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How to choose a loom

Select the appropriate loom for your next loom work project. 
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Although bead looms vary in size, framework construction, and materials, their basic parts are similar. Each has a frame that supports a bar on either end. The bar may be fitted with a metal coil that holds the warp threads in place. Variations most often involve the ability to change the tension of the warp threads, shift the beadwork while it is being stitched, and move the frame to set in an upright or horizontal position. For all the variety in loom shape and size, the method of weaving on most looms is the same. Below are descriptions of just a few of the looms available for beading.
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Metal frame bead loom
This is the first loom many children and adults use to learn bead weaving. A metal frame fitted with metal coils and wooden roller bars with a single warp anchor button creates a 7 x 2-in. (18 x 5 cm) bead-weaving area. The long screw inserted through the wooden roller bar and end wing nut make it possible to adjust the tension of the warp threads.
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Looms with adjustable roller bars

On some looms, it is possible to weave long strips of beadwork by rolling the completed loomwork onto a bar to expose the yet-to-be-woven warp threads. This allows you to weave patterns of varying length. To warp this type of loom:

  • Pre-cut all the warp threads, and tie them together at one end.
  • Attach them to a moveable bar, and position the warp threads between the coils on one end of the loom.
  • Roll the warp threads onto the bar, leaving enough length to tie the threads to another moveable bar on the other end.
  • Position the thread between the coils opposite the first end, and adjust the tension for weaving.

Toho Co., Ltd. has developed the loom with adjustable roller bars shown here. For more information about this loom, visit tohobeads.net.

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Looms with an adjustable warp slide
Boomerang makes looms with a moveable slide bar (as shown here) that is fitted into the base of the frame, which allows the beader to shift the work area. The warp threads are attached to a single set of screws on the slide bar. As the project is woven, the slide bar can be moved, pulling the work area over the guide bars and exposing unwoven warp threads. The tension of the warp threads remains constant. For more photos and pricing information, visit Boomerang
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Looms with a shedding device

Mirrix Loom Co. manufactures bead-weaving and tapestry looms. A distinctive feature of the Mirrix Loom is the shedding device. Typically found on fiber-weaving looms, the shedding device provides a secondary way to weave beads. The loom may also be used in the traditional method of bead weaving.

The shedding device raises every other thread so you can weave your beads between the raised and lowered threads by passing the strung beads through the space between the two layers of thread. This feature allows you to weave wider pieces much faster, as well as giving you the option of weaving different size beads or beads and fiber in the same piece.

The company sells seven sizes of portable looms. The smallest loom weighs one pound and has a weaving area of 3 1⁄2 x 14 in. (8.9 x 36 cm). The loom shown here is the Little Guy Lap & Table Loom, designed for both bead weaving and tapestry. It weighs five pounds and has a weaving area of 9 1⁄2 x 22 in. (24.1 x 56 cm). The Little Guy is equipped with the shedding device. Visit Mirrix Looms for more product information.

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