My loom story is a long one. As a child, I loved visiting pioneer villages and seeing all the old things. To be honest, I wasn’t super interested in the gardens and animals, but I was very interested in seeing all the old crafts. Quilting, embroidery, woodworking and even blacksmithing were intriguing to me. But I was always fascinated by the looms. I loved seeing a giant apparatus that could make cloth.
Throughout the years, I remained interested, but enough to do anything about it. When my oldest daughter was young, I had a friend that was a member of a local weaving guild, and she encouraged me to come out. They even had looms that members could borrow. I was tempted, but I always said “The last thing I need is Another hobby.” I already did a lot of sewing, quilting, embroidery, knitting and crochet, and with three small children, had no time to do what I was already working on.
Eventually my children grew, and my younger two (out of four by then) had an interest in crafty things that my older two did not. I thought weaving might be something they would enjoy. I did some research and found a women near by that taught weaving classes and workshops in her home. I arranged a scarf workshop for myself and my ten year old son.
It took most of the day, but we both came out of that workshop with finished scarves.
My son enjoyed the class, but I think he enjoyed the fact that the teacher had a dog even more than the weaving. His scarf was a little shorter due to the shorter attention span, but for a ten year old, he did a great job.
I was hooked. Now I wanted a loom of my own. I started looking around to see what was available. I figured I would get a rigid heddle loom, but I wanted something wide enough to do tea towels, and even they were a bit expensive. But I started saving money towards it, and started checking on kijiji.
I put an alert on kijiji and every time a loom was listed locally, I saw the listing right away. I was hoping to see a small loom for a reasonable price. Occasionally I would see a floor loom listed, but those were way out of my price range, not to mention pretty big. The alert was on my account for two years. Watching loom listings became a small hobby on its own. I would check different regions to see if the prices were different, and Canadian weaving supply stores to see what used stock they had.
One day, an alert came up and I saw it right away. My husband happened to be in the room, so I commented to him “That can’t be the right price.” The listing was for a large floor loom, but the price was about 10% of what similar looms had been listed for. He told me to contact the seller and see what the deal was.
The loom was listed by an older woman who was downsizing, and had no room for it any more. Not only was it listed low, but she included a warping board and a bench. The total price was less than what a used bench would cost. My husband encouraged me to go for it. I don’t know if he realized how big it actually was, but he didn’t have to tell me twice. I figured if I didn’t like it, I could re-sell it and make a profit. My house had to be rearranged to find a spot for it, but I did it.
When I went to pick it up, I kept waiting for the women to realize her pricing error. I thought she would say “There’s another zero on the end of the price.” But she didn’t and I picked up what I thought would be a loom.
The reason I wasn’t totally sure was because it came unassembled. I figured either I got a really good deal or was totally ripped off, but I had a bench and a warping board that were worth more than I paid anyways.
When I unloaded my van, this is what I had.
There were a bunch of pieces and a bag of hardware. Now the real fun began. The woman who sold it to me was very friendly, but she had had the loom for about 15 years, and she got it from a friend who had it 20 years. She didn’t remember what model it was. All I had to go on was the Leclerc tag, but there was no more detailed information.
Now I had to do more research. I found the Camilla Valley Farm Weaver’s Supply website had a page with links to lots of old manuals. If it wasn’t for that, I never could have figured it out. I began going through all the old manuals, trying to find one that looked like it matched the pile of parts I had on the floor. Eventually I figured out it was a Fanny, but there were a few different model changes over the years. Thankfully they had scanned an old manual that had assembly instructions with hand-drawn diagrams.
My husband and son had to help, because some of the parts are so heavy, but between the three of us, we managed to get it together. Amazingly all the pieces were there, down to the last nut.
I still had no idea how to use it, but I knew if I could figure out how to assemble the loom from a pile of random parts, I could figure out how to weave.
And I did.