I find the thrill of coming across a vintage Speedweve quite addictive to be honest! For the past few years I've been searching for them and in that time I've come across quite a few different models. I often get asked about the difference between the two main Speedweve models known as Model 1 and Model 2 produced in the U.K. between the 1930s and 1950s. In an attempt to make it easy to identify what model you have or what might be suitable for you to purchase, I thought I'd write a short post about it.
So, if you're lucky enough to discover one with its original instructions or better still in its original box then you'll be able to quickly identify which model you have in your hands.
Just take a look at the cover of the box: most likely it will say 'Model 1' or 'Model 2'. Or, cast your eyes over the printed instructions; it will probably be written at the top of the sheet or front cover.
However, let's not forget many of these fabulous tools have probably passed through many hands before they found at home with you and so might have lost a few parts along the way. If you have no box or instructions then sometimes you can find the model number (1 or 2) stamped on the back of the metal loom part.
Failing all that, then a simple glance at the front of the loom will give you a few clues!
Firstly Model 1 was designed with a side sliding mechanism with an internal rocker that enables you to flip the hooks from the left to the right and vice versa with a simple push of the slider.
The Model 2 which was produced after Model 1 has a much simpler exposed hook design.
To flip the hooks you simply run your fingertips along the hook loops and in turn the hooks will move left and right quite freely.
Hmmm....now what difference does that make I hear you say?!
Well, in my experience when it comes down to it neither one is better than the other, except if you have dexterity issues. If you do then I would definitely opt for a Model 2 as sometimes the slider on the Model 1 can be a little stiff and requires a bit more pressure to be applied in order to move the hooks. The majority of Model 2 looms have loose, free-moving hooks that easily slide but this can pose another small issue....read on!
When adding in the warp threads it is easier if you can place the hooks in the central position (not leaning to the left or right) but as Model 2 looms have looser hooks this isn't always possible. Once you insert your warp threads this isn't really an issue at all as the tension of the thread holds the hooks in position so if you move the loom around they wont flip on their own.
If you are thinking you might want to explore different pattern options beyond a straightforward basket weave then having the ability to position the hooks centrally can be an advantage (by no means essential but is handy!). On a Model 2 there are a few DIY methods to do this; just inserting a thin stick through the hook loops should do it but can be a little fiddly.
Don't get me wrong though, you can create a cast array of patterns using a simple basket weave (weaving over 1 vertical thread and then under 1 vertical thread) and different coloured threads in your warp and weft; at the end of the day this is what a Speedweve was designed to do!! Although in the modern world of visible mending many of us are exploring the many combinations of colour and weave patterns taken from traditional loom weaving to see what we can create and often this entails weaving beyond over 1/under 1 patterns.
One final difference I'd like to draw your attention to is the curved lip at the bottom of the metal loom part.
Occasionally you might find one that has no bent lip on the inside of the curved radius; rather it is still a flat piece of metal with a cut out curve. I have noticed this present on both Model 1 and Model 2 looms but more so on Model 1's and earlier (yet to be patented) models. I believe the curved lip was added to ensure a more secure fit within the groove of the wooden disc when held in place with an elastic band but in truth it makes very little difference. In fact all the new replica models have no bent curved lip either!
There you go; a quick run down of Model 1 and Model 2.
I really hope you enjoyed reading this post and it answered any questions you had, but feel free to comment below if you need more advice.
Do you fancy picking up a vintage Speedweve (without the endless hours of searching and eBay bidding!) then hit the link below!!