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! ;)
This summer, Schacht Spindle released the Cricket Quartet, an attachment that converts their Cricket rigid heddle loom into a 4-shaft table loom. The claim is that the Quartet allows you to switch back and forth at will between a rigid heddle loom and a 4-shaft loom. At $450, this is pretty expensive, considering you also need to have the Cricket, which is currently running around $240. So all in, this would cost $700, which is a lot for a table loom. (For comparison, a used 4-shaft table loom in working condition should be around $400).
However, I already had a 15" Cricket rigid heddle loom that I used to use for teaching and demonstrations. I enjoy using it, but I knew I would use a 4-shaft table loom more. We recently moved, and my weaving space is much smaller than it used to be, so space is at a premium. Gone are my days of acquiring looms just for fun! After looking at used table looms on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Ravelry, I realized that I had already had some experience with a lot of the looms out there, and found them to be too big, too loud, or too flimsy. So I decided to give the Cricket Quartet a try.
As always, Schacht does a really nice job of packaging with minimal waste, while still protecting everything inside.
Soon I will be putting the loom together and using it - I'll be sure to report back!
Hi! It's been a hot minute!
On the occasion of finishing my fourth Endless Summer Tunic, I finally feel qualified to offer an opinion on this pattern.
Overall, it's a well drafted pattern. I raised the armholes significantly - they gapped a lot on the first two versions. My second two versions are pretty long - I wear them as dresses, more than as tunics. They are great layering pieces. I wear them alone, as breezy dresses in the summer, then pile on leggings and sweaters in the fall. I'll keep making this pattern, for sure.
But. (And it's a big but!) I do have some problems with this pattern.
This pattern and I got off to a rocky start. I bought the paper pattern (which is no longer being sold), and promptly ruined my ironing board cover and iron trying to flatten it out so I could even attempt to trace it accurately. UGH. Here's the new ironing board cover, which is infinitely better than the old one. But still.
The written instructions are, to put it bluntly, awful. More diagrams would have worked wonders. Besides the schematic of the finished garment, there was only one diagram in the whole instruction manual! Hardly what I would expect for a beginner pattern. The written instructions lacked clear grammar, making them hard to understand. If there had been good diagrams, I could have overlooked this. Instead, I found myself bewildered by what the pattern was telling me to do.
I had to take the Creativebug class to make any sense of the instructions. And since it's marketed as a beginner pattern, I really take issue with this. If someone has to pay extra money to understand how to make the pattern, then it's not a beginner pattern!
I was also frustrated that they only gave the finished garment measurements. I know this is a trend in body positivity, but it doesn't do much to help me select a size if they don't also give a recommended ease (which was on the website but not included in the pattern). I much prefer to see the body measurements in a chart, lined up with the finished garment measurements in another chart. This really helps me look at all the measurements, figure out if I need to do any grading, etc. Because this pattern didn't have any of that, I had a lot more angst than usual about selecting a size.
Speaking of body positivity and size inclusivity, this pattern only comes in sizes 37"-47". As of today (May 25, 2022), the website states:
Coming Spring 2020 - a wider range of sizes! 7/23/20 - ETA: Due to the pandemic, unfortunately it will be Summer 2021 for a range of new sizes. We will be selling through our current stock of printed patterns and will not be re-ordering new printed patterns until we can include a larger range of sizes. We will continue to sell downloadable PDFs, and will allocate the income from the sale of these patterns, to expanding our range of sizes.
I checked the other patterns on their website and found the same statement across their self-published patterns. It seems just a tad fishy that almost two years later, Verb hasn't followed through on its promise of expanded sizes.
The final verdict: I like this pattern, but proceed with caution!
How do you organize your stash? I've been through many systems throughout the years, depending on the amount of space (and stash!) available. Right now, I organize by fiber content, then weight. But there are two separate shelves just for handspun yarn. ;)
We've just listed a new "stashmarker" in the shop. It's completely customizable, so you can organize by fiber content, weight, or whatever makes sense to you.
These stash markers come in packs of 5 or 10. They're easy to assemble - no tools required! They sit right on your shelf, so there's no need to drill or nail any holes in your shelving, and best of all, you can move them around any time your stash changes!
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