Monday, August 3, 2009

New toy new toy new toy...

I am seriously doing the new loom happy dance over here. If you could only see me bouncing around my studio! I know, she doesn't look like much just yet. I need to get her into place, and all set up. loom!!!

Ok, she isn't exactly new. She was made in 1980, and I am her fourth owner. Let me spew some numbers here, then I'll try to translate for the non weavers who are reading. I am the proud owner of an AVL 12 harness 36" dobby folding loom!!!


AVL is one of the premier loom makers on the market. That stands for Ahrens and Violette Looms.

12 harness: With a floor loom, the complexity of the pattern you can create is limited by the number of harnesses (or shafts) you are using. The harnesses raise your warp threads. 2 harnesses, and you can only weave variations of plain over/under. My first loom had 4 harnesses. My current has 8. This one having 12 means I can weave some pretty complex fabric.

36": This refers to how wide a fabric I can weave. I don't know if I will actually be able to weave the full 3 feet, and there will be some draw in and shrinkage. But I should be able to make yardage that finishes up at about 30" wide. My current loom has a weaving width of 40", so this is only a few inches narrower. As I rarely use the full width for my projects, it should be enough.

Dobby: With most floor looms, you push floor treadles in order to raise the harnesses. The order that you step on the treadles creates the pattern in your fabric. The trick is remembering where in the pattern you are, especially if you have to stop to answer the phone or chase the kids. With a dobby loom, the job of choosing the shafts is done by a bar and peg system on the side of the loom, that you set ahead of time. There are only two treadles under the loom--one to raise the shafts, and one to advance the dobby bars. This means you can make really complicated patterns, and as long as you pegged the sequence correctly you'll never lose your place.

Folding: When I'm not weaving, the loom is folded up like it is in the picture. It actually takes up less floor space than my current 8 harness Harrisville loom. That will give me more space in my studio, which given the amount of stuff I have crammed in here is a Good Thing.

Do you begin to see why I am so excited? I need to finish up the project I'm currently working on (a triloom shawl in harvest colors--looks lovely!) before I can set up a trial warp. I'm crossing my fingers that I'll like this loom as much as I think I will.

(If I do love it, my Harrisville loom will be up for sale. Anyone near to Phoenix need a loom? New, it would run about $2000. I bought it used for $800. Make me an offer, and we'll talk. )


  1. I am excited for you! Thanks for all the technical info. I never actually knew what dobby meant. With so many choices, what will you make?

  2. I stayed up way too late last night, happily going though books and back issues of Handwoven magazine. And I think I need to go across town to my local weaving store, Fiber Factory, to see what inspiration strikes there. This is such a fun stage!

  3. CONGRATS on the new loom!!!! I'm so happy for you!!

  4. One of the neatest things about this whole deal is how I got the loom. I belong to a spinning/weaving guild, and last year overheard someone talking about eventually passing it on. I gave her my card, just in case. She emailed me last week, and offered it to me...for a $200 donation to the guild. Which is tax deductible for me. And she's planning on asking the guild to use the money to create an award/scholarship, given out in the name of the first owner of the loom.

    How cool is that?!