My big accomplishment at Convergence was securing a new loom. The amazing Hans and Sara von Tresckow of Woolgatherers are handling the procurement and design for me. It is a process, and one that is causing me more than a little anxiety. First of all, the loom is big. It’s an Ulla Cyrus Oxaback with a 63″ weaving width. It’s normal depth would be about 75″, but Hans is designing a third beam for me that will add a little less than two feet on to the depth. In addition, I’m going for 20 shafts, because if I’m going to do this, I don’t want to have regrets that I didn’t take all of the possible options.
I always name my looms. I grow attached and fond of them. My current loom is Big Bertha. The new loom is Grendel named after the giant swamp monster in Beowulf. I have a soft spot for giant monsters, and I felt it might be a little unkind to Big Bertha to bring in a shiny new young female.
As her name suggests, Bertha is also on the large size and I don’t want to get rid of her. This means that I need to find a larger weaving space in our house. I’m taking this as a sign that it’s time to finally carve out a proper weaving studio instead of just inhabiting a spare room. So, we’re going to knock down a wall between two rooms on the second floor; re-carpet; repaint; install better lighting; and install shelves in the closets. Oh my gosh, it’s a lot of upset for the advent of a new loom. I can already tell that Grendel is going to have a big personality and probably take some work to tame. Hopefully, he will be a good influence on my work. However, I have some worries. What if he is too much loom for me. What if after turning the house upside down to accommodate Grendel, I find that weaving on him is too difficult. What if? What if?
I’m anxious. But as much as I hate to admit it, my work has outgrown Bertha. The amount of tension that I need does not work well with a friction brake, and I need the stress to be distributed across the beams with ratchets on both sides. I also need more than 8 shafts to spread out the heddle density of high epi’s. It’s time. I’m pushing ahead with ordering the loom; contacting a contractor; and working through a sample (still measuring out warp), so that I will have a piece to weave on Grendel in our new lair.