This past weekend was the annual Maine Fiber Frolic, and I did not have a vendor space this year. I will be very honest: I was thrilled not to have the frantic packing of the car on Thursday night, the frantic drive from work on Friday afternoon to set up, and then the two days of standing. I love greeting people and chatting with them, but it’s still the work year for me and it’s an exhausting part of the year on top of the usual stuff. (Last week I had all kinds of meetings, and our daily schedule began its topsy-turvy dive toward the end. The high schoolers having their finals, the seniors having their marching practice, the middle schoolers getting ready for Community Studies field trips and a day of community service.) It’s wonderful and crazy, and at the same time we are trying to get our libraries put in order and inventoried before the last day on the 19th. But, enough of that, the weekend is what was so special!!!
Our friend Pam, of Hatchtown Farm, and I had a date to go to the Fiber Frolic just for the day on Sunday. We were not in any hurry. I had some extra fence-moving to do in the morning, and we really didn’t get on the road until 9-ish. The Windsor fairgrounds are a perfect size, not too large, and when we got there we mosied across to the barns where the fleece sale and show is, and next door to this is the ‘used equipment’ area. You probably can see where this is headed! I never have a chance to get into the used equipment area when I am vending and have a booth to watch, so this was a voyeur’s treat (so I thought!). We walked in and were greeted by a group of lovely volunteers we know, and they were all pointing us to the back of the barn area. There stood a Bergman 8-harness countermarch loom, handmade in 1936! Loom bench and a huge assortment of reeds were also with it. It’s a compact, folding loom, unlike any I have ever seen. I have read about Bergmans, but they were made out on the west coast and they are not thick on the ground out here in New England.
Well, my eyes just about popped out of my head! I have been looking for a 4-harness counterbalance loom as that would have been all I could afford to buy new. 8 harnesses would have tipped me over the edge, and a countermarch is one step more wonderful (and more expensive) than the counterbalance! I think my ears were ringing, I couldn’t really take it all in. A wonderful weaver in the Maine community who is about to move to the west coast was waxing eloquent about it and showed me all kinds of things on the loom (which I am not sure that I will remember!), and I just fell in love with it. To top off the amazing goodness of all this is the fact that the people who had it for sale didn’t want to have to take it home on Sunday afternoon, so they had lowered the price to something so amazingly affordable that I couldn’t pass it up. Mama mia!
But that is only when the adventure began! I didn’t go to the Fiber Frolic thinking that I was going to buy a loom, and after handing over my check, Pam and I took in the Frolic sites, visited all of our vendor friends, had lunch, and headed back to the used equipment barn and decided to get started on packing up the loom and getting my Subaru Forester loaded. Other friends, Mudd and Esther Sharrigan (vendors – Nordic Weevs), helped by scraping up a bunch of baling twine to tie up the folding ends of the loom so we could move it without something swinging loose and breaking. (And Mudd came over and stayed with us, helped with the tie-up, and generally oversaw the action). Then the fair staff brought their little 4-wheeler and trailer in and we got this extremely solid and heavy loom out of the barn, and I backed my car up. Hmm. And that is where it all hit the fan! Not really much of a shock: I was thinking positively, but not very analytically about the size of the new baby!
If it weren’t for another friend, Tracy, I am really not sure what I would have done. She didn’t think it would fit into her Toyota Sienna van if it didn’t go into my Subaru, but it fit perfectly, so Pam and I drove it back home, John helped us unload it into the driveway, and then we went back to the fairgrounds, now quite empty, dropped the van off for Tracy, and then headed home with all the loom accoutrements in my car. Phew! That was a close one. But I am over the moon about the loom, and even though it needs some serious dusting and wood treatment, it is a gem. I don’t usually have such good luck with things like this. What a great adventure and a wonderful day!
The absolute bestest part about all of this is that my summer break is only two weeks away, so I will have all the time I need to get this beauty cleaned up and humming.
(Shh. I am not going to think about what it’s going to take to get it out of the living room and up into the loft).