Tapestry weaving with Varpapuu Loom
hThis year is flying by and I got lost in my work and have failed to post in a bit. However, if you have been following on Instagram then you know what I've been up to. But today I'm sharing a pic of my new to me Varpapuu Upright Tapestry Loom. I have a Varpa floor loom that I love that I got used in the 90's and I fell in love with it but I always wanted a vertical tapestry loom made by Varpapuu too.
The hunt was on and no luck. Everything I found was in Europe. So I thought I would just run a goggle search every few months to see if one ever showed up in the USA. Well, that went on for years and years and years but I never really gave up. I would search at least a few times per year. And finally only 30 years later I found one in the USA and it was close enough for a road trip of 5 hours up north and she was mine.
Then came the clean up and new heddles were needed. I started making them by hand but gave up. I didn't want to make a 1000 heddles. Ugh! So heddles were ordered in Jan. of this year but with Covid delays they only just arrived 7 months later. That was more waiting.....but after 30 years that didn't seem too bad. So now she is finally ready to go. I mean ready to dress. I have to make a warp and then dress her and then I will finally get to weave on my beloved Upright Varpapuu. She weaves 58 inch width almost 5 feet. She doesn't have a worm gear like my floor Varpa but she has huge ratchet and pawl gears that look like they can handle tight tension for tapestry weaving like a charm. Here she is...isn't she lovely. I'll post more as I get her warped and start weaving. Yay!
I'm getting the Fireside loom ready for another tapestry. Once I have that done it's time to tackle a big project of making heddles for my new to me loom the Varpapuu Upright loom I got this fall. I've cleaned her up but now for the heddles. I could buy nylon which I thought I was going to do but for a 60 inch loom it is over $200 so I would rather spend that money or something else. I mean really... I can make them. So I made a jig and I will start soon.
Nothing glamorous about this post, just the work that has to go on in a studio before you even get to sit down and start weaving. I'll post more fun pics soon but the studio is a mess right now with moving looms around again etc.
The wonderful thing about my Fireside loom is the wheels. I can just roll it wherever I want and that is usually trying to get in front of a window for the best light for weaving. So it's like musical chairs in here with looms, around and around we go.
One other note about the Fireside loom, I'll put a link to their site but I don't know if they are still making looms or not. I've had people ask me if they are still in business because they know I have one of their tapestry looms but I really don't know. The site is still up but I tried calling and emailing them but got no response. I do know that a couple of years ago there were some health issues that stopped production but at the time I thought that was temporary but maybe not. So for all the people that have asked me about my loom and the Fireside brand I really don't know what is going on exactly with the company.
Most people are just looking for used ones which is sort of difficult but they do become available from time to time. Also if your looking for a Fireside you can also search for Crisp looms. The Ruthie was a wonderful loom that they made and I just found one used on Ravelry for a friend of mine. Crisp looms were the makers before the company was sold to the first Fireside owner then he sold it years later to the current owners.
As far as my Varpapuu vertical loom goes well, those are extremely hard to find in the US. I got my floor loom used in 1990 and those are easier to find than the vertical tapestry looms made by Varpapuu. I had been looking for one since the 1990's so about 30 years. I never thought I would find one near me but finally I did. It was a 6 hour drive one way to get it but that was fine by me. There really aren't many options today to buy new vertical tapestry looms. Maybe I'll write another post on the subject sometime but I need to get to work.
Artist and maker living and working in the beautiful state of Pa.