Fully Restored 1957 Nilus Leclerc 45″ ‘Mira’ Loom

What started as this two weeks ago…

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…finished like this today…

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Harness Alignment

The only original roller cord on this loom…

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The entire cord setup on this loom was wrong. I have no idea how the loom would have even functioned in this state. The upper cords were not wrapped on the upper roller at all, but simply set across the upper roller. The single wrap is meant for both stability and gripping power.  And the lower roller cords were polyester, a material that does not grip as well as cotton…obviously the original cords had been replaced and were not attractive at all…

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The centre of the heddle eyes need to be aligned with a line drawn from the top of the breast beam to the top of the back beam.

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These eyes were too low (the dark bar just below the string extending to the left)…

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This was  adjusted once I cut new cords…

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Here are the correct, braided cotton new cords installed as they should be.  Instead of metal clips or wire I conceded to the modern use of zip ties as fasteners…

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Reattaching Canvases

I used the same holes in the thread beam and the cloth beam.  The canvases had to be slightly stretched in order for the holes to realign.  The fabric tacks I used were 5/8″ long which are substantially longer than the original nails.  I used a small brass hammer to avoid damaging the wood on the beams.  With tension the fabric will stretch out once again.  I ordered an additional 1/4″ metal rod as the loom is short by one…47″ long.

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Weaving Infrastructure

Reconditioning a loom and dyeing wool require accessories.

Rubberized feet that stabilize the loom…

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…cotton braided rope that is used on treadles and harnesses (a hefty $15 for 100’…but considering the increased use of polyester and nylon, this product is more of a rarity)…

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…and a stainless steel 19L/20QT pot for mordanting and dyeing ($38…not a bad deal, a lighter gauge but with a pyrex lid)…

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Haskap Dye Loom Fibre

When lovely woman tilts her saucer,
And finds too late that tea will stain,
Whatever made the Lady crosser,
What art can make all white again;
The only art the stain to cover,
To hide the spot from every eye;
And wear an unsoiled dress above her,
The proper colour is to DYE.

1841, Swartz

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Coloring is one of the most delightful arts, also a most responsible branch of manufacture; and a good dyer makes a manufacturer wealthy, happy, and renowned; while a poor one brings ruin, bankruptcy, and misery; and not considering the fineness of the cloth or the faultless weaver, the color sells the goods.

1869, Haserick

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No matter the perspective from which dyeing is discussed, in the end it all boils down to one, singular, powerful kernel…beauty.  Humans can’t be blamed for their love of colour; to love colour seems to be in our genetic make-up.

In 1856 William Henry Perkin accidentally discovered a lavender dye synthesized from a coal-tar derivative and the age of synthetic dyes was born.  Synthetic dyes are standardized and not dependent upon the variances of seasons, climates, growing conditions, or individual plants.  Looking at the colour of the clothing that you, the reader, is wearing, we take all of this for granted each day as we decide what colours to choose; it wasn’t always that way.  But it seems now that the circle has come fully ‘round again, and natural dyes are making a come-back as their very uncertainty and the uniqueness of each batch allows for variations that are personal and unprecedented.  And not only that.  But the individualism of dyers and their locales are again becoming appreciated regionally.  That rather than the unconscious dependence upon the ecological, social, and economic destructiveness of global corporate manufacturing, transportation, and marketing systems, real people can organize to provide grounded local goods.

I never thought that my own desire to live a sustainable, grounded, humble, healthy, and simple life would lead to this…

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which would lead to this…

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which would lead to this…

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Yesterday I got this load for free…

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It seems that the Canadian agricultural corporate giant has decided that it’s not worth picking up in our area, so friends have been burning it for years.

Chalk one up for localized agriculture I guess.  :)