Hello DFA Fiber Friends,

This past winter I decided it had come the time that I should see how / where I could find a good place for my mother’s loom. I thought about this when my mother passed away in 2003 in Michigan. However I moved the loom to Richland and kept it for awhile and put on one of my mother’ warps which I found in her stash. It took me 10 years to weave it off – her warps are loooonnng!! like 30 feet or so. One rug I wove was in DFA’s January show – the 11 foot green corduroy rug!

The family loom was built in the winter of 1945-46 by my Finnish grandfather on the farm in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for my grandmother. She wove on it for a few years. Then my mother wove on it for 50 years, sold rag rugs making enough profit to support 3 trips to Finland. She is one of the 8 weavers featured in the Michigan State Univ’s book: Finnish American Rag Rugs, published in 2010.

 This winter I contacted some museums and limited storage was the main factor in being turned down. However, in my searches I discovered the Antique Gas and Engine Museum in Vista, California which has a loom barn!

They have 50 looms, all out on display and in working order!!! The oldest is a 1840’s barn loom from West Virginia. Included on the floor are unique looms which were built by California loom makers and other looms with familiar brand names. The Palomar Handweavers’ Guild meets there regularly for their meetings, workshops and study groups. They also weave on the looms and maintain them. Almost all the looms had projects on them when we delivered my loom this month.

So I’m just very pleased about my mother’s loom being in the museum and am including two photos. Karen Greeley, the main loom maintenance person, is standing in the back. Robyn is in the front and was instrumental in lobbying to saying yes to my request. Robyn is originally from Michigan and is half Finnish. She already owned the book when my loom donation offer was received this winter. She is excited to be weaving on my mother’s loom. I also donated a black and red cotton warp (probably 30 feet) that was in my mother’s stash which Robyn plans to put on the loom.

The Engine museum began many years ago. Then the loom barn was built. It wasn’t intended for looms but a loom was donated, and then another and then another. And weavers became interested. Quickly the barn has become full. I was really lucky that they were interested and made room for one more. My mother’s poem, about what would happen to her loom, is in the book section that talks about my mother. She never could have imagined that her loom would be happily standing with other looms being used.

Both my parents would be pleased. All the tractors and engines on the acreage would please my father. I feel this is a good fit. I hope that DFA members traveling in the area stop in someday. It is north of San Diego and well below Los Angeles.

Chris Simonen