What kind of Loom is Best for You
click. click. click.
I watched her move those needles rapidly and with precise rhythm, and with even more amazement I watched that ball of beautifully soft yarn transform from a ball into a sweater, blanket, scarf, a mini sweater for my doll named Allison. I had to learn how to do it, and so in 3rd grade I picked up my first pair of knitting needles, I learned how to cast on and cast off, and the difference between knit and pearl, and then I figured out how to design a hat, that I would sell to all of my stylish 3rd grade friends. ( Looking back, I”m not so sure that we were very stylish)
That was the year that textiles and I fell in love, and while we took breaks throughout life, we always return to each other.
My mom, who is good at many things, is not good when it comes to anything yarn/ textile related, making it clear that she was not going to be the person to answer my many questions about knitting, embroidery, and crochet. Just ask her about the time a few years ago when she tried to learn how to crochet, she was the worst student I’ve ever had ( this isn’t going to hurt her feelings, she already knows) , and I”ve taught a lot of students.
Instead, I turned to my grandmother, my 4th grade teacher, and my parents signed me up for knitting and sewing lessons.
You’re nodding your head , remembering the time that your daughter asked you to show her how to use the new knifty knitter that she’d just received for her birthday. And no matter how many times you read the directions, and read that it was for ages 5 and up, you realized that you must be dumber than a 5 year old, because you just COULDN’T FIGURE IT OUT!
In that moment, you knew that you could and would support your child’s creative pursuits, but you were going to need to bring in some reinforcement. aka lessons.
Now that you’ve fully accepted that you have no idea how to make the knifty knitter work ( PS: I”m a knifty knitter ninja, as in I had to go to physical therpay because I used mine too much, so I can show you how it works), you decide that you’ll try something else, but what? There are so many options, you have no clue what is good and what isn’t. And you really don’t want another “thing” that sits in a box on a shelf because no one can understand how to use it.
For those of you with yarn loving kids, below you’ll find some basic loom information.
- Make a cardboard loom: Grab a piece of cardboard, cut equally spaced slits in each end, and let the weaving fun begin. Really there is a lot of play and experimentation that can be done with such a basic tool.
- If you want to feel a bit more pro, get a board, and put equally spaced nails in each end. ( You can also buy a lap loom for $20-30)
- If you’re really loving the weaving deal, and want to kick it up a notch you have some options.
- Rigid Heddle loom: these are small and easy to store. They take a bit more knowledge in set up than a lap loom. The advantage is that it’s easier to achieve a more even/consistent weave, and you can make much longer pieces. ( If the knifty knitter stumped you, you might want to ask for a lesson in setting up the loom)
- Table loom : These can be small, but usually aren’t quiet as compact as a rigid heddle, and are often a bit more expensive. See if you can find a used one. With a table loom you can create more patterns than you can with a rigid heddle loom, they also weave a bit faster. You need to invest in , or make a warp board ( this is another lesson, today I’m just giving you loom options). The great thing about many table looms, is that if down the road you want to get more advanced, you can buy a stand and turn it into a floor loom.
- Floor loom. They’re big. They do range in size, but they are going to take up more space in your house. You use your feet and your hands when weaving, which makes it much faster. Once you try a floor loom, it’s hard to go back. Again, see if you can find a used one. You will see that they come with 4, 6, 8… harnesses ( this determines how complex of a pattern you can create). 4 is more than enough, unless you find a great deal on a used one with more harnesses.
Now that I’ve reminded you of the nightmarish knifty knitter hidden away in a closet, I also want to offer some help with your creative kids. Check out the summer weaving workshops.