I found this lovely little loom on Ebay. It came in its original box, complete with instructions and weaving sticks. It is a Spears No 3 Weaving Loom made in the 1950’s. Spears looms were designed to be a child’s toy loom, but they are quite sturdy and well made. With the rigid heddle that lifts and lowers alternate warp threads, the looms are designed for weaving plain fabrics.
However I thought that I could also use this loom for weaving small tapestries. Rather than threading the reed using both the holes and slots, I threaded the warp through the holes only as I will not be using the reed to lift and lower the warp or to beat the weft in place. Instead I will lift and lower the warp threads by hand, as in tapestry. I use a fork to beat down the weft into place.
To test this loom I put on a narrow warp (about 4 inches in width)
For this project I used 3 ply hemp yarn for the warp. 18 ends, 2 yards in length.
If you don’t have hemp, you can substitute with a linen or a strong cotton yarn.
I am using single ply handspun wool for the weft that has been dyed with natural fungi and plant dyes.
Boletopsis Grisea – Greens
Cortinarious semisanguineous -Ppinks
Logwood – Blue/grey
I wind small amounts of yarn into butterflies.
The ‘warp beams’ have slots in them for tying the warp threads to. I found it quite fiddly and difficult to hold the warp in place in the grooves, so I used some cello tape to tape them down. Once the ends were secure I wound the warp onto the ‘back beam’ and put the holding pin (brake) into the small holes on the beam to hold it in place.
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At the front end of the loom, I tied the warp ends over the warp beam, similarly to tying them on a floor loom.
In this sample, I am demonstrating a few common tapestry techniques.
I begin the project by weaving in a header using 2 ply wool. Weave a tabby pattern (over/under warp threads) for about 1/2 inch to create a firm edge for the tapestry.
|In the Slit technique, each colour is woven back and forth, separately. This is generally used in small sections as a slit is created in the rug.|
|Two colours can also meet by wrapping around the same warp thread. The Warp Interlock creates a jagged edge and is used in diagonal joins.|
|Diagonal (or other) shapes are woven using a combination of interlocking techniques. The steepness of the diagonal determines when to change to the next colour.|
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|In the Weft Interlock, the two adjoining colours wrap around each other between two warp threads. It is used on long vertical joins.|
My Next Tapestry Project
Fishing Hut Tapestry
.. work in progress..
More Spears Looms
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