Hand-Held Backstrap Loom

I first read about these looms in an issue of Craft magazine, back in the good ol’ days when they still had a print edition. With the article, there was a pattern to make your own loom with cardboard, and although I’m sure that works fine, it wasn’t until I found out the author of the article was making hard plastic looms for sale on etsy that I decided I had to try it. Oops! Looks like his store is currently closed, but hopefully he is just on vacation or something.

I got the loom for Christmas and tried it out a few weeks ago using some wool sock yarn I found at the thrift store for 2 euros. Score! Actually, I think it was like 1 euro 60 because they were having a funny promotion where you had to roll the dice to see if you could get a discount. I did. Yay me!

Anyway, the video the loom maker (Travis Meinolf) provides on youtube is very helpful, though I found doing the setup to be a little trickier than I thought it would be. I guess practice will make it easier. I also had grand ideas of the weaving being so fast—like, faster than my snail-like knitting—but because I chose such a skinny yarn, it hasn’t been all that fast.

The good news is, the weaving itself is pretty fun, and the kids and even my husband had to get in on the action. I’ll admit the kids’ weaving isn’t as neat as I might like, but  they had a good time, and the labor was free.

The edges, as you see, are pretty uneven. I’m not sure if this is something I would get better at with practice, or if I should just view it as charming and deal with it. Or, another option, to cover it with some kind of (silk?) bias binding, like the professional weaver downstairs does with her gorgeous blankets.

I love this shot of Cinderella (below) at the loom. It’s somehow totally right for Cinderella to be weaving, don’t you think? People in fairy tales do stuff like that.

Next we’ll be spinning wool and warning against pricking fingers on spindles.

I seem to be stuck in an almost-finished project mode. The Haiku sweater is done except for blocking. A dress like this is almost done, but I’m so frustrated that it’s not turning out the way I want it to.

Meanwhile, I’ve been writing and researching on my book projects. I’m reading another great writing book called Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich. And still reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which I beg you to read, seriously. You must. It ROCKS!

Weaving Fever

Here’s another reason why I love living in the city center. Right in our neighborhood is a yarn shop with not only gorgeous skeins and buttons but also a big mama loom where the shop proprietor/ artist-in-residence sits at the window and weaves.

The weaver is very friendly and enjoys having the children come in to watch. When I say “big mama” I mean the loom is the size of a four-shelf bookcase attached to my dining room table.

My seven-year-old daughter decided she wanted to weave something herself, and luckily the Waldorf kindergarten (where my son goes) had a loom for her.

My daughter, the chattiest of Cathies, will actually sit quiet and weave for 45 minutes at a time. It’s pretty astounding. Hasn’t she done a beautiful job?

Speaking of the Waldorf kindergarten, check out this wheelbarrow my son was playing with the other day:

Even the wheel is made out of wood. I think if I’d handcarved this puppy I’d have it on a display shelf somewhere, but my lucky little guy gets to put dirt and grass in it and wheel it around.

This week he’s been completely gaga over the simple bows and (blunt-end) arrows they’ve been making with string and green twigs. His first one broke, but I’ll try to get a pic of the next one.

In other news, I’ve been trying to focus on my revision, which is why you haven’t seen me here much this week. Speaking of which, I should get back to work! Have a great weekend.