Pin Looms: Making Weaving Portable

I blistered my fingers pin-loom weaving but it was hella fun!

Pin Loom Weaving Class

Yesterday I went to a fun class at Wolsley Wool, my local independent yarn store. Kari taught us how to weave on a pin loom. I had flirted with the idea of doing pin loom weaving before, and the Schacht Zoom Loom is exactly the kind of small loom that tempts me the most, but I could never justify the cost and I never ran into a second-hand one.

So when I saw a workshop offered, including a handmade pin loom, taught by the delightful Kari, I jumped at it.

Four Inch Pin Loom Class
Four Inch Pin Loom Class: My Brand New Toy!

(I just want to go on the record and say that a string person married to a wood person is a very lucky person.)

It’s a very odd and interesting weaving technique. Three layers of warp are wrapped onto the pins before any interlacing starts. The second layer is, in reality, a layer of weft, but it’s suspended between the two layers of warp.

Only when you get to the fourth and final layer of weft do you actually do any of the normal interlacing of plainweave.

From what I have learned, the technique is about 80 years old. If you are interested and want to learn more, here is my Pinterest board Pinweaving.

One of the best blogs on pin weaving out there, Sue Barton’s Windswept Mind is well worth a visit. I recommend her Glossary Of Pin Loom Terms especially.

Third warp layer complete: Layer one and two are tan alpaca, layer three is pink wool.

Beginning plainweave of layer four. (two strands of featherweight mohair/metallic/thread/merino art yarn)

Note that the weft layers two and layer four alternate.

Ready to take the square off the pins.

Seven Lessons I Learned

So I learned a few lessons making my first two squares that I thought I would pass along.

  1. A 6″ weaving needle, thin enough to fit through the pins, is both difficult to find a very necessary if you don’t want to blister your fingers and strain your wrists. I have already ordered a set and was lucky enough to find them on my side of the border. I found a set on Etsy. Schacht Zoom Loom Replacement Needles
  2. A pin loom is not a good tiny tapestry loom. The pin spacing makes for a crappy warp.
  3. The selvages on pin loom squares are all loopy. It’s great for sewing or crocheting the squares together, not so good for leaving the squares plain. A little blanket stitched edging cleaned that right up on my tan/pink/mixed square.  I twined the edges of my blue and homespun blue/green square instead of weaving my ends in. (See below)
  4. Pin looms are awesome for seeing how yarns and colours interact together. Weaving always mutes colour combinations, so it’s an easy way to get an idea how it’ll look before warping up a big loom.
  5. Fulling and blocking the squares is not optional. At all. Really.
  6. This has got to be the best craft for using up those last little bits of yarn that is too good to throw up. For that alone, I love this craft!
  7. Apparently, one can make super cute little critters with these little squares. I am going to be trying that for sure. 🙂

Note the edges of the squares.

Has anyone else tried pin loom weaving?  And if so, did you enjoy it?

With lots and lots of love,

Baba StringThings from Winnipeg

Author: Baba StringThings

I am a middle-aged mother of three grown-up sons, a thrifty, creative, and dedicated born-again spinster, and I have a serious string addiction. I teach crochet, knitting, bobbin lacemaking, hand-embroidery, weaving, spinning, kumihimo, darning, mending, and how to upcycle clothing. When I'm not doing that I pretty much play with string. All. The. Time. And I have an unholy love of Pinterest.

2 thoughts on “Pin Looms: Making Weaving Portable”

  1. Hi! I too am interested in pin looms and like you find it hard to justify the initial cost. Did you determine if you had a loom preference?
    Fellow string enthusiast,, cyndi

    Like

    1. Hi Cyndi!
      I had exactly the same problem, I was interested but I didn’t think I could justify the cost of a good pin loom, so finding a class with a home made loom included was perfect! And truthfully, I don’t think I would have bought one of the “good” ones, as I don’t use it that often. If you know any woodworking people it is apparently a very easy textile tool to make. The long weaving needles on the other hand are worth buying. Here are templates for various sizes and good luck!
      ~Renata

      Click to access Square_2-inch_3-inch_4-inch.pdf

      Like

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