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Chance meeting and the challenge

Events like these only happen once in a while. It’s that time when you starting talking to someone who you have never met and something happens. The conversation flows, you nod in agreement, you begin to see the world a little differently and you decide that you cannot leave this conversation without that person’s phone number.

About a year ago, I stood in a long line to enter an estate sale of a former weaver. By the end of the conversation with my fellow line-stander, we found that we had much in common and I had an offer of an old, disassembled but free 8-shaft Gilmore floor loom. My companion couldn’t be certain that all of the loom’s pieces were intact. Up to this point, I had been working mostly on my rigid heddle loom and the thought of working on a more complex loom was, to say the least, terrifying. But who can pass up a free loom??

I picked up the loom pieces from my new friend’s attic, wedged them into my Subaru, then lugged them to my basement. There the pieces sat for a couple of months, looking at me, waiting to be cleaned up and assembled. Rust, dust, mildew, bumper pads that had turned to black goo…it did not seem promising. I slowly started cleaning the wood revealing beautiful maple and removing the rust. I visited the Gilmore website many a time, and discovered that the loom was made in July 1968. Then I had to figure out how it all went together. Once I started the assembly, I discovered that important pieces were missing, like the whole back of the loom. Back in my Subaru to my new friend’s house – success! Several phone calls to a most knowledgeable and gracious man at the Gilmore loom company gave me the confidence (and a few critical replacement parts) to actually make this happen.

I now have a beautiful, working 8-shaft loom. After a couple of practice pieces, my first project is a new seat cover for a bench in our family room. I’m not terrified any more, just eager to learn more on how to make this loom sing and am grateful to my new friend.

Before and After!

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