A Real Cretan Loom.
My Cretan loom – beautiful and in excellent condition.  It was treated with *Cuprinol wood preserver prior to our neighbour, Eleni, storing it for several years for us. 

Crete. Loom. Basic framework. 

We have seen several old Cretan looms for sale in second-hand shops in Chania.  Some, we know, are often exported to other countries, including America. Others we have seen in disrepair and decaying in empty dwellings or, which may not be quite as bad, turned into items of 'feature' furniture. We have also seen them simply adorning Taverna patio's - with no protection from the elements and perhaps little future.
Crete. Weaving. Renovating loom.
Preparation and Polishing

Our own loom...
In 1999, my own Cretan loom stood, at last, as proudly as any Cretan warrior, on our mezzanine floor, having been thoroughly polished using a little Danish oil.

The main frame with beater and warp and front beams, a set of string heddles and a couple of bamboo reeds but no pedals – they were soon made and we were ready for the warp!  In the front of the photo is my  spinning wheel which I still have to master.

Gaining 'The Knowledge'...
My knowledge about the process of weaving was minimal and my reference library not much better:-   

'The Craft of the Weaver' by Ann Sutton, Peter Collingwood and G. St. Aubyn Hubbard.  This has sections on spinning, dyeing and weaving.

'Teach Yourself Handweaving' – on long term loan from a friend.  

'Your Handweaving' by Elsie Davenport.  

I could find nothing on weaving with a Cretan loom. Most books seem to be about the use of modern looms, so it was time for some trial and error learning and adaptation.  

I had bought a cone of warp yarn from UK but had no warping board, so we quickly improvised with an old wooden table (which was my kitchen table when we first moved out here) and some long nails. And warping began! It was 26 February.

Making the first warp...
The warp – 3.25yards and 400 ends.     Crete. Weaving. Preparing warp.

Crete. Weaving. Preparing warp.
Overcoming problems...
Eleni, my Cretan weaving expert neighbour, had given me lessons on winding the warp yarn onto a spool –  a piece of bamboo cane - to make  it easier to wind the yarn onto the warping board. The spool is put on to the shaft of a metal rod with a flattened circle at one end (Dichtia).  The other end is balanced on a hollow in a flat piece of wood (Tromili) with a handle on which you sit. The rod is twirled round and the yarn winds on the spool. It is quite an art.  And took quite a lot of practice to be able to do it and to meet with Eleni’s approval.
Weaving is one of the original Cretan crafts born from necessity. It you need clothes (or something to trade) the original way was to make them. The beautiful and colourful Cretan carpets and clothes of the past, with their so intricate patterns, so desirable today, were often passed on as dowry. It started with the warp...