Part of a sampler showing some ideas for weaving on a frame
Over 20 years ago there was an article in the Journal of WSD showing how a simple loom could be made from corrugated card and knitting needles. Having made one I adapted it and made several looms using corrugated plastic from a broken garden cloche and plant siticks. The cotton warp is taken up and down round the needles or sticks. The coloured weft is woven over and under the warp threads with a needle. If you weave right up to the top no knoting is required to secure the warp
Frames can be bought from suppliers with groves or nails so that the warp can be put on in a similar way. However, I like the method I was taught by Sue Lawty which works well on a picture frame.
As well as a picture frame, you need some strong cotton thread for the warp and coloured yarns for the weft. The cotton can be any colour as the warp should be completely covered by the weft, However, light colours are easier to see.
Tie the cotton to the edge of one of the shorter sides of the frame using two half hitches. Wrap it round the frame. If your cotton is reasonalbly thin space the turns about half an inch apart. It you cotton is thicker (eg double knitting thickness) space about one inch apart.
When you get near the other side, tie the cotton at the same end of the frame where you started. This is the end you will weave from.(Note the spacing is not very regular - you can adjust it after the next stage)
The next step is to pull the warp threads together at the end where you will start weaving. Cut a piece of cotton about five times the width of the frame. This is the "tensioning thread". I am right handed so I find it easier to start from the right and lift up about three of the "lower" warp threads with my left hand and pass the thread under them. Continue across the frame.
Pull most of the tensioning thread through and tie the end to the right hand side of the frame using a round turn and two half hitches. Pull tight at the left hand side and take two turns round the frame.
Take the thread under the "top" warp threads and over the "bottom" warp threads- easy if you take it further up the frame.Then take two turns round the right hand side of the frame and pull tight.
Then take the thread back to the right going under the "bottom" warp threads and over the "top" ones, pull tight and and secure with a round turn and two half hitches on the left hand side.Now is a good time to adjust the spacing of the turns of warp.
The weft should be about double knitting thickness. You can use two or more strands of thinner yarn. Interesting effects occur if you choose different colours. You can also use strips of fabric or plastic, In the following photo, I used some strands of wool I had put together for kids to use. About two arm lengths are easy to manage.
Weave the "easy" row (under the "top" warp threads) leaving about 2 inches at the left hand side of the row. NOTE THAT YOU MUST NOT PULL THE WEFT THREADS TIGHT AS YOU NEED TO LEAVE ROOM FOR THEM TO GO OVER AND UNDER THE WARP THREADS. To achieve this leave the weft in an arc.
Push the first row down. Weave the short end in under two or three "bottom" warp threads. Weave the long end under the "bottom" threads going all the way across. I do this by picking up about three threads at time with my left hand and passing the weft under with my right. Leave the weft in an arc before pushing down.
Weave at least two more rows going right across the frame with one length of yarn to give a firm edge. After that you can experiment by weaving part of the way across. The sampler above will give you some ideas as will the pictures page. However do experiment. If you would like more details, ask me using the contact page so I can email to you. I would also welcome requests for clarification as well as links to any relevant materials on line.
Equipment. You might like to use a fork to push down the weft. The aim is to completely cover the weft. The last few rows do bounce back. You can buy tapestry bobbins to use to weave in the weft and I sometimes use a needle.
Finally some ideas for children. I made up some frames for reception pupils to weave on using garden netting and freshly cut sticks (hazel or dogwood would be fine).
For older children, I made card looms for them to use before I let them weave on my rigid heddle looms. Because I did not have enough thick card (or time). I made them using pinking shears and wrapped the warp round so it bent the card to keep the warp under tension.