We are incredibly stoked to share the first installment of “Loom Stories,” written by one of our talented FibreShare participants: Hillary Bird! Hillary is an avid weaver and generously volunteered to share photos and explanations of her huge loom collection. Today’s segment focuses on frame looms. Take it away Hillary!
Hi there, fiber friends! Hillary Bird of Wabi Sabi Textile Company here to share my growing collection of weaving looms with you!
Let me start off with a brief backstory: I have been working (and completely immersed in all aspects of my life) with vintage clothing for about five years now. My first job in the field was as a historical costumer/seamstress and now I work at a textile recycling company where I rescue valuable vintage gems from being shredded for their fiber. So obviously, I love items with a good story and to say I’m a bit of a collector is a huge understatement.
Once I began weaving in 2013, the looms just naturally started accumulating (as well as other beautiful weaving tools). Each piece is a treasure to me, and I am so excited to tell you all a bit about each one! In this series, I will share with you how I acquired each loom, what they are and how they work.
So I would like to start from the beginning, sharing with you my frame looms for the first installment of Loom Stories!
This is where I do most of my weaving. Can you spot all seven looms? They are usually scattered about this area, which ones are stored where is dependent on my current project.
I keep a basket of yarn on my desk for projects I’m working on – right now it’s filled with some goodies sent to me by Sara Wolfie (@sara_wolfie) during the April/May Fibre Share swap! The fork is made by Hello Chiqui, the needle is from Have Company and the sketch book is one I made a few years ago and never finished embroidering the cover..
These are two of the three peg looms my dad helped me make back in 2013. The first loom I worked on was a modified bracelet beading loom, and once I was officially struck with the weaver fever, that thing had to go! I still use these two looms for most of my smaller tapestries.
We made the frames out of scrap wood and used cut dowels for pegs.
Both of these looms are what I call “notch looms” – is that a real term? The smaller one on the left is called the Hokett loom and it was gifted to me last Christmas (purchased at Have Company). I use it mostly for making woven pendants for necklaces, but it’s the perfect travel-size loom too.
The loom on the right is a 1970’s Lily loom. I scored this beauty at a local favorite of mine, Upcycle Exchange. I love the way it looks and it’s such a great mid-size loom!
Also pictured is my corner of broken down, homemade looms (see below) and scrap bin.
The notches on the Hokett are very close together, making it easier to weave more detailed pieces.
The Lily loom has metal spokes that make it impossible to pull the selvedges in too tight! This is perfect for new weavers wanting to easily accomplish a clean look with straight sides, especially if they are heavy handed like me!
Maybe the second or third loom I used was made out of stretcher bars. It was simple to make and I liked being able to adjust the size by switching out the sides with different lengths, but it never seemed to stay square. Because of this, I think it makes more sense to make a loom from a larger picture frame.
The loom on the left is the largest loom I made with my dad, with the first piece I started still on it. The big guy in the back was an old screen window I found and converted into a loom!
Here you can see they are both peg looms. The wooden one was made the same way as the smaller versions, with dowels for pegs. For the window, I alternated the height of the nails so I was able to have the “pegs” closer together – it was tricky but worked out okay!
I know I said the nails worked okay, but as you can see, I did not do the same thing to the bottom because it took so long to do the top! I figured I could just wrap the warp around the bottom instead, and that worked just fine (plus I saved a lot of blood, sweat and tears)!
Last but not least, this is a rather large “notch” loom with an adjustable height, another fabulous find from Upcycle Exchange. When I purchased this, I saw there were two in the store, so I ended up going back and getting the other one for my friend, Ashley (I think a few of you may know her 😉 )! Pictured here, I have it warped in such a way that I could make multiple smaller tapestries at once!
And that’s it! All of my frame looms.. so far 🙂
If you are interested in learning more about anything I’ve shared, feel free to contact me – I’m happy to chat!
Next week I will share with you my small Tate table loom, which has a cool (kinda spooky!) story!
To see the gorgeous weavings Hillary creates, swing by her website! And if you’re not already following her on Instagram, obviously you need to skiddatle on over to her feed. It’s a total goldmine of inspiration!