Do you use a simple frame loom? Does the fact that you have to manually space your warps make you consider other frames or deter you from using one to begin with? While admittedly the lack of automatic spacing could be an understandable reason to looks elsewhere, don’t give up on it yet. You have options. Give some of these a try and you might just change your mind.
First: don’t know what a simple frame loom is? Read THIS post first.
I am a big fan of the simple frame loom for a lot of reasons. It’s the loom that I learned how to weave on and the one I still use in my studio all the time. It is also the type of frame weaving that I love to teach. There are many reasons I like this type of loom and I talk about all of them in the post I listed above, but I know there are some cons to my pros.
One of the cons that I discuss in the other post is the lack of consistent spacing.
Basically, one thing weavers might dislike about this method is that they have to manually space all of their warps. This is usually the biggest complaint that I hear. Proper spacing is incredibly important in weaving because anytime your spacing is off, you run the risk of having different EPIs in the same weaving. Check out that post on EPI for a lot more info including how to make an EPI mini-loom. Essentially different EPIs in the same weaving make it so you have different types of weavings in different areas. You could end up with a weft-faced weaving on one half and a balanced weaving on the other.
Let’s discuss a few ways to overcome this that don’t include nails or notches. (These would make it so you couldn’t vary your EPI for different weavings)
This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links then I will receive a small commission that helps keep the blog going – at no extra cost to you! Please read our DISCLAIMER for more info. Thanks for the support!
Mark Up Your Frame
This is the simplest option and the question that I get asked usually every class. “Can I just mark where every single warp should go?”
The simple answer is yes.
The more complicated answer is that you might want to hold back a little because it could be overkill.
You absolutely could make a mark where every single warp will sit. Admittedly, it is tempting because that way you don’t have to guess the exact spacing of each warp. Time isn’t the largest concern here, but it is something to consider. This is especially true if you are planning a wide weaving as it could take a while to make all those marks.
The larger concern I have for this method is that if you do this you will have to change it every time you start a new weaving with a different EPI. This would also require you to erase the previous marks and could eventually make your frame look messy and hard to see the new marks.
A faster and more universal option is to mark every inch or inch and a half. This keeps your frame loom ready for all different setts while still giving you guidelines by breaking up your weaving into smaller chunks. When doing pretty much anything if you break it up into smaller pieces it is easier to do. *Bonus Life Hack!*
This is a very simple way to help you see the spacing in small areas at a time but if you are looking for something with a little more flair….
Decorate Your Frame
A similar option for when you are looking for something that looks nicer or more Instagram worthy is to use washi tape. If you have never heard of washi tape – it is a lightweight decorative paper tape that comes from Japan and is used a lot in scrapbooking and crafts.
You can find it at almost any craft store and on Amazon. (THIS is the washi tape that I am using.) You can either cut your tape into 1-inch strips and apply these strips to your frame or use 1 long piece to mark the total width (like shown above.) This tape is now your spacing guideline!
If you decide to cut it into 1-inch strips then it does take more time than just taking a pencil to your frame – but sometimes you just want something a little extra.
Sometimes having your tools inspire you can be helpful to your studio practice.
If you like this option but don’t really care about making your frame look pretty, you can always just use plain tape like masking tape. If you want to take this tape off in the future make sure to choose a tape that won’t leave behind a lot of residue. You could also use artist’s tape or painter’s tape for this.
Keep Them in Place!
Once you have your warps perfectly spaced it can be frustrating to have them move around as you weave.
If you are having an issue with this then you can take some masking tape or artist’s tape and apply it to the top and bottom of the frame along the warps. You can do this on any side of your frame, but if you don’t want to look at it then stick to the back.
This will keep them equally spaced and make them stay in place.
This may or may not work if you have used washi tape like previously discussed. I wouldn’t recommend putting tape on top of other tape, so you should secure the warps on the back of the frame if this is the case.
A Hybrid Option
One of the reasons that I like simple frame looms is that they make it so you have SO many options.
That doesn’t stop when it comes to your spacing.
If the above options just don’t do it for you then you can always combine them. This is arguably a better choice than just marking up your frame alone. Instead of marking your frame, you can mark the tape that you are already using. This will allow you to decorate your frame, mark every warp, and be able to remove the tape in the future so your frame can weave a different EPI on a different day.
When it comes down to it, you should always take a look at your particular situation and do what works for you. (More life lessons?)
I hope this helps with some frustration that can arise when weaving on a simple frame loom and encourages you to give it a chance!