Big Beastie

The gallery pictures in Kirsten Glasbrook’s book “Tapestry Weaving” (available from Amazon and all good bookshops) and the picture of her large tapestry loom inspired me to dream up designs of my own for large tapestries, for which I would need a large loom. Without intending to buy one immediately (this was August 2012 and I had only just started weaving) I began a little research into such looms and how much they would cost. In the process I came across a website called The Loom Exchange which deals in second-hand looms and other equipment as well as books, so out of interest I took a look.

I found an advert for a large Glimakra Regina loom for sale not very far from where I live and arranged to go to see it. To cut a long story short, it was immaculate. I paid a deposit and we went home to arrange transportation. My husband offered to pay the rest for my birthday at the end of the month. We went back a few days later with eldest son and van to fetch it home.

Glimakra Regina TapestryLoomThe loom was warped up with some six inches or so of weaving on it and I decided that it would be good if we could transport it with the warp in tact so that I had something to practice on, the warp would not be wasted and, most of all I could study it properly before needing to warp it up myself. I must add here that the instruction leaflet with the loom was all in German, a language I do not speak! I tried to find a translation to download from the internet but failed miserably. (Later a friend did a rough translation for me).

We took loads of photos as hubby and son dismantled the loom to make sure we could put it back together properly, brought it home and immediately, while it was fresh in their minds, they reassembled it in a spare bedroom – it filled the room! It measures 73 ins wide by 42 ins deep by 76 ins high. We then realized what a large room it had been in when we saw it, size can be deceptive! As you can see I couldn’t get it all in the photgraph and it soon earned the nickname Big Beastie.

It is a two shaft loom, which means the alternate warps can be moved backwards and forwards for ease of weaving, but I had great difficulty in getting these set up properly and also getting the warp tension correct after reassembling the loom. I spent many hours fiddling with it and doing little bits of weaving practice. It was to be some time before I actually wove anything on it.

The gentleman who sold me the loom was disposing of his late wife’s weaving equipment and he kindly gave me a copy of Nancy Harvey’s book, also called “Tapestry Weaving” and subtitled “A Comprehensive Study Guide”.  Nancy Harvey is an American  tapestry weaver and this book is an ideal one to move onto after working through Kirsten Glasbrook’s book.  The book is available from Amazon but seems to be priced rather highly (at least for the UK market) so maybe I was very lucky to be given it.

In this book Nancy talks you through two sampler projects as well as detailing many other techniques and providing ‘cartoons’ for further projects. I worked both samplers, although I had to slightly redesign the first one to fit my small weaving frame. Here is a picture of the one I didn’t alter. This was woven on a sett of 6 epi (those of you who have read my previous posts will know this means ‘ends per inch’) and again in a variety of knitting yarns from stock. Here it is framed and ready to hang on the wall.

Purple Sampler

Leap Forward

Leap forward several years. Years spent involved with the day-to-day running of our small holding, where we have, at various times, grown vegetables to Soil Association standards, kept chickens and goats (producing milk and yoghurt for a local Health Food Shop), raised pigs and kept sheep as well as ponies and horses and, of course, dogs and cats.  This is the time that I did most of my cross stitch and needlepoint work, but all thoughts of weaving faded into the background!

Then the children grew up and we decided to downsize. We sold the large Georgian farmhouse and some of the land to move a mile down the road to the small town where we now live. After a few years in the new house, spent refurbishing and extending my husband was one day rummaging in the loft when he found a bag of wool and asked “What’s this?”

I took a look, “Oh,” I said, “that’s the wool for that weaving I was going to do. You were going to make me the loom to make it on.”

“What loom?” he said, “I don’t remember that!” So I had to hunt for the book and show it to him. This time he actually set to and began to make it for me.

While I was waiting I once more got out the Spears children’s loom and decided to weave a scarf from the project booklet that came with the loom. I used some 4 ply yarn that I unravelled from a jumper I had been knitting for my eldest son when he was quite small but never finished. The photos are of the work in progress and the finished scarf.

Scarf on Loom          Finished Scarf