CraftSanity On TV: Making Weaving Looms Out of Old Books

Hi folks. I’m operating in an ArtPrize induced fog, so it’s not surprising that today’s live TV craft segment turned out to be one for the blooper reel. (See the clip below.) The “Take Five” segment features a bit of laughter and a demo on how to make a weaving loom out of an old book. Once I got myself untangled everything went pretty smooth.

I call this clever recycled book loom the “Jager” loom because I got this project idea from Margaret Jager, a member of the Woodland Weavers and Spinners guild and co-chair of the impressive 16th Biennial Fiber Arts Exhibition featuring work by many local fiber artists who are  members of The Michigan League of Handweavers.

(My Sunday column will feature more details about the show, so check here this weekend for more details. The exhibit runs through Sept. 14 at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, so be sure to check it out if you’re local. Gallery hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday through Labor Day; then 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 10-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday after Labor Day.)

Margaret was inspired to make her book loom by the Weavette, Weave-It and other small looms that have gone in and out of mass production since the 1940s. Even though I have a collection of these portable looms, I had to make one out of a book because I share Margaret’s passion for this short of crafty MacGyver stuff.

When she told me she made a loom out of a dated copy of “Knit Sweaters The Easy Way,” I was intrigued. Then she showed me the beautiful shawl she made by combining square pieces woven on the book loom and I was very impressed.

Seriously. The shawl is lovely and especially great when you realize that she made it on a loom she fashioned by pounding nails into a book.

My only question was this: Why a knitting book? Why wreck a vintage craft book when there are other options? (You have to tape the book shut to make the loom.)

“I know everything in the book, so I didn’t need it any more,” she said.

Fair enough.

So dig out an old book, my friends, and read on for instructions to make your own “Jager” loom.

Supplies:

* Hard cover book that you don’t plan to read again.

* Loom template pdf (Download PDF)

* 3/4″  brads

* Small hammer (I used a tack hammer.)

* Clear packaging tape

Instructions:

1) Print out the template I whipped up using this free nifty graph paper template. Center the template on the book cover. Use clear packaging tape to secure it, taping the book closed as you go.

2) Pound brads into the book, following the dot pattern on the template. Don’t be surprised if the brads don’t line up perfectly. Wonkiness adds character to the loom and it will still work even if it looks like a little kid made it. Pounding in the nails is the most tedious step, but hang in there because the finished product is well worth it.

Once you get all your nails pounded in, you’re ready to weave. You can find weaving instructions and project ideas here. And as always, please let me know if you have any questions about this tutorial. I’m working in a compromised state of fatigue today, so my apologies if I botched something.

Happy weaving!

P.S. Don’t worry, Margaret’s shawl was not harmed during the filming of today’s TV segment. : )

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