Weave With a Homemade Loom

The author puts together a homemade loom and revisits a craft she tried and abandoned in grammar school.

| August/September 1994

Weaving, the interlacing of two materials, is one of the oldest skills in the world. It's done by holding one set of parallel threads so that you can cross a second set of threads over and under the first set to form a fabric.

How much time and money you spend is entirely up to you. As a beginner, less than $10 got me on my way; it was enough to buy some cheap yard and cover the cost of wood and hardware for a homemade loom frame. 

Professionals may spend as much as $3000 on a loom, an apparatus that speeds up the over-and-under process by raising the preselected threads. Exotic mohair and silk yarns can cost as much as $10 an ounce. There is even a computer program now, called Combby 8, that allows you to design your own pattern and transmit it to your loom; it will automatically pick up all of the threads you selected for your individual pattern.

"Have you ever woven before?" Judy Steinkoenig asks. She's the co-owner of a local weaving shop and my instructor.

Sure I'd woven. There was the set of square pot holders I made in grade school. And shortly thereafter, I bought myself a weaving kit complete with fabric ties and plastic, red loom. It wasn't long before I filled the kitchen with a colorful assortment of more useless pot holders. Within a few weeks, Mom ceased being impressed, and I didn't know what else to make, so I threw away the loom and retired early.

Judy swears she never once made a pot holder. In fact, she never even tried weaving until she was married and home raising her one-year-old son. She was in dire need of a hobby when she discovered a local weaving course.

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