Loom Issues #2

naked macomber loomI’m sorry to say that the state of my Macomber on January 1 is its most frequent state – naked. This is in contrast to my counterbalance loom, which rarely spends more than a few days without a warp on it. Even my rigid heddle gets more use than the Mac.


I never developed a love for the Mac. I know all about its reputation for quality. I can tell you all about its best features. Yet it still hasn’t entered my heart.

Part of the reason is because I so love my little counterbalance loom. What an incredibly lucky purchase that was — I knew next to nothing about looms and just happened on it.

But that Mac has issues. Maybe because it spent years in pieces in someone’s barn, maybe it simply needs more regular maintenance, or regular weaving, than the counterbalance. Maybe because it didn’t come with a lovely poem taped to it.

I noted in a recent post that I wouldn’t weave cashmere silk on the Mac anymore. I said I tend to make the tension too tight, causing problems.

Well, when I was weaving those towels, I sure wasn’t using a yarn as fine as the cashmere silk! I was using an unmercerized cotton, yarn that could take all the tension I wanted. And I had to use every bit of it that the loom would provide. If I didn’t have that tension as tight as possible, I ended up with at least an inch of threads at each selvedge that simply would not behave. They’d sink into the shed and cause problems with every change of harness. I should have taken a picture of it, but didn’t.

I would think that was my problem, that I hadn’t done a good job of tying on to the front apron, but I never have this problem on my counterbalance, even when I’m working at its full 22″ weaving width. So I don’t think it’s me, I think it’s the Mac. And I sure don’t think it’s inherent in Macs, I think it’s something specific to my Mac.

I started by buying Tom Knisely’s new DVD, the Loom Owner’s Companion. It was touted as providing problem-solving tips. I suppose it does, but not of the type I was seeking. This DVD was more basic & general than I’d hoped for. I’m donating it to my Fiber Arts Guild.

My next step is to go back to every screw & bolt on the loom & tighten it. Since it hadn’t been assembled in so long, maybe everything has loosened up. I’m hoping that will help, because I have an order for a baby blanket that I need to do on it.

If that doesn’t solve the problem, I’m going to get the loom whisperer in. I don’t know his name, and I’ve given him that title myself, but he helped out a friend of mine with her loom, and I’m hoping he can do the same for me.

Actually, I’m really hoping the tightening solves the problem. When I think back to the first few pieces I wove on the loom, I don’t think it had this problem of loose edges. I’ll keep you posted.

Your turn: any ideas what I should try to improve the Mac’s functioning, and hopefully open room in my heart for it?

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