Looms in Transition

July was a roller coaster that took off before I had a chance to buckle my seatbelt! As you may recall, I had just disassembled my Glimåkra Standard loom at the end of June. Happily, that loom is now set up in our Texas hill country home, with a few heddles already threaded. Next, we sold our Houston house. I had prayed that the house would sell quickly. But I was as surprised as anyone when the house sold in one day! Now, a few short weeks later, the house stands empty, ready for a new family to call it home. And, Steve and I are enjoying apartment life in this transition season.

Swedish looms are basically portable.

After all the boxes are unloaded, the loom parts are put back in the trailer to take to the house.

Loom is placed where grand piano used to be.

Loom is reassembled and positioned in the area where previous home owners placed their grand piano.

Reassembling the Glimakra Standard loom.

Little by little, the loom is put back together. Warp beam has a cottolin warp on it, wrapped in a sheet for the move.

Twelve shafts for this double-weave project.

Twelve shafts for this double-weave project.

Threading 12 shafts. View from the back beam.

View from the back beam.

Threading 12 shafts for double weave.

Twelve shafts–much like threading three four-shaft looms right next to each other.

The Ideal loom with the Lizard tapestry had to be dismantled for moving… (more on that in future posts).

Getting ready to dismantle this loom...with the tapestry on it!

Ideal loom with the Lizard tapestry, before dismantling…

Pray. Abiding prayer is that ongoing conversation we have with God as we face the roller coasters that show up at our doorstep. He invites us to bring everything—big and little. Selling the house quickly is a little thing. Saving people is a big thing. Maybe sometimes God answers the little things to remind us that He is here for the big things, too.

May you pray big things.

In Christ,
Karen

20 Comments

  • Maggie says:

    You are so right. I pray all goes well for your new place.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maggie, Thanks! We are looking forward to many good years at our new place after we move there in a few months. Our transition into an apartment is a fun adventure until then.

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    What a whirlwind of a month! Love the placement of the Glimakra. Wonderful light! It’s good to have you back!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, Whirlwind is exactly the word I’ve been using! The loom is in a perfect spot. Natural light and a view are highlights for me.

      It’s good to be back!
      Karen

  • Betsy says:

    What a lovely spot for a loom! I’m jealous of all that light. 🙂

    Hill Country, eh? If you’re close enough, I hope you’ll visit the San Antonio guild one day – after you’re settled in, of course.

    I hope the rest of the move goes smoothly.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, I agree, it is a great spot for the loom!

      I’d enjoy visiting the San Antonio guild after we’re settled in. If you’re in San Antonio, maybe we could meet up sometime! I won’t be far.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Nannette Piasini says:

    WELCOME BACK!!!
    Your post is so appropriate for this summer. Small problems and big problems. Give them all to God.
    Nannette

  • Linda says:

    Quite an adventure! Moving can be a challenge (we have moved many times) but as I recall this was a move you wanted to make. New weavers to teach & friends to make. I’m sure God will use you in many ways.

  • Annie says:

    It’s amazing what all you have accomplished in such a short time! Even warping!

    Congratulations on the sale of the house. Your Hill Country Home is beautiful.

    I am hoping the apartment is close enough for you to still come to some of the WOW meetings, Karen

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, I’m actually 10 minutes closer for the WOW meetings, so I plan to be there.

      I found out that I can accomplish what I’m pushed to accomplish! Moving was intense, but I did try to squeeze in bits of weaving activity here and there when I could.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Alice says:

    Happy all worked out so well for you.
    It reminds me of my own moving around with looms…
    I have an ARM loom, originally from Switzerland. It moved to the Netherlands and then it emigrated with us to Canada. Now 15 years later it is in the Yukon Territory (close to the Alaskan border) and I have no place for it any more and it is stored in a LogicShelter where it got some snow damage. I am trying to sell but for the people who like it it is too big as well. Now I am at the point that I give it away because I want it to have a good home and be enjoyed! But it is hard for something so specific to be in lonely corner of the world….In summer we see cars and motorhomes from down south and I wonder….
    Warmly,
    Alice

  • Janet Hageman says:

    Beautiful Glimakra is quite an improvement over a piano! Perfect. The dust will settle soon….

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janet, Well, I do have a piano, too (not a grand piano), but it was relegated to the dining room. 🙂 The loom may be my primary instrument now.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • Cynthia says:

    Hi Karen , guess I should touch basis with Steve soon. I wondered what happen because I hadn’t seen a post in awhile. BTW Steve told me I can come visit (later, of course, must later) to your Texas Hills home. There is a quit shop I want to come see, I love it. I’ve always said I would rather take a beating than move! Best wishes and hope all works out for you. Cynthia

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cynthia, We’d love to have you come visit sometime! Moving has gone well for us. We’re looking forward to what’s ahead.

      Thanks,
      Karen

  • D’Anne says:

    Wow, Karen! What a busy month you’ve had! Congratulations on selling your house so quickly. I agree that we accomplish what we are forced to accomplish. Will you keep a loom at the apartment until the final Move? I will miss you at WOW when you move, but I’ll look forward to you blog posts.

    • Karen says:

      Hi D’Anne, We surprised ourselves when we accomplished 2 years of work in 2 weeks. We didn’t know it could be done until we had a real deadline.

      I have a loom in the apartment so I won’t go stir crazy. I’m enjoying this smaller, simplified space.

      See you at WOW,
      Karen

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Halfway Milestone

Halfway is a milestone when you are threading 2,064 ends. This double weave in two blocks has threading such that I can listen to podcasts without losing my place. It’s a long stretch to the halfway point.

Threading heddles, from right to left.

Threading heddles, going from right to left.

Before threading, I find the center of the warp and the group of ends that are just past center. I drape those ends on the back beam to mark the spot.

Threading 2064 ends. Halfway point is identified.

Center of the warp is identified. The ends just left of center mark the spot.

Threading heddles in my "playhouse" in the loom.

Sitting in my playhouse to thread the heddles. No hurry.

I’m excited to reach halfway in the threading! It’s a turning point. Now, while they are readily accessible, I position all of the shaft-to-lamm cords to hang down, right at the center of the warp where they belong.

Halfway finished threading heddles! Only 1,032 to go. :)

Half of the threading work is done! Only 1,032 ends to go. 🙂

Cords aligned at the center of the warp.

Center of the warp. Good time to align the cords that go from the lower shaft bars to the upper lamms.

Threading heddles for double weave on a Glimakra Standard loom.

Threading for the double weave throw continues, a few minutes here, an hour there, until all the ends are in heddles.

Have you ever reached a turning point in life, and knew it was time to position things? We try to be good and loving. But we’re never as good as we think. And we end up loving only the people we want to love. We have been separated from God. Our misdeeds push us away from him. Easter is resurrection, but before that is the cross of Christ. God so loved us that he closed the separation between us and him with the cross. That’s the turning point he offers to us, to set things right. Our part is to believe.

May you look forward to the second half.

With you,
Karen

6 Comments

  • Joyce Lowder says:

    Beautiful threads, skill to manage them….all from God. He IS the Master Weaver! Thanks for the connection to the Easter message; loved the words, “God so loved us that He closed the separation between us and Him with the cross.” Happy Easter! 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Good morning, Joyce,
      Letting the Master Weaver have his way in our lives is the best way to celebrate Easter.

      Happy Easter to you and yours,
      Karen

  • Beth Mullins says:

    Pretty, rich colors. It’s going to be beautiful!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Beth, I’m hoping these colors will fit the bill for my daughter-in-law’s request for vibrant colors. I’m looking forward to seeing the woven effect!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Maggie says:

    Thank you,Karen, for this Holy Week reminder and have fun with the last half threading.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Maggie, So much to be thankful for in this Holy Week! I’m looking forward to the relaxing time of completing this threading.

      All the best,
      Karen

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Tools Day: Countermarch Loom Pros and Con

When my long-held dream of weaving on a floor loom became a possibility, I started my journey with questions. What are the pros and cons of the different types of looms? After considerable research, a winner emerged—the Swedish countermarch loom!

Pros and Con of Countermarch Looms
(My experience is with Glimåkra. Other countermarch looms may differ.)

Pros

  • Weave anything. Rag rugs to lace-weight fabric.
  • Hanging beater. Swinging beater has momentum that enables a firm beat. No strain to shoulders, arms, or wrists. Asset for weaving rag rugs, and superb control for cloth with an open weave. Beater placement is adjustable, making it possible to weave longer before advancing the warp.
  • Rear-hinged treadles. Pressing treadles is effortless, no matter how many shafts. No strain on back, legs, knees, or ankles, even with robust weaving. Because treadles are close to each other, I press correct treadles with sock- or bare-footed ease…without having to watch my feet. Ample foot rest makes it easy to trade feet when using many treadles.
  • Clean shed. Stepping on a treadle raises and lowers shafts at the same time, so a great shed is not only possible, but usual.
Horizontal countermarch. Info about CM looms.

Glimåkra Ideal with horizontal countermarch. The cords from the countermarch jacks at the top of the loom go straight down through the warp to the lower lamms. The lower lamms connected to treadles cause shafts to lift when a treadle is depressed.

  • Even warp tension. Because shafts are both raised and lowered, tension is equal on raised and lowered warp ends. Even warp tension is good for all types of weaving. This even tension makes a tight warp possible. Perfect for linen, and for rugs.
Vertical Countermarch Loom - info about CM

Gimåkra Standard loom with vertical countermarch. Cords from the countermarch jacks go over the side of the loom to the lower lamms below. The upper lamms (not pictured) attached to treadles cause shafts to sink when a treadle is depressed.

Threading ease of countermarch looms.

Bench sits in the loom for threading heddles. I call this my little playhouse.

  • Texsolv heddles. Heddles can be easily added or removed from shafts (shafts are also easily added or removed). Quiet. Easy to thread.
  • Perfect fit. A petite person like me can weave on a large loom (my Standard is 47”/120cm) as comfortably as someone with longer arms and legs. Able to sit in upright posture for weaving.
  • Wooden. The loom is primarily wood. Bonus if you appreciate natural beauty of wood. Held together with wooden wedges and a few bolts. No screws or wing nuts.
  • Scandinavian clarity. Because of the Swedish loom, I adopt Swedish weaving practices and have an interest in traditional Scandinavian textiles. The loom fits the style. Streamlined design, precision, systematic and logical processes, and beauty with function.

Con

  • Treadle tie-ups. Shafts are connected to upper lamms and lower lamms. Treadle cords with a bead at one end are hung in the lamms. Lamms are then attached to treadles. Treadle tie-ups normally fall under the Pros category, because this is what enables the loom to have the clean shed it’s known for. But since I just finished tying up ten shafts to ten treadles (that’s 100 treadle cords), this is my least favorite part right now. 😉 (The weaving pleasure more than makes up for it, though.)
Countermarch treadle cords. Pros and cons.

One hundred treadle cords hang from upper and lower lamms. The only thing left is to attach all the cords to treadles. 😉

Treadle cords for 10 shafts! 5-shaft satin coming up!

Treadle cords are attached. Little anchor pins lock each cord into position under the treadle. After a few adjustments, the shed on each treadle is good. The loom is dressed! Five-shaft satin dräll coming up!

Conclusion:
When I weave on my Glimåkra Standard countermarch loom, I am soaring like an eagle. I’m sailing with the spinnaker up. I am a pipe organ maestro. I am dreaming while fully awake. This is everything I imagined weaving could be, only better.

Countermarch looms - pros and con.

Testing weft options. Gorgeous handcrafted damask shuttle, Chechen wood, made by Moberg Tools. Five-shaft satin dräll–a weaver’s dream.

For more in-depth information about countermarch looms, comparisons of looms, and other fantastic resources, see articles written by Joanne Hall, found at Glimåkra USA.

May you live your dream.

Very Happy Weaving,
Karen

12 Comments

  • Annie says:

    This article is exactly what I needed to read, Karen. I have been looking online at websites at the various looms, trying to decide which one I think would be best. I narrowed it down to countermarches for the versatility and sheds but was confused about brands, sizes, etc. This really helps. However,l I have a large learning curve before I jump into buying one unless a great used one suddenly appears.
    Many blessings, Karen.

    Annie

    • Karen says:

      Hi Annie, It was your previous comment that prompted me to write this. So I thank you for that!

      Take your time with research and questions. As you narrow it down, you’ll gain confidence about making the right choice for your circumstances.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • JAN says:

    Great descriptions/instructions! Yes, sitting on the floor tying up the treadle cords for any contramarsch loom is tedious, but as you said, the results are well worth it. Sounds like you have written an ad for Glimåkra. The same, even somewhat better results can be obtained on an Öxabäck loom, a.k.a “Ulla Cyrus”?

    • Karen says:

      Hi, JAN, Yes, the tie-up can be demanding, but I can see that you enjoy what comes as a result, too.

      I’m afraid you’re right. It does sound like an ad for Glimåkra. I’m very happy with my Glimåkra looms, so I may be a little eager about my own experiences.

      Öxabäck has a wonderful reputation! I haven’t yet had the pleasure of weaving on one. I’m sure there are details about the Ulla Cyrus and other countermarch looms that I would really appreciate!

      Thank you,
      Karen

  • Joan says:

    Check out Vavstuga Weaving Studio’s way of tying up the treadles. Becky has figured out how to ditch the legged pegs for knitting needles. So much easier!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Joan, I think Becky’s ingenious method of using knitting needles for tying up treadles is fantastic! I learned it at Vavstuga Basics a few years ago. I use that method when weaving with two, four, or even six shafts.

      When weaving with eight shafts, however, I have found that I can get better sheds by tweaking the tie-up after weaving a few inches. And it’s easier to pop out and replace individual pegs than to pull out the knitting needle and redo the whole treadle. So, with eight or more shafts, I prefer the old-fashioned method of pinning each treadle cord.

      Thanks for your input!
      Karen

  • Esther Bauer says:

    I have a 4 shaft Glimåkra. I love it.

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Esther, I can spend hours on my 4-shaft Glimåkra. It’s such a weaver-friendly loom. It’s good to hear of your experience!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Kayleen Andresen says:

    I have a Glimakra 4 shaft. I have found it to be great to use. I have had to dismantle it to move and it is very easy to assemble again. My least favorite job is changing the tie up.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kayleen, Thank you for bringing up how easy it is to dismantle and re-assemble. I didn’t think of including that in my list. That is definitely a big plus!
      Changing the tie-up is one of those things of which can be said: “I didn’t necessary like doing it, but I like having done it.” It does give me a good sense of accomplishment!

      All the best,
      Karen

  • Gerda says:

    Thanks Karen, very clear and I love your conclusion. Such prose! It is exactly how I felt when I finally had my Toika countermarch up and running, after years on a counterbalance (which is still very useful, and I like it too). I have graduated to 8 shafts, 8 treadles, this week going to 10 treadles: more texsolv to cut, more crawling to do… 10 shafts comes in a year or so, lots of soaring and playing to do first. Living the journey and reading your blog faithfully!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Gerda, There’s such satisfaction in weaving on a loom that functions so beautifully for the task. That’s great that you are graduating little-by-little adding treadles and shafts. There’s no hurry, because even 2 or 4 shafts is sufficient to have a grand time at the loom.

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

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