The Spencer Power Treadle Review by Deb Bednarek
I’ve been weaving in one form or another since I was a child and alternate between working on a couple of floor looms and a few Mirrix these days. Each style of loom has their use in my creative ventures and I truly do weave on a daily basis unless life gets in the way. Daily weaving is a lovely benefit of being retired!
Recently I’ve begun experimenting with the variety of accessory options Mirrix has available. The Spencer Power Treadle is the latest accessory I’ve added to my 22 inch Zach Loom. I’ve been curious about it in the past but focused mainly on creating smaller jewelry type weavings on my smaller Mirrix looms so didn’t think I’d need it. (Yes, I’m a collector of looms of all types and sizes) It was time for me to see what this treadle is all about and if it would benefit my weaving process.
I compare adding the Spencer treadle to your Mirrix to trading up to a KitchenAid mixer from a hand mixer if you bake, using a power lawn mower instead of a push mower or, if I really want to date myself, having an automatic transmission in a car versus a manual one. Obviously you can create lovely weavings on a frame loom, but a Mirrix makes everything more efficient and enjoyable. Obviously you can weave lovely items on a Mirrix without this treadle, but I’ve already discovered it is a very nice luxury and adds ease and efficiency to your weaving experience. The more you use it, the more you realize how many ways it makes weaving more enjoyable.
The Spencer is a cute little gadget that is easily installed on your Mirrix loom. It can be used on any size Mirrix, I believe, but I figured it’d be most helpful on my largest loom. You need a power source to operate it. It replaces your handle but you can easily reconvert your loom to using the handle if you so choose. You can also move it to a different loom if you have more than one Mirrix... I know I’m not the only one who has multiples! There are written instructions as well as videos on the Mirrix site that make installation really easy.
I’m currently weaving a tapestry on this loom that requires many color changes per row for the majority of the piece. Having a pedal to push with your foot to change sheds frees up your hands for changing shuttles, beating the weft, etc. Freeing up your hand makes one less interruption per row. The hardest thing for me to get used to was using my foot for this instead of reaching for the handle. Also, at first I kept my foot on the pedal and it kind of vibrates to tell you to not do that. Minor adjustments! It takes less than a second to move from one shed to another if you mistakenly raise the wrong one. The more you use it, the more natural it becomes.
I watched a video where a weaver actually timed herself weaving a shape with and without the Spencer Treadle. The treadle definitely speeds up your weaving process and I can see that it has already sped up my weaving and I’m still on my first project using it. However, for me and probably most weavers, tapestry weaving is naturally a slow and almost reflective process that can’t be sped up too much. One thing I really like it for is quickly building up one area of my work if I want to; that can be accomplished super fast. Also, if by chance I stuck a shuttle in the wrong place and need to unweave something, that pedal makes it so easy. It surprised me how many subtle differences freeing up your hand and involving one foot makes in the weaving process.
If you spend a lot of time weaving on a Mirrix, consider adding this treadle. You can weave without it but, once you try it out and get used to it, you won’t want to be without it.