Thursday, September 4, 2014

So, How Does it Weave?

Well, let's just say I now understand why so few of these hit the used market. The Gilmore Gem II weaves as well as it looks, and probably better. First warps are never my strong suit. I'm impatient to try the new arrival out and I'm on a learning curve. Every loom is different and what works for one may not be the best for another. Case in point, warp sticks.

 I would be better served by a thinner material, heavy paper or as Bob Allen at Gilmore suggests, those slats from mini blinds, cut to fit. Yep, that certainly would avoid the bit of lumpiness I have in my warp. The warp beams on my two other looms are solid, and narrow wood sticks work well on them. The Gilmore warp beam is 4 wood fins, much like a sectional beam without the sections.

Anyway, back to the review. The loom was extremely easy to roll the warp on.  Standing to the side of the loom I can put a little tension on the warp with my left hand and wind it on with my right, while it goes through the raddle on the castle. Threading was pretty easy too. Neither back nor front beams come off, so you are reaching over them, but it isn't a far reach. The hardest part is getting the lease sticks the right height so you can see through the shafts easily for your next thread. This may be a non issue if you warp front to back. Gilmore sells a little tool to called a Warping Wedge. I certainly think it would be useful and will probably order one when I place the order for the additional heddles. There is a piece of wood that acts as a beater lock.

 If you sley your reed in the beater this is very useful. It also held the beater well while I rested the reed on it since I sley with the reed lying flat. Tying bundles directly to the cloth apron rod/stick on the front was painless. At some point a metal rod and lashing might be used but for now this worked fine. Tie ups where straightforward and easy. The lamms are nicely numbered ( as are the shafts).

 Gilmore includes precut Texsolv and arrows and gives perfectly succinct directions as to the height and range of the treadles for a good shed.  And it is a very good shed. I was surprised and delighted. One might even say smitten. There is nothing skimpy about this shed even though it is a small loom. How did they do that?  This loom has a big loom shed and it holds tension well and has a pretty generous weaving space. You are not rolling the fell line forward every two throws. The front foot brake for the warp beam releases easily and smoothly.

 If you roll too far it is easy enough to get up and snug the warp back onto the warp beam. And look, a rear brake release too!

 The front ratchet and pawl system compliments well for steady tension and ease of use. The castle nice to have. The loom is not overly noisy either and I like threading those inserted eye heddles. The shafts are well made, and super well set up for threading and spreading your heddles. And so many pretty touches like these knobs instead of plain screws and such.

 There isn't anything I don't like about this loom at this point.

Oh, and it was easy to fold up and wheel outside for a little weaving plein air!

The bonus here is also Bob and Judy Allen, owners of Gilmore. I had a few questions, and fired off an e-mail Tuesday early. Mid morning of that same day Bob called to answer them. Both of them are a joy to work with.

Parting shot: Spies at the gate!


  1. Thanks for the loom review - I look forward to coming over to see it in person.

  2. Looks like you're loving your new loom! Congratulations!

  3. You mentioned that your other two looms have solid beams - how I wish my Murphy loom had a solid beam. It has the four finned type with 1/4" dowels for a sectional beam. I hate it. I'm going to bust all those little suckers off, and use cardboard or window shades like Laura Fry does. That's a pretty cute little loom!!

  4. Weaving plein air indeed! Your posts make me miss weaving. Perhaps one day...Hope everything stays safe during this RFW! Thanks for the comments. I accidentally deleted your nice comment on my last post but was able to paste it into my comment. Apologies, blogger is sometimes uncooperative, specially when you are zipping through email before the farmers market! :)

  5. Cindie, Anytime you can make it, door is open!

    LA, Very much so

    Laura, Yes the Murphy I have has a solid maple beam with a long canvas apron attached. I didn't even know this loom came with a sectional beam. All the others I've seen have had plain beams like mine. Could yours have been replaced?

    RL, Your creative outlets are just different, but your welcome to come down anytime and weave a spell. No worries on the post, just happy to see you back up and blogging and thank you for stopping by here!

  6. Always something new at Camp Runamuck!! What a sweet little loom. You don't see Gilmores in this part of the country very often.

    Love the concept of "plein air" weaving.

  7. I didn't understand any of your descriptions but the photos are wonderful. I imagine the sounds and smell of a new loom and learning the very nature of each one and the breaking in of a new machine quite delightful! If only we could sew outdoors but the cords never seem long enough to trail out the back door unto the patio and the birds may just find thread scraps intriguing and land on the machine and deposit a few "presents"...on second thought maybe not.

  8. Valerie, Lots of changes here recently and the somethings new of course. I miss Peter though, every day. Getting the loom out to the front deck means a roll through the house and out the front door. It is in the room that has the door out to the back deck which is always in shade and I'll probably make the shorter trip to that deck.

    mrsmole, LOL, well yes, each hobby has it's own language and tools. Sewing has a different vibe than weaving and I'm not sure plain air sewing would be as fun. Weaving is much more zen, at least in hobby form. For those that weave professionally it may not have the zen factor that makes it fun for outdoor weaving bird poop possibilities aside....:)

  9. I've been looking at these online and drooling. Cindie said you were getting one and after reading your review, I positively salivating! I have two Gilmores and am happy with them and with the service the Allens provide. I just ordered a new reed and had it a couple days later!