Monday, June 8, 2015

Introducing 'Whit Worth' a recycled material loom.

I was inspired by an article (okay two articles, really) in Handwoven  Magazine   [March/April 2015] about Sakiori Weaving. What inspired me wasn't the suggested projects (although the silk scarf does look fun) but rather the historical background.

The thing that really stuck in my imagination, was the size of the average household loom. The idea that an eight to twelve inch wide warp, and weaving small pieces that are patchworked together made me question myself. Specifically, "Why not try it?"

Now, I should add in that recycling is fairly big up here, so much so that our local 'transfer sites' ( landfill drop off points) have a reusable item station - a platform for people to trade / recycle / reuse items with life left to them.  There are always T-Shirts there, so I figured that it could be a starting project for either my Tapestry pin loom, or my Cheater's Loom (the Salish's name... yep, we name lots of our stuff.)

But I didn't just find T-Shirts. I found some dowels from a shelf decoration, and a child's wooden puzzle, and even some cup hooks. In my mind, it was an unassembled Tapestry Style Lap Loom, just waiting to be discovered. I immediately thought "Well, I'm using recycled  materials, why not a recycled loom as well?"

So after a bit of trimming on the cup hooks, curing out the puzzle backing, and assembly/sanding... it was ready to try.

It worked, but it also felt a bit too lightweight. It flexed a bit much, especially when advancing the warp. After a couple of pieces  I was beginning to worry that I might break the loom while using it.

I decided that I should either reinforced the frame somehow, or find a way to make advancing the warp easier. I also wanted to stay with using all recycled materials.

A couple days later I found a discarded small piece of PVC piping. It was long enough to trim two pieces, one for each end of the loom. Then, by cutting open the side of each piece, I was able to pry it open and slide it on to the wood frame in such a way as it pinches the frame with the cut end. This make either end of the frame have a rounded smooth edge that advances the warp easily, and divides the pressure across the frame more evenly.

So now the loom works beautifully, and makes small strips that can be assembled into larger items. So, as I mentioned, lots of our items areally named... (sometimes puns, or obscure refrences) and this loom is no exception. Thus, it is named 'Whit Worth' as in a whit- the smallest part, and thus it is Worth every penny I didn't spend (recycled) to get this loom that makes the smallest parts of projects.

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