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Monday, March 5, 2018
Pin Looms: Addictive
Weaving on a pin loom
At our last weavers' meeting, Stephanie presented a program on Pin looms: what they are, their history, how we weave, & what can be produced. AND just how addictive weaving on these small little wonders can be. Yeap, ADDICTIVE as crack, a little taste, and you want more and more and more. Now that I have your attention: let's talk pin looms.
Pin Looms are not new, they've been around since the 1930's. The loom is a portable, handheld, fast and simple way to weave, almost like knitting or needlepoint. We all remember making loop pot holders either at camp or school using a metal square with metal prongs to anchor the loops. The pin loom is similar. There is a series of pins all the way around the frame and yarn is wound around and across the pins to provide an edge finish and the warp for weaving. When the pin loom was introduced, women made most of the textiles and clothing used in the home. The pin loom became part of that process. Popular brands of pinlooms at that time included: Easiweave, Loomette. Jiffy-looms, Double Weave and Weave-it.
Some of the original weave-its
In the 40's, there was a reduction in the production of pin looms due to the redirection of manufacturing needs of WWII. In the late 60's and 70's, the arts and crafts movement revitalized the production of pin looms. And today, we again see a renewed interest in this heldhand loom. Many of theselooms can be found in local resale shops and new pin looms such as the The Zoom Loom, Hazel Rose, Weavette are readily available from most weaving shops and websites.
Modern pin looms
The blocks that are produced are merely 4" x 4" (size differs depending on the loom) and yet they can become coasters or rugs, placemats or blankets, coats or scarves. In progress, they are easily carried from place to place one square at a time. They use small amounts of fiber, thus perfect for weaving down those small amounts of fiber or that stash of spinning yarns that we haven't figured out what to do with. Designing with the squares in reminisce of using granny squares. This is not a new technique. There are sources online which explain exactly how to weave with them, how to join the blocks and how various projects can be completed.
Rick Fahrenbruch's Pin loom woven Rug
Rick Fahrenbruch learned to weave from his Swedish grandmother. He designs and weaves rugs and other items using pin loom squares. John Mullarky helped redesign the Weavette into the Zoom loom and its use in weaving. There are many other weavers who's weaving career have crossed paths with pin looms. The addiction I mentioned in the beginning come from the ease of weaving anywhere, using all those small spinning skeins and leftover weaving fibers. We get to use our stashes in a very constructive and beautiful manner. We are fiber people; we are tactile, we have the need to feel, to touch, to see the fibers change into fabric, into something bigger. We have the need.
I found this comment & coaster photo on Purl So Ho's website. It makes me smile and truly reflects the potentials we see in pin looms.
"Imagine a group of extra-terrestrials gathered in a living room. They’re poking and prodding a stack of coasters; and once condensation is explained to them and the subsequent ring on the table’s surface is demonstrated, they all start bleeping and nodding their heads. Then they ask in their inter-galactic native tongue if it would be okay to take the coasters home with them… as proof of civilized life on Earth."
Or search any of these name or companies for more information: John Mullarky; Rich Fahrenbruch; Purl SoHo. Modern Pin Looms-Schact Zoom Loom; Hazel Rose Loom; Wunderwag Industries Pin Looms; Dewberry Ridge Li'l Weaver
Welcome to the Craft Guild of Iowa City blog. We are a group of handcrafters in various art forms who share meeting space, educational opportunities and common experiences. These groups include beadworking, ceramics/pottery, knitting, quilting, ply-split braiding, spinning, stained glass,weaving. We provide classes for beginners, and meet regularly to provide additional education and experiences for our members.