Sunday 21 March 2010
I haven’t been feeling well lately. As often happens when I have time off, especially when ill, for some reason, I’ve been bitten by a creativity bug. In childhood I had a Brio loom with which I made a few weaving projects that are still around today. For a while now, I had wanted to try weaving again, but looms are rather expensive, so I set aside the idea. Nonetheless, the desire to weave kept returning, and as I’ve been resting these past few days, it hit me that I could always make my own simple looms to start out with.
Shown above, on the left is a frame loom I built yesterday. Frame looms are among the oldest type of loom, with their predecessor the back strap loom. Frame and back strap looms are still used to weave tapestries throughout the world. On the right is an inkle loom, still in progress. Inkle looms are used to create woven belts and other narrow bands. I had to make my own weaving tools as well — shown in that linked photo are heddle sticks, sheds, and a makeshift shuttle.
As you can see, there’s not much complexity to these! Here are the supplies I bought to make them:
- One 2cm x 6cm piece of fir, 2m long (“stud” is tasseau in French)
- One 2cm x 3.5cm piece of fir, 2m long
- One 12mm-diameter beech dowel, 1m long, for the inkle loom dowels (“dowel” is tourillon)
- One 15mm-diameter beech dowel, 1m long, for the heddle sticks
- One 6mm x 3.5cm piece of simple pine molding with two rounded edges for the sheds, 2.4m long (this is a champlat)
- 1/4 litre of clear wood varnish to finish the pieces
- (I already had a hammer, handsaw, nails, and a chisel, so haven’t counted those in the total)
Total price: 38 euros, of which the varnish was 11, so 27 euros for the wood alone.
Just for the fun of it, here’s some weaving vocabulary in French:
to weave (verb): tisser
weaving (noun): tissage
loom: métier à tisser
frame loom: métier à tapisserie (tapisserie means “tapestry”)
inkle loom: métier à ceintures (ceinture means “belt”)
weft: trame, which gave the French saying “j’ai perdu la trame”, meaning someone’s “lost the thread of thought”.