Loom Recommendations

I have just started weaving rag rugs, and am interested in expanding out to wool rugs, as well.  I currently have a 100cm Oxaback Lilla, which I dearly love, and plan on keeping.  However, I am coming to the conclusion that, while it works for the occasional rug, it is not the optimal loom for a steady diet of it.  I have the folding part braced with angled 2x4s, and additional weight added to the beater, both of which help, but the loom is really too short and too light for rugs.  Here are my problems: 1)  I am unable to get the warp 'piano string' tight, 2) the loom walks a bit with heavy beating, despite having rubber feet and 3) the very tight warp seems to limit the size of my shed.

So, I'm thinking that another loom might be in my future.  I defintiely want a countermarche loom, and am looking for something in the 47" x 52" range, although I might go larger if a good deal presented itself. I'm hoping to find a loom that will be good for all types of fabric, from rugs to fine cloth.  Is that possible?  One of the things that I love about the Lilla is it's easy treadling and generally soft and quiet feel.  It's just a pleasure to use.  Having never woven on any other countermarche loom, I don't know if that is unique to the Lilla, or typical of a countermarche.  I recently tried treadling a 48" Bexell Cranbrook loom.  It was a big sturdy workhorse of a loom, and it felt like that, nothing soft about it. It would be great for rugs, but I am not convinced that I would enjoy weaving regular cloth on it.  Perhaps I'm mistaken.  I've been thinking that a standard Glimakra, Toika, Varpa, Oxaback, etc. would be my best bet.  A worm gear is interesting, but I don't know how valuable it is on a full sized loom.  I would love to hear any thoughts and recommendations from people with more experience than I.

 

 

Comments

Posted on Mon, 09/12/2016 - 01:14

I think that part of the lack of response is that the best choices are already listed in the message.  It does not matter if it is a horizontal or a vertical countermarch.

As a further thought, I suggest that a hanging beater is the best choice for rug weaving. 

And if space is available, get a loom that is about a foot wider than the widest rug you want to weave.

I would not spend money on a sectional beam or more than 10 shafts. 

Joanne

Posted on Mon, 09/12/2016 - 02:03

Joanne,

Thank you for this.  I am curious about the Cranbrook.  I have no doubt that it would be wonderful for rug weaving, but am not so confident that it would be a great loom for fabric. I often hear the Cranbrook referred to as a 'rug loom'.  My guess is that a Glimakra, while a capable rug loom, would not do as well as a Cranbrook for rug weaving, but would be a better all around loom.  I'd love to hear people's thoughts on that.

Posted on Mon, 09/12/2016 - 03:09

I think that most weavers spend time wondering what loom would be best, and that most wish to upgrade. 

A countermarche loom sounds wonderful to me - but its unclear to me if you are mostly a rug weaver, or are trying to find a loom suitable for rugs and also for other, lighter, fabrics. 

For me, I look for interesting used looms, and with each new advertisement I see, I look at the loom and consider whether or not its better than what I have.  This has led me to realize any new loom for me would need to have more than 8 shafts, and that I do very little weaving that requires more than 30 inches in width.  For me, thinking about my needs and watching the advertisements will mean that when the right loom comes available at the right price, I will act fast.

Do you have a shop with looms you can test that is near you? 

Best of luck in your search. 

Posted on Mon, 09/12/2016 - 13:59

I currently have two Finnish looms (Varpapuu and a Berga, made by Varpapuu) and an Oxaback Ulla Cyrus drawloom. They are all good for rugs or fine weaving. I have owned a couple of Cranbrooks over the years (never the newer ones) and just did not enjoy them. But many folks love them.

 

I was worried the large Oxaback would be too large for me (I'm 5'2"), because I've read that critique. I did find I changed the way I sit on the bench, but really love the action on this loom and never tire when weaving. The woman I purchased it from wove primarily linen with very high tension.

Posted on Mon, 09/12/2016 - 14:14

Thanks for that feedback.  What was it about the Cranbrook that you didn't enjoy?  My few minutes sitting at an unwarped one led me to the conclusion that it would feel heavy and clunky for anything other than a rug ... but that was just a gut feeling.

I would LOVE to find an Ulla Cyrus, but don't think they come up for sale often.  I was fortunate to get my Lilla.

 

Posted on Mon, 09/12/2016 - 14:42

I have had a Glimakra for about 10 years and have not been disappointed. Mainly, at first I used it to make rugs, then whent on to scarves, then back to rugs. The hanging beater and the weight make this a fine loom for just about anything you may want to make. Look under projects, Kelly Range, for examples 

 

Posted on Mon, 09/12/2016 - 15:14

The Cranbrook-I didn't like the rigid shaft set up, though could easily be changed. I didn't like the chains-again, an easy fix. I thought the action quite stiff, if that makes sense. And the loom seemed shorter (as in not as long-shallower) than other CB or CM looms.

I found my Ulla Cyrus drawloom on this site! So darned happy I did!

 

 

Posted on Mon, 09/12/2016 - 17:09

I love my Cranbrook, so far I've only woven cloth on it.  No issues.

As to ShawnC's comments.  

Part of the issue may depend on what era Cranbrook you checkout.  The earliest were shorter latest are longer front to back.  This can make a difference in feel and ease of making a wide shed with a tight warp.

The shafts don't need to be rigid.  My dowels that hold them rigid popped out so frequently that I no longer even bother with putting them back in.  I got comfortable with that after noting that most Nordic looms don't have these dowels.  Makes the harness a lot less picky about heddle length.

As to the chains to hang the harnesses, again depends on era built.  And I replaced them on my older Cranbrook for a pretty low cost.

I can't comment on the 'heavy' feel, don't have enough experience with other looms.  I'll comment that my Baby Wolf feels excessively light by comparison.  I LIKE the solidity of the Cranbrook.

Didn't hurt much that I paid a ridiculously low price for my Cranbrook.

 

Jeff Anderson

Livonia, MI

Posted on Mon, 09/12/2016 - 18:04

It is a big beast, 63", 8-shaft Norwood built Cranbrook.

I have woven towels, rag placemats and rugs on the loom and it weaves them all.  My Cranbrook is completely tricked out:  it has a full width shelf, a warp stick rack on the back, full width capped raddle, magnetic braces that holds the beater back, and a cloth protector on the breast beam.  I tried switching to texsolv tieup treadle cords and ended up going back to the chains that came with the loom.  I have a perfect shed everytime using the chains with no adjustments needed.  I also removed the braces on the ends of the shafts, no need for them once the loom is put together.  It is a beautifully built loom with lovely finishes and it has woven everything that I have put on there well.  It is just about a foot and a half longer than I wanted.  It was listed as a 48" loom, but in real life it is 63" - surprise!  

Now, all that being said, a 110cm Glimakra came home this weekend.  I am planning on keeping both CM looms and will use the Cranbrook for rugs, maybe a tapestry, and I still want to weave a tablecloth and a large blanket.  That is where the wide width will come in handy.