for MW

So, here’s what I was thinking as I constructed a 49 pins-per-side loom today: “Why don’t all the loommakers send me samples of their looms so I can promote them and extend their product’s usability?” (This is how I think while poking 192 holes and then placing 192 pins in a cardboard loom.) And then I realized, “Why should they? I’m plugging their products even though I don’t own any of them.”

(Apparently I need to clarify the above paragraph. It was meant as something of a joke. It’s probably selfish of me to wish my grunt work on others. I didn’t mean to solicit offers!)

Today’s ad features a 12″ x 12″ loom (what I’d call a bias loom) with 49-per-side equidistant pins.

12″ x 12″ loom — photo by Theresa Jewell. Used with permission.

A member of the Facebook Pin Loom Weaving Support Group asked me how to use the three-layer warping method on this loom because my previous post on the subject wasn’t helping with her particular loom. I totally understand this because as a new weaver I never knew what was going on, and was a slave to the diagrams and method. I’ve since discovered that I am the Captain of the loom and can use it just about any way I want.

In constructing my 49 x 49 pin loom, I used graph paper (7.8 lines per inch) that approximates the spacing of a Weave-It loom. The length of each line of pins is 6 3/16 inches, so my loom is about half the size of today’s Featured Loom. On my first pass warping it up, I wrapped two pins and skipped two, but then I remembered the large spaces between pins on the 12″ x 12″ loom and decided the “pin sharing” approach would close up gaps in the yarn better. (Be aware you can certainly use bulky yarn and wrap two, skip two—with modifications at the corners.)

The main action is to wrap two pins, skip one pin, but is modified at Cr1 and Cr3. It’s essentially the same method used on the Weave-It, but the Weave-It doesn’t have pins at Cr1 and Cr3, so on this loom we’ll ignore those pins.

Homemade 49 pin-per-side loom.


(I didn’t take a close-up of the corners on this layer; scroll down this page to see L1 corners in other photos. Click on photos to see a larger version; click back arrow to return to these instructions.) At Cr1 take yarn between corner and second pin, up to Cr3 alongside the 1-3 side pins. Wrap two pins and bring the yarn back down to Cr1. Skip two pins and wrap two (so you’ll be wrapping pins #4 and #5). Take yarn back up to 3-4 edge, skip one pin, wrap two. Back down to 1-2 edge, skip one, wrap two. Continue skipping one and wrapping two. End L1 at Cr2 between second-to-last pin and corner pin.

Layer 1 (L1)


Take yarn around two Cr2 pins (on 2-4 side of loom) and across to 1-3 side of loom. Skip first two pins at Cr1, wrap two, then back to 2-4 side. Skip one, wrap two for all of L2.


End at Cr 3 taking yarn between third-and-second-to-last pins on 1-3 side.

L2—close-up of Cr2 and Cr3


At Cr3, wrap three pins, take yarn down to  Cr1 between second and third pins. Continue wrapping two, skipping one. Note that L3 warps are centered between all L1 warps so it’s easy to tell by looking if you’re warping correctly.


Finish L3 at Cr2 between third-and-second-to-last pins.

L3—close-up of Cr1, Cr2, and Cr3


Wrap yarn around outside perimeter of all pins to measure warp. The rule of thumb is: size of loom plus one wrap. For a 12″ square that means 13 wraps (this is an estimate!). Such a long tail of yarn might prove unwieldy for weaving, so you might want to try half of that and add the second half partway through. (For my loom I wrapped 8 times to be on the safe side. After weaving: I discovered that I really needed 8.5-9 wraps*. The rule of thumb doesn’t apply here because I crammed extra warp [ends] and weft [picks] into the 6.25″ square.)

Take the needle down through the outer loop at Cr2 and Under the first warp. Continue going Over all L3 warps and Under all L1 warps (O1, U1, O1, U1 . . .). Because of pin sharing, this row will be a bit difficult to weave (this is why I insist on cutting a hole in the center of the loom—you can reach both sides of the weaving), so take your time and make sure you get everything in the proper order. Subsequent rows will be easier to weave, but you’ll encounter the same difficulty again on the last row. (See Jiffy Loom post for tips.)

L4, R1

L4, R1—close-up of needle entrance and exit

Use fork to pack R1 close to 1-2 edge pins.

The first L4 row will be below the first L2 strand. The last L4 row will be above the last L2 strand. All other L4 rows will be located between L2 strands. Always enter L4 rows through an outer loop and exit the row where there is no loop (below the empty pin). You’ll be wrapping two pins between the end of one row and the beginning of the next. It can be tricky to know exactly where to exit the row; it helps to remember always wrap two pins.

L4—close-up of entering and exiting a row

Reminder: L4 ends at Cr4 (not Cr3) after weaving above the last L2 strand.


A loom that has 63 x 63 warp ends and weft picks is not the same as a 4″ Weave-It. I mean, not all textural patterns will automatically transfer over. However, textural patterns suitable for 2″ and 6″ squares will work on this loom. (The 31 x 31 strand, 4″ x 4″ Weave-It, works with stitch groupings of 4 + 3, if that makes sense to you. It only barely makes sense to me.) For example, “Horizontal Xs,” which works on the 4″ loom, doesn’t fit this loom.  But “3-and-1” works (Even Rows: P2, U3, O1 across, end P2; Odd Rows: P4, U3, O1 across, end P4).


If you want to use pictorial patterns you either have to make up your own, wait till I make some up, or you can use 6″ pictorial patterns and add 8 rows of plain weave (or a simple pattern stitch such as “3-and-1”) to the top and bottom of the existing pattern, as well as 8 stitches on either end of each row.


*UPDATE (12 July 2017): After finishing this square (the weaving wasn’t a priority because this was just a sample), I learned an important lesson. If you cram extra threads into a loom, you’ll need extra weft. Seems obvious when you put it that way.

Though I had enough yarn to weave one more row, I opted to add enough new yarn to weave the last two rows for extra security. A single row could be easily pulled out.

Enough yarn for one more row, but I need to weave two!


How many rows do you have left to weave? Measure one side of the pins for each outstanding row and add extra for take-up (the bending of the yarn as it goes over and under the warps). The amount of extra yarn depends on how many rows you have left and the size of your loom. My advice: be generous.

Though I only needed enough yarn for two rows (about two sides of the loom), I added one whole extra wrap.

Decide which side of the loom you want to start weaving on. Technically, I should have started on the side where I left off. I chose to start from the opposite side instead because I didn’t want three long tails hanging at Cr4. This way, I have two tails near Cr3 and one near Cr4. If I were using this square in a project, and using the tails to sew the squares together, these extra ends might come in handy in unexpected places.

Finished square—off the loom

This last photo shows a comparison between square size and original loom size after the square is removed from the loom.


I’m working on a formula for determining how many wraps around the pins for not-necessarily-square looms and looms with odd spacing. At this point, all I have is one from our Facebook Pin Loom Weaving Support Group.

Monica Salyer’s formula (modified) for determining approximate yardage required for different loom sizes. (Yardage may vary slightly according to yarn types and personal weaving habits/preferences.)

P = # of pins on one side
L = length from corner pin to corner pin on one side of loom in inches
Factor of 3 accounts for total number of warp and weft strands + take up (approx. 20%)

Length of yarn in inches = P x L x 3

(To find length of yarn in yards divide above total by 36)

Example—4-inch loom:

P = 24 pins on one side
L = 4 inches

24 x 4 x 3 = 288 inches of yarn
288 / 36 = 8 yards

Yardage for common pin loom sizes:

2″ x 2″ : 72″ or 2 yards
4″ x 4″ : 288″ or 8 yards
6″ x 6″ : 702″ or 19.5 yards
8″ x 8″ : 1224″ or 34 yards

Monica has provided this helpful info: For potholder looms, the formula is P x L x 4. For 3-pin looms, it’s P x L x 3.

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