UndyedYarnpire’s Fiber Opera

September 7, 2010

New or used. It is a giant headache either way.

Filed under: stuff — Tags: — UndyedYarnpire @ 5:47 pm

My dining table is full of things that need to be photographed. I cannot spin because there is no room to get out anything new. This will provide incentive.

Now, onto today’s topic.

If something is available new from a reputable dealer who takes all forms of money, how much would you sell your used version for? I have been getting the local Craigslist feed for looms for about a year now and nothing has suited me.  But when I decided I was willing to buy a new rigid heddle loom, I did subscribe to the Weavers Marketplace group on Rav. Today there was a Glimakra Emilia 13″ for $180 Paypal only. This loom is available from Paradise Fibers for $190. Both include free shipping. The used one includes 2 extra heddles. Admittedly the Paradise Fibers people have last year’s price still, but I would much rather pay $10 more and get to use any kind of money and not have to deal with something that could potentially have been lamed by the prior owner.

This kind of zero discount for used is why I tell people who are considering a Fricke wheel to just buy one. First you cannot possibly try before you buy. There are only 8 dealers in the entire country and they vary from just being an Etsy store to being one of those stores where men are actively discouraged (the website touts their menstrual cup products but does not mention the spinning wheels, I hope people like that go out of business for their discriminatory attitudes.)  None of these places, and I have dealt with all of them to some extent, are run by professional people who think of their fiber-related business as an actual job. They all act like it is some sort of hobby and you should be pleased that they condescend to sell you anything. All of them. It is not exclusive to Fricke dealers. All fiber-related vendors tend toward this. But the main reason to buy a used wheel is not for the discount, it is because you do not have to deal with the flaky weirdos who send you the wrong invoices or cannot update their catalogs or have to call a friend to find out if they can take your credit card for purchases.

Every time I buy something (except the one purchase from Paradise Fibers), there is always an email describing some problem, from me or from them.  Most of the time, for yarn or fiber, there is someone else who is selling a substitute and if I get too frustrated, I go elsewhere. When I bought my wheel, there was only one choice as far as I could tell.

However, having emailed Fricke, it turns out they are happy to drop-ship your wheel to you free. All you have to do is write and ask permission to order (up to 10 days during show season, I waited 5 for my reply), mail them a check or money order, wait for the money to clear (up  to 2 weeks), wait for your wheel to be made, then wait for the shipping. I really do like my wheel. It is definitely worth the price I paid (half or less what a comparable wheel cost from any other brand, while not sucking like a Heavenly) but there is a reason you might think the only way to get a spinning wheel is to inherit it from your great grandmother.

Now I stupidly decided I want a loom. And this whole process is beginning again. Yarn Barn of Kansas does not sell rigid heddle looms except the plastic-knobbed folding ones. They focus on the pipe organ kind of loom… because Kansas has houses for people to live in. Not that people living in Kansas usually have the kinds of jobs where a couple thousand bucks of disposable income is lying around or where if you just ate in for a month you could save that up. I have been to the store and it is not that big either (nor do they have parking). They do claim to offer free shipping on any loom costing more than $250, but not the small folding ones. So pretty much it is free shipping on any loom  more than $500. I was really put out by the Yarn Barn reply which did not offer to help me place a special order when I specifically asked about a loom they do not sell but from a manufacturer they do carry.

None of my LYS sell any looms.  Even the Alpaca Direct people, who I want to be my LYS even though they are not really local, just because they actually have yarn in stock and parking. Like they want customers or something. They said that it might be possible to order a Flip for me. Of course I do not know if I would like the Schacht Flip if I got it. It folds with your weaving on, which is an enormous plus. The reviews seem pretty positive. But it took Schacht 4 years to come up with a jumbo bobbin for their Matchless and it costs $300. That bobbin is still smaller than the Fricke bobbins which came included with my wheel, the whole wheel of which cost about $300. The Matchless is pretty and it is made out of nice wood. But there are some really big detriments in terms of functionality. And that makes me concerned about buying a folding loom from them where the tension gears and moving parts are made from plastic. Like possibly the Flip is an overpriced piece of garbage and people are so deluded by the brand name that they will not admit they made a bad purchase. The Flip’s heddles cost more than any other rigid heddle loom heddles too.

I  have settled on the idea of the LeClerc Bergere ($260, non-folding, metal working bits), the Schacht Flip (folding, plastic working bits, $235, 255, 275:: 12, 20, 24″ ) the Glimakra Emilia (18″, metal working bits, folds but only when empty, $229 but completely non-existent in reality.) I considered the Ashford Knitter’s Loom as well, it is similar to the Flip in terms of plastic working bits, sizes, and folding.

Then I realized if I was going to spend this kind of money, I might as well save up and buy a real 4-harness loom for only twice the price. It has the added benefits of delaying my interacting with people who are going to make me crazy. But there is the detriment in that I will not have my new thing.


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