The internet is a wonderful thing. A few weeks ago I posted a photo of something made of yarn and asked if anyone knew how it had been created; within minutes lots of you wonderful people left links with ideas and it turned out to have been created by something called a hexagonal lap loom. You can buy these online but they are from America and I was too lazy to look for suppliers in the UK… And they were expensive… And ordering one would involve waiting for it to be delivered and I’m very impatient. So I decided to make my own and while I’m not sure how much I actually like the results it was easy and works brilliantly so here’s how I did it:
To make a loom like mine you will need some nails/tacks (maybe drawing pins or similar would work if you can manage to push them securely into the wood) a hammer and an old picture frame that is quite wide. Also a ruler and pen for marking where to put the nails.
Use your ruler to mark the centre point on each of the shorter sides of the frame. Draw a line from this point to the corner of the hole in the centre of the frame and continue in a straight line to the edge (as shown by the red line/arrow above). Repeat this for all four corners of the frame.
Now mark on where to put the nails. You will need one nail at each point of the hexagon (so that’s 6 in total) and then the actual number all the way around doesn’t matter – the important points to remember are that you need the same number of nails on opposite sides of the hexagon (nails should be opposite each other) and if you want your patterns to have the same height and width then all nails need to be equally spaced so measure the length of the sides and choose a spacing that will fit nails in evenly (it doesn’t have to be very exact – you can fudge it a bit as long as opposite sides have the same number of nails). As you can see on my loom I ended up with 11 nails along the long edges and 8 nails on each of the short edges all roughly 2cm apart but yours will be different depending on the dimensions of your photo frame.
Now you have your frame you need to choose your yarn and wind it around. I got instructions for winding from LapWeaving.Info which clearly show where to start and how to turn the loom. This step is very quick and easy once you get the hang of it and you can keep going around as many times as you like to make the piece thicker. To create the flower effect in the photo from my earlier post you will need 2 contrasting colours. In the first colour weave around as you are shown in the tutorial but only use every other nail:
Change to the second colour and wind around the nails not used the first time:
From the front it now looks like this (the white tape is to cover up the nail points that poked through!):
All that winding should only take a few minutes but now it’s time for the painstaking part – tying all the sections together. Again detailed instructions are available on LapWeaving.Info. It is very time-consuming and I’m still undecided if it’s worth all the effort! I guess it depends how much you like the results:
I finished off this place mat by crocheting around the outside a couple of times but I wasn’t sure I even liked it at all! The pink and green colours are what attracted me to the mystery photo in the first place but here I think they look a bit too bright and gaudy.
I didn’t want to waste my very first attempt (when the nails weren’t even and the flowers ended up looking stretched) so I cut it up to create some coasters with loose edges and I like these much more than the place mat for some reason:
I also had a go at a more subdued grey place mat:
But I still feel like it’s missing a certain something that I can’t quite put my mind on. What do you think?