my advice to anyone thinking of trying a spears weaving loom (size 2) as a cheap/easy introduction to weaving: DON’T!
to be fair, yes, it’s just a toy, and i think it might be fine for short lengths - mats, pouches etc. - but the instruction book leads you to believe it’s possible to make a scarf, so that’s what we tried. the problem lies in the construction of the loom - putting tension on the warps pulls the bottom bar (cloth bar?) out of its slot. the problem got more pronounced as i wrapped more fabric around the bar, as i guess this angles both bar and warp threads so it’s more inclined to pull out. this was absolutely the longest length i could get before the loom became completely impossible to use
the system for tensioning the warps through little holes with pegs, whilst ingenious, is pretty fiddly to use too (although with the basic design flaw you really don’t want to be advancing very much anyway).
added to the problem of the loom itself was my choice of yarn. as with our previous weaving adventure i decided to use cotton as, basically, that’s all i have in any quantity. of course i soon found out why wool is suggested - the cotton is smooth and slippy and doesn’t want to hold in a balanced weave. i think we were actually okay for yarn weight/sett and something with more fuzz might have turned out quite acceptable. as it was the cotton really wanted to smoosh together a lot more, turning out more of a weft-faced fabric
but that’s not to say we didn’t have fun along the way. it turned out to be a really good collaborative project for M & friend, passing the shuttle across to each other and taking turns to beat the weft, while i lifted the heddle (the comby bit the warp threads go through). the shed (gap you push the shuttle through) created by the loom wasn’t that big, so it wasn’t always easy to push the shuttle through, which M found frustrating at times. the girls really enjoyed me passing on little snippets about weaving in “the olden days” from my current reading, women’s work: the first 20,000 years.
in between cursing the loom i had fun too, the basic process had just the right balance of repetition and concentration, and i like how quickly it comes together at the wefting stage. i didn't find the warping too onerous and i liked the observation that what we think of as "weaving", where you're adding in the weft, is actually only half of the process, that warping is weaving too. i think i would thoroughly enjoy the process on the right loom. um, anyone know if the schacht flip loom is available in the uk? :roll:
edit: fibrecrafts will be stocking the flip in about a month's time... :roll: :roll: