I'm starting a series of blog posts here on tools I use in making my art. First up is a set of posts on the looms I currently have. I'll be talking about where I got each one, any tutorials from others I've used or advice I may have for using it, what I like and dislike about it, and some photos of them, in use and not. Later on I hope to get into the history of each tool and how they were used and created in the past but for now this series will focus on what I use and why. I hope this series will be helpful for anyone looking to purchase craft supplies and tools. There are so many businesses, big and small, making and selling tools today that it can be hard to decide who to go to – I know it took me a long time to decide what looms to buy! If there are any tools or supplies you would be interested in hearing about, please contact me and I'll see if I can write something up about it!
So, let me get started with a post about my smallest loom from the 4M Weaving Loom Kit.
This was the first loom I bought and I got it in 2015 on Amazon. You can find the kit here for $11.85 as of today which is only a few cents more than what I paid for it. What I wanted out of my first loom was something cheap to try the craft out on. I had seen tutorials on making cardboard looms which is a perfectly fine choice for someone looking to try it out but personally I wanted a tiny bit more than that, something that I felt might last for several weavings at least and I feared a cardboard one would start to bend.
As I said in the previous paragraph, this kit is meant for children - the packaging and instructions make that clear but also the loom and tools are made of pastel plastic. I personally don't mind the colors, (I actually like them a lot. I enjoy pastels) but I understand that might put some people off. I don't know if the colors of the tools vary box to box so I will describe what mine look like. I would guess that they do vary because the picture on the front of the box on Amazon shows the opposite colors on the loom and tools than what I received.
The loom is pink and very small – 6.5 inches by 8 inches. If you're like me though and are looking for a small loom, this is fine. I wanted something that wouldn't use up too much yarn if I decided I didn't enjoy weaving. It's turned out to be a perfect size for me to try out weaving first and today I still use it to make mini weavings and accessories like ornaments and jewelry. The loom is cute and also works fine at the things it needs to do – the teeth stick out from the bottom to hold the warp string on, it has cut outs on the sides to tie off the warp, and the back is cut out to allow easy access to the back.
The weaving comb is also small and mine is light blue. It is 2 inches wide at the bottom, less than 1 inch at the thinnest part of the handle, and just a bit over 1 inch at the upper part of the handle. Again, even though it is small, it does the job fine. It is made of plastic and has rounded edges, even the teeth are rounded. I like this aspect of it because it moves next to the yarn smoothly so I never have to worry about it catching on the yarn. I still use this comb even though I have a bigger one now, sometimes I go for it specifically because of the rounded edge or its small size.
The needle this kit came with is also light blue. It is longer than the other needles I had at the time, about 5 or 6 inches. It was made similarly to the comb - smooth plastic and round edges. I used this needle for a long time and loved it until it broke. The eye snapped; I assume it was just from months of wear and tear on the thin plastic. It was a perfect needle for me until then so I'm still happy with it overall but if you are thinking of buying this kit and see yourself using the needle for a long time, I would make sure to have a back-up needle on hand. I had to order a new one and in the meantime use another needle that was shorter than what I prefer to use.
The shuttle is light blue just like the needle and comb and made of the same rounded plastic. It is about 4.25 inches long. I don't use the shuttle, however; I tried using it once and didn't like the feel of it. I prefer to use a needle. So I can't attest to this shuttle's usefulness.
The kit comes with several colors of yarn on flat bobbins and a small bundle of string for warp. The yarn is not fancy but it works for experiments with technique or for instructing children on how to weave. Someone who is familiar with nicer yarn may not enjoy using it though.
The instructions that the kit provides directions which are easy to understand. It explains how to warp the loom, how to weave with either a needle or a shuttle, and how to complete a couple projects. It has a small section on the “Weaving History”, although it is light on the details but gives an idea of the importance of textiles. The instructions are all very simple but this is a kid's kit, after all. Still, it is a good start.
Overall, I think this is a nice kit for a beginner, whether an adult or a child. Especially if you, like me, wanted to try the craft without spending a lot of money on something you might not enjoy. I ended up loving it but if I hadn't, I would only have spent around $11 instead of a nicer but more expensive kit. Not that I can't appreciate good kits put together by crafters with really nice looms and yarns. I might have started out with that but if you're looking for something much less expensive, I would recommend this kit.
In my next post in this series, I'll describe the second loom I bought which is much, much larger than this little one.
Christine, artist and maker