Spinning Down Under

Useful Weaving Tools
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Just as you can use a Knifty Knitter loom to make a round weaving, you can


adapt and use a lot of every day things to make weaving easier.
I will list and explain the tools I find most useful, and I am sure you can think of many others that would do as good a job.
First up, crochet hooks: usually  4mm to 6 mm are the sizes I find are the most useful as I work with 8 ply yarn or larger.
A Locker Hook; much like a crochet hook except its straight and has an eye to take thick yarn at the other end. I find it invaluable with tri and square looms.
Home-made crochet hooks, with a knitting needle point at the other end. These are about 12 inches long and start at size 8mm. I use them for everything including knitting and crochet, as I see no reason why fabric-making should be confined to one particular media or technique. Its ideal for freeform.
Bodkin or tapestry needle, with as large an eye as large as possible. If you can't get a tapestry needle, use a chenille needle and blunt the end with sandpaper. Its very useful for weaving in the ends.
Doll needle for use on tiny looms where none of the other items will fit.
A pet flea comb, the type that has a small and a large side to it. As well as using it to comb fleece, I use it to separate the fibres on my small looms. A sturdy hair comb will work just as well.
Rulers make great beaters, battens, and anything else that involves separating fibres and sheds.
Dowelling. As well as making hooks and other tools, it can hold a shed open to get the yarn through, you can use it to hold heddles, and a short thick piece makes a good handle for other tools. I have a hooked upholstery  needle with a dowell handle that works better than the official KK hook; its tougher too!  Several bits of dowelling will also go a long way in making a back-strap loom, or the front and back beams of a lap or table loom.
Shoe-laces, both stretchy and non stretchy. Good for holding things together and making drive bands. I also used one to run my drum carder while I was waiting on the arrival of a proper drive band, and my electric spindle runs with one.
Artists canvas stretchers. Once the canvas is removed and its well sanded, you have a lightweight but strong frame to use as a loom.
Picture frames, same as above, but  some are not suitable as the wood can be very dry and crack as you try and drill a hole. Also they are not as strong on the corners.
The use of an electric or cordless drill and wood drill bits. They are so cheap now and easy to use. In Australia we can buy one for less than $20.00, you just need to be aware that even an expensive one will not drill several hundred holes in one go without burning out the motor! Most drills come with a selection of bits and screw-driver ends.
Assorted butterfly nuts and bolts; different lengths and sizes.
And probably one of the most important, for inspiration and knowledge:
beg, borrow or steal ( if you must, lol!) a copy of Rachel Browns' Weaving Spinning and Dyeing book. She takes you from native american belt looms right throught to floor looms, and the illustrations are great for suggesting ideas of how to adapt even a VW window wiper for a spinning wheel part! Its been reprinted ( yay!) and worth getting in the hard-back version - my paperback version is falling to pieces and its cheaper to get another than to mount the pages in a folder of page protectors.

(c) C Barlow 2006/2007