A table loom has a rigid heddle that takes your shed threads and makes a new shed with a shed stick. A table loom also has a reed for controlled warp spacing. Because of these features, you can create tightly woven cloth on a small scale. In addition, the rigid heddle with the combined use of the warp beam allows you to make geometric patterns in your weaving by having multiple sheds open at one time (e.g., twill). In this article, I will discuss how to use a table loom. So let us get into the discussion.
A Detailed Stepwsie Guide on How to Use a Table Loom
First, take one warp (the string on the loom) and make a big overhand knot. Make sure to leave four or five inches of extra cord at the other end. You’ll need this when it’s time to weave in the ends. The knot will act as both an anchor for your warp and a weight-keeping tension on the warp while you’re working with it. Keep this part out of your way while weaving so that it doesn’t get tangled up in what you’re doing.
Fold your warps into an accordion-like shape, then place them across one of the grooves created by the gap between two pegs. Take care not to let them slip out of place – then put a stick or dowel on top of the warps across the grooves and another post across each side of the warp stack to hold them in place while you work. If any loose wraps around the edges, tuck them under the bottom stick or dowel to keep everything flush with the pegs.
The next step is tying your weft (the string that goes from one end of your loom to another) onto something small and easy to work with. You can use a crochet hook or a large tapestry needle for this. Take some thread off your spool and wrap it around something that’s about 1/2″ long – a pen cap well for this purpose. This will make it easier to pass the weft through the warp, but you can do this step without anything, depending on your preference.
Now that all of your warps are in place and you’ve tied on an end piece (the shorter piece), you’re ready to start weaving! You’ll notice that two small loops are sticking up from each warp. Take your needle or crochet hook and incorporate a 1/4″ circle under one side of a warp, then come back over from the other side. The next time you go under-over should be at a different set of loops. This will create a criss-cross pattern that forms the foundation for the rest of your project. Keep going back-forth like this, working your way up the warp stack.
Stop when you’re almost out of warp – you can go back into old sections that have already been woven or keep it simple and work with one length for now.
From here on in is where things get a little more interesting! It’s time to add some color! I’m using three different colors at this stage, so I’ve tied them together in groups of two at both ends. You might want to start by connecting your primaries (red, blue, or yellow) so they don’t get lost – then go back and do the other colors however you like. Start by picking up one strand from each side of your weft stick/needle and doubling it onto your new warp. These folded pieces should line up with each other, and you’ll use them to tie off the ends of your project later.
Now, go back to the same side (say the right side) and split one strand off into its own smaller loop from each color section. Keep the other half still attached at both ends! Pass this small single-loop under two strands on the opposite side, then pull it tight so that it holds everything in place while you work. Now move over to the left side of your weft stick/needle and take one green strand from each group – splitting them up into two loops like before. Pass these two loops under two different strands on the opposite warp stack, then pull them tight to hold everything in place.
Now you’ll take your needle/hook and weave back through the green strands – underneath two loops, then over one loop. This will look like a backward S stitch when you’re done. Keep holding onto those draped loops on either side of your project, so they don’t slip out of place!
Once you’ve woven under-over all four green strands (two from each side), tie them together with both hanging loops that are still sticking up off to the left. These should be positioned at the bottom of your purple strand loops now, which form an upside-down “V” shape. Go ahead and pull them tight to keep things where they belong. Then take all four (red, blue, and yellow) hanging loops (one from each color section) and do the same thing. Tie them together, keeping everything nice and steady. And your first row is complete!
Now, you’ll start weaving back across to the right side of your project, this time working with red loops only. Again you’ll be doing an under-over weave – but these stitches will go over two red hanging loops instead of green ones like last time. That’s because your stack on the right is longer than your stack on the left – if they were even in length, you wouldn’t need to worry about this red pass.
You can always go back later and adjust it so that both stacks are even in size if needed, but I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how annoying that would be! Continue across the row until you’re just about out of warp – then stop.
Now, pick up your needle/hook and start on the opposite side (the left) by weaving under-over with blue loops. When you get to the end, tie these off like before (reds on the right). Then go back to where your red yarn is hanging onto one loop of each color section. Split them up into two smaller circles – except this time, and it will be four instead of two for all three colors because they are doubled up now. You’ll weave through these four doubled pieces like last time, only underneath two instead of one (again, since there is more than one hanging loop now).
Then continue weaving across this row, through the four hanging loops on the other side (pink at top), and under-over to the end. Tie off blue yarn before it runs out if needed.
Now pick up all three colors again on one side, splitting them into two groups of two for each color because they are doubled up now. You’ll weave these pieces through the hanging loops like last time – underneath two instead of one. Remember that you can always flip your warp if things aren’t lining up correctly! Continue across this row until you’re almost out of warp, then tie off reds first.
Precautions While Using a Table Loom
- Make sure to fasten the warp strings to the loom securely, or your weaving will end up on the floor.
- Be careful not to catch fingers in the heddles when threading them through the harnesses. Some looms have specially-designed levers for this step; if yours doesn’t, use a flat object like a butter knife or chopstick to lift them out of their holding slots. Don’t pull your hands apart while doing this because you could quickly get hurt!
- Always examine your work after finishing each row of knots before starting another one–it’s easy to miss an error by just one bead string, and then it becomes pretty noticeable later when there are dozens of more rows of knots stacked on top of it.
I hope this article has been beneficial for learning how to use a table loom. Always ensures all the precautions while using a table loom. Thank you and have a nice day!
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