After dinner with friends, I got back home and played around a bit with the new loom. It came with a gorgeous silk-yak warp on it, shimmery gray with what looks like a beige tussah silk (?) stripe in one section. I picked a 24-shaft straight draw draft out of Handweaving.net – I normally prefer to design my own but in this case I really just wanted to get weaving – and wove 1/2″-1″ samples in white silk, white cashmere, garnet cashmere-silk, and black cashmere. Finally I decided I liked the black cashmere best, and started weaving in earnest.
The AVL workshop dobby loom weaves like a dream. The shafts lift smoothly and in unison, with precisely the same shed. It’s quieter than any other loom I’ve used (not silent, but pretty quiet for a loom). My one complaint is that it is somewhat difficult to treadle, probably because of the weight of 24 shafts. I can see where, if one went to 40+ shafts, or even a wider width, an assisted lift would become really helpful. But it seems to be quite manageable, at least for the short time (~20 minutes) I spent actually weaving.
Here’s a pic of the loom (which has yet to be named, but I’m thinking of calling it “Napoleon” – small but mighty! 🙂 ):
And here is a pic of the piece I’ve been weaving:
Look Ma, no skipped threads!!