Last fall, we moved across the country and into a new house. This was a huge shakeup! One of the things I needed was a new laundry basket to fit a dark and awkward corner in our bathroom.
The Starting Point - A "Sad Greige" Laundry Basket
I ended up buying this laundry basket at Target. The size was just right, but the gray fabric just made me sad. Right now gray walls are everywhere, but we decided to paint the house in more cheerful colors - peach, turquoise, and a very pale pink. So gray just wouldn't do. Luckily, I'm a weaver! I set out to weave a fabric that would go with our new color scheme, and brighten up that dark corner in the bathroom.
In my previous posts, I shared the unboxing and setup of the Cricket Quartet. Now I'm finally weaving on it, and I have a few thoughts to share!
In my last post, I unboxed the Cricket Quartet and talked about my reasons for buying it. In this post, I'm sharing the process of putting it together.
This is NOT the instruction manual - Schacht did a great job with theirs, as well as a great instructional video. I made sure to read the printed manual and watch their video before putting my Quartet together.
Thanks to the magic of film, I thought that putting this loom together would be quick and easy. It was pretty easy, but not quick! It took me about two and a half hours to put together - and I've put together quite a few of Schacht's products, so I'm already pretty familiar with how they work. If you're totally new to looms or Schacht products, be sure to give yourself some extra time.
My biggest tip for working with the Cricket line of products is to use a cordless drill. All of the holes you need are pre-drilled, and the instructions say you just need a screwdriver, but many of these holes are very tight. This is a recipe for frustration. Use a power drill, go slowly, and do the last bit of tightening by hand.
Putting the heddles on the shafts was the most time-consuming part of the assembly for me. You'll want to make sure you get them on properly, then divide them accurately. On my floor looms, it's relatively easy to move heddles around on the shafts if you don't have enough, or if they're not spaced properly. But because of the way the Quartet's shafts attach to the levers, this isn't as quick a fix with the Quartet. Not a big deal - just be sure to do it right the first time.
When it came to lining up the shafts, I was confused because it wasn’t really possible to get the shafts lined up as perfectly as I wanted, but this didn’t impact the usability once I had a warp on there. Just get them as close as you can.
Once all the shafts are assembled, you'll take out some pieces from your old Cricket, and put in a new center bar. This felt really sturdy. The only problem for me was that it used a different size hex key than the previous setup - which means I have more to keep track of if I want to switch between setups. If you're using the Cricket stand, you also need to make sure you keep track of the hex key, as it will be needed when you go to put the loom into the stand. I also found that I needed to adjust it pretty tightly - almost more tightly than I was comfortable with - in order to weave well. But I'll talk more about that in a later post!
The old back beam moves to a new location, which is a pretty clever way to give you a much nicer shed for weaving. The only disappointing thing was that now the back apron rod doesn't reach all the way to the heddles. Extra length on the back apron rod can be a little tricky to weave with, but it also helps to reduce warp waste, which if often something I’m considering when using a small loom like the Cricket. This is easily solved with some extra Texsolv, which I always keep on hand.
The last step is assembling the beater, which was a little bit tricky. It might be helpful to have someone to help you with this step. The arms for the swinging beater were pretty tricky, because it’s just a friction fit at the top, and it wanted to fall apart on me a few times. Then attaching this part to the loom was also a little tricky – you want the beater to swing freely AND evenly. This required a lot of adjusting during setup, and I ended up fine-tuning it a little bit more once I was actually weaving.
Once the loom was all put together, I was pretty pleased. It feels pretty sturdy, and I was excited to get weaving on it. But that's for another post! ;)
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