New Old Fanny Loom

January 10, 2022

In November, an old loom came to live in my dining room. There’s a little corner of the room that is next to the big windows and catches some daylight and it’s a wonderfully peaceful place to weave. After I took my Baby Wolf to the SweetGeorgia Studio for filming courses, I felt like the space was empty and just needed a little loom. So I searched for a narrower-width floor loom, specifically looking for a 27” width Leclerc Fanny counterbalance loom.

I managed to find one in Ottawa on the marketplace and communicated back and forth with the seller for weeks to get the loom disassembled, labelled, packaged, and shipped from Ottawa to Vancouver. The night I received it, I assembled it in just over an hour, entirely by myself. Having built the 45” Mira at the Studio, I knew how all the pieces fit together.

It took a day or two for me to get the shafts and roller bars lined up. For some reason, it looks like the shafts move diagonally when they go up and down. The treadle cords are old and not all the same length, so I’ve spent some time rearranging them, looping them, and trying to even them all out.

The old Fanny loom was built in 1968 and it just needs a bit of extra TLC. The wood of the front and back beams is splitting from dryness and the finish on the wood could be easily sanded down and refinished, but that’s a summer project. For now, I just wanted to get it up and running so that I could weave something.

The easiest thing to put on the old Fanny loom was 400 ends of 8/2 cotton to weave some kitchen towels for my family for holiday gifts. I wound a warp with 8 ends of cotton held together x 50 bouts = 400 ends. Sett at 20 epi for twill, these towels were so much fun to weave. After weaving one set of blue towels, I wound another warp of mixed yellows and golds, tied onto the old warp (using Laura Fry’s technique that she shared with me) and wove another set of towels. I finished washing, drying, pressing, and hemming all the towels on December 23. Just in time.

After the towels were gifted, I swapped out the original metal heddles for new Texsolv heddles and they are working beautifully. It was like a little gift for the loom.

So this new-to-me old Fanny is fitting in nicely. It’s a workhorse loom and I love having something that is right there in the middle of our living space that allows me to access my weaving more often than not.

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  1. Peggy Samec says:

    I, too, have an old LeClerc Fanny loom 45″. It was built on the early 1950s according to my research. I have had it a number of years and getting ready to restore it from bare bones. I have a early 1970s Dorothy LeClerc 15″table loom that I just refurbished. And yet another…. A handmade two-harness, 15″ floor loom with string heddles. This grandmother loom was made 1947. She has a new reed and will have
    Texsolv heddles; after all, they are polyester string heddles. How fitting.

    What works for me for old looms is boiled linseed oil using 0000 steel wool. No need to sand and reseal. The saturated extra fine steel wool generally smooths down the scratches and the boiled linseed oil nourishes and restores the wood.
    Buff afterwards. Beautiful results and saves time and energy. I use this on my other furniture, too.

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