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Here Be Dragons

Dragon tablet/inkle weaving loom

It didn’t occur to me until after I typed the title, but it refers to not only the dragon loom in the picture, but also to me. Our high school mascot was a dragon, so of course every student that has ever graduated from there is called, naturally, a dragon. Kind of amusing, but there you go.

The beauty in the picture came from Toplyfiberarts on Etsy. It arrived today, and I’m very happy with it. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the fact that it didn’t have a base; none of them do. So when it is freestanding, it leans on its pegs. That was what I didn’t like. So, immediately, the PIP and I headed out to a specialty lumber yard. The loom is made of African mahogany, and treated with linseed oil, and we wanted the new base to match the loom, thus the specialty yard. We found a nice piece of African mahogany there, although less figured than the loom itself, had it cut to the size we decided on, and then bought a quart of linseed oil before heading back home.

The PIP, as you’ve seen in the earlier post about my new shelves, is a fair hand with woodwork, so when we got home, he proceeded to sand all the edges until they were nicely rounded, then he put me to work applying the linseed oil. Initially, the wood we bought was a different color, but the addition of the linseed oil deepened the color until it matched the loom. Okay, I am certain it’s a dead match. The PIP, who is a perfectionist, to put it in polite terms, says it’s “very close”. What that means, in the language of the rest of the world, is perfect match. He is one of those people who will look at a shelf and say, “It’s not level. It’s off by .0004 millimeters.”  I am the person whose fingers, at that point, are itching to slap him silly. My usual response to such statements is to tell him that he is the only person in the known world who would even notice that. I can’t fault the results of his quest for perfection, but I can tell you that the journey is maddening to everyone around him.

The loom came with a warp already on it, and it’s something new for me. The warp itself is #10 crochet cotton, but the weft surprised me: I swear it is sewing thread. It never occurred to me to use sewing thread for weaving, but it works. As with anything where you want fine detail, smaller is better, and sewing thread definitely falls into that category. So the weaving looks fabulous, but I’m working it very slowly because I’m afraid to break the weft thread!!

Also new to me are the leather tablets that arrived already threaded onto the warp. Leather is about the only material I’d never used as a tablet before. I know they’re historically accurate, so it’s interesting to use them. Depending on how things go with the weaving, I may make some of my own. I’ll certainly be adding more thread to my stash to use in weaving!


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