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Last spring I took an enjoyable weaving course at the Textile Arts Center’s Manhattan outpost and walked away with a sampler/scarf that could charitably be described as ‘raver 4th Doctor’. I’d gotten a taste and  wanted to try weaving on my own. Regaining consciousness after looking up loom prices online, I reasoned weaving was one of the most ancient arts, practiced in numerous cultures without mechanical looms. Surely I should be able to make do without.

Indeed, there’s all sorts of weaving to be done sans mechanical loom! Card-weaving, backstrap weaving, stringing up a picture frame, all cheap and easy and all creating lovely textiles. Still, there was something extremely satisfying about manipulating heddles and slamming a reed down before moving on to the next row. The joy of working with this specific machinery didn’t outweigh its extremely high cost though. As the people behind the PVC Loom project point out, do you want a beautiful, expensive piece of furniture, or do you want to weave? Can’t I have both?

Turns out the answer is…sort of! If, like me, you’re handy with a power tool, below are some links to help you build your very own loom, be it tabletop or floor-loom.

 

First up is this simple table loom ‘for youngsters’ (read: girls) –

youths

 

Instructions show a clever handle mechanism controlling the shed action (‘shed’ being the space between warp threads, usually created by pushing/pulling some of them up or down simultaneously) on a simple square loom, with additional instructions for a bobbin shuttle (one that has a spool of thread within itself, instead of you having to unwind or add on thread manually). Pretty basic stuff, good for smaller pieces and simpler weaving.

Next is this similar but way more 70s Loom for Weaving Fun. 

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Again, the article shows guy hands building the loom, but only delicate lady hands using it. This is a unisex loom for your ambiguous 70s lifestyle, to weave the groovy tapestry pattern included in the article depicting a….sunset? Egg mountain beaming light out? Tidal beehive? Whatever. This loom features a regular ol’ shuttle, but includes the improvements of rollers on both ends to extend the length of what can be woven on it. It’s also got an honest-to-goodness heddle, though if you didn’t want to build one you can always buy one (they’re expensive, but not as expensive as an entire loom). Both this and the previous loom are single-heddle, meaning they’re limited in terms of fancy weaves, though certainly not in what you can make on them.

 

Here’s the action article; finally YOU get in on some of that sweet, sweet weaving cash-
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This article includes instructions to build a basic loom similar to those above, a 4-heddle table loom, floor loom, warping board, and shuttles. Obviously it requires a little extra shop work to build a complex mechanical object, but the actual techniques aren’t really that complicated. There’s a lot of careful measuring, but it’s the same sort of careful measuring, drilling, and cutting one would need to make, say, a decent birdhouse. And all birdhouses do is give lazy birds free shelter – this thing makes CLOTH, baby!

This Indian Bead Loom uses a spring instead of making you carve a million tiny notches into something:

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…and this interesting ‘Fluff Rug’ loom shows an expedient way to make rag rugs:

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Popular Mechanics, the source for all these articles, is also chock full of useful tips, hints and clever ideas for makers of all sorts. It’s also full of great photos and vintage ads, if summer means ‘no reading’ for you.

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All I can think looking at this is ‘severe butt-burn’.

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The 2-color scheme! The typography! That guy’s glasses!

 

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Even the ad-copy throws in ‘apparently’ and justifies the random ‘radio picture film’ with a vaguely threatening ‘YOU’LL LIKE ‘EM’.

 

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Some time ago on the internet I came across a gigantic triangle necklace retailing for the ungodly sum of $300 dollars. It was just a giant metal triangle dangling from some non-magical cord, and it didn’t even light up or have embedded fancy stones. Like David Bowie before me I took one look and thought, “I can do better than that”.

One outing to Metalliferous and 20 minutes later, I DID. The level of skill involved was about the same as kindergarten-style stringing beads on a shoelace, and most of the 20 minutes was waiting for the glue to dry. Wearing the necklace around my neighborhood I get at least one ‘YO, ILLUMINATI!’ per outing (usually followed by a flash of the Hova sign), and it seems selfish to hoard such joys. So forthwith are instructions to make your own sigil of secret initiation (mystical handshake instructions not included).

You Will Need:

-1 stick of 1/8″ square brass tubing
(found at most art supply stores, some hardware stores, and definitely any place with an architecture/model building section. If you want to use a thicker cord, use wider tubing- it comes in all sizes)

- 9 feet of 1/16″ thick cording
(I used three strands held together of some elastic cording I had about for this necklace; you can use leather, cotton, embroidery floss, whatever you’d like. If you want to use a single thicker strand, you only need 3-4 ft. at most)

-A metal tube deely
(Home Depot’s plumbing aisle is a goldmine of random metal bits to use for jewelry. I’m fond of brass barb connectors in all sizes, but anything termed ‘brass nipples’ (hee, tee hee hee hee) will work as well. I specifically used the 1 1/2″ guy from this pack, again, because I had it about already. Any metal tube about 1/4″ in internal diameter that won’t stab your neck will work just fine. Heck, pick up some extra brass tubing and use that)

-E6000 glue

-Heavy Duty sandpaper
(60-80 grit should do the trick, preferably a type intended for ‘metal deburring’. A dremel with a deburring attachment will also work)

-a coping saw, hacksaw or jewelry saw
(A dremel with a metal-cutting attachment will do too. If you’re using the coping or hacksaw, you can pick up metal-cutting blades at most hardware stores, though the regular blades will also do the trick)

Great! So you’ve got your supplies together and are ready to begin your ascension to higher planes of wisdom and flair. I’ve drawn the steps below; click any for larger images.












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