24 May, 2013

Thoughts on Språng Loom Requirements

I've been giving some thought to historical språng looms and what I want in a språng loom, or looms.

I think I want a loom that is as versatile as possible, and portable.  To take spinning wheels, for example, the current trend in spinning wheels is away from specialization toward versatility.  Traditional wheels make one kind of yarn well.  A Canadian production wheel makes thin worsted, a great wheel makes woollen, a charkha only takes short fibres, a flax wheel's orifice only lets skinny linen yarn through.  Modern designs let you change ratios, swap out flyers for lace flyers or bulky flyers or spindle tips, put large-gauge yarn and lumpy yarn through the orifice, make minute adjustments to the tension for high twist or low twist yarn, and so on.

Or at least so the wheel spinners tell me.  I only use drop spindles.  Spindles on the market seem to have moved the other way toward specialization, probably because it's easier to afford and store a collection of specialized spindles and because people buy them as art objects.

But anyway, there are some historically accurate språng looms that I know of, and from what I can tell, each design lends itself to making a particular size and shape of språng goods.  I'd like to make items in different sizes and shapes.  An adjustable, versatile loom would let me do that.

The alternative is to have two or more specialized looms made.  That might be safer.  It's always a risk to order a custom, untested design because you don't know how it will turn out.  You don't know whether there will be a fatal flaw in the construction or the functionality.  Compared to historical forms, self-designed and modern models are often ill-proportioned with dull finishes and little ornamentation or detail.

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