Thursday, September 19, 2002

Sunshine Returns to Clara's Window

Joy of joys, the missing loom parts have been located!

Yesterday, tired, frustrated, and nearly defeated, I gave the ol' rotary phone at Loomville one last try. Lo and behold, a voice suddenly materialized and said, "Hello?"

I explained the dilemma and pointed her in the direction that Julie, head of the North American Loom Rescue Society, had given me. (Ah, that was the kicker I forgot to mention before - Julie had seen the missing parts when she was up there, making me even more frustrated with myself for not seeing them.)

And lo, when the loomstress emerged from the attic, her voice rang with triumph: the parts were there. She shall bring them to town on Friday, where Julie will welcome them into her home, offer them room and board for the weekend, and then relinguish them to me on Tuesday morning. In exchange for her services, I have given Julie a complimentary KR Tote and, more sacred yet, a Happy Meal miniature Barbie prize.

Which reminds me of today's essential link for unhappily employed individuals. Click and enjoy.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Clara gets a loom... or does she?
Last week I finally found a new home for my knitting machine, ill-fated fiber fad number 3,614. Barely had the ink dried on the transaction when I succumbed to yet another fiber-frienzied acquisition. Encouraged by my blissful experience weaving on Julie's loom for a few short rows, as well as by the fact that another loom was available from the same source as Julie's, I got in the car and drove two hours northwest of here to a destination otherwise known as The Boonies.

The Road to Loomville

I'd already been in the car for three hours that morning for my weekly trek to Portland. But the loom's current guardian was leaving town soon, shutting up the house for the winter. Moreover, at any moment someone else could have arrived, pointed at my loom and said, "I'll have it." Therefore, as you so clearly see, immediate action was my only option.
Clara's loom
Up, up, up I drove, winding through ghost town after ghost town, passing endless closed mills ("ooooh," thinks Clara, "the real estate!"), slinking past perfect swimming ponds (did I mention it was 94 degrees?), over mountain passes (otherwise known as "big hills" to the rest of the country), and through several beautiful valleys until I reached my destination of Weld, Maine. The fall leaves were already beginning to change, making this beautiful town exquisitely bucolic. I passed the Ye Olde Post Office, turned down a bumpy dirt lane, and arrived at the 1700s cape that had been home to my loom since its arrival there in the late 1950s.

The Transaction

I met the loom owner's daughter, we chatted, she reminisced, I saw where the loom had sat for decades in a sunny downstairs corner overlooking fields and apple trees. We ventured into the attic, gathered all the materials we could find, loaded them into the car, assigned the loom a name (Stella), smilingly completed our business transaction, and home I drove, another two hours through the darkness back from whence I had just come.

I brought it upstairs into my Portland warehouse/studio and set it up without any trouble. It is beautiful, with the weathered patina that only comes from years of use and love. It was made by Rollo Purrington (aka "the elder"), who worked out of Dennis on Cape Cod for many years. It has six treadles, four harnesses, a 32-inch weaving width, and yet something appears dreadfully wrong. What could it be, I asked myself?

The Discovery

Where there should be harnesses and a reed, there is NOTHING. And without this equipment, my loom is nothing more than a big folding wooden ode to incomplete weaving tools of decades past. The loom owner is thousands of miles away in a continuing care facility. And her daughter is either still in town but not answering her rotary phone, which conveniently has no answering machine, or has packed up and headed home for the winter.

The Bigger Question

Will this loom work out even worse than the Great Knitting Machine Fiasco of 1996? Do you know of a good source for obsolete loom parts? (Oh yes, I forgot to mention that Rollo passed away almost 30 years ago and his son, not nearly as talented a craftsman as his father, gradually drove the business into the ground.) Do you have an equally tragic story you can share to help me feel less foolish? Send it to Clara AT knittersreview DOT com.

Sunday, September 8, 2002

rub a dub dubIf I could master the art of knitting in the tub, my life would be complete.

Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Since when did Lorna's Laces have such an amazing Web site?! For the first time you can actually view her colorways in their true glory instead of the usual murky scans on most sites. Hmmmmm, this doesn't bode well for my VISA card...

Tuesday, September 3, 2002

Well, the afterglow of my post-boutique-launch ice cream and Rowan fest has faded. Some of the Rowan patterns were interesting but overall a tad too Guess-Jeans-models-get-stranded-on-a-desert-island-and-must-fend-for-themselves-ish. You can see pics at Rowan's site now. Then I checked out the Jaeger collection and felt equally out of place, since I'm not a soccer mom and I don't wear sleeveless sequined tops to the opera.


But today I had another reason to celebrate. I finally met Julie, the unbelievably creative blogstress who shares her trials and tribulations with us via World of Julie. She had just acquired an absolutely beautiful old loom -- complete with the previous owner's yarn, tools, and literature collection -- and had it set up in a sunny back room of her house. After just a few passes on the loom I was hooked. It was the fiber-lover's equivalent of sitting down at a Steinway and getting to play.

In Julie's abundant spare time (note sarcasm) she also happens to be a talented book binder. I can't wait to see where all these gifts take her, since we'll all get to benefit from them. In other words, start another penny jar because one day you'll be able to acquire a Julie original. (Original what? We'll have to wait and see!)