Weaving on a Simple Frame Loom

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Now it’s time to learn weaving on your frame loom. First, make sure you’ve followed the direction in warping your frame loom. Then gather the following materials.

1.A chopstick or small thin piece of wooden dowel

2.Assorted pieces of colored woolen thread, buttons, colored wire, twigs etc.

3.An old metal fork, or some other object with strong tines like an afro-comb.


When choosing the material for the weaving ( the threads that go from side-to-side across the loom are called the weft threads) make sure they are springy, like wool. You can weave with other materials, but it can be more difficult. Avoid weaving with string, at least to begin with.

The first step is to cut a length of weft yarn that is long enough to make several passes across the loom, about 4 feet will do.

Next, insert the chopstick into the warp threads going from one side of the loom to the other and just above where the threads cross in the middle of the loom. Then pull the chopstick down to the bottom of the loom. This creates tension in the warp threads.

The gap between the front and back warp threads is called the shed. And, because the shed is open above the chopstick it is called the natural shed.

Pass your ball of weaving yarn through the shed from right to left leaving a tail of thread about 4 inches long sticking out on the right.

The thread will fall down towards the chopstick.

Now, take the shed stick - the long flat piece of wood you made at the same time as the loom - and weave it in and out of the warp threads, going under the lower threads and over the top ones

With one hand on either end of the shed stick, twist it so that it opens a new shed. Pass your ball of weft yarn through this shed from left to right.

Don't pull the yarn tight! Make an arc as the yarn goes across the warp threads from left to right. This will leave enough slack so that, as you continue to weave, the tension in the piece will not cause the sides to pull together.

Now flatten the shed stick again and pull it out of the loom. Your ball of wool should be on the right and you will be able to see the first two rows of weaving. Using the tines of the fork, push the weft yarn from the last shot down towards the first row. Pack it down nice and tight.

You now have a natural shed once again and you can pass the ball of yarn back from the right to the left. Again, don't pull it tight, try and leave a small arc to create some slack.

With the shed stick repeat the previous steps, going under the lower threads and over the top threads. Twist the shed stick to open up a new shed and pass your ball of wool back from the left to the right. Remove the shed stick and pack the weft threads together with your fork.

Congratulations!! You’re weaving.

If you repeat this process going up the loom you will end up with a piece of fabric about 4 inches long. The weaving will be big enough for a large coaster or a nice little wall hanging.

As you move up the loom it will get increasingly difficult to make a new shed so younger children may want to stop before they get to four inches of fabric.

Running out of thread or changing color

As your weaving grows you will run out of yarn from your little ball. Not to worry. Make another ball and where ever your last thread ended make a little tail going out of the back of the weaving. Make another little tail going out the back at the same place with the new thread and continue on to the end of the row. There's no need to tie the threads together as the pressure of the weaving will hold the yarn in place. You can use this technique to start new colors or to weave in pieces of twigs and wire.

Attaching Buttons and Washers

To attache buttons cut a 3 inch piece of wool and thread the button onto it. With an open shed, place the two pieces of thread on either side of the button into the shed, with the button sticking out of the front. Continue weaving. The pressure of the weaving will hold the button in place.

Finishing The Weaving

When you decide you've done enough weaving it's time to finish the piece and take it off the loom so that you can save it for posterity. There are two ways to do this.

The Fancy Way

You will need a needle with a fairly large eye to thread a piece of your wool through. Starting at the top of the weaving sew in a zig-zag pattern between the last two rows of thread. All you are trying to do is maintain enough pressure on the last rows so that they don't slip. You don't really need to do anything more fancy. Once you have done the top remove the chopstick from the bottom of the weaving and, using the fork, push the first few rows of thread up to meet the others. Do the same zig-zag sewing on the bottom of the piece. Now you can simply cut the threads that hold the weaving in place and remove it from the loom.

The Fast Way

Remove the chopstick from the bottom of the loom and, using the fork, push the threads together. Cut alternate warp threads at the bottom where they attach the weaving to the loom. Tie these pieces together. Repeat this until you have cut all of the threads that hold the weaving to the loom, from both the bottom and the top.

Finally

Trim the threads at each end of the weaving so that they are about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch long and turn the piece over and snip any loose threads that you can see. With a needle thread any loose tails from the beginning and ending rows back into the weaving.

It's finished!!

Now that you know how to build, warp, and weave on a frame loom you can experiment with more complex weaving projects. These reading suggestions will give you a good place to start.

Happy weaving.

Recommended Reading

Loom Kits

If you don’t feel confident in your building skills there are many commercially available looms that can be just as much fun as building your own. These are a few that I like.

This is my favorite book on weaving but it doesn’t seem to be in print any more. You may be able to find a used copy. It’s an excellent resource.