"What are you going to make?"
"What can you make?"
These were responses I was getting from everyone.
To be honest, I didn't even know. This was a project full of epic trial and error.
How it all started:
After an intriguing conversation with a friend that was into all sorts of textiles, threads, dyes, felts etc
I really wanted to try weaving something with a loom.
It seemed a bit more efficient and less tedious than knitting. (Granted I learnt how to knit from youtube videos)
A loom didn't look impossible to make/figure out... So why not.
Here's my first shot at a basic Slot & Eye Heddle Loom.
Basic - Intermediate wood working skills
Table/Band Saw (can use hand saw as well)
Drill & Bits
1/4-3/8" thick mdf/ply/flooring (3.5" x 12")
2 old hangers
Screws & Nails (various)
Yarn, string or thread.
Step 1: Loom parts & terminology
Again, I have no prior knowledge of looms & weaving, so feel free to add/correct/etc.
Also, my material choice is limited to the scrap bin.
There may be better ways of making certain parts... so modify to suit your needs/materials.
All the components are assemble onto the frame.
As you weave (the shuttle through the warp yarns) the warp yarns become cloth.
The newly made material is then wrapped around this beam/roller.
Holds the Warp yarn.
As the weaving progresses, the warp yarns roll out towards the cloth beam and become fabric.
Slot & Eye Reed:
The warp yarn run through the Reed.
The reed is what criss crosses the yarn.
The warp yarn going through the eye is fixed, and the warp thread going through the slot moves up and down.
With each pass of the shuttle the reed is moved.
The alternating warp yarn traps the weft yarn creating fabric.
Warp Set up bar:
Determines the length of your warp yarn.
Allow you to advance the warp yarn and keep the tension between the warp & cloth beams
Allows you to set the reed up by pulling the warp yarn strands through the slots & eyes.
The shuttles hold the weft yarn.
The weft passes through the warp yarns with each change of the reed and gets trapped.
This creates the fabric.
Step 2: Choose your scrap pieces.
Go to the scrap bin.
Don't worry, you'll be back for more!.
Offcut 2x4 (Approx 24" in overall length)
Offcut floor panel
3/4" OD wood dowel scraps
Pic 3 & 4:
Quick sketches and general dimensions to get an idea of how everything comes together & works.
I'll be winging it from there, as the scraps will determine the dimensions.
Step 3: Cut the 2 x 4 frame.
Mark your cuts.
Pic 2 & 3:
Drill out 3/4" holes to fit the warp & cloth beams through.
Pic 4 & 5:
Cut along marked lines.
Frame sides & bottom.
Cut the frame bottom piece in half.
Cut the fram sides in half
Step 4: Glue & fasten frame
Pre drill screw holes
Apply wood glue and fasten with wood screws.
Insert 3/4" wooden dowels into the frame to further align.
Set aside to dry.
Step 5: Make the Eye & Slot Reed.
Reed with first table saw passes.
Raising the saw blade to acquire a larger slot.
With the table saw going I raise the panel and lower slowly onto the saw blade.
The rear fence maintains the horizontal position of the wood
The center mark let's me know where the saw position is.
Center mark corresponds to the markings for the slots.
File the slots to make them smooth (yarn/thread has to pass through)
Pic 6, 7, & 8
Drill holes in between each slot to create the eyes.
Pics 9 - 14 (OMIT - explained later)
Make reed pivot
(Trap 3/4" wooden dowel in a scrap piece of 2x4)
Pic 10 & 11:
Cut a grove into the dowel.
Reed with pivot on frame.
Apply a thin coat of wood glue to the insides of the slot & eye holess.
This will eliminate any rough edges and will allow the warp yarn to run smoothly through them.
Step 6: Make the rachets
Find a scrap piece of wood.
Drill a 3/4" hole to fit around the dowel.
Drill a 1/16" hole into the rachet handle and
drive a nail through it. this will lock the ratchet in place.
Step 7: Checkpoint.
(Scroll over components to view pieces)
Step 8: Warp set up bar
(pretty much determines the length of your piece)
Find a suitable piece of wood.
(offcut 2x4. it was 41" in length)
Center the frame on one end of the piece.
Mark off where the frame sits (on both sides)
Drill 3/4" hole
Place a 3/4" dowel into the drilled hole.
Mark the dowel and cut to length.
Remove the rest of the material with a table saw.
Place the dowel back into the drilled hole.
Repeat steps 1 - 4 on the other side.
Your frame should now lock into the warp setup bar.
Drill holes for different warp lengths.
Step 9: Reed hook.
So it meant that my reed hook would have to be smaller to fit through.
Hold a nail with a pair of pliers.
Hammer the nail head flat.
Use a hack saw/file to cut a groove into the flattened surface
Check if the reed hook fits into the eye hole. (Check all of them)
Enlarge eye holes with drill if necessary.
File down the sides of the reed hook if necessary
Clamp dowel into a vise.
Hammer the reed hook into the dowell end.
Reed hook completed.
Reed hook final test.
Ensure there is enough length for the hook to grab the yarn on the other side.
Step 10: Warp & Cloth beams
Hole saw, PVC piping, etc
I only have a table saw & hand drill.
so here goes!
Cut four 2.5" x 2.5" x 3/4 thick
Rip cross hairs 1/8" deep into the face of the 4 pieces.
Drill 3/4" hole to fit into the dowel.
File grooves into the corners of the pieces
Drill holes into 1 side of each piece.
Grab 2 steel hangers from the closet.
Drill holes 5/8" in from the corner
Bend hanger to fit into the hole and lock into the filed corner.
Repeat for both sides and slide the assembly onto the Warp & Cloth beams
Step 11: Make some shuttles.
Cut eraser sized & shaped wood pieces.
Drill holes at the ends and cut to the end of the holes.
Pic 3 & 4:
I didn't have a circular file, so I clamped a nail wrapped with sandpaper and used that!
Shuttles of different sizes.
If you want a some quick shuttles, just cut them out of card stock.
Step 12: Checkpoint.
Breakdown of Loom components.
Yarn (rope in my case!)
Step 13: Setting up the loom: Warp Yarn
A | Tie end of yarn/rope onto the wire of the cloth beam.
B | Using the reed hook, pull the string through the slot,
then loop the string around the warp setup bar on the other side of the Reed
C | Repeat this process, you will have a continuous piece of string going through the Reed.
(Between the cloth beam and the warp setup bar)
Close up of the Reed hook pulling the yarn through.
Pic 3, 4,& 5:
Finished feeding the warp yarn through the slots.
Different detail shots
A | With a scrap piece of yarn, tie up the warp thread at the setup bar end.
B | Pull off of the Warp setup bar
C | Cut the loop with a pair of scissors.
Pic 7 & 8:
A | Wind the Warp yarn onto the warp beam.
Hold the end you just cut so the warp yarn is in tension.
B | When you're at the end. Untie the scrap piece of yarn in pic 6.
You will end up with a bunch of loose strings going through the slots.
C | If you're working with poly/nylon, now is a good time to singe the ends of the yarn with a lighter.\
D | There will be 2 strings in every slot now.
Using the reed hook, grab a strand from each slot and pull it through the eye.
A | When you're done threading the warp yarn through the eye holes.
Group the warp yarn (in my case groups of 4)
B | Tie a knot at the end of each group.
C | Run scrap yarn through the warp beam and the knotted groups.
Pic 10 & 11:
Finished shots of the setup.
Step 14: Mistake!
But it really had to go below in my case.
(Make the frame WIDER THAN THE REED! I was restricted to short dowel offcuts)
So I had to cut the ends off of the reed to accomodate.
Step 15: Start weaving!
Keep one end of the loom on your lap.
Load up your shuttles with yarn.
Starting to weave 4 individual shuttles (sttrands of Weft yarn.)
As you continue weaving you'll notice the REED getting close to the Warp beam.
Using the ratchets, retract the Cloth beam and advance the Warp Beam for more working area.
Change of colour & connecting the 4 strands.
Detail shot of how the shuttle (Weft Yarn) weaves through the Warp Yarn.
Light shining through the Warp Yarn (Yellow).
You can see the Weft Yarn (Green) showing through.
Notice the Weft yarn can be compacted a lot more to create a tighter weave.