Spotlight on David Loom + Mystery KAL

The David loom is a unique sinking shed jack loom which is a compactly constructed floor loom that takes less floor space, but still has many of the same features of a large floor loom. The David now comes with the tension brake included. The sliding beater, well received since its 2013 introduction, has a shuttle race, and is adjustable in height. It stays back, close to the shafts to get the optimal shed. At both sides the beater is guided by special bearings along a stainless steel rod. By adjusting the position of these rods, the weaver can adjust the height of the beater.

We always enjoy hearing from our customers, and the David loom has been quite popular in recent years. Here are just a few of the comments we’ve come across on Ravelry:

Raveler macweaver shared this photo (left) of how the warp runs through the raddle on her David loom and notes: “It is easy to use and so efficient.”

Raveler Dortea999 said, “I do like my David better. It is easier to tie up. It gets out of my way when weaving. Treadling is light and easy.”

Raveler ilaine shared a detailed review of the David loom: “This loom exactly met my criteria for compromise between the loom of my dreams and my living space. I need it to be small and quiet, but had to have 8 harnesses, and the ability to have two independent warps. Treadling is easy and beater light to move. The loom is a thing of beauty, feels nice to the touch. Parts are well made, the loom is surprisingly sturdy for its light weight.” 

1930s Mystery Shawl-a-long


mystery KAL

Heritage Spinning and Weaving in Lake Orion, Michigan let us know about a new mystery knit-a-long (KAL) that will be starting in March.

Inspired by the colors, textures and economic climate of the 1930′s, designer Jae Koscierzynski has hit another home run. There will be five clues, the pre-clue will be issued 3/7 with Clue A coming on 3/14, Clue B on 3/21, Clue C on 4/11, Clue D on 4/25, and ending with Clue E on May 9th. This shawl is an arc (sort of heart-shaped so that it will fit nicely) worked from the bottom up. The shawl features lots of texture and some cables. The yarn selected is Louet Gems Sport weight. Joan and her team have selected the colors in which they believe the shawl will look best, either knit in one solid color or in either of two selected colorways.

The fee to participate is $15 for the pattern OR, if you purchase your yarn through Heritage Spinning and Weaving, the pattern fee is waived. For yarn ordered prior to 2/15, you will receive a $10 discount. The KAL will be closed on 3/21. After that, later this year, you can get the pattern on Ravelry. Click here to register.

Holiday Weaving Inspiration

We’re gearing up for the holiday season and have handmade gifting on our minds. In today’s post, we’ll share some of our favorite weaving patterns for gift projects, many of which are available for free! 

Colorful towels using our Organic Cotton will certainly be a welcome gift, as pretty as they are practical:

 

From L-R: Spring Stripes Tea Towel by Jane Stafford (free), Kitchen Kitsch by Liz Gipson, Cornucopia Tea Towel by Jane Stafford (free). 

A lovely woven scarf using our Cottolin (cotton/linen) yarn is a great choice for your style-conscious friends:

L-R: Pretty in Pink Scarf by Jane Stafford (free),  Lace Lined Scarf by Deborah Jarchow (free), Linda’s Scarf by Jane Stafford.

For those who love to entertain, Organic Cotton or Cottolin placemats and table runners are an excellent choice:

L-R: Placemats – Summer & Christmas Versions by Jane Stafford, Elegant Placemats by Suzie Liles (free), Claire’s Table Runner by Jane Stafford (free), Two on Two Log Cabin Table Runner by Jane Patrick (free).

For the yogi on your list, this handwoven yoga mat bag is sure to delight, especially when you use our eco-friendly Organic Cotton!

Yoga Mat Carrier by Sue Bleiweiss (free)

Here’s a shot of Dave with the Warping Mill in action from last month’s SOAR event.

Finally, don’t forget yourself this holiday season: our new Warping Mill makes a great gift! Eliminate shoulder strain from the warping process with this easy-to-use mill allowing you to create a warp that is approximately 18 yards in length.

The horizontal cross members that hold your cross can be re-positioned on any quarter of the mill. The pegs that hold the cross are attached to the cross members with wing nuts which ensure that your pegs will never wiggle loose. To remove the warp from the mill all you have to do is undo the wing nut on your last peg and the peg will slip free. It also folds flat for easy storage.  

With its strong stable base and smooth action,  you will love making all your warps with our new Warping Mill, which is available at your nearest Louet Retailer or via our online store

Make sure Santa knows it’s on your wishlist! 

Handspun Holiday

If you’ve been spinning all year long but have neglected to knit, crochet or weave with your handspun creations, now is a great time to do a little inventory and make plans for some extra-special handspun holiday gifts!  Last month’s Spinzilla blog featured many great projects to knit, crochet, and weave with handspun yarn, and we’ve got a few more suggestions to share with you today.

Knittyspin is an excellent source for patterns which are written specifically for handspun yarns, and best of all, they’re free! The Whorled Hat from the most recent issue would be an excellent gift for just about anyone on your list.

Don’t be afraid to use your handspun for patterns calling for commercial yarns (just be sure to check gauge)! Look for patterns that are easy to customize, such as the Wasabi Cowl (left) or The Age of Brass and Steam scarf (right). Both of these patterns are available as free Ravelry downloads and would look stunning in your handspun!

 

 For last-minute woven gifts, a simple scarf can be extra-spectacular with handspun yarn at center stage! Serialspinner’s Collapse Weave Scarf project on Craftsy is a great example from which to draw your inspiration:

 

Handspun also makes fantastic pom poms – the loftier the yarn, the better! You can top any hat with a handpun pom pom for the perfect finishing touch, or use your poms to adorn gifts. When it comes time to wrap presents, leftover singles or other small bits and bobs of handspun yarn can be used as festive (and reusable) ribbons and bows for an extra handmade touch!

 Whatever you decide to do with your handspun, we hope you’ll share your projects ideas and inspirations with us here in our Ravelry group!

Guest Blogger: Jane Stafford Reviews the Octado Loom

We recently asked Jane Stafford to review our Octado Loom, a dobby loom that  is easy on the weaver because it eliminates the need for tie-ups.  The Octado can be operated with a mechanical dobby, or with an electronic interface, giving the end user endless possibilities. The electronic interface works with most popular computer weaving software, including Fiberworks PCW, Patternland, PixieLoom, Weavemaker, Proweave and Weave It. Jane shared the following comments from her customers with us, along with her final thoughts when it comes to this user-friendly floor loom.

“The Octado has revived my passion for weaving! The loom allows me to warp and weave in comfort. From the raddle on the castle, to the single wide pedal, to the elegant tension mechanism and the smooth shuttle race, every part of the loom works together to provide a joyful weaving experience for me. I am grateful each time I am at my Octado. It is perfect for me! And it is beautiful too!”  
Linda, Vancouver Island, B.C.

“I am almost 71 and have some ‘hip’ issues.  My Octado has allowed me to keep weaving with minimal wear and tear on my body.  I love the fact that I can play around and experiment without having to crawl around on the floor changing the tie-up.  No more yelling for Nick to help me get up off the floor.  It has been incredibly helpful both physically and emotionally, perhaps even saved our marriage!”
Tanis, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

 

In the end, my review of the Octado sums it all up like this: what a fabulous, easy loom to work on.  There are 10 million things you can do with 8 shafts and it is so easy to try them all out without having to change the tie-ups under the loom.  A simple click or two on the computer and everything is changed.  It is so liberating as I get older.  I will also add that I am not a computer person; I have come kicking and screaming to this but I have found the loom so simple and easy to use that I am not intimidated by any part of it!

-Jane Stafford, Lifetime Weaver

Our Story Continues

Present-day, from L-R: Jan and Trudy Van Stralen with Jonathan Heap of Wadworth Heap, supplier of our Canterbury Prize Wool Group.

A few months ago, we began to share the history of Louet North America, a family-owned company located just west of Montreal in Prescott, Ontario. In our first installment (found here), we shared the story of LNA’s creative vision through the guidance of Dave’s parents, Jan and Trudy Van Stralen. Today, we continue that story as Dave recounts the early years of the company. Enjoy!

In the 1980’s, the manufacturer of Louet equipment in Holland (Louet BV) established a Canadian company to distribute their products in North America. Jan Louet and his partner Clemens Classen, approached my parents, Jan and Trudy Van Stralen to run this company in 1989.

Trudy had been operating her own business, Hilltop Wools, but soon found she could not do both. She initially sold spinning fibers and some weaving yarns under the banner of Hilltop Wools, but streamlined the process under one roof – Louet – soon after taking on distributorship. In 1992 Jan and Trudy purchased Louet Sales from Louet BV.

During that time, I had left home for University and eventually joined the Canadian Airforce. I also met and married my wife Pam and we started our family.

While still serving in the military, I joined my parents in Washington DC for Convergence in 1992, helping them in the booth and driving truckfulls of looms…some good quality family time! It was a very positive show; we picked up the distributorship of Gaywool Dyes and Fibers and I also met Jane Stafford. Little did I know how integral this relationship would be towards the long-term success of Louet North America!

In 1994, my military career was at a crossroads, so I offered my services to my parents on a permanant basis; my other option was to go into computer programming. I had already been assisting them via remote access software working on databases and newsletters; they accepted my offer and I began my full-time employment for Louet Sales.

In our next installment, I’ll take you through my early years at Louet and how we came to manufacture knitting yarns.

Welcome to the Louet Family!

We would like to take you on a little journey through the inner workings of our company, from where we are today to where we started years ago. In the months to come, you’ll be given an inside look into our processes, from designing the perfect loom to carefully selecting a yarn or fiber based on a refined set of criteria. We hope you’ll enjoy reading these bits of knitting, weaving, & spinning history from Louet North America.

Dave Van Stralen, photo courtesy of Cotton Clouds’ Blog

Louet North America was originally founded in 1983. Dave’s parents, Jan and Trudy Van Stralen began managing the company in 1989 and bought LNA in 1992. It’s been family owned and operated since that time.

Today, Dave and his wife Pam own and operate Louet North America. They have 3 kids; a daughter who is 24 has blessed them with their first grandchild eight months ago, as well as two boys who are in their late teens. Pam and Dave are dedicated to growing and cultivating strong relationships in the industry for many years to come.

Creativity from a product and design standpoint is paramount for a company in the fiber industry. Dave and Pam recognize the strong ties people have built with Louet over the years and know that it is because of high quality and great service. They strive to continue these characteristics, and only expand the product line if the quality is right, such as our latest addition to the Euroflax family of yarns, Euroflax Lace.

Stay tuned for future installments, where we’ll share even more fibery stories from our storied past here at Louet North America!

Meet Jane and Her Loom

Jane Stafford is a weaver’s weaver. For over thirty years, she has explored the wonders of woven cloth. She operates Jane Stafford Textiles on Salt Spring Island in British Columbia, Canada. Her studio-based workshops are so popular, they often fill up a year ahead of time. Jane is a consultant to Louet North America and the Jane Table Loom shares her name. We asked Jane to share a bit about what makes this table loom so special.

Jane: The Jane Loom has several wonderful features.  My favorite feature is its portability. Imagine a sixteen-inch loom that will weave any eight-shaft pattern, and the whole thing folds down and fits under your bed!  It has a very large shed. You can weave five-inches before you have to advance your warp.  Those are just a few features that make weaving on the Jane Loom so pleasurable. There is also the built in raddle, overhead beater, lovely handle to carry her around by, and easy-to-use levers.  I could go one and on.

The Jane Loom has a lot to offer to any weaver. Most weavers love to take workshops and attend conferences and retreats. In four easy steps and approximately sixty seconds you can fold her down, lock her up, and take her away. Good for travelers and anyone who doesn’t have a lot of room in their house to devote to a loom. 

Its eight shafts mean you can take any beginner through advanced workshop.  If it is a round robin workshop your classmates will love you for owning one because their weaving experience will be great, too.

For weavers that are moving beyond the rigid heddle loom, the Jane Loom is the perfect next step.  Learning weave structures on a table loom is often easier because you can really see how the tie-up controls what is happening with your warp.   Most new weavers eventually get shaft envy and want to create more complex patterns and they need more shafts and The Jane already has eight.

Want to try out the Jane Loom for yourself? Visit our website to find a store near you.