OKAY! It’s Monday and time to start Weaving! We’ve gathered up our square and Triangle looms and found the perfect yarn and we’re ready to weave! The Pattern is posted below, You’ll also be able to find it on my project page at Ravelry and on the facebook Pin loom group.
Be sure to enter for the weakly prize by posting a comment about the WAL here on my blog. name will be [picked at random at the end of the week. This weeks prize is a set of Packing forks the regular and the small sizes, one will be one of Randy’s arty ones! Very handy tools to have in your kit!
Red Bird Pattern.
It’s a Party! There’ll be weaving and pictures and projects and prizes and chatter and fun!!
First an anniversary story.
A little History…
I’ve been reading about companies moving their manufactories back to the US and it got me to thinking. Randy & I have been making small looms for nearly 20 years now and all those years have been right here in the US. Right here in Trinity County, California, in fact. We started out in Grandmother’s garage. We now have our own shop but it’s less than 100 yards from that old garage so we haven’t moved far. In the beginning I told Randy that I would not publish our web page until he had at least a dozen looms made that first time and last year we made over 1700 but it’s still just him and me.
Some people may think they see too much of me ‘on-line’ but it’s what I love. I belong to many groups, to a bunch of Ravelry groups, as well as facebook, even twitter, tho my internet and ‘dumb’ phone won’t let post there. Most of these are about yarn in some way. I knit, crochet, weave, felt, spin… you name it. It’s what I like to do, just as you do or you would not be reading this here. And I like making the looms. I think we do a good job with them and I think the fact that we’re still doing it after 20 years proves that a lot of other people think we do a good job, too. I use the same looms we send to our customers. Well, almost. I usually end up using the ones he doesn’t think he got quite right. You know, what some other company would call ‘seconds”. It has an extra hole drilled in the wrong spot or the grain of the wood caused it to develop little hair line cracks when I put the nails in, that sort of thing. But they are still good looms and sturdy!
Yeah, if you ever manage to wear out your loom or find a flaw in it, send me an email. We’ll make arrangements to repair or replace, depending on what’s wrong. For instance, if you drop your loom in the driveway and then back over it, we may not be willing to replace it free but we’ll try to fix it if you think it might be done. I’m still using the very first looms he made for me and they are going strong. And I don’t really treat my loom tenderly; they kick around all over and get tossed in the car to go to shows or just on trips with us. They aren’t hung neatly on the wall like my sister’s but are piled in a box in the closet. Sturdy!
And if you need something special made, Randy’s your man. Several of the looms we make started with a weaver saying, “Can you make a….”. Randy says, “I can make anything.” And so far he’s made good on that bit of boasting, I have to admit. He made a tiny purpleheart trapezoid for a weaver and recently made a long thin loom that will be used to weave purse straps. Our Diamond looms started with a customer request. And the Multi’s were a result of another company dropping their version of the old Weave-it looms. Weavers kept asking so we finally gave in. Now we make 6 sizes of Multi squares, three rectangles, and two triangles in that style.
We ship the looms, not all over the world, but I can count at least 10 countries I have shipped to. If you are in England, Canada, or Scotland there are shops carrying them. There are weaving teachers giving workshops using them, too. We are quite proud of our little looms and are just tickled pink by the number of people who also like them. If I sound like I am bragging, well, I guess I am. We’re not in the same category as Schacht or Ashford or LeClerc or any of those Big Guys but I think we have a quality product in our nitch. We want to make weaving tools as beautiful as the projects weavers make on them.
And we are lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful parts of California and get to work from our home. How could it be better? I try to post on the blog regularly and there are pictures of our part of the world. Take a look and then go look at our looms and see if I exaggerate.
I learned about this kind weaving from my sister who built herself a 6′ triangle for weaving shawls. I was visiting her and she showed me how to do it and I went home and ordered Carol Leigh’s 7′ adjustable loom. I wove a few shawls, Okay, done that. And the loom set up in my small house took up just too much room so one day I got inspired and got some finish nails and some scrap plywood from Randy’s construction stuff and made myself and 7″ tri. I was able to weave these small triangles while sitting in my chair in the evenings.
The first rough loom. It worked, even if it wasn’t pretty!
The square came next, thus the first Quilt Weaver set. It was very rough and ugly but worked fine. Sometime later, things were looking down for us, his big job for the summer was canceled when the people found they could not afford to build after all, and the K-8 school where I was aide and art teacher was losing students and had to cut back my hours, so we were feeling sorry for ourselves. I jokingly said, “Well, we can always make looms.” He asked to see what I was talking about and – it just grew from there. We haven’t looked back. When we first started he made one loom at a time. Today he cut out and assembled 30 looms. My Dad used to say that when you make something for money, it’s not fun anymore. Well, I don’t know if loom building is exactly fun, but it is very satisfying. And it’s also satisfying to know that we are helping other people learn the art and enjoyment of weaving.
I think that sometimes we should remember that the people we buy from on-line, especially in this yarn line, are not corporations for the most part, but people, almost neighbors, no matter how close or far they live from us. There’s a weaver sitting at a floor loom in the back bedroom weaving dishtowels to sell, with the timer beside her so she doesn’t forget the roast that’s in the oven for dinner. A spinner on the porch spinning yarns for sale while she watches her kids playing in the yard. A couple of knitters working on lace scarves to put up on etsy, I know a weaver who is weaving I-pad cases on our looms to sell at the spring craft sale in her area. It’s the same with the gal who spins or the family raising sheep or alpaca. This is all true. It’s that huge village and we all contribute to it whether we sell or buy or just share what we make via donations to charity or pictures posted to group, blogs or even facebook.
But now I’d better get back to work, neighbors are waiting for their looms!