I finally broke down and bought a new loom. I love my Ashford and it’s done a great job for a couple years now, but I want to do more rugs and have more flexibility (and a slightly larger weaving width). I spent a lot of time (about a year) doing research on different looms and for about 90% of that time it was between the Louet David and a Harrisville.
I have a couple restrictions (well – one big one – space) and needed something that would fit in my office in the existing floor space of the Ashford, so that definitely narrowed the search.
I debated the David and Harrisville for a very very long time. And then finally had a lightbulb moment.
The source of the lightbulb moment was that I’ve worked on a variety of looms at the Washington Heights Art Center in Lakewood. There you can try out and use during classes a mix of looms. I tried a Wolf there (ugh) and a couple Leclercs (which I want to really really love being part Canadian) but my all time love was an old Cranbrook countermarch loom. Countermarch looms are genius and I think many people don’t know that because they’re intimidated by the tie-up. But once on one, it’s hard to go back.
My lightbulb went off went I expanded my search to more than the Cranbrook (which is just too large) and generally searched for Countermarch looms.
Up popped the Oxaback Lilla. Like it was made for me, the one that has about a 40″ weaving width is compact in size and perfectly fits in my space. It’s got floor loom heft and it’s very very reasonably priced for what you get (includes the loom bench as well).
Took me about one week once I found it to make the decision. Bought it. Built it. Love it.
Just a note though, if you’re thinking of buying one and have not really worked on a Countermarch (handled the tie-up yourself), do that first before building it. It truly helped in understanding how to build it and get it set up correctly. Use the instructions they give you, and then also get this great book: Tying Up the Countermarch Loom by Joanne Hall. Super helpful resource which helped me move past trying to achieve the perfect balance and just put a warp on already (then fix the tie-up). Worth every penny and a valuable book for anyone with a Countermach.
Once built, I did a basic plain weave towel first to get the hang of it (the treadles are different and very close together, so take some getting used to them). I’ve made several things on my new loom now by tying on to the existing warp and testing out different patterns and am about to start some rugs on it now that I finished up some basic projects.