Category Archives: Tabletop Loom

Two Harness Patterns

Last week, I was thinking that maybe, just maybe I'd get bored with a two-harness loom. I mean, using a rigid heddle + another heddle makes a three or four harness loom, which means patterns like twill are possible.

But with the Kessenich two-harness table loom, I'm kinda stuck with two harness. I had thought that meant plain weave, aka tabby.

So, I challenged myself to find some patterns and so I wandered over to Handweaving.net, clicked on the Draft Archives, clicked on search, and then asked for all the drafts with a minimum of two harnesses and a maximum of two harnesses. Guess how many results I had? 772.

Even if many of these are simply repeats of log cabin or stripes, I bet you anything I can find enough to keep myself busy with only two harnesses!

It Weaves! My First Kessenich Project

 

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I took an old warp I had cut off the Glimakra Emilia after abandoning a project awhile back, and I put it on my new-to-me Kessenich two harness table loom. I don't actually know how to warp a table loom, but I made a guess (and checked in a book). It wasn't picture perfect but somehow it worked. The back beam was messy and tangled, I started too far over to the right, and yet it all wove up very nicely.

I returned to my stash of vintage embroidery floss for the weft, using 20 tiny skeins of blues. It created a striped effect. Personally, I don't know if I would have gone out of my way for a multicolored warp and striped weft, but it all came together, and now I have a 10" x 35" piece of woven fabric. It may end up being something someday (a pillow… a bag…), but for now I'll call it a sample and leave it at that. 

It took four hours to warp and weave this. The loom isn't very big, and yet it's tall enough on a table to have to stand and weave, something I used to like to do with the Emilia until I put it on a stand. I loved using the loom. It could be 40 or 50 years old, but it works wonderfully. I can't wait for the next project. 

Table Loom O-Rama

I've scanned thrift and antique stores for over a year searching for looms. I've found Weave-Its, a Wonder Weave (4" loom), and different types of knitting looms. I've spotted a few floor looms, mostly huge and needing a tremendous amount of work. What I haven't seen has been a tabletop loom. Until yesterday.

 I found not one but two tabletop looms within a half an hour! And maybe I didn't get the most tremendous deals, but I was kind of like a kid in a candy store who has a credit card and a very strong desire to buy a lot of candy! Okay, bad comparison aside, I bought them both. And in my tremendous daze of Loom Craziness, I walked out of one of the stores without the reed. I called the antique shop owner when I got home (the store was hours away from where I live), and she said she'd mail it to me ASAP.

 

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So, what kind of looms did I end up with? I can identify one of them so far: A 12" two harness Peacock Loom, by Handcrafters from Waupun, Wisconsin. These are no longer made, but they're very cute. Mine had a tag on it that said it was from a junior high school in Illinois, and it shows a lot of use. Nothing is broken or missing, but gee… I'll be teaching myself how to make string heddles within the next few days because every one of them has disintegrated. However, the reed is free of rust and everything else looks very nice. This was the first loom I spotted, and at that time the $75 seemed excessive but I rationalized it with a "But I never see these types of looms for sale and I'll probably not ever see one again." Bought it!

 

 

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And about 20 minutes later, I walked into a second antique store to find this, another two harness tabletop loom. This is much bigger, with a weaving width of 14". It's oak, extremely well made and sturdy, and I'm starting to think it's a Kessenich loom because it resembles the pictures of four harness looms I've spotted. Compared to the little Peacock loom, this one really looks like it's ready to be used. The heddles are metal and free of rust. I remember the reed also being usable, but we'll see when it arrives.  (Can you imagine the adrenaline rush I had when I got home and took it out of the car, only to search frantically for the reed? Ah well… I'll never leave a store again without double-checking the bits and pieces of a loom I've just purchased.) It also came with a second reed, I believe an 8 dent.

Speaking of purchase price, this one was listed at $125. Again, was it a deal? I hope so. It needs a little bit of cleaning, two tiny dowel replacements where the reed rests, and it's ready to warp. It does have an extra two dowels looped through a cord and fastened on either side near the top. I don't know what the purpose of this is.

Speaking of warping, I don't know how these looms will differ from my rigid heddle loom, how to use the string/metal heddles versus the rigid heddle, how much warp they can hold, etc. I have lots of questions, but the biggest question I have (and my husband, too) is where in the world will I put them?