How To Weave on a Traditional weaving Loom

In this article, we will discuss how to weave on a traditional weaving loom and the various techniques of weaving that can be done with weaving loom.





You can make clothes in several different ways now. You can crochet, knit, weave or felt - whatever method you like. But weaving is where the cloth making started in the beginning. It’s the oldest and most basic cloth making technique.

With the invention of cheaper cloth production techniques weaving on a traditional machine has lost much of its popularity. You can, however, still find a lot of traditional looms right now but the numbers have reduced by a lot.

There are more needs for complicated sewing patterns and modern styles that traditional weaving machines aren’t the best at making. As a result, the popularity has dropped a lot.

In this guide we’ll talk about how to weave on a traditional weaving loom and the various techniques of weaving done with it. But first, it’s a good idea to learn about the traditional weaving technique and weaving in general.



Let me clear “weaving” to you first. To understand this, the best way would be if you can check a woven fabric as you read this guide.

Basically, you’ll notice sewing in two directions on a woven fabric. The directions are perpendicular to each other and are done in a criss-cross fashion. What it means is that a thread goes up from one fabric and then goes down again. The repeating cross shape is what makes a woven fabric.

There are names for both of these threads too. The one going sideways is called “weft” while the one going up and down is known to be “warp”. You don’t have to get bogged down into these nitty gritties. It’s just for you to understand the basics and related terminologies.


Traditional Loom

A traditional loom is the most fundamental weaving machine. It’s basic but has quite a lot of components in it. As a matter of fact, the loom is quite an intricately designed tool that is quite easy to work with and can produce nicely detailed fabrics. Also, you can make a weaving loom at your home.



How to weave on a traditional weaving loom

We’ve talked briefly about weaving as well as the traditional loom. Let’s talk about the process of weaving on these traditional looms. But before talking about the process, it’s important to understand what each part of a traditional loom does and how. Once you know about the parts of a loom, the rest will sound a lot simpler.


Parts of a Traditional Loom

Warp Roll - it’s a roller on the back of the loom with which the vertical warp ends are attached. This is also known as warp beam.

Harness - The harness or shaft is where all the vertical threads are attached to. It can be moved up or down with something called “treadles”. The up and down movement is necessary to create vertical shapes and patterns. The harness, however, varies in its mechanism depending on the number of shafts attached to it.

Shuttle - This part moves from one side to the other in the horizontal line. It takes a thread and moves in between the warps to create the final weave.

Reed - This is a comb shaped part. Its job is to basically tighten the threads to keep them in place.

Take up Roll - when the weaving is done the take up roll rolls it up. Once the weaving is complete, the roll is taken out of the loom and fabric is unrolled.

Heddles - Heddles are placed on top of the shaft and positioned in a way that allows them to be in the center of the warp ends on the top. As the shaft is moved, the heddles do too and in the process they create interlacing in the shapes.



Process of weaving

Let’s dive into the process of weaving with a traditional weaving loom.


Warp Setup

This is the first and most complicated step. The better the setup is the greater the chances of a loom making good fabrics. It’s a time consuming process and needs many hours to arrange the threads in position. If the desired shape includes complex details then the setup time could take days.

And for this reason the setup is done with several people. This cuts back the preparation time.

There are no single-specific rules for this step. How the thread position should be depends entirely on the fabric’s style and density. It depends on the final design.


Shuttle setup

Once the warp setup is done, the shuttle is then loaded with the desired fabric color. Shuttle’s thread is changed every once in a while to change the shapes. It’s moved by pedaling on the pedals underneath, which, in turn pulls the level attached with the shuttle.

Generally this is the core working principle. The shuttle’s bobbin is changed to different colors to create colored patterns on the horizontal threads. It’s a painstaking process and can take many hours to create a complete piece of fabric.


Final Words

You’ll notice that a piece of cloth made on a traditional weaving loom is quite different from one made using other methods. The texture, feel of the fabric and thread strength - everything feels different. The method takes a lot of time and this is a problem and reason why people are moving to advanced cloth making ways.




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