Friday, December 17, 2010

DIY 7' Triangle Loom or TriLoom, for short

First off, let me point you to the site where it all began as you may have already seen because everyone uses this site when they build a loom. It's

There's a reason these babies are quite a pretty penny, and it isn't because of the cost of materials. The amount of time it takes to drill and hammer in all 486 nails can be daunting. If you have a laid back nature or too poor to shell out $250 for a fancy one, then this project is for you. My loom is 7 feet at the widest point, which makes my shawls slightly smaller depending on shrinkage.

DIY TriLoom:

Now, down to business. Head over to your local Home Improvement store (Home Depot for me) and gather your supplies.

2 pcs - 8 feet 2x1" Pine (or Oak if you can afford it)
1 box - 1 lb - 1 1/4 " Trim Nails (I choose the ones with heads to help keep the yarn stable)
3 - 3" screws 
Wood Glue

1- Measuring Tape / Ruler
1 - Drill with matching drill bit size to nails and screws
1 - right angle
pencil for marking

Here's the nails I used just in case:

I think it helps to lay it all out, so you can see what you're working on and how it'll come together in the end. You can get an idea of the angles you'll be cutting to give it it's triangular shape. This takes up a lot of room. You''l need to clear plenty of space to be able to work around it. Oh, to have a woodworking shop!


 I measured and cut the first wood piece down to 84" (7 feet) long with square 90 degree ends. Remember to measure twice and cut once to get it right. This is the base for all the rest of the angles and lengths, so make sure you get this right.

Luckily, I have a laser guided saw that helps me know exactly where to cut. It's particularly helpful when I'm cutting the 45 degree angles though this picture shows the 90 degree cut.

You can line up the V portion of the triangle now, which creates the 90 degree angle. See how I have the wood butting up to each other? Less cutting = less mistakes and less time wasted. I'm not a master wood carver, and one less thing to do is nice.

 When you lay the pieces on top of the 7 foot length, you can see the angle on which your next cut will be. This is one of the two 45 degree cuts that will sit on top of the 7 foot section. You'll notice that you'll have one side slightly longer than the other with both having a 45 degree angle cut one one end and 90 degree on the other. 

 Ah, all cut down and ready to be assembled. Now, it's time to drill. You're going to want to drill starter holes through the ends making sure to go through both pieces of wood. This is why you need the long screws. I nailed, glued, and screwed them together to make sure they never come apart. Don't skip the drilling because this keeps the wood from splitting. You wouldn't want to run to the store to get more would you?

You can see here how the pieces meet on the long end.  See how nice and even they are? You wouldn't want any extra places for yarn to snag, so keeping your cuts clean is important. If you don't, you may have to come back later and sand sections down because they keep snagging your yarn while you're weaving.

 Now, for the nails. This is the most time consuming part, so be prepared to spend hours on this. Mark out the center top nail and working your way down the short sides, spacing them 1/4" apart, mark 164 places to drill starter holes. I place mine about 1/2" from the edge of the wood. Once you reach the long side,  work across it spacing them ~1/2" apart, measuring straight down from the short side nail marks using the right angle.

You should have 486 holes total. 161 one each side and all sharing an extra corner nail. 161+161+161+3 corners=486 nails total. Next, pre-drill holes and hammer in all those little nails. I left them sticking out about 3/4" above the wood.

 A neat way to mark spacing is to leave every 10th nail slightly raised/lowered. This can help you when you're weaving and making patterns or if you want to know how many rows you have left to weave.

 Viola!! You've done it! Now, you can start weaving. I hanged my loom on the wall for easy weaving. Some weave with the long side up, some with it down. You're preference really. . . I prefer to weave up.

Here's the action shot of the weaving process. There are other site that give directions on the continuous weave process such as on Wayne's This and That or at By switching colors, you can create a nifty plaid effect.

 There's a nice video on YouTube by WeaverHazel that shows the complete process on a smaller loom, It also shows you how to make a square weaving (Afghan?) using a Triloom.

 Finishing the Edges:

 I found that the ends were very loosey, goosey after removing it from the loom, so I prefer to crochet the edges to tighten it up a little.

 Slip stitch across the edging.
You can see how the final crochet edge compares. The thicker the yarn, the less this will happen. With the spacing of this particular loom, bulky weight yarns work best.

It's been a real treat to have my own loom that I made. Just like when I spin a yarn then knit it, I have more pride in what I've done because it is mine form beginning to end. Plus, saving all that money for yarn doesn't hurt either! Don't forget to check out the multitude of resources on the web, in your library, and from your friends. 

If you like this or any other DIY tutorials, feel free to donate directly to me using the link below. I truly appreciate anything you can offer to keep me creating. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

4th Annual Arkansas Fiber Arts Extravaganza

Sitting high atop Mt. Magazine in the cold breeze, I found myself awash with bliss and joy as I spun happy memories with my fiber friends.

That is how I would describe my weekend in one sentence. An absolute pleasurable 2 days away from the world, just to celebrate the fibers and all the ways we play with them. It all started for me on Wednesday. I had driven to meet my friends in Tulsa, so that we could make our way toward Arkansas together on Thursday. We shopped and talked all while crammed into a SUV stuffed to the gills with yarns, fibers, fleeces, and spinning wheels.

Don't believe me, here's my seat. .

We went out to eat at local restaurants and visited Stringtown in Ft Smith, AR that my friend Elizabeth owns. Her shop is amazing with everything you could possibly want when it comes to fiber. I petted many skeins before continuing onto our hotel. 

  At the Lodge, I happily found my spot and unloaded all my batts, yarns, and other sundry items. It's always a game to figure out how to set up my booth. I never seem to do the same thing twice. Mainly because the space I usually get is different each time. I abhor being confined to a 10x10 space with no elbow room as many fairs do. Not Arkansas though, all their booths were nicely set out with ample space to wander, admire, and sometimes gawk for a couple of minutes (Did you see that silk fiber that was as big as a blanket at Spinning Straw into Gold?!)

 It was the first year that they had opened up vending on Friday night, and while it was fatiguing to drive in and set up before 6, the evening was delightfully busy. The atmosphere was calm, yet enthused. I had the best time chatting with everyone, long-time festival attendees and new alike. There was something around every corner: square knitting needles to try out, spinning wheels to test drive, yarns to molest, and fibers you could dig up to your elbows in. It was a dream!

Saturday quickly started early in the day and didn't calm down a bit. It was never overly crowded, and I always had someone to talk to. At one point, I took a break to wander the halls to find knitters, spinners, crocheters lining the halls and camped out in every available chair both inside and out. How can you not smile when your surrounded with such a stunning view?

I could go on and on about how wonderful this festival is, but as you may have heard already, experiencing is so, so much better. I plan to attend next year as it travels to Hot Springs, AR with more goodies. I hope to see you all in 2011!