Seeing the Forest

Tom Knisely has taught weaving in a lovely, wooded part of rural Pennsylvania for over thirty years. Last year, Tom had a great idea to help weavers and their looms live in greater happiness and harmony. Here he is to tell you all about it. ––Anita

Tom Knisely  Spacer 10x10 pixels
Tom Knisely is a man who knows
his looms

There is an old expression that “you can’t see the forest for all the trees.” Many times in life this is true, but sometimes there is a moment of profound realization. For me, about a year ago, a redwood fell, figuratively, across my path.

It all started with a telephone call concerning a sticky shaft that just would not fall back down to where it should when the foot was taken off the treadle. When I finished with that particular customer, I went to wind a bobbin and found the winder needed a good oiling. After that was finished I pulled out a shuttle on which to put the newly wound bobbin, looked at it, and thought “Yuck!” 

The tips of many of the shuttles were rough from falling onto the concrete floor for years now. The finish was grimy from hundreds of hands passing it back and forth over the years. I wondered how I had let it get like this.

I sanded the tips of the shuttles and washed them well with Murphy’s Oil Soap. I also put a little furniture oil on them and found out firsthand how much faster it makes them fly. Wow! When it was all said and done I thought, “These are just a few small tips that people need to know about. I need to do an instructional video on loom and equipment maintenance. They do, after all, need to be in good working condition.”


  Closeup of Loom
  Tom will teach you how to keep
the bits and pieces of your loom
from misbehaving. 

When I passed the idea to Anita Osterhaug, she was as excited as I was and The Loom Owner's Companion was born. She also agreed with me that The Mannings Handweaving School would be the perfect place to film. The Mannings’ studio has over a hundred looms of different makes, models, and sizes. There are jack, counterbalance, and countermarch looms. There are also table looms, and floor looms that weave up to 60 inches in width.

I have to tell you that working with Anita and the crew was fabulous! We all worked together with such ease and had hardly any “do overs.” The only time we had to stop filming was when the neighbor next door was mowing her lawn.

I am hoping that my new video The Loom Owner's Companion helps people to better understand how their loom operates and how to correct a problem when it misbehaves. It should also prove beneficial to those folks buying used looms who need to know what to look for. I hope that you enjoy the video and find some good ideas on how to maintain your looms. I also hope it becomes one of your most valuable tools to keep them in good working condition.

Happy Weaving!

—Tom Knisely  

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