The visit to the Louët factory was great!
We were welcomed by Loes, our Spinzilla team captain and employee of Louët and also daughter to Jan Louët.
She had not spun much before and Jan taught her on the spot (on an Louet S17):
He did well and so did she. Within a few minutes she spun consistently:
What a talent!
She gave us tea and we had my cookies. It’s a 1-2-3 recipe with Golden Syrup and creamed coconut. Yum!
Jan showed us the new design: very exciting!
I find it amazing how the look of Louet wheels remains true to their essence and history but the technical innovations are poured into them, with precision.
All people there are technical, including Loes, and it was nice to talk engineering specifics.
Then we got a tour of the factory. So impressive!
Right at the big doors are the stacks of raw wood. Just trees in slabs.
Then you walk through the building, counter clock wise, and there are machines everywhere and lots of little parts and half wheels and half looms and men working the machines and you end up at the front, where the showroom is. And there’s the stock: wheels and looms and kitchen parts. All neatly packed in the iconic sturdy Louët carton boxes.
I had brought that old S70 I bought at the thrift store the other day and without a word they took it and repaired it and made it all functioning and shiny.
Then we took our wheels up the stairs, to what will become a nice light flooded Show & Do area. All the current wheels are there and also all the weaving looms. We sat spinning amongst all the current models:
Behind me, from left to right, you see the S80 Olivia, the S90 Julia, the S95 Victoria, the oddly shaped S90 and another S95 Victoria in oak.They’re all Scotch tension wheels and the flyer clicks into the back with a magnet, making changing a bobbin much faster then with my vintage S70.
Yeah, my vintage S70… it’s old, it’s my darling.
And its wheel has a distinctive wobble…
.. you can’t be at the factory, with Jan Louët sitting next to you, and have a wobble in your wheel. Before you know it:
Jan takes out the axel and is now somewhere on the factory floor straightening it out.
He left his wheel behind: one of the prototypes from back when he was designing a small foldable wheel: the S95 Victoria.
This is one of only 12 in existence.
Louët is setting up some sort of collection of their previous wheels and other products. I saw a pristine Hatbox, never used!
I bought one of the last wooden bobbins for the S70 they have.
After a few hours spinning we said goodbye and I took my wheels home. The old battered one spins wonderful now. I dream of sanding it down and painting it. Making it a fun wheel.
Today I’m back in the cabin, plying some yellow-brown singles. The cat missed me and insists on laying on my lap, bobbing up and down.