Experiments with a lap loom

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?


29 thoughts on “Experiments with a lap loom

  1. Hello,
    Just wanted to let you know that l life in Turkey and l’m sure l can find a loom like that for just a little money. So if you are interested l can try to find out how much they are and l could send one to you. Never worked with it but l think if you made it out off a square frame it would work better.

    • That’s really nice of you, thank you, but I’ve made that one now and it works fine – it needs to be hexagon shaped to be able to make flowers with 6 petals but I have another picture frame and might try a square one sometime too.

  2. It turned out so nice. I think I like yours better than the one that was actually made with the “store bought” loom. The crocheted edge is much nicer than the cut off edges, too. Thanks for sharing how you did this! :)

  3. You picked up on this so quickly! I have seen looms and/or completed projects all my life. But I have always felt this is a “crochet wanna-be” craft. I absolutely love crochet. And I think you are very talented in a yarn-y kind of way, but still… Sorry. Please don’t hate on me.

    • I know what you mean – it does seem limited to pretty much just coasters and placemats in a couple of different designs but I like learning new things and it was fun to try for a few days – back to the crocheting now though :)

  4. If you really love the design, I could imagine joining a bunch together into an afghan or throw, like people do with granny squares and such. It is a pretty design!

  5. I remember doing this as a child. We used cardboard, since it bent really well and we could remove it easily. Haven’t done this in FORVER! M Granny got lots of potholders if this pattern.

  6. I think it looks lovely! My mum has one of these in her house and I’ve never seen them for sale anywhere, I was just looking for how to make it when I found your site, thankyou,

  7. There is no reason you can’t crochet these motifs together to make more complicated items… blankets, tablecloths, vests, a tote bag… anything really. When you crochet the edging that makes it possible to use them as you would any other crochet motif. There are a lot of crochet octagon patterns you could convert to use the small octagon lap loom motifs. I may try this one day… but right now my crochet schedule is FULL.

  8. I saw that you found that this is a loom stitch, but found a crochet stitch on ravelry which is very similar and wanted to pass it along, if you haven’t already seen it–http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/puffed-star-baby-blanket

  9. my grandma made bunches of these to use as hot plates when we all went up to see her for the holidays. My uncles were handy with wood so they made her looms elongated hexagons and even sided hexagons. She made these for all of our family. My Mom still uses them today and she is 84. The looms my uncle’s made for Grandma had the pegs ( they used finishing nails 1/2 inch apart, and after making them , Grandma left some of the outsides in loops and the smaller ones she cut .She also used yarn to tie the intersections going from one intersection(or flower to the next) and if she ran out of yarn during the tieing she just got more yarn and picked up where she left off. She also used the big ones for placemats. She was a very crafty lady , I guess that where I get my crafting skills from. You are dearly missede grandma!

  10. Have you considered using a solid color for the bulk of the project panel & a contrasting color for pop when you lace the intersections? Also the panels can be made in multiples & then worked together to create afghans, table runners etc.

  11. Hi! I have a friend who just bought a Loops & Threads Hexagon Loom kit from Michael’s, and the instructions are terrible. We’re both stumped on how to do the knots/ties, and were wondering if you would mind doing a picture tutorial of how to knot/tie properly?

  12. Can you please direct me to the directions on how to make the placemats? I looked on the site that’s posted & couldn’t find it, I just need to know how to make the flowers two colors

    • Hello, I’m afraid they seem to have taken the site/instructions down and I haven’t come across any replacement. Maybe just try experimenting with different winding patterns. Good luck

  13. My friend’s husband has made her a few different sizes of a tri-loom and a stand on which to place the largest of the triangles (about 7 feet).

    Search for Sandra’s Stitches – she also designs Swedish Weaving patterns. Hope she doesn’t mind my showing her off.

  14. Hello! I had one of those made but they made it with 8 sides instead of 6(7 pegs on each side)…as it’s an even number, do you think it would work out anyway? I tried lacing it but everything looks very packed and I can’t figure out the holes well to tie them. I thought about skipping a peg so there’s more space between pegs. Do you think that would work out? How would you do it? thank you very much!!!

    • Hello! I’ve never seen an octagonal loom. It feels like it wouldn’t be that different from hexagonal. I’m not much of an expert on weaving – I only ever tried it a couple of times. Your best bet is probably to just read/watch a lot of tutorials and keep experimenting – you might come up with some brand new patterns because of the extra sides. Good luck!

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