unexpected project

posted in: Blog | 6

I’ve been meaning to say how much fun I had at the first taster day on Wednesday, introducing Julie and Eilidh to the possibilities of weaving on a four-shaft loom, but I have been crazily running about to meetings and have hardly sat down since then. Oh, wait a minute, they are the ones who are supposed to have fun… Well, they certainly seemed to enjoy it, and produced some beautiful samplers, so I guess it is permitted for me to enjoy the day too. Here’s a glimpse of their works-in-progress:

Julie sampler

Eilidh sampler

Isn’t that exciting? I was very glad to have started with a class of two, so that I had a chance to try out my brand new plan for the day with a bit of leeway. The thing I always find the hardest — this applies when I am planning any kind of group activity — is to come up with a reasonable estimate of how long things will take. I was tremendously pleased on Wednesday that we not only got everything done, but we weren’t at all rushed in doing it. The next class is fully booked — four people is the most I can accommodate — and I’ll be more confident about adapting the plan to circumstances now that it has been tested. I was very lucky in my students, and big thanks are due to them both for their whole-hearted participation and very useful feedback!

(Aside: From 2008/9 to 2011/12 I taught the same first year undergraduate module. That’s four years in a row, and in years two and three I really appreciated building on the experience of the previous years — that crucial business of knowing how long things would take, which elements they were likely to find the hardest, where they were likely to run ahead and need more material and so on. But in year four I was really climbing the walls with it! I am mightily glad not to be teaching the same thing this year. In almost everything I do, I find that three years of the same is enough for me and then I need a change. A new topic, a new task, a new direction. Even though the unknownness of the new thing will very likely make me nervous, my patience with the old thing simply runs…. Oh, it’s gone.)

And speaking of the old and the new… yesterday was our Guild AGM and I ended up coming home with an unexpected project in tow.

This is it:

guild loom 1

It’s a Dryad Leicester table loom which belongs to the Guild and is in sore need of some TLC. Not to mention some new heddles. I am sure the rust could be removed… but I am not sure there would be anything left underneath it.

guild loom 2

guild loom 3

The wood seems mainly to be OK. The one dodgy-looking bit is the breast beam, which (as you can probably tell) is a bit warped. It is a real shame that it has been so neglected when it would be an ideal loom for a new weaver to borrow. The Guild doesn’t have much space for storing equipment, so the best outcome would be to get it out there and into use as soon as possible!

unexpected project” was posted by Cally on 3 Feb 2013 at http://callybooker.co.uk

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6 Responses

  1. neki rivera
    | Reply

    as i previously said, new weavers are always good news.
    your loom reminds me that i have a loom restoration project to tackle

  2. Sandra Rude
    | Reply

    You might want to find a woodworker who can replace that beam, and give advice about cleaning and refinishing the wood parts. As for the heddles, I’d scrap them and put new ones on the loom. The heddle bars can be de-rusted and polished, but the heddles are probably not worth the trouble.

    • Cally
      | Reply

      Yes, I think the heddles are history – and probably the reed as well – but I hope the shafts will make a good recovery. Good idea to get a woodworker’s advice. I wonder what makes you think of that?!

  3. Meg
    | Reply

    Yup, because you hardly have other things you must finish! 😀

  4. Kais
    | Reply

    I know this is super late to be commenting on this post (!) but this is the only place online I could see another Dryad Leicester loom! I was given one yesterday by someone at my Mums place of work. It looks to be in great condition, and I’m looking forward to using it. Do you have any idea roughly how old it is? Cheers!

    • Cally
      | Reply

      Hi Kais

      I’m afraid I don’t know much about the looms, although I have come across them several times and there seem to be a fair number of them about. Dryad Handicrafts were based in Leicester, hence the name of the loom. The business was set up after the First World War, but they did lots of craft-related products and I don’t know when they produced these looms. They also produced a number of instruction booklets and you can find some of those online, e.g. at handweaving.net. I’m sure there are plenty of people who *do* know – might be worth asking at your local Guild.

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