Friday, August 1, 2008

"Why build a loom, can't you just buy fabric?"

Sure, but that's not the point :)

I've noticed that the number of people weaving on warp weighted looms is relatively small. Why? So I decided to build one to find out.

They aren't a complicated loom to build.

The one that I built is a synthesis of all the research that I have done so is also in it's simplest form in that it only currently has two sheds. If I decide in the future to add more sheds it's as easy as adding more heddle rod supports and buying more dowels. The heddle rod supports are what is holding up the middle dowel rod in the picture. As the loom is set up now, it can weave tabby and basket weave. If I want to do more complicated weaves like twill that is where the extra sheds come into play. Since I'm learning using this loom and then I plan on using it as a teaching/display loom so that others can try it out I figured that is was best to start simple.
The materials used were all pine and as follows:

2 - 8ft 2x4s
1 - 8ft 1x2
15 inches of 2x3
15 inches of 2x4
1 - 72 inch 1.5" dowel
1 - 72 inch 1.25" dowel

I used three coats of a combination stain/poly on all of the pieces except for the dowels.

I worked on it with my husband in the evenings and during nap time and it was done and stained in a couple of days. I decided to make mine able to weave 60" wide fabric because it gives me a little more freedom to move about and my choice of width. I probably won't weave 60" wide fabric every time I use it, but the option is there if I'm feeling froggy.

Now I need to get my big box of clay out and start weighing out the clay into about 1lb segments so I can make the weights. I am guessing from my research that I'll need somewhere around 40 or so weights so I better get down to business.

This picture has my toddler in the foreground for a size comparison since he is 30" tall it helps to put the size into perspective.
Once I have weights I can start to dress the loom since I was gifted with some nice cones of wool.
For my A&S project I plan to build another loom out of more period materials and spin my own wool, but I don't want to sacrifice that much hand spun wool in addition it being a little harder to work with than commercially spun yarn.