It all began with this ad that I posted to the Seattle area Craigslist:
My Drum Carder for your Loom? (Tacoma, near 48th & Pacific)
I have a brand new (still in shipping box) Fricke's Finest Drum carder that I would like to trade for an 8 harness floor loom. Must be sturdy enough to weave rugs as well as other lighter fabrics. Must be 8 harness as I already have a 4 harness loom.
The impetus for that post? While clearing out the shop I found a box stored upstairs. A box that had never been opened. A box that contained a brand new drum carder.
Way back, when I first began my business, my focus was on hand spinning and I was selling quite a bit of hand spun yarn and hand dyed roving. I had purchased this drum carder in order to keep the colors of fleece separated. I would have one carder (which I already had in my studio) for white fleece, and this new carder for dark fleece. But fate had other plans. My focus shifted to commercially spun yarns and I no longer had time to spin or dye for customers (or for myself). And time flew by. The box remained, all but forgotten, tucked safely away. How long was it up there? Probably close to 10 years. They no longer produce the Fricke's Finest model 100 with a metal frame. How much did I pay for it? I can't remember. But over the years the cost of all fiber processing tools has shot way up. If purchased today a similar carder would cost around $700. So here I was, with a rather valuable item, which I really didn't need anymore. I am downsizing for my retirement and already have one of these. Mine has a gray base, instead of the green, as mine was a couple of years older. Otherwise they are identical. Trying to sell an expensive item in this economy can take forever. Craigslisters want garage sale prices. But what about a barter? What could I use that would have a similar value? The only thing that came to mind was an 8 harness weaving loom. I have two 4 harness floor looms but you can do so much more with 8 harnesses. That evening I posted the above ad to the Seattle Craigslist. I had absolutely zero expectation of anyone being interested. How many people have an 8 harness loom just sitting around? Used 4 harness looms are a dime a dozen. 8 harness looms are rather hard to locate. And, even if someone has this type of loom collecting dust, what are the odds they'd be interested in a drum carder? Most people don't know what a drum carder is. Imagine my surprise when, almost immediately, I got a response. Someone said they had an 8 harness loom and would like to trade. Having been around Craigslist for years I knew not to get excited until I saw pictures of the loom. The offerer quickly assembled the loom in her garage and took many detailed photos for me. Now I was getting excited. But I am a newbie to weaving and was still a bit hesitant. What was the catch? I am a member of Ravelry and showed the loom to some more experienced weavers on that forum. I was assured that the loom looked sturdy and, as long as it was not warped or rusty, it was a good trade. At this point I began to fall in love with this new-to-me loom. I went from being unsure of the acquisition, to being terrified the offerer would change her mind. It helped immensely that she was extremely forthcoming and pleasant to exchange emails with. I felt confident that this exchange was meant to be. You can read about the adoption from her perspective here. I spent the week pleading my case to the husbeast (who was none too thrilled), rearranging the living room to make space, and reading up on countermarch looms. And worrying. My heart was now firmly set on adding this loom to my little herd. Saturday finally arrived and we drove to Bellevue. Once I laid eyes on the loom and met SpinningLizzy, any apprehension was gone. I could tell she loved this loom and was having a hard time parting with it. Non-weavers won't understand but looms feel almost like your children and when you have to let them go you need to know they'll be in a home where they are appreciated and loved. I think she felt better knowing I was going to actually use the loom and I felt better knowing she cared for the loom and wasn't just trying to unload it. It truly was meant to be.