This showed up on my doorstep today. It was not much of a surprise. I ordered it and have been tracking its progress, via the fine operation at UPS, on my computer. I have been very keen to see how my chosen shades of burgundy and bordeau (essentially a dark shade of rose and lighter--and possibly purple-ish-- rose) would look together because I was a little unsure from the picture in the yarn catalog whether they would be a successful color combination.
This is what I found inside:
When I saw the purple-y shade on the left, I panicked because I knew that it was disastrously purple and would be hideous in combination with the rose (I know this because I once had personalized stationery in exactly that ghastly combination). But then I remembered that I had already panicked over the color combination and had, at the last minute, changed the color scheme to the safe and ever-reliable combination of periwinkle and silver/grey specifically so that I wouldn't have to worry.
But what is all this for, you ask.
Well, I can't tell you that. But it has to do with this:
This is my new loom. It isn't really a new loom, it's new only to me. I haven't forgotten that my last official position on floor looms, as expressed here, was that I couldn't justify a new loom because they are really expensive and, as I may have mentioned 10 or 12 times, I don't really weave all that much. And I was able to stick very strongly to this position for at least 7 or 8 months. Then, around the time of my birthday, I realized that I probably could find a way to justify a used loom and I started scanning Craigslist periodically. Second hand looms show up now and then at pretty reasonable prices, although you have to act immediately if you're going to score one. I watched a few looms come and go without doing much about it. A few weeks ago, someone advertised a 36" four shaft loom for $300. The loom was not my first choice brand, but it was the right size, it was offered at an outstanding price, and the listing was only a few hours old. I contacted the owner, who said the loom was still available, but somewhere during our exchange of emails to set up a viewing date, she sold the loom to someone else. I was extremely disappointed, and may have harbored some uncharitable thoughts about the seller's failure to let me know she had another interested buyer. I may also have fumed and scowled in a childish manner, but I don't want to talk about that.
Eventually, I decided to get over it and just keep looking, and right about then another ad popped up. This one was advertising the exact loom that I was hoping for. The price was fair, and the fact that it was more than the price of the loom-that-wasn't was more than made up for by the fact that it was advertised along with 4 different sized reeds, which would cost at least $60 each to buy new. The loom was located not too far from us, the seller, Ed, wrote pleasant and gracious emails, and --most importantly-- he did not sell the loom to someone else while we were emailing.
So two weeks ago, El Husbando --who is ever indulgent of my hobby habits-- and I made the trek way out into the Bristol Hills to find my loom. Ed was waiting in the driveway for us, (probably because he saw us miss the house on the first pass) and he was warm and friendly and began to tell us that the loom had belonged to his mother-in-law, Janet, who had been weaving as long as he had known her, right up until her death five years ago. She had two looms, and she kept one of them in the family room, where she would weave while her husband watched the TV. She assembled and updated the loom herself and she particularly liked to weave small coverlets.
As Ed and his wife told us more about Janet and her weaving, the significance of this sale grew for me. I wasn't just picking up a new toy, I was taking on a piece of someone else's history. I know that a lot of stuff just stuff, but some things are so tied to our memories that it's painful to let them go. The loom must have been one of those things to Ed's wife, who had lost her mother and was now giving up this remnant of her mother's identity. We talked for a little bit about how much her mother had loved weaving and how I liked the feeling of picking up where someone else left off. I promised to take good care of her mother's loom, and then she gave me a hug.
I'm glad that my loom has a history and that they were willing to share a little of that history with me, and I really really hope that some of Janet's weaving mojo has come along with the loom. The project I have planned for it, the one with the panic-inducing cones of yarn, is an ambitious undertaking. It is big, it has emotional significance, and it's on a deadline; I'm going to need all the help I can get. And I refuse to be any clearer until it is done.
In the mean time, the loom looks great in my office. I'm not the only one pleased with it:
Apparently it makes a great battlefield.
Probably not what Janet intended, but it's always good to see the next generation appreciating fine tools.