Stepping Back in the Supply Chain

As if I didn’t already have enough ideas, projects and unfinished objects, I’m taking a step back in the supply chain.

Those of you who visit regularly may have noticed that I have added links to a couple of weaving-related sites. I was given a book about weaving last month.

What use is a book about weaving when you don’t have a loom?

So, I bought a loom. It’s a basic two shaft table loom, one that won’t take me far if weaving becomes a serious long term interest, but it’s an excellent place to start. What’s more, I’ve purchased a fantastic piece of Melbourne’s industrial heritage.


My Dyer and Phillips table loom was made in Flinders Lane, Melbourne at the street address of what is now the Swiss Club. For those of you who haven’t been to Melbourne, that’s in the absolute heart of the central business district, as Melbourne is today. If I ever have a spare moment I plan to go to the State Library of Victoria and research the history of Dyer and Phillips. I’m sure theirs will be an interesting story, one that mirrors the history of Melbourne itself.

The loom came to me after spending many years in someone’s attic. It hadn’t been covered while in the attic and it was very dusty but mostly intact. I vacuumed it (very carefully) and then used a toothbrush to attack the dust that had gathered pretty much everywhere. A couple of the heddles (the eyes that guide the warp threads though the loom under the shafts) were broken and I have retied them using some strong cotton. For the time being I left the broken strings where they were as I am reluctant to cut or remove any of the original parts.

As I really don’t know how or where to start, I’ve joined the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria and will be taking weaving lessons with them. First impressions are that the retiree set are heavily represented in the membership, but then again, what working person has time to answer the phones during the week. Not this one, that’s for sure.

When speaking to one of the members on the phone, I made a slip and said ‘Spinners and hand weavers’ rather than ‘Hand weavers and spinners.’ The lady I was speaking to said, ‘You mustn’t do that. They get their knickers in a knot when you do that.’ I wonder if that’s a sign of things to come.

There begins next my adventure in fibre and textiles.

How long will it be before I install a goat, sheep or angora rabbit in the back yard?


20 responses to “Stepping Back in the Supply Chain

  1. What fun! Happy weaving

    • Thank you for your good wishes and thanks for coming along on the journey. I’ll be posting an update soon showing my custom made brass reed hook. It’s supposed to help with sleying. There as many specialist terms in weaving as there are in sailing. Sigh.

  2. Weavers tend to fall into two overlapping camps – those who follow the rules right down to the gnat, others that use the rules as a baseline and take it wherever it goes. Something to do withe discipline and the ability to stick with doing very detail work. As a comparison to quilters, it might be machine versus hand quilting, patterns versus freeform. You get the picture! Welcome to our world, and remember it’s all about having fun!

  3. What a interesting journey you are on! I wish the best of luck and lots of fun with the weaving! (and all the animals in the backyard ;-) )

  4. Hello, reminds me of Asterix saying “Die spinnen, die Römer”. Have a nice time with weaving!

  5. funny… there must be something in the air. I googled “dyer & phillips” after finding MY two shaft table loom at a local vintage shed and came across another blogger who has recently assisted a friend to restore THEIR new (old) two shaft table loom. The funny thing is that all three of us (you included), in the space of two or three weeks, have blogged about their new Dyer & Phillips two shaft loom!!! I wonder how many more there are out there! If you would like to read about my restoration of and adventures so far with “Mirabelle” and/or Amanda’s wonderful restoration of her friends loom please do! It would be fun to keep in touch! im here…
    and amanda is here…
    happy weaving!
    oh, and im heading to the state library to do some research next week – will let you know what i find. :0) Samm

    • Please do share what you find. Amanda just left a comment so I’ll be heading over to her blog in just a moment. How exciting that we’ve all found each other.

      • Oh good! Did you get a chance to visit my blog too?

      • Yes, have just had a quick look and will be back for more. I was interested to see you used Danish oil on your loom. I had been reluctant to, as I was scared I might get oil on my heddles or on my work pieces. Now I’m less scared. I plan to keep the original reed, for now, and just use a rust or camel or blue coloured warp. Might work.

      • Oooo, check with someone before you use the Danish oil!!! I only used it cos a guy at my studio uses it on all his timber projects. I will be back at the studio on Monday arvo and will see if it has dried and whether it stains or not!

      • How about I check with you :-) Let me know the verdict after Monday. It soaks in well on furniture and it smells better than just about anything I know so I’d love to use it.

      • I’ll let you know! It does smell amazing doesn’t it?!

      • Hiya!
        Ok, have been into the studio today and the wood on my poor old loom has totally soaked the Danish oil up. It looks beautiful and there’s not a trace of residue on the surface. I don’t think it will be a problem. I will probably give it another “dose” just because I think the wood could do with a bit more…

      • Thanks – my original heddles are still in place (and beautifully tied) and I plan/hope to keep them that way, but I should at least be able to treat the frame. Weaving class starts tonight! Stay tuned.

  6. Hi Mosiacthinking,
    What a coincidence, I have just helped 2 beginners weavers with the same loom! Happy weaving. You can actually do a huge range of weaving with 2 shafts…….I totally agree with Vairarenbeth,

    • Thanks for stopping by. If you have any tips, book recommendations or gotchas to share, I’d love to hear them. In particular, I have no idea what type of yarn to use. Could you make a suggestion?

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