Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Love sick

Perhaps that should read "loom sick". Because I am being driven half mad with lust for a loom.

At Rhinebeck (I have pictures, but I keep forgetting to bring in my card), I tried the Saori loom. I tried it last year too, but this year I spent much more time and the wonderful, sweet lady from Loop of the Loom spend lots more time with me, showing me some different techniques, like scooping, which results in something like this:

That is by someone named Coco Hirunagi and is part of an exhibition of a weaving class, though it wasn't done on a Saori - you can see the rest of the class's work here if you're interested. I'm showing it only to demonstrate how, in weaving, a simple technique can be used to amazing effect.
Anyway, Saori makes the lovely, fantastic SX601:

It may look like a complex loom, but it is designed to be simple to use. It is absolutely gorgeous and it has a built in bobbin winder and it folds to be marvelously compact, which she demonstrated for me. I had woven something I thought was really quite beautiful and was all geeked up about it, but somehow the man was nowhere around to see how small it folds up (with project still warped and everything). I LOVE this loom and I LOVE the Saori philosophy of weaving for everybody and I love the allowance for pure creativity. It is a bargain, actually, at $1290.
So I dreamed about Saori all that weekend and would still love to get one, but reason has set in (a bit) and I think that perhaps a rigid heddle loom, the Kromski Harp, would be a better place to start:

The 32" is a mere $219 and while much more conventional than Saori, you can still be as free form and creative with it as you'd like (well, once its warped, anyway).
I have been trying to research it online and frankly, if there is a big rigid heddle weaving community out there, they don't have a strong presence on the internet. Nothing even close to the knitting community. Part of my rationale in choosing the Harp is that it is an inexpensive place to start, it FOLDS with the project still attached, and the built in warping board could still be useful even if I outgrow a rigid heddle.
I think it would be a long time before I outgrew a rigid heddle, though, because I talked to a guy weaving on a huge Louet floor loom at Rhinebeck and it was interesting, but I am definitely not interested in making fabric that looks like it could have been machine made (yeah, I know, a loom IS a machine, but I mean I want to see the human hand in the product and I don't think you really could in his super fancy complex cloth). I want to use up yarn ends and fabric scraps, play with different fibers and colors and just make interesting things. I'd love to weave rugs, especially.
The man swears he's behind my weaving lust but he is pretty dead-set against me getting a loom. He swears we don't have enough space (we do). He's also worried I'll never knit him anything again, which is crazy because its not like you can take the loom with you on the subway and on vacation, so I will still knit every day, even with a loom. He had a color class in undergrad and the professor told them that weaving is sort of the ultimate color experience, and that color sense is "in the fingers". Maybe he is afraid of loving weaving too.
But if I get the regular check from the in-laws for Christmas, I really think I NEED to get the Kromski Harp. So please, weavers, if you somehow stumble across my blog, PLEASE tell me your advice on my loom dilemma and any experience you have with the Harp or Saori.

So, now that I have confessed, on to the knitting.
We were just in Michigan for a friend's wedding and I went to my mom's and felted the bag for my Aunt. The first go-round, it barely felted at all. The second time, we reduced the load size on the washer and threw in a pair of jeans. Then we went to the bank. Which, in retrospect, maybe was a bit risky, but I figured since it barely felted at all the first time, it was okay. When we got back, it had definitely felted! Not too small, actually. A bit too small, but that was probably my fault for not being able to felt the swatch and predict how much it would shrink, because I was happy with the amount of felting. The handles, which I did in seed stitch, didn't felt as much as I would have liked and there was quite a lot of fiber migration but all in all, I'm happy with it. Especially since it dried, because when it was wet, it smelled terrible. I have before and after pictures, just need to remember to bring the card in.
I have finished the back of my mom's sweater and am started on one of the fronts. I took a chance and showed her the yarn while we were in MI - just the yarn, not anything I'd knitted with it, just to see what she'd say about it.
And she loved it! Totally loved it! And not just in an, oh, thats pretty way - in a wow, I love that color! way. So that was a relief.
Finally, I am working on the world's ugliest sock. It is in Tofutsies which is fine to work with, but the colors in this sock totally make me want to barf. And its turning out really small. But all that is fine, because the person it is for likes barfy colors and is really small. So I'm chugging along on it and choking back my, um, reaction to the colors.

Happy halloween! Not that we're doing anything. I think there is some kind of haunted house in my neighborhood. Its probably for kids, but maybe we'll check it out.

The sad thing is - today is one year since we left for our honeymoon in Japan. I wish we were leaving again today.


Terri said...

Hi Stacey. Well, I did stumble across your blog and so I thought I'd leave a comment. I am a Saori weaver, who used to be a traditional weaver and then fell in love with Saori.

You are right, you don't need to have a Saori loom to weave in a Saori way, but I must say the looms are wonderful. When I was looking for a small, portable loom, I bought a Wolf Pup - which I really liked. About a month later I found out about Saori weaving and now have Saori looms. Just in the past couple of months I have started distributing them - so I am biased....but I do love them and had purchased one 2 years ago.

They are very portable and accessible and I take one to all kinds of events for Peace Weaving.

I'm sure that you will love weaving from what you have said, no matter which loom you buy. Good luck with your decision.

Happy Weaving,

Anonymous said...

ohhhh weaving can become a wicked addiction too. I started with a 36" Nilus and have just gotten a 60", plus a warping mill, the bench, fly shuttle and the fibers. Then some more fibers.....

While Saori allows creativity, it is still only as creative as your mind and hands make it. The same is true with any needles or loom. I rarely uses the looms to make standard weaves. It is simply a tool for your imagination to share with others.

I would suggest that you don't let your loom own you. Find a used loom through a guild or Craigslist. Buy below your means. Know that you can always sell it. You can always buy another. Try to find a mentor in the community to help you understand how to work your loom. Hopefully these suggestions will allow your creativity to soar free and wide.

Weaving is an amazing art, meditation and master. I hope you enjoy it as much as I.