The Draw Loom

I had the opportunity to go to a "loom gazing" yesterday. I wasn't entirely sure what a loom gazing was, but pretty quickly realized it was just as it sounds--a gathering of weavers looking at looms.  Jacque Hart lives near me and she has been a weaver and artist her whole life. Her house/studio was a fascinating collection of looms. The Pueblo weavers guild drove over the mountain for a studio tour and I was allowed to tag along.

The Other Looms

Jacque has a house stuffed with looms.  I counted 5 looms that were at least 45 inches weaving width and a large assortment of small looms tucked in corners under piles of wool and weaving. I missed the demonstration of the AVL, but it looks to me like this is where Jacque does her "production" type weaving.

I thought everyone had moved on to computerized AVL looms, but Jacque still uses these pegs and I adore her for it. This was really the first computer after all, was it not?

This loom is a 32 harness Macomber which is definitely an old dinosaur! It was one of the first looms people called "computerized". All the shaft changes were entered one at a time on this little key pad and stored on a memory key. Jacque said it takes forever to put them in. She had a hilarious accounting of using the loom, what with the solenoids switching the shafts and the clatter of the air compressor which is the mechanical assist for lifting those metal shafts, the noise was too much. She would love to sell this loom if anyone is interested! It is definitely a little slice of history.  And you'd get very strong lifting those shafts since the air compressor has been disconnected. The loom looked like a 72 inch width one to me!

The drawloom

The most interesting of the looms to me was the drawloom.  I had never seen one before and Jacque spent quite a bit of time explaining how it works.
I have done some pick up work in the past and so the concept of this loom seemed fairly straightforward as Jacque explained it. Basically the pattern for the fabric goes on the front 10 pattern shafts (the regular countermarch shafts of the loom) and the "pick up" threads are on the back 60 drawloom shafts. Jacque treadles whatever ground fabric she is working (satin, etc) and then also pulls the shafts for the pattern she wants raised before putting in her shot.

 These are the pulls that control the drawloom shafts on the back of which there are 60 on this particular loom.

 You can see in this photo how the standard Glimakra countermarche loom is to the left and the drawloom extension is hooked on the back of it. This loom takes a lot of floor space!

These U-shaped weights have a name, but I can't remember what it is. Please comment on this post if you know!
 This loom looks particularly challenging to set up.

There is a very interesting article with pictures HERE about how to set up a drawloom and how it works.
Glimakra also has a page of information about drawlooms.

The Fabric

Jacque had some fine examples of her work for me to look at. Can you guess which pieces were done on which kind of loom? All photos are of work done by Jacque Hart. You can contact her through her website if you are interested. She has some gorgeous throws and coverlets and also does other functional textiles as well as wall pieces. Here website is HERE.

The Animals

And of course I took a quick tour of the animals on my way back to my car. The sheep were adorable and I just wanted to brush the angora bunnies! Dangerously, Jacque mentioned that she has baby bunnies who need homes. I beat it to my car at that point lest a bunny cage find its way onto my back porch and I find myself learning to spin angora.

I had a great time thinking about complex weaves again and learning about the drawloom.
 Isn't weaving grand?

James Koehler's looms for sale

James Koehler's death on March 4th, 2011 still seems a little shocking three months later.  His memorial service has happened, his studio has been emptied, and his apprentices are trying to help each other with the questions we would have asked James.  This is what happens when somebody dies.

James' student looms and most of his studio contents have been sold but there are three of his personal looms left which have to be sold.

This loom is a 56 inch (weaving width) Macomber which is selling for $1800 (there is no need for me to tell a bunch of weavers what a great deal that is!).  I believe the bench (which has a slider) is separate.  This loom is in fantastic shape and if I didn't already have a Macomber (and if I had any more space for looms which I don't unless I take to sleeping under them), I would purchase it myself.  It is an 8 harness loom with a double back beam, one of them sectional.

This is a huge Shannock that James acquired recently.  I don't know the weaving width, but it is somewhere between 80 and 100 inches. James was interested in trying vertical weaving again, but had not used it yet when he died.  I don't know a price for this loom, but I suspect it would be negotiable.

And this loom caused me much angst and indecision.  I very much wanted to purchase this 100 inch (weaving width) Cranbrook, but since it is bigger than my car and my studio is about 180 square feet, eventually I had to decline.  This was James' main loom for many years.  All the tapestries I saw him weaving were on this loom.  It has 6 harnesses though James only has 4 installed.  I believe it comes with several reeds.  There is a long sliding bench which is extra.  It has locking treadles and James wove at it standing up (notice it is up on 2 by 6's). It is in beautiful shape and has the added bonus of being used by a master weaver for at least 20 years. I don't know the final price for this loom, but trust me, it is criminally low.  This particular loom is no longer made (and hasn't been for decades).

If you are seriously interested in purchasing one of these looms (or there is also some of his hand-dyed yarn left), you can contact me at the comments section of this blog or through my website.

I am hoping that someone who loves weaving and will appreciate the master who wove on these looms will purchase one of them and continue to love them for many years to come. And if you buy the Cranbrook, can I come and visit it? (kidding, I'm just kidding on that last bit-- mostly anyway)


Does anyone know of a weaver who needs a 40 inch Gilmore 8 harness jack loom? I have an extra one lying around. No, seriously, this was my first loom and I still love it. It is made of beautiful wood, handcrafted by a guy in California. I got to pick the loom up from his workshop (I was living in Reno, NV at the time) and see the loom coming out of his cavernous woodshop. At that time (about A.D. 2000) he was largely doing the whole thing on his own. It was quite impressive--lots of sawdust and HUGE saws. Anyway, my girlfriend at the time helped me haul this loom home in her Nissan XTerra (it barely fits assembled--take note if you're thinking you want this loom and need to move it)... and it became my companion for all those years. But the loom has been neglected for the last 4 years as I have been weaving tapestry (and my family will attest to beginning to tire of moving a loom that isn't being used). I don't expect to give up tapestry at this point, and the Gilmore needs a new home.

Some of you may know of my space limitations... I need to sell this loom mostly because I don't have room for it. In a few weeks I am going to inherit my grandparents looms. I can't tell you how excited I am about this. I feel like I'm getting new members of my family and I know that the two new looms I'm getting will be well used and will serve me extremely well. I am lucky to have a grandfather who bought only the best looms, and so I will be renting the second UHaul truck in a month to haul a Harrisville Rug Loom and a 16 harness Macomber to my new straw house on the mesa (I may need to rethink buying a couch however). May my grandparents weaving spirit bless my future creations on their beautiful looms. Thank you Grandpa for this amazing gift! I love you!