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?