If you’re embarking on your pin loom weaving career, or are ready for some clarifications, here are some 102-level basics.
***Remember, you can click on a photo to enlarge it; click the back arrow (upper left corner of this page) to return to these instructions.
Right, Left; Odd, Even; Corners, and Edges
When I talk about weaving and patterns, I frequently have to refer to the edges of the loom. Top and bottom, left and right are arbitrary if you turn the loom while weaving, so I try to refer to the sides by their corners, e.g. the “left” side of the loom is the 1-3 side. This information is useful, though for the life of me I can’t think why at the moment!
If you’re going to weave patterns it’s helpful to know how to count your rows. Sometimes in patterns I refer to even and odd row numbers–this has nothing to do with the sides of the loom. It’s just a count of the rows you’ve done. In a three-layer warp there are 16 rows, in a two-layer warp, 31. The plastic Weave-It and later model Loomettes number the rows for you, so they’re easier to count.
Wooden Weave-Its (as well as Bakelite and primitive plastic ones), old Loomettes, and the new Zoom Loom don’t have numbered rows. It’s a little harder to count rows when there are no numbers, but you can still keep track. For instance, whichever side the needle ends up on tells you if your next row will be odd or even. If you’re on side 1-3 your row will be even numbered; if on 2-4, it will be odd. That’s one of those quirky details you have to commit to memory: odd side = even rows; even side = odd rows. Row 1 (usually a plain weave row) is always woven right up against the 1-2 row of pins; row 16 (also usually a plain weave row), against the 3-4 side. Every row is begun between pins 2 and 3 of each three-pin group and ended in the blank space between each group (though Row 1’s blank space is less obvious than the others).
You can add numbers to your loom. I used a fine point black Sharpie. If you’re right-handed you might find it difficult to write the numbers on the 1-3 side–I did. I also marked the center on the bottom of some of my looms because it helps me when I’m designing patterns.
Basic Warping and Weaving
There are a number of ways to secure your yarn to the loom before you begin the warping process. Some people tape it or clip it or have a piece of Velcro on the back of the loom. I like to tie a slip knot, slip the noose over the second pin at corner 1 and then tighten the noose. This knot will be untied after the square is taken off the loom.
“Warping” the pin loom is a bit of a misnomer. What really happens is Layer 1: warp, Layer 2: weave, Layer 3: warp, Layer 4: weave. By placing layer 2 between 1 and 3, we’re setting up the alchemical reaction that will take place when we start using the needle. The needle draws layer 1 to the top while pushing layer three to the bottom.
The loom in the above photo is ready for weaving.
Outer Loops vs. Inner Strands
If you look closely at the yarn figuration on the loom, you’ll see there are “loops” around the pins. Sides 1-2 and 3-4 have two sets of loops in each three-pin group; sides 1-3 and 2-4 have only one set each. You’ll be adding the second set as you weave layer 4. Those outer loops DO NOT COUNT when you’re following a pattern. You’ll always take the needle through the outer loop at the beginning of each row, so it’s not part of the stitch count. There are 31 vertical strands in layers 1 and 3 combined–these are the things you’ll be going over and under with the needle; these are the stitches you’ll count.
Most commonly you’ll start (row 1) with a plain weave row (which anchors all the stitches) and the first stitch will be Under. Here’s a close-up of the first Under stitch.
Here’s another look at the same photo with its anatomical parts labeled. It’s difficult to see that first strand because it’s beneath the others and obscured by the loom’s frame. (It’s also hard to take a photo of it with my left hand while the needle is in my right.) Don’t forget to click on it to enlarge the photo; click the back arrow to return to these instructions).
This is what the first row looks like with the needle in place of the yarn.
To see the fate of this two-color square, go to http://windsweptmind.com/2016/04/04/adventures-in-pin-loom-weaving-announcing-our-first-weekly-weave-along/#more-2140 and scroll toward the bottom of the page to The Two-Color Challenge.