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.