Well, I've gone and done it. A saori loom has entered the house!
As I mentioned, I fell out of love with weaving. Mainly because all the looms I have had bar one have been a pain, in one way or another. Now you may say a bad workman blames his tools, but I think one size does not fit all. I got fed of making warps; I got fed up of expensive looms not performing and as a result I no longer enjoyed what I was doing. I sold my octado and eventually kept just Ken (see previous post) and one rigid heddle. Now - I do love floor looms, if I am going to weave at all. The rigid heddle loom is great, but has limitations and Ken - well he has needs that was part of the boring bit of weaving. So, a search later and enter the world of Saori. Firstly, let me introduce you to Jennifer:
Basically she is a 2 shaft floor loom. Her maximum weaving width is 60cm and get this - you can buy ready made warps up to 30m long!!
Now I do intend to make my own some time as well, but to be able to getvones already made is perfect. They are available in black, white, cotton, wool and colour combinations. The one you see on the loom, is the original 6m warp, which not only came with the loom, but was already threaded through the shafts and reed! My idea of heaven. I have purchased 2 other ready made warps, one black wool (this one is cotton, but I am a wool girl) and raspberry something or other - basically 6m of raspberry coloured different warps. Lish!
I've had it a week, and nearly finished the first 6 m warp - mostly because it is 38 degree heat outside, and quite frankly there is very little you can do!
With this warp I have been playing. The philosophy with Saori is that there is no such thing as a mistake, only a design creative. Mmmm - I'm liking this, although it is hard to think like this when all your weaving life has been aimed at creating perfection. But Misao Jo, the Japanese lady who created this form of weaving over 40 years ago, wanted weaving to be an art form made using creativity that a machine would be unable to do. You are not taught saori weaving, only the basics of how to do it, then use your own creativity to make cloth.
It is so simple, with a wonderful big shed and lots of lovely little details that show how well thought out the loom is. I am in love! You can get a 4 shaft version, and I may invest in updating Jennifer at some time, but for now, she is perfect just the way she is, and I am happy making cloth again!! And , I have a couple of books on creating clothes with simple designs. This could be where the wheels come off, because I may look awful in them, but for now this is a great deal of fun.
So, weaving is back on the agenda and I'm loving it. I will keep you posted on cloth made, garments made and more adventures in weaving. This doesn't mean spinning has stopped. Far from it. I am beavering away during the evenings making white yarn for dyeing, because next on the creative path is an indigo dye vat. All ingredients are in the house I just need to get on with it. The loom has kind of taken all my spare time after working in the permaculture garden and renovating the house. But I can't wait to do indigo, and as the natural dye garden is starting to develop, I really do need to get back to some dyeing as well. Now where did I put those extra hours in the day I ordered............
Now I know this is The Spinning Shed, and I know that we are nuts for all things fluff, but I used to be a weaving nut, and also adored all things yarn. I lost the weaving bug a couple of years ago. I had a George Wood 16 shaft dobby loom, that lifted shafts I didn't ask it too, and created faults in my work that drove me mad. I had a Louet Jane 8 shaft table loom that was slower than I would have liked using my hands instead of feet, so then invested (and I use that word correctly) in an 8 shaft Louet dobby, brand new. It was smaller but just as big a weaving width and had a raddle included in the top shelf. Ahhhhh, I could breathe out as I had found, finally, THE loom. Except it wasn't the loom. It had strings holding it together, performing major tasks, that required really huge amounts of effort to get them working correctly. I also didn't like the friction brake on the back beam - my god that thing could slip!! Now I know at this point that I will have already upset some people. Louet are great looms, but they weren't for me. I then had a 10 shaft Glimakra that was so big, it never got made up properly. Blimey! There are two looms that I have loved. I borrowed my weaving teachers George Wood 4 shaft, which was an amazing loom, but huge and she also gave me "Ken". This is the other floor loom that I still own and has now been put up in the spare room upstairs. He isn't fully sorted and functioning yet, but I know this will not take me long when I am ready to sort him out. Ken is a simple 4 shaft floor loom, fairly small footprint, counter balance. He works hard, can do everything I currently want and more and I hope will be used in the not too distant future. I have unpacked the enormous number of boxes of yarn into shelving, and feel really bad that it has been packaged for the last 3 years!!
Here he is in the flesh. This is not in his current situ, as he is not put together, and I think the bottom is wrong here (I will have to see when he is up and running, but it looks wrong), but he is, nevertheless, something to fall in love with. My twill thrills weaving book is back in business!!!
Love and light.