My New Baby is a Cutie!

Now my studio really looks like a weaving studio. My newest loom is in the center. All my looms except this new sweetie were built by Jim Ahrens. Now the new one was made by AVL looms—the “A” stands for Ahrens, so all the engineering is related. The ‘V’ stands for Jon Violette, who began the company with Jim and the ‘L’ stands for looms.
Are you wondering what the other looms are that circle the new one in the center? Starting with the loom on the left and going around clockwise: 10-shaft, side tie-up, 4-shaft loom, 40-shaft dobby built by Jim Ahrens in the 1940’s, and my love, the 4-shaft loom made of bird’s eye maple wood which I have used exclusively for years and years. Going to 12 is a giant and exciting step for me!

Here she is—a real sweetie. I’ve been trying to reduce and give away things but this loom from Jan Langdon I fell in love with years ago. When she decided to down size, she said I was the only person who had longed for it. It is a 12-shaft dobby about 36” wide. Note that in the photo, my 10-shaft loom with a side tie-up is back behind the new loom. Small in a way but the dobby will increase my capacity for new structures greatly.  I’ve been wanting to weave a structure for years and finally decided to do it until I realized I would run out of treadles. The dobby solves that problem. Two treadles work the mechanism to raise the shafts. Notice it is on wheels—that has been very handy already. I just need a pillow on my bench.

Here’s the back of the loom. The dobby mechanism is on the left side in the photo.

This is the dobby mechanism. Each bar represents one shed or row of weaving.

A close-up shows the pegs in the bars. A special tool makes it easy to ‘peg’ each shed. The holes without pegs are the shafts that will go up. Since there are 12 shafts, there are 12 holes in each bar. When the right treadle is pressed, the mechanism raises the shafts for one bar—one shed. When the left treadle is pressed, the shed closes and the mechanism readies itself for the next shed. When all the holes are filled nothing will go up. It’s a way to mark the end of a repeat.

Here is the first thing I’ve woven! I wanted to shade the 12-shaft satin weave to go from only the warp showing graded to only the weft showing. The white warps are shiny spun silk (2 different yarns) and the weft is handspun silk from Bhutan that is not shiny.Then I dyed the piece lightly in black walnut dye. I was hoping the shades of the color would contrast more, to go in shades from light to dark–but that is what I’ll work on next. I thought the two yarns—one shiny and one mat would contrast more when in the dye. Lately I’ve been weaving cloth for the dye pot—really fun to weave and get my creative juices flowing.

Hurry! Two Ahrens Looms Available

Hi all,

A woman in Berkeley is selling two unique looms.

Loom #1 is a 20-shaft mechanical dobby loom, 40″ weaving width – the
first dobby loom Jim Ahrens ever made. (Jim Ahrens was the “A” in
“AVL” – an amazing loom builder/engineer.)

Loom #2 is a 90%-complete dobby drawloom, 30″ wide with 20 shafts,
also designed and made by Jim Ahrens. The loom is complete except for
the beater, a warp beam, and a few other pieces. It comes with
detailed plans, so a decent woodworker should have no trouble putting
together the other pieces.

The owner needs to clear out both looms by April 16 – so she says,
“Just make me an offer! Any offer!” After that the looms will be cut
up for the wood (her husband is a woodworker), which seems a real pity
considering their unique nature and history.

Contact the seller directly at

Please pass on to anyone you know who might be interested.



New Features Added to the Ahrens Looms Website

Ahrens Menus
The Ahrens Looms website gets more exciting for me everyday.

We have the full support of Bob Kruger of AVL and Weavolution is announcing it in their newsletter.  We’ve added more features that would be expected on websites. There is a Forum section with several topics and the latest added is the FAQ page. Here is a sample of how a FAQ (frequently asked question) works. When you click on the question the answer pops up below. Try it!

Because that’s all you need for 4 shafts. With those 4 treadles and your two feet you can treadle all of the possible combinations of shafts. There are 14 combinations possible.You never need to tie up any combinations and that way you can easily change tie-ups anytime you want. If you use Jim’s unique tie-ups for the 4 treadles, it’s easy to walk your feet for all the weaves you have available.
Direct tieup

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Just Published!! My new website about Ahrens Looms!

Ahrens Plaque
My good friend Vera Totos and I have been working for months on creating a new website about Ahrens looms. Jim Ahrens built looms for efficient weaving, using his own engineering and centuries old European techniques. This site explains their use and operation. Check it out and let me know what you think using the “Contact” page or as a “comment” at the bottom of each page.