So I've had my eye on the Leclerc Artisat loom for a couple of weeks now. It folds, yet has a decent weaving width (36"). I'm interested in weaving yardage, so that's really the narrowest I can contemplate. It's available in four and eight shaft versions, with a conversion kit available for those who suffer late-onset harness envy. (Sorry, but I can't say 'shaft envy' with a straight face. I just can't).
It will fit neatly where the silver shelves in my studio were, until a few days ago. And there's a second hand, four-shaft one available for a really good price – about a third of the new price. But the conversion kit, plus the second hand loom, costs the same as the 8-shaft version costs, brand new. The conversion kit costs over £1000.
This throws a spanner in the works, somewhat. Leaving my 'green' credentials aside for a moment, it makes so much more sense to buy a new loom-one that doesn't need a kit retrofitted to it, that has a warranty, that I know I can get retailer support for-than it does to buy a second-hand piece of kit that will probably need alterations, that is fundamentally an unknown quantity, and which, if I decide to convert it, will cost me about as much as the new loom would.
If I decide to convert it. Four shafts certainly provides enough to play with for years and years and years – heck, even plain weave can keep a person busy for a whole career – and I've always said that my main interest in weaving comes from a desire to weave yardage for historical re-enactment purposes. Unless you buy a drawloom, four shafts is plenty good enough for that. Mind you, I haven't done any re-enactment since March, and though I'm still very interested in it, it's a cerebral kind of interest. And it's not my *only* interest.
My gut feeling is that, if I don't have the extra shafts, then I will probably regret it. Even if I don't use them 90% of the time, they will be worth it for the other 10%.
But I can't justify spending one and a half grand on a loom right now. Not when I have so many other things I could be doing – and that I would like to be doing. So my choices are simple:
- Go with the cheap second-hand loom now, and trade it in when the time comes.
- Go with the cheap second hand loom now, and upgrade it when the time comes.
- Wait till my birthday (March), at least, and save up for the 8-shaft loom.
Every fibre (ha!) of my being cries out against being so sensible… but I think option 3 is winning. It'll give me some time to get really stuck into that project backlog, and decide whether I want to keep (for example) that knitting machine. I can play with my two (ahem) three existing looms and think some more about what I really want to weave, and what I really want to own.
And who knows? A cheap 8-shaft second hand loom might come up in that time, too.