaming and threading,  then yes,  that's the way i'd do it.    i don't leave the lease sticks in during weaving.  only for threading the heddles (if back to front) or the reed (if front to back.   the lease sticks just keep the warp threads in the right order  until that point.   it would server no purpose (that i'm aware of) after that.

there are many methods for maintaining warp tension while beaming.  a patient friend is a good choice.  :-)     but their are other methods that work pretty well.   i have recently been using plastic jugs containing water tied to hanks/bouts/whatever of the warp to maintain tension.  there are videos on youtube that show this much better than i could explain it.   some people like using a trapeze (also videos on youtube).     i have tried a method known as yank and crank,  and it's worked ok for me,  but i found the jugs containing water to provide more consistent tension

 

Posted on Wed, 07/17/2013 - 14:13

Some people remove them once they start weaving, and some leave them in.   I leave them in, but slip them over the back beam and let them stay on the warp between the back beam and the warp beam.  I do this because, in the case of a snapped warp thread, it is a little easier to find on a fine warp if you leave the sticks in.   Also, if for some reason, you decide to re-thread the warp or remove the warp all together but keep it for a later use, you have the cross and can do that.

So, it doesn't hurt to leave it in and it can be useful.   Maybe it's just me, but I have a serious fear of losing the cross!

 

Posted on Sun, 07/28/2013 - 05:30

Hello there, I have just bought a second hand Lillstina Loom which came part assembled and I have just started to finish putting it together and found that I am missing one of the metal harness rods that keeps the top and bottom harness sticks together.  I am having great difficulty finding a replacement online and wondered if anyone had any suggestions.  Alternatively is it essential that I actually have them?  I am sure I have seem pictures of other looms that don't have them. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!  I am based in the UK.

Many thanks

Posted on Sun, 07/28/2013 - 14:05

it is not essential.  once there are string heddles on the shafts,  they will hold the upper and lower shaft frames together.      if you're still having trouble,  though,  you can tie a piece of string around to hold them in place.

Posted on Sun, 08/04/2013 - 23:34

I also bought many years ago a Lillstina loom which I finally repaired and use.

Now I have a dilemna with the cotton heddles which I adore. I need more. I had orderd texsolv heddles from the Woolery here in the US. But they don't fit....Any idea where I can purchase some or do I just have to make my own.

Thank you for your help in this matter.

 

Posted on Mon, 08/05/2013 - 00:04

mine came with texolve heddles,  but there was also a jig for making more,  so as i have needed more,  i have been making them from 8/4 cotton rug warp,  using the jig.

Posted on Mon, 08/05/2013 - 13:05

I used an "original" string heddle as a template to make a jig using 4 finish nails and a wooden board.  My husband cut off the heads of the finish nails so that I could slide the string heddles off more easily.

To make string heddles I wrap the string around the 1st nail, then make a knot after the 2nd nail and the 3rd nail which gives me the eye of the heddle.  I do not make a knot after the 4th nail but will leave the strings long & free so that I have enough string to tie the heddle to the harness. I make 5 heddles at a time and then slip them off the jig. While it takes time, making the string heddles may be the answer.  For my Lillstina loom I made approximately 450 string heddles!

I have seen on the Texsolve website heddles for the Lillstina looms.  I assume they are the correct size.

Posted on Tue, 10/01/2013 - 20:56

I am helping a guild mate warp her Lillstina. Actually, it is a loom built by her husband based on the Lillstina plans. It seems to be constructed very well and a very close approximation to the original. But I have a few questions as this loom is not familiar to me.

1) What is the advantage of winding the warp around the cylinder at the back bottom of the loom before attaching to the warp beam? I see that the loom is very shallow from castle to back beam, but I don't see how the downward path after it goes over the back beam can affect the shed size much. I have seen looms that hold their warp beam high up over the loom, so the loom takes up less overall floor space and the weaver can put on longer warps. Was that the intent of this unusual design for the warp path?

2) Can a short warp (2-4 yards) be woven reasonably well on a Lillstina floor loom without including that cylinder in the warp path? If so, are there any consequences I should know about?

3) Was this loom popular for a specific period of time? (what decades?) Is it still made? Are you likely to find it in some regions of the U.S. over others? (which regions?)

I am hoping some of our seasoned weavers can help me fill in the gaps while learning more about this loom. (Thank you in advance!)

Posted on Wed, 10/02/2013 - 13:19

It is said that the artist (painter and photographer) Sture Ekengren constructed the Lillstina for his wife, who was a textile artist, to make it possible to easily take the loom from town house to summer house and back.

Sture was born in 1918, died 1996 - Kerstin lived 1917-2007.

I have not found any history about the loom manufacturing, other than it was apparently done in Järvsö. From the manual (in english, found at http://grapson.simplywarped.com/loom-manuals ) - in the manual there is a post code, and post codes were introduced in Sweden in 1968 - . (ETA: it is not manufactured anymore, but I don't know when it stopped)

Not much info, but the only I could find... I own an 8-sh Lillstina table loom, which I find awful. Mostly because I can not find a way to move the heddles - the castle is glued on top and bottom, and I can't reach more than the two outer shafts. AND the horrible heddles (my only experience with metal heddles) tangle something incredible...

Posted on Wed, 10/02/2013 - 19:04

i have been told that the reason the warp path goes around the bottom beam is that it allows for tighter warp tension than if the warp just goes from the back beam to the front beam.   whether this is true, i have no idea--but i AM able to get my warp tension really tight.

i don't know if they are more common in some places than others.  i had never heard of lillstina looms until i bought mine last winter.   (i have been weaving since the late 70's).     i bought mine from a weaver in upstate new york.   she bought it from a man who lived, literally,  around the corner from her,  and my impression is that he'd had it for some time.  i am in western pennsylvania, near pittsburgh,  and none of the weavers i know were familiar with lillstina's either.

i am happy,  overall,  with my lillstina.   i am still figuring out the balancing act of a counterbalance (with horses) loom,  but i think that's just a learning curve related to the counterbalance and not the fault of this particular loom.   all my previous weaving experience was on countermarche and jack looms.     

Posted on Wed, 10/02/2013 - 20:47

I love my 4 harness Lillstina floor loom.  I dressed it with the warp going around the bottom beam (cylinder) and get a wicked good tension as a result!  The rockers balance well at the top and the string heddles keep the weaving process very quiet.

I haven't found much information on the history of this loom except that it was made in Sweden.  I am sure your friend will love using her Lillstina style floor loom. 

Posted on Wed, 10/02/2013 - 22:02

1) I see Lillstina makes a table loom. I assume there is no bar at the floor to wind the warp path around. Is the angle of the warp over the back beam to the warp beam similar to the floor loom w/o the cylinder? (Perhaps more severe?) Do the table looms hold tension fine w/o the warp cylinder in the path?

2) Texsolv Heddles? My guildmate tried to replace her string with Texsolv heddles, but they were beyond tight. The heddles were labled as 8.62", but she needed 8.75 to span the top of the shaft frame to the bottom of the shaft frame, allowing for the thickness of the wood. Has anyone else replaced their string heddles with Texsolv, and if so, what size?

Inquiring minds want to know! Many thanks —

Sally

Posted on Wed, 10/02/2013 - 22:05

Kerstin,

Thanks for some of the backstory! Weavo member Jerri S also passed along to me the manual file. (Wish I had that BEFORE we warped the loom!)

Posted on Thu, 10/03/2013 - 11:52

I took it out from under the table to check the warp path - and it is straight, much to my surprise. (After all, it *is* a rising shed loom)

Of the three strings in these pictures the right one (seen from the front) is not threaded, the middle one is threaded through a heddle on the front shaft, the left one is threaded on the back shaft.

On my blog, here, are a few more lillstina pics.

I don't know if the beam handles are original or not, but as they are, they are too long for the loom to be placed on a table. (That is, when advancing the warp, you have to find a place where the handles are not perpendicular to the table)

- as for the texsolv - could you not just take out the end pieces of the frames? All (ok, most) Swe looms do not have heddle frames, just two bars which hang together because of the heddles.

Posted on Thu, 10/03/2013 - 14:19

Great photos, Kerstin!

What I am seeing in the photos of the Lillstina table loom is that the front beam and the back beam are parallel to the floor. On their floor looms with the X-frame, those beams are at an angle instead. (Like a Baby Wolf.) 

Might that be what makes the tension different on the floor loom by going around the lower bar?

And as you noted, the table loom = rising shed, (and no weight on the shafts, i.e. that "straight warp path"!) vs. the floor model, which is a sinking shed.

(Ok. Is there a physicist in the house? ;-)

 

Posted on Thu, 10/03/2013 - 14:38

Here's the warp path of another guild mate's Lillstina floor loom, including the cylinder.

Imagine if the warp goes directly to the warp beam instead of heading down toward the cylinder. The angle of the warp from the back beam to warp beam would be much sharper.

Once the warp goes over the back beam, anything that happens below that beam will not affect the shed. (If this back beam was further back from the castle, THAT would improve the shed angle.)

So once the warp goes over the back beam, how can the path down to the cylinder affect the tension? (I can't visualize how it could, but my physics math is not so strong!)

I CAN see how there might be more rubbing of the warp in this path without the cylinder-it would hug the underside of the back beam, and then there might be another angle change as it heads toward the warp beam.

A tension box works by changing the angle of the warp sharply a few different times (Ususally wind around three pegs, so the path might be "into the box, down, up, down, out". Was that the general thinking in this design? But does just one cylinder really do the trick?

Posted on Thu, 10/03/2013 - 15:57

are parallell to the floor. But the weight of the shaft(frames - which is part of my problem) does not affect anything, because the frames are connected to the levers with a very sturdy steel rod - there would be no problem pushing them down a bit with this setup. (Except there is a "bottom" in the frame what's-it-called "slots"?, so that part of the construction prevents it)

My thinking about the cylinder is that it affects the tension by actually lengthening the "free" part of the warp - you (the weaver) have 2-3 times more free warp on which to apply the tension. This may "only" mean that you are elongating the warp (most materials have some elasticity) - but in the end, with more elongation, when the tension is off it will contract more. For this to function the warp must slip freely on the cylinder.

Posted on Thu, 10/03/2013 - 16:03

I have never seen a Lillstina floor loom except here. Could someone post a picture of the harness part? (As in why are there shaft frames - what purpose do the end pieces have? Are there "slots" as on the table loom?)

 

And while I'm at it - a CB (or a CM, for that matter) is not, physically speaking, a sinking shed loom. The whole idea with a "counter"-something loom is that what doesn't go down "actively" comes up.

Posted on Fri, 10/04/2013 - 08:53

Hello - I weave on a Lillstina floor loom and don't wind the warp around the stainless steel beam.  I mainly weave silk, and have had no problems with this - the main issue I've had is that even without the extra warp length it's very easy to crank the tension up a lot without really noticing.  The heddles are Texsolve - I'm not entirely sure how to add new ones though, but clearly it's possible!

Posted on Mon, 10/07/2013 - 03:20

Kerstin,

I think I am with you on the whole "sinking" thing. I am just looking at what warp threads are on top when the shuttle passes, and which shaft+treadle they are connected to. So even if some are "sinking" the alternates are rising after all!

However, for the particular pattern we are working with, I have to reference sinking, because the author has her own "magic key" for articulating her profile drafts and which tie-up to use. (It's the Powell book on shadow weave, for those of you who might be wondering). One of my guildmates (Jerri S) finally figured out something that had been stumping me on the draft on conjunction to this loom.

OK. I didn't get a good image of the shaft frames, but yes, there are slots in the castle for the shaft frames to go up and down. I'll try and get a better photo of this next time I am around one of these looms. I have another no-name loom with the same configuration. The harnesses also have 4 sided frames, altough I can see why you might think the side pieces are not needed if they are contained by those slots in the castle.

Posted on Sat, 10/05/2013 - 08:33

Actually, my thinking is that if there *are* slots, there should probably be side pieces too. (I don't want to know what would happen if one of the free shaft bars would escape from the slot...) But - if there are frames in slots - how do you add heddles?

On "normal" Swe looms there is nothing in contact with the shaft ends.

 

And the "sinking": yes, we tie the shafts to go down - but, physically, the non-tied shafts rise, because of the "counter" construction.

Posted on Mon, 10/07/2013 - 03:36

The floor Lillstina has channels that run up the inside of the castle to contain each shaft independently. They are on both sides of the castle. There is also a large notch/slot cut out of the channels toward the front of the loom, so that if you raise the shaft to a certain position, you can slide each shaft forward, to remove it from the loom to change/move heddles. Since each shaft is completely contained in its own channel restricting the up-down path, I am not sure why the shafts would need sides.

Our 1700's barn frame loom is counterbalance, and the ends of the shafts are not connected. They swing free, in the air, pretty much like your photo. (No castle, no channels, and no shaft sides, and yet, it works!)

My guildmate, who has the floor Lillstina, has the same complaint as you Kerstin — about the castle having a glued cover on top.

For the table model, can you drop the shafts out the bottom to mess with the shafts/heddles? I have one loom like that. I set the loom between two chairs, so the space directly under the castle is not blocked. Not the most easily accessible design, but workable.

Posted on Sun, 10/13/2013 - 11:50

I too have problems with my harnesses and have to 'level' them..maybe it's a Lillstina thing?. I have replaced most of my old tie ups with texsolv cord and pegs. and it's super easy. Keep us posted on how to keep our sheds more even..thank you

Posted on Sun, 10/13/2013 - 12:50

I have replaced so many parts of my original Lillstina with Glimakra parts that it almost comes close to being a glimstina or lillsakra?  I hate aprons so took them off and use tie on bars and cords.  I use larkshead knots and weights to tension the warp when beaming.  And I took out all of the original shafts and replaced them with Glimakra shafts cut to size (thanks Joanne and Ed!) so no more catching in the channels and easier to tie up and replace or add new texsolv heddles.  I was not sure it would work but it does, like a charm.  I use tesolv cord for the treadle tie up.  To thread heddles and reed, I use ratchet tie downs to crank the loom and hold it in place.  Now a breeze to do by myself and no more heavy loom collapsing on me while trying to fold it up.  Made me laugh to hear the story of it being "easy to move" from place to place.  The floor loom weighs a ton! I did add 2 X 4s to bottom to raise it up a bit (knees hitting front beam) and sliders under those so it is easy to slide around wood floors but move it?

Posted on Tue, 04/22/2014 - 09:27

I am an owner of Lillstina for 1/2 year and now I try to realize double weave on Lyllstina.

 

The original methodic was done for Jack construction, but I need to do it on Lillstina. Has anybody ideas about tie-up?

Posted on Sat, 09/28/2019 - 01:58

Hi,

Does anyone have a link to the Lillstana manual?  Everything I find is a dead link.

Would grately appreciate any help.

Carrie

Posted on Mon, 04/12/2021 - 17:03

Congratulations on your restoration.  I would love to know how high to tie the foot pedals from the floor.  I have the same loom as you. Thank you.

<p>Elizabeth Tatro&nbsp;</p>