Introducing Weaving

To those of you who are weavers or have skills in other areas such as spinning, painting, crocheting, pottery, etc.; do you remember what it felt it like to be new in your field?  This week four members of the Weavers Guild of Springfield had the chance to introduce some eager university students to the field of weaving.

When I was approached about doing this I was not sure that this would work and wondered why students requested this particular craft but quickly became convinced that it would be worth the effort.  As background, the Weavers Guild of Springfield has been volunteering and doing weaving demonstrations from its inception in the Fall of 1951.  At present, the Guild demonstrates weaving in Cummington, Northampton, Shelburne, Hatfield, and Conway to all age groups and our most cherished loom for this purpose is the 4-shaft metal Structo (images of some of this can be seen on

So began the prep for this adventure:

  • Limit the size of the group to 20 participants
  • Gather up at least 10 to 11 Structo looms (threaded and ready to weave)
  • Ask for assistance from a few Guild members willing to donate a few hours and bring items for display

The planning of the two plus hours – something that would be entertaining and able to produce something that the participants could have as a finished product.  It was quickly decided to let each weave a specified minimum amount of material and then use this as insert for cards.  The next big decision was whether to have embellishments for the cards or not.  We did decide in the end to have a small amount of embellishments available.

It was a success!  We started the evening with a brief discussion of weaving – to find out that none of the participants had ever woven before.  This is how a loom operates, this is how to throw a shuttle, how hard to beat, how to advance the warp, and how not to draw-in.  Quickly they began and continued on until enough fabric was completed for at least two cards each; other material was available so that additional cards could be made.  The intense concentration was a joy to watch.  Several of the new weavers were excited to change colors or add metallic to give their weaving an extra punch.

Pride with their finished cards and many thanks to the helpers were the exiting messages.  Speaking for the four mentors/instructors, we had a great time too.

Who knows maybe we were able to stir an interest enough to create a new weaver or two.











Caring for your loom

Proper maintenance and cleaning of your loom, will keep it in good running order. If your loom came with cleaning and maintenance instructions, follow them. If you purchased a used loom, without instructions, the following list should help you extend the life of your loom.  After each finished weaving project it is recommended to dust the loom, vacuum or clean the floor under and around the loom, and give the loom a gentle shake to make sure it is still tighten and correctly align.  Once a year it is a good idea to use a level to check the position of your loom against the floor; and out of level floor can –over time – damage your loom.

  1. Metal parts of the loom should be cleaned with a cloth and oiled using sewing machine oil. Use silicone spray on nylon or plastic parts.
  2. Rust can be cleaned from reeds with powdered pumice. Using a stiff brush and pumice, scrub the reed to strip the rust off. Then oil the reeds well.
  3. Tighten all bolts and screws securely. If bolts are loose, this can cause permanent damage to the loom, with the excessive beating that a loom has to withstand. The wood can be crushed, screws stripped and bolt holes enlarged.
  4. In warm or changing climates, it is especially important to clean and wax or oil hardwood regularly to prevent drying and cracking of wood. Varnished surfaces can be dusted and cleaned with lemon oil.

For stained or unvarnished wood, use lemon oil. Rub it on with a soft cloth and let dry.  Lemon Oil – Lemon Oil is Mineral oil with 1 percent of synthetic lemon scent, or use paste wax.   To clean use Murphy’s oil soap (on wood).  Test any product before using it on the entire loom by using it on a spot that is an underneath surface.

  1. If using loom tie cords (not texsolv) coating them with beeswax can protect them from drying out.

Try to avoid using tape on any loom.

Do take a picture of your loom for insurance purposes.  Keep a notebook with date of purchase, cost, manufacturer’s instructions, and maintenance record.


Loris Epps has been a mentor of mine since my weaving days at Hill Institute.  I would have never gotten through the classes without her.  She is a member of The Springfield Weavers and is a prolific weaver.