94) Looms and… lust?

So I've had my eye on the Leclerc Artisat loom for a couple of weeks now.  It folds, yet has a decent weaving width (36").  I'm interested in weaving yardage, so that's really the narrowest I can contemplate.  It's available in four and eight shaft versions, with a conversion kit available for those who suffer late-onset harness envy.  (Sorry, but I can't say 'shaft envy' with a straight face.  I just can't).

It will fit neatly where the silver shelves in my studio were, until a few days ago.   And there's a second hand, four-shaft one available for a really good price – about a third of the new price.  But the conversion kit, plus the second hand loom, costs the same as the 8-shaft version costs, brand new.  The conversion kit costs over £1000.

This throws a spanner in the works, somewhat.  Leaving my 'green' credentials aside for a moment, it makes so much more sense to buy a new loom-one that doesn't need a kit retrofitted to it, that has a warranty, that I know I can get retailer support for-than it does to buy a second-hand piece of kit that will probably need alterations, that is fundamentally an unknown quantity, and which, if I decide to convert it, will cost me about as much as the new loom would.

If I decide to convert it.  Four shafts certainly provides enough to play with for years and years and years – heck, even plain weave can keep a person busy for a whole career – and I've always said that my main interest in weaving comes from a desire to weave yardage for historical re-enactment purposes.  Unless you buy a drawloom, four shafts is plenty good enough for that.  Mind you, I haven't done any re-enactment since March, and though I'm still very interested in it, it's a cerebral kind of interest.  And it's not my *only* interest.

My gut feeling is that, if I don't have the extra shafts, then I will probably regret it.  Even if I don't use them 90% of the time, they will be worth it for the other 10%.

But I can't justify spending one and a half grand on a loom right now.  Not when I have so many other things I could be doing – and that I would like to be doing.  So my choices are simple:

  1. Go with the cheap second-hand loom now, and trade it in when the time comes.
  2. Go with the cheap second hand loom now, and upgrade it when the time comes.
  3. Wait till my birthday (March), at least, and save up for the 8-shaft loom.

Every fibre (ha!) of my being cries out against being so sensible…  but I think option 3 is winning.  It'll give me some time to get really stuck into that project backlog, and decide whether I want to keep (for example) that knitting machine.  I can play with my two (ahem) three existing looms and think some more about what I really want to weave, and what I really want to own.

And who knows?  A cheap 8-shaft second hand loom might come up in that time, too.


  • I tend to agree. Get the better loom in a bit, rather than the less perfect one available right now. Take a deep breath…

    17th November 2009
  • Geodyne

    I’m going to weigh in with my two bits, even though you know what I’m likely to say!
    You will eventually regret it if you go for the lesser loom, and as you’ve discovered, it could end up costing you money in the long run. Just think: at the very least, with 8 shafts you could weave a four-shaft structure twice the width, which would really come in handy for a medieval skirt…
    But then, who am I to talk? I finally gave in and ordered an electric cone winder yesterday (oops, my hand slipped!)

    18th November 2009
  • Agreed. Think of it as expanding your creative potential. 🙂
    You’re doing a great job with the alphabet, BTW.

    18th November 2009
  • OK I’m going to play devil’s advocate here from my own experience. About 4 years ago I splurged to get the Ashord 4 + 4 loom, new mind you, so I would have “more weaving potential”. In that 4 years I have not woven one thing that required all 8 shafts. The project I’ve been using it for does not require all 8 shafts and would be more authentic if I had gone with a 4 shaft draft. I have used my 4 shaft looms more than the 8, because warping that 8 shaft loom seems so daunting! I think having the wider width is probably the higher priority than the number of shafts. If you really want to “get medieval” then you can always get the 4 shaft loom and kit it out with a draw loom expansion on the back later! 🙂
    There you have it I’ve risked talking you into a decision that you might later regret, but at least if you do you can blame me forever! 🙂

    18th November 2009

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