In Ravelry’s Warped Weavers group there is a subject thread called OLAD – Obsessive Loom Acquisition Disorder.
A few years back I ran into a friend at the guild’s destash bazaar. We were chatting when we came upon a cute 16 shaft table loom going very cheaply but in need of some TLC. I was intrigued but hesitated, as I didn’t (and still don’t) need more looms and my friend was showing interest. When she bought it, I said that if she ever wanted to sell it then let me know as I might be interested.
Some weeks back we were chatting via Messenger or something, and she mentioned wanting to sell the loom as she’d received an Ashford as a gift. So I asked how much she wanted and we settled on a price.
Of course, I couldn’t actually pick it up until now. Still, that didn’t stop me googling 16 shaft drafts. I found that resources are much thinner than for 8 shafts and less. There isn’t a book of 16 shaft patterns, as far as I could see. Of course, I know enough now to design for more shafts in structures like summer and winter, lace and maybe double weave. There are plenty of 16 shaft twills on handweaving.net. And I found echo and iris drafts when I googled.
After I had picked up the loom and set it on my dining table for examination, I was intrigued to find it had four 4-shaft castles joined together. I began considering what I’d need to fix and what I wanted to change, and broke it down into four parts.
The shafts – good design, badly made. Need rebuilding.
The castle – interesting solution, but you can’t really see which lever you’re reaching for and is unnecessarily tall. Wants redesigning.
The frame – front and back are fine, sides are much too short as they were designed with room for only four shafts, and it would be nice if they could fold in for transport. Needs extending and redesigning.
The beater – obviously didn’t come with this loom. Seems to work okay, though. Wants replacing.
After much brainstorming and deliberation, I decided that I had to answer truthfully to one question: How much work is worth doing in order for me to want to use this loom?
And my answer was: too much.
By the time I did all of the above I’d only be reusing the front and back of it. I may as well build a 16-shaft loom from scratch. I already have the most difficult parts to find: two ratchets and pawls, bought at a guild sale a few years back. The rest can be bought online or at the hardware store.
So I will renovate the loom, tackling the parts I decided needed fixing, then sell it.
And then I will build a 16 shaft room from scratch.