Saturday, March 10, 2007

A simple loom

Libby here, making my blog debut! I've always loved making things. Being with little ones all day, every day, I find that I can't do fine art; actual drawing, painting take a kind of time and concentration I just don't have, but I love to make things of all kinds, and find that other kinds of making can feed that creative impulse. I find this especially satisfying when my projects are part of the rhythm of daily life; when a handmade object can fill a daily need, when I can work on it with the kids, and when I can make it with the surplus byproducts of our life.
This simle loom fits all my criterion. Using fabric from old clothes, (also solving my quandry of what to do with clothes once they're worn past the point of donatablility!) I can make rugs myself which I otherwise would have had to buy.
The resulting rug is very thick, absorbent, machine washable, and should be quite durable, as its thickness is multiple layers of cloth. It is downright cushy on the feet! It is modified from weavings I found in Twined Rag Rugs, available at our library. Because I use whole fabric instead of string, it works up quickly. It's also possible to just do a few minutes of work whenever I get a chance, making it Mama-and- Kid-friendly.
Fabric: Old sheets, dress shirts, khakis, jeans, etc. Terrycloth (old bathrobes or towels) would feel wonderful stepping of the tub, and tshirts would be great for the weft (horizontal weaving) though nothing stretchy should be used for the warp. (the vertical strips to be woven on)
Preparation of Fabric: Tear into strips. If denim or terry, I would cut instead of tearing. Strips should be just wide enough that when scrunched, the strip is as thick as a pencil. Thicker fabric=thinner strips.
Loom: The glory of this loom is it is so sim
ple! Two sawed-off broomsticks are tied with rope around the door itself. I set the intended length of the rug by securing the sticks with strips of fabric. I can post more pics if anyone wants to know how to do it!
Warping: String strips between sticks. I attach the strips to one another as I go along by cutting slits in the ends of the fabric and weaving them through eachother. Then tighten this now-continuous strip until the top and bottom sticks are even and the strips are tight with an even tension. The color of the warp fabric will be almost totally
hidden by the weavers.
Weaving/Weft: Use two strips at once, twining them both aroung each warp strip. When you get to the end of a row, just turn around and go back in the other direction.
Finishing: Pull out the broom sticks. (The loom will fall apart.) You will be left with
a row of loops at each end of the rug. Pull each loop through it's neighbor. Split the last loop into two and tie it to itself so that nothing can unravel.
Here I am, weaving with my happy, watermelon-rind-chewing babe on my back. He's teething, (hence the watermelon) and seems so much happier when I wear him lots.
These are not nearly complete instructions, but I just wanted to throw this out as an idea. As I get more experienced with blogging, perchance I will someday be up to posting a real tutorial!


Natalie said...

What great pictures! Your rug is lovely, it inspires me to try it but of course I will have to wait till I am done with school. Slings are so wonderful, Fiona got her first shots today and the sling was the only place she did not cry. See you tomorrow at The Mom Group :)

Maria said...

It's great to hear what you're up to. The blog looks beautiful (kudos to Paul too). Weaving has been of interest at our house also, along with child-made pockets.