Pros and Cons of a Simple Frame Loom

Pros and Cons of a Simple Frame Loom

A simple frame loom is a FANTASTIC piece of equipment to have in your studio. They are versatile, portable, and easy to store.

They happen to also be a great way to learn how to weave. In fact, when I was learning how to weave we used a loom made from 18”x 24”  canvas stretcher bars. No lie, I still use this exact same frame all the time in my studio. This is also the method I teach in my classes and workshops because it’s great for beginners, but has enough potential to still be perfect for professionals.

You might say I am a fan.


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What is a simple frame loom?


Any loom made from a frame that does not use notches, nails, or any other method to hold and space your warp.

Simple.


simple frame loom

What are your other options?


There are a lot of commercial frame looms out there that you can purchase. Different companies call them different things. Tapestry looms or lap looms can even look different depending on who makes them. Generally, they have dedicated notches for the warp and a device to make weaving simpler (more on that below). The looms vary widely in their price, size, and extra options.

So why would you choose one over the other? Let’s take a look.


Need help planning your weaving project? Stuck trying to figure out how much yarn you need? What the h&^$ is WPI? Check out my e-book!


Pros of a Simple Loom


Cheap!


You can use any frame you already have to weave on and you do not need to do anything special to it. Head down to a thrift store and buy some old picture frames. Take the glass out and voila! Frame loom!

Using picture frames as your loom can be a great EXTRA portable option since they are small and lightweight. They can easily fit in your bag to take with you on vacation or just to your backyard.

If you are looking for something of a more specific size, you can not go wrong with taking canvas stretcher bars and creating your frame from them. (THESE are the ones I use)

The stretcher bars are bought piece by piece which can allow for more unique sizes. For example – try making a  6” x2 4” frame if you want a loom that is long and skinny. It would be hard to find a pre-made frame that size. They are generally really inexpensive because they are meant to be covered up by canvas for painting. If you like this option but want something more attractive you can always decorate your simple frame loom to your liking later on.


simple frame loom

Options!


Simple looms are incredibly versatile since you are not confined to any specific warp sett. The nature of the simple frame is that it doesn’t have any notches or pins to set your warp. The same frame can be used for 5 EPI, 8 EPI, and 14 EPI weaving! Having options means you can not only change everything up between weavings, but also within the same weaving! (Learn about EPI HERE) I personally think this is one of the best things about a simple frame loom. It can do pretty much anything I want it to.

Due to the versatility of the simple frame loom you can play with your EPI’s with no extra effort.

For example, there is a weaving technique called crammed and spaced where you purposefully have more than one EPI within the same weaving. Using a simple loom helps give you the flexibility to experiment with techniques like this.

If you do not want to be stuck using the same warp sett for all of your weavings this can be a better option than owning multiple frame looms.

Not that that is a bad option. It depends on how much room you have in your studio.



Display!


Choosing to use a plain frame (or a decorative one!) gives you the option to not only use the frame as a tool, but also as a way to display the weaving. This isn’t something that I do all the time – but admittedly it is really great option to have.

I have a stockpile of frames that I use for this reason…

Or maybe I just like buying picture frames.

I am always picking them up from clearance sections and while on sale. One thing to keep in mind when you use picture frames – you will have an excess of glass to deal with. I usually collect all my leftover glass pieces and then post them for free on Facebook marketplace for other people to create with!

There are a few ways to set up a weaving so that it can stay on the frame (2 selvedge warping is a good one!) If you do not like one option for warping your frame – then just try another!

Here is a pro within a pro: if you use your frame as the display method, when you are finished weaving – it is pretty much done! You do not have to do anything to the warp to finish it up and since it will stay under tension forever- you have to do very little (if anything) to the weft tails.


simple frame loom

Cons of a simple loom


Well… nothing is perfect.


Math


Anytime you are setting up a weaving you will probably have to do a little bit of math. This goes for simple looms, commercial looms, floor looms, and basically any loom you can imagine. You can not escape the math completely.

Sorry.

The amount of math you have to do, though, depends on a few things.

If you are ordering a specific yarn for your warp then you may have to figure out exactly how much to purchase regardless of the type of loom you use. This goes for general convenience and integrity of the color. It is very annoying to be halfway through setting up your loom when you run out of yarn. Then you have to order it and wait for it to ship. All the while – you could have been weaving.

If your yarn is dyed than it is important to try to buy all of your yarn at one time to avoid any differences in dye lots. I have made this mistake before. I bought the exact same color – but when it came in it was a little bit lighter.

You live, you learn.

A simple frame loom requires figuring out your total warp ends. (Click on that link for how to plan your weaving!) This is a simple equation, but an equation none-the-less. It is determined by the EPI that you choose, the size of the weaving, and your warping method.

A commercial loom, on the other hand, will have a specific EPI that it is set for. In that case you would only need to know the width of the weaving you want to create.

Don’t worry – it’s not like this ↓



Spacing


Due to the fact that there are no nails or notches in your frame, the warp is a lot more likely to move. Anytime your warp moves, there is a chance that you could alter your EPI. Suddenly you may have 5 EPI on one side of your weaving and 7 EPI on the other. That’s a problem unless you planned it that way.

During the first inch or so, you can still fix your warp spacing. After that? It is mostly set. Using a simple frame loom requires a bit more patience to create and maintain even spacing – but it is totally doable! If you do not want to deal with that though, then a commercial loom is less finicky.

There are some tricks to help maintain even spacing on your simple loom that I cover HERE!


No Heddle Bar


First, what the H*** is a heddle bar?

A heddle bar is a tool that you can use to create an opening (shed) in your weaving. Usually, the bar would raise every other warp so that you can eliminate the need to do the “over, under” motion. It allows for faster and simpler weaving.

The creation of the shed allows you to use a shuttle, butterfly, or a bobbin instead of just a long piece of yarn.

This is a big advantage in the commercial loom column if you do no like weaving your tails back in. With the ability to use one of these tools you won’t have to change out your yarn as much. Every time you change your yarn you create a new tail you will have to deal with when you are done. This advantage is most notable if you are using a lot of one color. If you are weaving imagery and using a lot of different colors anyway, it might not be as big a deal.

While it is possible to make a heddle bar if you really want one for your simple frame loom, that takes extra time and effort. Most commercial frame looms have a heddle bar already included.

You also have the option of creating string heddles. You can learn more about those here.



The best weaving loom for beginners


Beginner weavers need something that is simple, inexpensive, and versatile.

You do not want to spend a ton of money if you do not know that weaving is right for you – and I would not want you to!

So finding a weaving loom that helps you to get weaving sooner and explore weaving in many of its forms is essential for new weavers! If you are a more advanced weaver, and you are looking for something to add to your studio then there really is no reason not to get a simple frame loom as well. Seriously, what are you waiting for?

This is the loom everyone should have in their studio!

Looking to add more looms and not sure how to find ones that work together? Read this!


With all of that – there is no reason you can not have more than one kind of loom.

More looms = more fun!

So why do I stick with a simple frame loom? The pros just outweigh the cons to me. The biggest one that I do no want to give up?

The ability to improvise.

When it comes down to it. I am not a planner.

Do you have a favorite kind of frame loom? Let me know!


-Nicole


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You May Also Like


Best Weaving Looms For Beginners

Best Weaving Looms For Beginners

Starting out on your weaving adventure can be a bit daunting. There is so much to learn and so much to buy! This is a common topic here at Warped Fibers because I am always hoping to bring more people around to weaving.

Why wouldn’t I?

Weaving is awesome.

I have talked a bit about what you need to start weaving here and if you want to know the looms and supplies I use in my studio you can see those here.

Also if you are a new weaver or just someone looking for a weaving refresher then check out my FREE Weaving Guide For The Absolute Beginner. 

Yep. 

Free.

You can enter your info into the form below to sign up for my mailing list to get access to the free guide or just click the link above!

You can also check out my beginner weaver post for even more weaving tips for when you are starting out!


This page may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links then I will receive a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Please read our DISCLAIMER for more info. Thanks for the support!



Table of Contents


Looms are one weaving supply that might be the scariest to buy because they are the one that is the most exclusive to weaving. Everything else that you will need you will probably already have or will be able to use for other things. 


What to look for in a beginner loom


Once you get to know what you want to do it can be easier to figure out what type of loom you want. I will be going over the 2 main types of weavings that you will probably be starting with and what type of loom you will need to weave them.

That being said, there are so many different looms out there, and all of them offer different things.

When you are first starting out it can be a good idea to try to find a goldilocks loom that is not too expensive and has some options but is still simple to use.

If you want to go all out from the beginning because you do not want to buy another loom later, just remember that there is nothing wrong with having more than one loom! You can also upgrade later once you know what you really like. There are many different places you can sell a used loom if you decide to make room for a new one.

Other things you might be looking for are a frame loom with a stand for easier weaving or a loom that is small either for storage or portability.

Make yourself a list and go from there.


Why you should start weaving with a frame loom


beginner friendly looms - frame looms

If you are new to weaving or looking to get into it then these are my recommendations for looms to get you started and get you hooked!

If you are brand new to weaving then the best way to dip your needle in is with a frame loom!

Frame looms are my favorite beginner looms and not just because they are how I originally started weaving.

That being said, there is a reason that most people start with frame weaving. They are (mostly) inexpensive, (mostly) small, and generally easy to warp. 


Want to learn how to weave tapestry? It is more than just imagery (although that can be a big part of it too!) Follow along with this self-paced online course that you can take from anywhere at any time.

There are now 2 ways to take it – either purchase the whole course at once for a discount or “create your own” course by purchasing just the parts you want! Either way, get 10% off for being a member of the Warped Community!


Inexpensive


Frame looms are just about as simple as you can get when it comes to starting your weaving journey. While, yes, you can start with a cardboard loom (learn how to make a cardboard loom here) if you have the ability I recommend you give a frame loom a try instead.

Frame looms will not only give you better warp tension but also will not fall apart after a few uses. They can even be just as inexpensive or almost as inexpensive as just pulling some cardboard out of your recycling bin. 

That is because you can use a repurposed picture frame that you already have laying around or grab something from a clearance section for only a few dollars. 

This type of loom is called a simple frame loom and if you want to learn more about them then you can learn about simple frame looms here. 

Speaking of warp tension, their ability to hold a very high tension makes frame looms ideal for tapestry weaving. If you are wanting to start your weaving adventure with tapestry then frame looms are the best option.

If you want something that may actually be simpler than a simple frame loom then you can get a loom with notches or make one with nails. These will warp up even faster than a simple frame loom (which already warps up fast) because everything is already spaced out and good to go.

You can also learn about spacing hacks for your simple frame loom here.


Easy to warp



Since there are many different types of frame looms there are varying degrees of difficulty when it comes to warping your loom. All of them though, are going to allow you to get weaving fast and with little effort.

The easiest frame looms to warp are going to be ones with dedicated notches or nails with either no shed system or a simple heddle bar (see above video.) These looms require no extra math to figure out your EPI and keep your warp spaced perfectly as you go.

Other types of frame looms are not hard to warp, but they may require a little extra effort. They do have their advantages though.

Learn about different types of frame looms here.

Learn specifically about simple frame looms (my favorites) here.




They don’t take up a lot of space


Most frame looms are small.

This means that not only are they good for travel, but they are also good for when you do not have a bunch of dedicated space to devote to a skill that you may not even love.

Do not worry. You will love it.

That sounded threatening… anyway.

Not only do you probably not know if you will love to weave or not, but you may not even know what you really want to weave. It is never a bad idea to start small and work up from there. If you decide later that you want a larger loom of any type you can still rest easy knowing that you can always still use your frame loom for smaller weavings or samples.

You can read more about finding the best second loom here.


Why you should start weaving with a rigid heddle loom



Not everyone wants to weave tapestry.

When you are looking to weave something else, then a rigid heddle loom might be a better object for your creative input than a frame loom – at least to start.

Rigid heddle looms are great for weaving longer weavings that are either balanced or pattern woven, but tapestry should be left for a loom with the ability to hold more tension.


Easier to warp than a floor loom


Floor looms are notoriously annoying to warp. Not necessarily hard, but there are a lot of steps and it takes a while. The more steps there are, the more opportunities you have to make a mistake in the process.

Mistakes are good. They are how we learn. 

For most people though, when first starting anything new it is a good idea to start on the easier side to get hooked first. It is a lot easier to deal with things that can be frustrating when you love what you are doing. 

Rigid heddle looms have the ability to be warped directly instead of using a warping board or mill. This means that you eliminate a step in the warping process that requires you to measure out your warp first and then put it on your loom. Beyond this, the warping itself is simpler because there are fewer moving parts to deal with.

Unlike a floor loom, a rigid heddle loom only has 1 heddle for you to pull your warp through. This means fewer chances to make mistakes.


Need help planning your weaving project? Stuck trying to figure out how much yarn you need? What the h&^$ is WPI? Check out my e-book!


Longer weavings than a frame loom


Sometimes a frame loom is just not going to cut it for what you want to weave. If you know going in that you want to weave scarves or other long pieces of fabric then starting with a frame loom may not make sense.

Weaving on a rigid heddle loom is great for when you want to create longer weavings and when you want to work on balanced or pattern weavings.

With its ability to have an advancing warp you can create weavings that just keep going!

Even if your goal is not to weave something specific, rigid heddle looms can be great for beginners because they allow you a lot of room to practice your weaving skills. Weaving, just like any other skill, will only keep improving with time and practice.

The more time you have to weave without having to re-warp your loom keeps you in the weaving mind-frame longer. A.K.A. more time to get hooked!


My beginner loom recommendations


choosing beginner looms

If you really just want to get started with no fuss then purchasing a loom that already has notches and a shed device will get you weaving the fastest with the least amount of learning involved in the warping process. 


Frame looms


If you are going the simple frame loom route then you can use any old frame you have laying around or one that is found in a clearance bin to keep it cheap. You can also use canvas stretcher bars for a more tailored size. I usually purchase mine here.

Another inexpensive frame loom that is great for beginners is this notched loom that you can find on Amazon.

Easy to warp? Check

Inexpensive? Check

Portable and easy to store? Check

Heddle bar capability? Check


Rigid Heddle Looms


Rigid heddle looms for beginners are usually less expensive, but still capable of weaving a lot of different techniques including pick-up weaving.

The Schacht Cricket rigid heddle loom is great for beginners because it is small and does not have any extra frills. You can read my full review here.


Take a class


If you are still having some doubts then the best loom to start with is one that you do not own! Taking a local class helps you to get your needle on the loom without committing to anything you have to keep in your home. A lot of times you will get to use a loom that may even be beyond beginner status (but still has beginner capabilities.)

If you are in the Richmond, Virginia area then check out my in-person classes. If you are not, then just google weaving in your area to get in with a local weaver who can teach you on their looms before you purchase your own!


Weaving On A Table Loom

Weaving On A Table Loom

I talk a lot about floor looms and rigid heddle looms, but that doesn’t mean I don’t also have love for table looms. In fact, I am quite a big fan of table looms, but only just acquired one for my own studio! They are a fantastic option as both an only loom and an additional loom for your weaving studio.

Weaving on a table loom is not much different than weaving on other multi-harness looms, but there are some differences to discuss!


This page may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links then I will receive a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Please read our DISCLAIMER for more info. Thanks for the support!



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Essentially, a table loom is a floor loom but without the treadles. Instead, it has levers that activate the harnesses. These looms also, as their name suggests, are small enough to sit on a table. This makes them a great option for those who don’t have room for a full floor loom set-up!

Different table looms might have different lever systems, but they all pretty much work the same. You can see in the photos just four different lever systems either on the front, side, or top of the loom. You can also find table looms with pretty much any amount of harnesses. From 2 (below left) to 8 (below right) and even more. The Woolery has a great selection of table looms of different sizes, harness amounts, and lever configurations.



Regardless of the type of levers they have, pressing them down will lift up the attached harnesses and you can lift as many as you want in every single combination you can think of. This is possible because they stay activated until you release them. 

Just like the Schacht Flip Rigid Heddle Loom, there are even some table looms that can be folded up for travel! This is a really cool option if you want to save space in your home and studio or you are traveling with your loom. At this time, I have not personally tried out any of these table looms, but they exist if that is something you are looking for.


Need help planning your weaving project? Stuck trying to figure out how much yarn you need? What the h&^$ is WPI? Check out my e-book!



Since table looms and floor looms are essentially the same, you can easily use pattern drafts for floor looms to weave the same thing on a table loom! As we just talked about above, table looms have the ability to activate the harnesses in every combination. This means that you are not limited to the number of treadles listed on the draft.

As long as you understand how to read a weaving pattern draft then you will be able to easily pick up the conversion. 

If you don’t already know how to read a weaving draft then make sure to check out this post so you can brush up on that first.

Ok, so now that you have refreshed yourself on how to read a pattern draft, let’s look at it under the lens of a table loom.

Specifically, we need to focus on the tie-up and treadling sections because that is where our two looms really differ.

The easiest way to convert your draft for your table loom is to break it down into columns and rows. 

We will be looking at 4 harness patterns, but the mechanics are the same for 8+ harness drafts. In the pattern draft, the columns of the tie-up represent the different combinations of levers that will be activated as we weave. Each column will have 1 to 4 squares marked that each represent a lever. 

Since we are not stepping on the treadles and they stay active until released, we can activate as many harnesses as we want at one time! This makes it possible to weave patterns with more tie-up spots than levers.

The treadling portion of the draft tells which levers to activate and when. On a floor loom you can activate more than one harness with a single treadle as long as you tie it up that way. On a table loom, you have to activate the individual harnesses/ levers with each part of the pattern.

Let’s take a look at some examples:



Example 1

Your pattern draft for plain weave will typically show a straight draft on 4 harnesses. The tie-up will use only 2 treadles with harnesses 1 and 3 on the 1st treadle and 2 and 4 on the 2nd treadle. Based on the treadling pattern you will simply alternate between treadles 1 and 2.

If we take this same draft and look at it in the lens of a table loom then in order to weave it we will have to activate levers 1 and 3 every time there is a mark in the 1st treadle column and then levers 2 and 4 whenever there is a mark in the 2nd treadle column. 



Example 2

The pattern draft for a 2/2 twill with also show a straight draft on 4 harnesses. The tie up will use 4 treadles with harnesses 1 and 2 on the 1st, 2 and 3 on the 2nd, 3 and 4 on the 3rd, and 1 and 4 on the 4th. Your treadling pattern will be 1, 2, 3, 4 repeat. 

We are now taking these exact same numbers and using them for our table loom! A mark in treadle column 1 will mean activating levers 1 and 2, column 2 – levers 2 and 3, column 3 – levers 3 and 4, and column 4 – levers 1 and 4.

The easiest thing to do is to figure out the pattern and write it out for yourself for when you are actually weaving. Unless you memorize the pattern, this will make everything go faster since you have to remember multiple levers for each pick of the pattern. 

So if I were to write out the weaving pattern for a 2/2 twill it would look something like this:

1 + 2, 2 + 3, 3 + 4, 1 + 4, repeat

I’ll usually put this on a sticky note on the castle of my loom so I can easily see it while I am weaving. The adhesives on the sticky note are also pretty mild so they won’t damage your loom at all. 




There are so many different types of table looms out there that this post is not even going to begin to cover it. Instead, lets look at some options that you will come across and what you might want to consider before a loom purchase.

Like pretty much all looms, you will want to pay attention to size, price, and functionality.

  • Will the loom fit your studio and what you want to create?
  • Does the loom fit into your budget? (Consider new and used options. The loom above is my new-to-me table loom that I got second-hand)
  • Will the loom do what you need it to do?

These are generally the most important questions that you will need to answer. When it comes to table looms, though, there may be some more options to consider.

  • Do you need a loom that will travel well? There are some table looms out there that will fold up with your weaving still on them – making them perfect to take with you wherever you want to weave!
  • Do you want to convert your rigid heddle to a table loom? The Schacht Cricket has a conversion kit available to turn it into a 4 harness table loom! This could be a great option if you already have a Cricket and don’t want to purchase an entirely new loom. (I have not tried the Cricket Quartet, but it seems like a pretty interesting option).
  • Do you need a table loom that has a stand? A lot of table looms actually have optional stands so you don’t even need a table! This can be a great option if you don’t have a space to dedicate to a table loom.

Regardless of your needs, there is probably a table loom out there for you!


If you are looking for a weaving option that lets you weave like a floor loom for a size that is closer to a rigid heddle, then a table loom could be a really great option for you. There are many different types of table looms out there from different companies – all offering slightly different experiences, but all ultimately allowing you another option to weave and create the way that works best for you.


-Nicole

Guide To Weaving Headers

Guide To Weaving Headers

Unless you were tie your warp onto your loom one warp at a time (not recommended…) you will end up with bundles at the beginning of your weaving. These bundles serve the purpose of attaching your warp to your loom, but they also make it so the spacing at the beginning of your weaving is off!

This is where weaving headers come in!



What are weaving headers?



Weaving headers play a really important part in setting up your loom and starting a successful weaving. 

No matter what way you warp your loom (front to back, back to front, direct, or indirect) you will need to tie your warp onto the front of your loom and space it out to create a perfect starting point. 

When you are ready to start your weaving you will be looking for a flat plane of evenly spaced warp with straight selvedges. This is because you will want to start your weaving off the same way you want it to continue throughout the entire weaving process. Have you ever heard the saying “set yourself up for success”? This is a perfect example of that.

To get that perfect starting point you will need to use a header at the beginning of your weaving! 

You can think of a header as sort of a “pre-weaving” because it is woven in your same pattern before you start your actual weaving to get your warps evenly spaced quicker than if you were to use up your regular yarn. 


Embroidery weaving is a hybrid technique of embroidery and weaving! It is a fun and portable weaving technique that is perfect for beginner and advanced weavers alike. The Warped Fibers Embroidery Weaving Kit contains everything you need for at least 3 samples and a finished embroidery weaving. Plus, if you have never done this technique before – don’t worry! The kit also comes with a download that will walk you through the process.


What can you use?


Different weavers may use different things for their headers depending on what their preference is or what they currently have on hand. 

Regardless of what you choose you can opt to either use short or long strips. Longer strips will require you to have a more continuous header which can be slightly easier to weave up (just make sure not to pull too tight!)

Shorter headers will mean inserting a new piece in each shed, but they may be easier to remove in the end. 

I usually do a mid range so that I can reuse them more often. If I keep longer ones than they will work for more weavings than if I only have shorter header pieces.

Some options for your weaving header are:


Fabric


fabric weaving header

Using fabric strips as a header is a really great way to get your warp evened out sooner because thicker fabric has a greater effect on the spacing. You might think you should just use the thickest fabric you can find then, but it does eventually have diminishing returns. 

I am a big fan of the fabric header and I usually stick with a fabric strip of about 1.5 to 2 inches wide. I also just use scrap fabric that I have left over from other things so that I am not cutting up virgin fabric for something that is ultimately not a part of the finished piece. 

Most of my weavings use an EPI of 6 -12 and this size works well for me. You might need to change it up if your EPI is different, so keep in mind there may be some experimentation involved!

Learn more about EPI and warp sett here.


Thick yarn



When I do not have any fabric strips available then I will usually use yarn that is thicker than my yarn that I am weaving with. Most often this is some chunky knitting yarn that I have sitting around in the studio, but any chunky yarn should do well.

You could also use a thinner yarn doubled over to make it weave thicker (you can see this in the first image of the post with the blue yarn). This is a really good use for scrap yarn that you have leftover from other weaving projects. For example, I have a scrap box of yarn from loom waste etc. that I keep for reasons just like this!

Learn about other ways you can use scrap yarn here.


Toilet paper


Yeah, I said toilet paper.

Never thought I would be talking about toilet paper here on Warped Fibers, but here we are.

While I have never used toilet paper myself as a weaving header, I have heard of other weavers using this as their preferred choice. If you do not have the fabric or yarn to use then this is something I imagine you have in your house that will be easy for you to use. 

A possible pro of using toilet paper is the ease in which you can remove it when your weaving is finished. Unfortunately, the toilet paper may not be as reusable as the other methods, though, so if you are looking for more sustainable options I would go with the other 2.


Getting the most out of your header


Your weaving header is doing a lot of work to get your weaving ready to go and set up for success. That being said, there are other things that you can do to make them even more successful and faster.

This can be really important because your header is taking up real estate on your warp but it is not a part of the finished piece. A large header will use up more of your loom waste and if it is too big then it may even eat into your weaving space!

If this happens then, at best, you will be wasting some yarn and, at worst, you will not have enough room to finish your planned weaving project!


Smaller bundles (find your goldilocks)



When you are tying your warp onto your front apron rod you will be doing so in bundles. First, I always tie my warp on with a half-bow because it is easy to undo but is also just as strong as a double-knot.

You can learn how to do half-bows here.

Like a lot of things in weaving when you tie your warp onto your loom there is a goldilocks sized bundle that you will want to strive for. This size will change depending on your EPI and size of your yarn. 

Essentially, you are looking for bundles that are small enough that they space evenly without adding too much header while not being so small that they are frustrating to tie and untie. 

All bundles will produce some space between them when they are tied onto your apron rod. Larger spaces will take more header to close up than smaller spaces. Remember: the more header you need the more loom waste you need to account for.

My most used sized bundles include about 6 – 8 warps per bundle, but yours may be different due to your EPI, total warp ends, and personal preference. I usually like tie my bundles in even numbers that divide into my total warp ends. This is because that way they will all be the same size and will tie up simply.

Play around with different bundle sizes to find your goldilocks size. Unless you are changing up the types of weavings that you are creating often, you probably will not have to experiment constantly with different bundles and instead use the same size more often than not!


Weave 2 beat 1






One trick that I love to teach my students when they are warping their looms is to weave 2 beat 1. 

This means that I want you to weave 2 picks and then beat your header into place instead of the normal weave 1 beat 1.

This works well because having 2 full picks in place before beating your header will add a bit of extra friction to the warp and make it even out faster than if you were to weave it in normally. 

The images above show the progression of your warp with a thick yarn header beaten 2 picks at a time from bundles to evenly spaced in only 3 steps!


Need help planning your weaving project? Stuck trying to figure out how much yarn you need? What the h&^$ is WPI? Check out my e-book!


Removing your header


Since your header is not a part of your finished weaving it will need to be removed during your finishing process. Depending on the material you used this could vary a bit, but generally you have 2 options for removing your header from your warp once it is off the loom.

A quick note before we get into that though: another advantage of your header is that it functions as a way to keep your weaving in place once it is no longer under tension before you finish off your warp! 

This is great for if you did not do a hemstitch on that end of your weaving. I have traveled with a weaving in my bag that was unfinished – just the header at one end – many times without worrying about it unweaving. So keep it in place until you are ready for your finishing!

Learn how to do a hemstitch here.

Learn about warp finishing options here.


Pull out with tapestry needle



Regardless of what you are weaving, every weaver should own at least a few tapestry needles. They are great for weaving in your tails on balanced woven projects and for helping you to remove your header without disturbing your finished weaving.

While you can, of course, also use your fingers to do this, I have found the dull point of the tapestry needle does a better job at moving only the header and not the weft once I get up to the weaving.

To do this: lay your weaving flat on a table with the header towards you. Use the blunt end of your tapestry needle to gently tug your header out of your warp one pick at a time. If you try to do multiple picks at a time then your warp could get a bit tangled. 

Removing your header this way is perfect for when you want to reuse it for later projects. 

Learn more about different types of tapestry needles here.


Cut it out



If you can not be bothered to slowly take the header out with your tapestry needle and you don’t care about reusing your header then you can cut it out! Just be careful not to accidentally cut your weaving in this process.

You can cut your header in a few different spots along your weaving and it should easily come out without much hassle. Shorter pieces should not get tangled if you tug them out.

Check out my favorite supplies (like tapestry needles and yarn snips!) here.


Regardless of what you choose for your header and how you opt to remove it, the importance of using one is something I cannot say enough! Just find out what works best for you and use that.

Do you use something other than what I mentioned for your weaving header? Let me know!


Best Inexpensive Weaving Looms On Amazon

Best Inexpensive Weaving Looms On Amazon

Starting out as a new weaver or trying a new type of weaving can be intimidating when it comes to finding and purchasing materials – especially looms.

Let’s face it, weaving can be expensive. Luckily, though, it does not have to be! There are definitely ways that you can start weaving that do not require you to purchase expensive equipment – especially not when you are first starting out. 

In fact, there are quite a few really good options for inexpensive looms that you can get on Amazon

Depending on what you are wanting to create, what you already have, and/ or your current level of weaving expertise there is a loom for you.

While I already have a post on the best beginner looms overall, today’s focus is on price and fast shipping!


This page may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links then I will receive a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Please read our DISCLAIMER for more info. Thanks for the support!


Loom with a heddle rod


heddle bar loom from Amazon

When you are weaving on a frame loom you have a few different options as to how you actually weave. What I mean by that is you can weave manually with a tapestry needle or use a tool to create a shed. 

One of the least expensive options for a loom with a heddle rod that you can get on Amazon is this one by kissbuty.

The advantage of this is that you can weave faster and with less wrist movement. If you have issues with your wrists then this may be a really good option for you.

This loom more closely mimics the shed creation that you find on floor looms, table looms, and rigid heddle looms and also allows you to more easily use shuttles to wind on more yarn. The fewer yarn pieces you have to use, the fewer tails you have to deal with when you are finished!

Learn more about dealing with your weft tails here.

Learn more about weaving shuttles here.


warped heddle bar loom from Amazon

This loom comes fully put together and includes your heddle rod, a comb, a shuttle, and some yarn to start with! This means you have everything that you need to get started experimenting with your loom. 

I will say that the yarn it comes with is not the best – so keep that in mind, but it will get you started if that is ultimately what you are looking for in a weaving loom.


Travel Loom Set


simple travel loom from Amazon

This is probably one of the simplest looms that you can get that is not cardboard! This makes it one of the best looms for beginner weavers who just want something to get them started.

Not ready to purchase a loom yet? Learn more about cardboard looms here.

The wood really brings them up one notch from cardboard looms because they will last and you can weave on them for a long time. The issue with cardboard is that it can fall apart and does not hold the same amount of tension as a wood loom will.

This is also a really good deal because it comes with almost everything you need (x2)! Beyond getting yarn, there is not much else you need to get started!

When you buy the wool queen loom you get 2 frame looms, 2 wood tapestry needles, 2 shed sticks, and 1 comb. Granted the comb is almost comically small, but it works, and that is what matters!

If you are looking for a better tapestry beater then make sure to check out this post!

You may also want to look at other tapestry needle options to find the one that works best for you!

These looms are both very flat which makes them great for travel. You can set one up for your kid and one for yourself for traveling to keep everyone entertained and busy. Or just have 2 projects going at once! You do you.

When you are done weaving you can put them back in the envelope they came in so that everything stays together.

The EPI for the wool queen looms is on the low side so keep that in mind when choosing your weft yarns. The warp sett comes out to about 4.25 ends per inch. Doubling up your warps will get you an EPI of about 8.5 – in case you want to work with thinner yarns or create more intricate weavings.

Learn more about EPI here.


Upright tapestry loom


Beka tapestry loom from Amazon

My go-to for weaving tapestry on a frame loom is always a simple frame loom. I won’t go into the reasons for that here – you can read all about simple frame looms in this post.

That being said, I understand the desire from new students to have something that is a little more straightforward to warp or for weavers who already know what they want to do – to get a loom that is set up for exactly that. 

When you start looking for tapestry looms in general you may notice that they can get pricy. With that price, you get some extra bells and whistles, but for just starting out or if you want something on the simpler side then grabbing an upright tapestry loom from Amazon can be a really great option.

The one that I like is the upright tapestry loom by Beka. There are a lot of different options to choose from, but the biggest reason that I chose the Beka loom is that it has more notches per inch than the others and its sturdy design will keep your warp tension tight – just as you want it for tapestry.

Learn more about tapestry here. 


Beka tapestry loom single and double warped

It should be said that first, your preferred EPI is just that – your preferred EPI. So a loom that allows for one EPI may work well for me, but not as well for you. It always helps to know what you want to weave before purchasing a loom so that you are not limited.

Second, finding out the EPI for these looms on Amazon is not the easiest thing to do. Since Amazon is not a weaving or fiber art-specific website like The Woolery it does not always have all the information that you may be looking for. 

The Beka loom has an EPI of 5 which means you could also double up your warp for a denser or more balanced weaving to get 10 EPI (seen in the image above).

Generally speaking, 6 EPI is really good for tapestry, so 5 EPI is pretty close and usually still does the job well. 

The fact that the Beka loom is made to stay together is also a plus because you can expect that the warps will not loosen up as you keep weaving. Some looms that I have seen on Amazon have more moving parts to allow you to create a smaller weaving.

This is unnecessary because you can stop your weaving at any part on your warp for a shorter finished project! The tension on your warp is way more important to your tapestry than potentially saving a bit of yarn by shortening the overall height of your loom.


Want to learn how to weave tapestry? It is more than just imagery (although that can be a big part of it too!) Follow along with this self-paced online course that you can take from anywhere at any time.

There are now 2 ways to take it – either purchase the whole course at once for a discount or “create your own” course by purchasing just the parts you want! Either way, get 10% off for being a member of the Warped Community!


Beka tapestry loom from Amazon

The Beka loom comes completely deconstructed but is simple to put together. It also comes with a heddle stick, shuttle, and tapestry needle to get you started. 

The legs on the loom are adjustable for angle and therefore you can move it around to best suit your weaving position. This allows you to make sure you are sitting at the best angle for prolonged weaving sessions.

The teeth of this loom are made of plastic and while I usually like to avoid a lot of plastic pieces, the plastic on this loom makes it incredibly easy to warp. You do not have to worry about any snagging from wood that has not been sanded properly – an issue you may run into when purchasing a loom on the inexpensive end of the spectrum.

The Beka is also the largest loom on this list and sits at 20” x 23”, which means it really is not a travel loom, but it is great to set up and leave up wherever you get your weaving on. This also means you can create a decently sized wall hanging or larger pieces for a weaving that will be pieced together later!

Learn about sewing your woven artwork here.


Get started weaving!


When it comes down to it you need very little to weave most of the time. I never want you to feel like you need to spend a lot of money to get started weaving! Just find the best loom that works for you and go for it!

Once you get your loom and you are ready to get started, make sure to check out my supplies page to order some yarn and anything else you might want for your weaving projects. You can also check out where to buy yarn online and of course, check out my tapestry course to learn how to put your yarn to use!


Simple Woven Loom Bag Project

Simple Woven Loom Bag Project

There are so many different types of weaving that you can do! One common type is to create yardage to be turned into other things. 

We have talked about yardage before when we made a cushion for your weaving bench and also when we learned how to sew your handwoven fabric (and get over your fear of cutting and piecing your weavings together.)

So I think it is time to start on another handwoven fabric project!

This time? 

We are making a handwoven bag to sit at your loom or to carry around your supplies.

The difference is in the size.


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Weaving the fabric


rigid heddle loom with yarn

Yardage for this weaving project can be done on any loom that has an advancing warp.

A loom with an advancing warp is a loom that allows you to have a long warp that will roll upon itself and make way for more weaving! Floor looms, table looms, and rigid heddle looms are all examples of looms with advancing warps.

For this project I will be using a rigid heddle loom for no reason other than that is what I have available at the moment. You can use whatever loom you want!

I will also be recycling a pattern from a scarf pattern posted on the community page because I think it would make a great bag, but you can use any pattern you want.

If you want access to this pattern then make sure to become a member of the Warped Community. It is free and you get access to patterns, ebooks, course discounts, and more! You can sign up from my form above!


rigid heddle loom with weaving

If you are using a rigid heddle loom then the pattern you choose will probably be plain weave.

Plain weave is also a great option for any bag that will be getting a lot of use. You will want to avoid using weaving patterns with a lot of floats because they will be more likely to get snagged onto things while the bag is in use. 

Learn more about plain weave patterns here.

Learn more about the 3 basic weave structures (and what they are good for) here.

As far as yarn goes, I am using Gist Mallo yarn in the colors Frost and Spice. This is a really sturdy cotton slub yarn that is perfect for this project. Slub yarn is always one of my favorites because visually it adds something extra to even just single colored areas of your weaving.


Want to learn how to weave tapestry? It is more than just imagery (although that can be a big part of it too!) Follow along with this self-paced online course that you can take from anywhere at any time.

There are now 2 ways to take it – either purchase the whole course at once for a discount or “create your own” course by purchasing just the parts you want! Either way, get 10% off for being a member of the Warped Community!


Choosing your size


The size of your bag will depend on what you want to use it for and/or what size loom you have available to you. The great thing about making your own bag is that if you are wanting it for something specific then you have the option to tailor it exactly to that need!

Say you want a bag to be able to carry around your frame loom.

Perfect!

Measure your frame loom to get a rough idea of the size that you will need. Do not forget that you will probably want to make it a bit bigger to make sure it slides in and out easily, plus have room for extras like yarn, tapestry needles, and more.

If you are creating a bag for something that is larger than the weavable area of your loom then keep in mind that you can always sew panels of woven yardage together.

This, obviously, will change the look of your bag, but you can embrace and plan it if you are aware of the fact going into your project. 


measure bench for woven loom bag

Since I am weaving a bag for my loom bench I measured the depth of my bench to get the parameters for my bag.

My loom bench has a depth of 9 inches.

I added an extra inch to my weaving to account for sewing seams so that the width of my weaving will be 10 inches.

For the depth of the bag, I decided to go for a depth of 11 inches, which is just over half the length of my longest flat shuttles. Again, I want to make sure there is enough for sewing seams so I will add an extra inch to my yardage length as well.

This means that the woven yardage will be 12″x10″.


Cutting your pattern pieces


woven bag pattern pieces

If you have not already read through my post on how to sew your handwoven fabric then I recommend doing that before continuing with this project. We will be using the same interfacing that we used for our loom bench cushion to keep our woven fabric together as we cut into it and sew it up. 

So make sure to attach your interfacing before you do anything else!

Once that is done, lay out your fabric and begin figuring out the pattern pieces. 

Since we are doing a simple bag, everything is at 90-degree angles. This means you will not need to print out any special patterns to make this work – just use a tape measure!

You will also need the back of the bag – this will be the same size as the woven fabric and the inside fabric. The fabric for the inside of the bag will be almost the same width, just a half inch narrower. This will make everything match up better once we insert it. You will also need 2 of them that we will sew together.

While I am using a neutral muslin for the back and inside of my bag, you can have the entire outside of your back be woven if you want. Since my bag will live at my loom, this seemed unnecessary to hide handwoven fabric where you will barely see it.

Overall we will have:

handwoven fabric = 12″x10″

Back fabric = 12″x10″

Inside fabric = 2 panels 12″x9.5″

Fabric strap = 12 inches


Putting your handwoven bag together


woven loom bag liner

The first thing we will need to do is put together the inner liner of the bag.

If your fabric has a right and a wrong side then make sure to put the right sides together before sewing. Then sew around the outside of the fabric on 3 sides – leaving one of the short sides open.

This will be the opening at the top of the bag.

I used a zig-zag stitch for this to make sure it is extra secure. A straight stitch can also work, though.

You may also notice I used a bright blue thread. I did this mostly so you could see the stitching on the fabric. You will not be able to see the blue in the finished project, though – so it works out! Feel free to use a neutral-colored thread or one that matches your colors for this instead.

Leave this part of your bag as-is! Do not turn it inside out.

Next, you will need to sew the front and back of your bag together. You should probably not use a crazy-colored thread for this one.

When sewing the outside of your bag you will need to put the right sides of your fabric together and sew around the same three sides.

Turn this part of your bag outside in when you are finished,


woven loom bag project in process

Fold down the top half-inch of both parts of your bag. The outside of the bag will be folded in and the inside of the bag will be folded out.

Do not forget to iron your edges to make sure your folds are nice and crisp!


fold over edges woven loom bag

Place your liner inside your outer bag and make sure that your side seams match up. Matching your seams first will make lining up the rest of your bag a lot easier. Insert pins around the bag to keep everything in place before you sew it up.

If you are adding your straps to the inside of your bag then this is the time to do it.


I am using this twill tape ribbon for my straps. In hindsight, I wish I had purchased a slightly wider ribbon for this, but the 3/8″ works fine. That is just a visual preference. You can find twill tape in many different widths and colors.


Insert your strap between the liner and the outside of your bag. Use a pin to keep it in place and this pin will also work to hold the 2 parts of the bag together.


pin woven bag project

Before you bring your bag to your machine, I recommend trying it out with the pins in it.

If you are using it for a frame loom then make sure the loom fits and the straps are the right lengths for what you want.

If you are using it on your bench then make sure it hangs as you want it to. This will allow you to make any necessary changes before you start sewing.


woven loom bag try out before sewing

If you have a color thread that matches the colors of your bag then you can use that to do the final touches. If not you can probably get away with a neutral grey thread.

Learn when else I use grey thread in my weaving studio!

Sew around the top edge of your bag with a straight stitch. I recommend backstitching over your straps while you have it on your sewing machine. This will give it a little extra staying power in case you store heavy tools in your bag!

Make sure to snip any loose threads and you are good to go!


finished woven loom bag with weaving tools

What will you be using your woven bag for? Let me know!



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