My Leclerc Tapestry Loom Adventure

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I had a great loom experience this week. I was asked by the children’s program director of my church to look at a loom she had rescued and to see if I could set it up for children to weave on during Sunday School. I walked into the room on Tuesday and discovered this treasure, a 45″ Leclerc Gobelin Tapestry loom. After careful examination I can see that it is missing a few parts, but could it still be used for weaving in its present condition?

I did a little research on the internet, only to find that instructions for warping the loom are not available for free. There were two books that were suggested by Leclerc and they cost $35 to download. Not a good option for me at the present moment – this is a no-budget project.

My SIMPLE warping instructions for this loom:

  1. Warp it in a continous warp (best recommend for even tension). I elected instead to warp it in 2″ sections – with a goal of 6 ends per inch. (I did not have clearance to pass a ball of thread between the apron rods.)
  2. Warp Path: start warp on top apron rod, pass to front  of bottom rod and cross under the rod – being careful to avoid the apron string. Run the warp up to the top of the apron rod on the back side of the loom, pass warp to the front. (This will create a two layer warp.)
  3. Creating lashes – Use a  rod –  My rod came with the cords already wound on it. (there is a straight heavy cord that runs parallel to the rod and a second cord that is wrapped around the rod  over the straight cord.) Pass the lashing cord under the straight thread on the lease stick, and bring it to the back of the cord on the bottom of the two warps. The cord does not need to be tied to the warp, just pass behind it and be able to pull it up when needed. Suspend the lash rod above the weavers head but with in easy reach. Let the lashes hang over weavers head loosely.
  4. Loom operation : Pull on the lash cord gently to bring the warp forward. To expose the top warp after weaving, gently push the lash rod towards the loom to release tension on the rear warp. Best weaving will be in small handfuls, beaten with a tapestry beater or comb.




Pin Loom or Knitting Needles…. that is the question.

IMG_2912I had the opportunity to purchase a pin loom this weekend as a result of a trip to lovely Butte Montana. The day was quite enjoyable, if a bit chilly from the snow flurries. I really did not have the expectation of picking up a pin loom that day, but when I discovered it in the clearance area of a Jo-Ann’s store for 25% of its retail price, the bargain hunter in me was hooked.

I brought it home and waited until dinner was complete, and cleared away. I brought it out and looked at the instructions. All I wanted to make was a simple pair of baby socks for a grandbaby that is due in the next couple of months. I figure just a couple of hours of work.IMG_2977 Right?  Oh, so so wrong!

I began my project by watching the video and casting on and learning how to do the knit and the purl stitches on the loom. I noticed a couple of issues for me right away. It is difficult to reach the middle area of the sock when it is set to a small size. Two start over’s and more than 8 hours later, I looked at the project and it was not all that I hoped for.


I am not a great knitter (I am a weaver). I can read and follow patterns, but often it is the counting that gets the better of me. But give me credit, I pulled out my trusty (rusty) double point needles, cast on and got started. Finding the locations of the purl stitches on the needles was easier to remember — I divided the stitches evenly so that I knew the two purl stitches were on the outside ends of the needles and never in the middle. On the pin loom I needed to use some sort of marker – the red post it tab.  In less than three hours I had this sock halfway knit. Note that you are seeing the right side of the sock in this picture, but when I am knitting the right side is on the interior of the needles. (Experienced knitters don’t snicker too hard, I am handicapped – I am left handed.)  I always have to peek inside to see what is going on. I completed the sock tonight with only minor trauma, when I picked up the knitting after taking this picture I forgot to turn it inside out before starting to knit… I had a four rows of purl stitches before I realized it. Off come the needles, and out come the stitches —(I was almost in despair except for a friendly crochet hook to save the day).  Weaving is easier than this. Here is my final sock, a spiral tube.  Has anyone woven a baby sock, and how did you accomplish your magic feat?IMG_2985

My assessment: the sock loom is nice and sturdy,  and it works according to the instructions that come with it.  It is probably designed for someone who is a bit skinnier than I (children’s – teen’s socks).  According to the directions I need to cast on 88 stitches to make a sock for myself and my loom is not that big (you can only cast on 60 stitches) The loom gauge is 7 stitches per inch. The actual knitting is not difficult – the rhythm  is addicting once you get going. But it is more time consuming that I thought. I think I’ll stick to the knitting needles for this particular task this time.

I have one more experiment to do with this loom, see if I can weave a bookmark on it.





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Rigid Heddle Band Weaving

latvian woven bandBeautiful bands with a thousand uses. Many cultures weave bands but few weave them with the style of Scandinavia and Latvia. The materials needed to weave these bands are simple and readily obtainable. double rigid heddleThere are groups dedicated to this type of weaving. The Braid Society in Europe and TWIST in the United States.

On the society websites you can find galleries of woven bands and instructions on how to get started weaving in this tradition. I also found a course being offered by the North House Folk School in Minnesota in May of 2013 that you may be interested in taking if you are in the area.

While the bands are traditionally woven on backstrap  looms they also can be reproduced on a standard loom if you happen to have one handy. sash upper The image on the left is  a Latvian design that I wove in a wide band on my AVL loom. The most important consideration  to remember is that a pattern thread is twice the thickness of the ground thread. A traditional belt, band or sash is often woven using wool. My experiment was woven in cotton.

I have also been able to weave this style of band on my Morgan loom without using a rigid heddle or tablet cards.


I was able to make use of red and white beads to identify pattern threads and modified my draft to make weaving easier for me.





Here is a copy of the draft that I made for weaving the belt.





Video Tutorials:

Weaving Library

double etoffe à navette copierThe Weaving Library website is a European version of the  for silk and dobby weaving. If you are into looking at antique and modern silk weaving and  learning about textile analysis which included photos of swatches of the weaving drafts, this is the place. A good percentage of the material is presented in French and will required knowledge of european drafting methods, but there are areas in which you can find English translations. The site appears to serve historians, and commercial weavers alike.  The site offers some PDF files of original texts for download many of these are in French. My primary interest in the site is to continue to get inspiration for historic drawloom weaving.

A reference website for tribal textiles is dedicated to sharing tribal textile information – particularly of a visual nature – with fellow enthusiasts as an on-line resource and to maximize the possibilities offered by the internet of assembling information in a dynamic, three dimensional, flexible and interactive format.

This site contains studies, travel reports photo galleries and bibliographies that can be used for research. What an amazing find! What lead me to the site was a Pinterest pin, rukaineedleweavingwhen I got there I was very confused because at first glance it appeared to be a text only site and I did not find the image on the Pinterest pin right away. After a little wandering around I was able to see the beauty and special weaving knowledge that it contains. If you click on the photo at the top of this post I’ll bring right to the photo gallery so that you can soak it in before wandering on your own.

Here is a link to the book  Textile Fabrics of Aboriginal Tribes in Taiwan showing work of the professor Yushan Tasi. You can see some of her work on display in a recent exhibit at the Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines which is located on Yang Ming Mountain overlooking Taipei city. From this link you can learn more about the people who’s weaving the professor is studying. Read about Atayal tribal life. atayalwomanweaving

There is a movement to preserve this tribal weaving at Atayal Textiles Research Center, houses a ramie farm, a battery of designers, and several women who work together to display and sell textile handicrafts and accept orders from government agencies to promote the beauty of Atayal textile workmanship. The Center currently employs a total of eleven personnel, ranging from 16 to 67 years of age, all of whom come from the Atayal community along the Daan River.

The Book of Looms  shows a diagram of the Atayal loom and describes how it works.

Each piece of the loom is pictured individually and its purpose is explained.

Here is a video of the loom in action:



Favorite Scandinavian Projects to Weave: 45 Stylish Designs for the Modern Home

I went to the local library a week ago and I found this little treasure. Because I have a Glimakra drawloom I was very IMG_2846interested in this book. Hints and tips from the writers of VAV Magazine are ALWAYS welcome. Was I delighted when I opened IMG_2838the cover to browse through the pictures. None of the projects are overly complicated. And some of the treasures include how to weave a hammock,  make european style linen towels with the woven loops, and a striking striped summer “light” blanket. While the threads are not ‘translated’ it will be easy enough to make use of of Handwoven’s thread guide to find our American equivalents.IMG_2841

I am most interested in the hammock project as I have always wanted to make one for my house.  I can’t wait for a sunny day and a glass of lemonade and my sunglasses!

Favorite Scandinavian Projects to Weave

Author / Editor: Ignell, Tina    Publishing Location:   Publication Date: 2008

Publisher: Trafalgar Square  Pages: 128p

Periodical Title:   Volume:   Issue:

Description of Contents:

Creating handwoven textiles for the home is a time-honored tradition and one any crafter can enjoy. If you wish to truly tailor your home decor, let this book lead the way. It features : 45 unique projects developed and tested by professional weavers — Step-by-step instructions, charts, illustrations, and color photos — Work with linen, half-linen, cottolin, wool, paper, and piassava — Versatile ideas for pillows, throws, rugs, curtains, table linens, and more — A special section on textile care and handling.

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My first piece on my AVL loom

DSCF0003 3I began my weaving adventure on my AVL loom with a summer and winter structure. My goal was to immediately see how much detail I could capture in a single structure. Leave it to me to bite off more than one person should chew in one sitting. This was the throw that I wove based on Mary Meigs Atwater Recipe 19 from from her recipe book. It was woven in cotton. Little did I know how hard wearing this little project would be. More than 10 years of daily use it is still in great shape; no holes or stains, it is machine washed often in warm water. It sits on my favorite rocking chair in my living room a testament to my humble beginnings.

Inkle Weaving

One of the most important books on handweaving by Mary Meigs Atwater. In it you will learn the basics of inkle and tablet weaving.

Byways in Hand-Weaving

Author / Editor: Atwater, Mary Meigs    Publishing Location:   Publication Date: 1954 and 1988

Publisher: Shuttle-Craft Books  Pages: 128

Periodical Title:   Volume:   Issue:

Description of Contents:

Traditional patterns from around the world for small or off-loom weaving. This book, which has been used extensively as a reference for some obscure techniques includes information on equipment and materials, as well as drafts and designs for card, inkle, and a variety of belt loom weaves. Twining, including Maori and Persian, and braiding and knotting techniques from India, Egypt, China, Peru, the Philippines, and some Neolithic times are included. There are card-weaving patterns and techniques from Egypt, Finland, and Armenia. Included with “inkle” weaves are those from Europe, as well as some Navajo and Mexican weaves, and those from Central and South America. Estonian and Peruvian bag weaves are compared. Other little-known weaves included are that for an African girdle found in the Atlas Mountains, a Scandinavian warp-faced weave, and some Egyptian warp-faced weaves, including the draft for the so-called “Girdle of Rameses”.

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Cardboard Loom Weaving

Cardboard loom weaving is an inexpensive way to get started weaving. Your material costs are very minimal, and even young children are able to participate. Weaving is an activity that can easily occupy a restless child on a rainy afternoon. The added bonus is that you can make something both beautiful and useful.

My favorite book about cardboard weaving is:

Weaving on Cardboard: Simple Looms to Make and Use

Author / Editor: Alexander, Marthann    Publishing Location:   Publication Date: 1972

Publisher: Taplinger  Pages: 88

Periodical Title:   Volume:   Issue:

Description of Contents:

Instructions for constructing and using simple looms made of easily obtainable, inexpensive cardboard to introduce weaving to those inexperienced with the craft. While many of the instructions are for weaving with a needle or varieties of finger weaving, there are also instructions for building and using weaving cards.

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Tartans are a big hit around St. Patricks day, this book will guide you through setting up your loom and weaving traditional tartan plaids. Scotch tartan setts: A Shuttle-Craft Guild guide for weaving 132 traditional plaids.

Scotch Tartan Setts: a Shuttle-Craft Guild Guide for Weaving 132 Traditional Plaids

Author / Editor: Douglas, Harriet C.    Publishing Location:   Publication Date: 1949

Publisher: Virginia City, Mont.: Harriet C. Douglas  Pages:

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