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Adult Recess

Out with the old, in with the new has never really sat well with me. As a student of history, our past helps shape our future. We tend to dwell on the parts of our personal past that didn’t serve us, but I’d rather encourage you to look for the parts that did.

Last year, I decided to weave something for every room in my house and along the way, I fell in love with the humble swatch. For years, I sought a frame loom that would allow me to swatch the setts of my rigid heddle—8, 10, and 12. Not finding one, I approached Angela at Purl & Loop to make one for my class on spinning for weaving at New York Sheep and Wool. This led to deeper conversations about product development and the Swatch Maker Loom was born.

Meet The Swatch Maker Looms

Purl & Loop is a small, independently owned, boutique manufacturing business located in my birth state of Texas. Angela, the owner, is passionate about two things—fiber and making tools. It is thrilling to partner with her to bring you this new loom line.

Swatch Maker and 3-in-1

There are two styles of looms. At right, is the Swatch Maker 3-in-1 now available for preorder. Its clever slot-and-hole constructions allows you to have three setts on one loom—8, 10, and 12. It is available in birch or creamy white acrylic. This is the version I took for a test drive at New York Sheep and Wool.

The second style is the Swatch MakerI have had this version in almost constant use since it arrived on my doorstep. The Swatch Maker looms are made from creamy white acrylic and each loom is warped via slots spaced in the three different setts. You can skip slots or double-thread to achieve a sett range of 4–24! These looms are available individually or as a set of three. Both looms slot or slot-and-hole assembly are raised above the base of the loom making it much easier to weave.

This is why I wanted these looms: They allow me to explore new ideas with very little risk. I can test my handspun without fear of wasting my precious yarn and I can be sure that I’m spinning the right grist for the project I want to make. They allow me to sample color combos and evaluate finishing techniques. Add a pick up stick, and I can create any structure I want. The little swatches are satisfying as they are, even if they never grow up to be something larger.

I found an added benefit as I spent the last few months experimenting with these looms, more play time. There is emerging research on the importance of recess for children. I think recess is also an important concept to bring forward into our adult lives. Each swatch fells like recess. The object of the task is to play. Recess is in session!

Happy New Year!


4 thoughts on “Adult Recess”

  1. Thanks for sharing this small loom info–I’ve been so frustrated that I can’t weave in my current living situation, and using these small looms will greatly help! Thanks again–Bev

  2. Was just wondering which style is your preface if you could afford only one?
    Are these better than the zoom loom, pin loom?
    Very new at this but want to start to see if I like it.

    • I personally use the Swatch Maker style the most. I find the slots faster to warp than threading the holes. The 3-in-1 is a way to get all three setts on one loom for about half the price of a complete set of three Swatch Maker looms and the 3-in-1 makes a bigger swatch.

      If you are brand new to weaving and just want to give it a try you might enjoy the the chipboard Stash Blaster Loom. It is an inexpensive version similar to the size 8 Swatch Maker, but made from chipboard instead of Acrylic. I see the Swatch Maker Looms as a weaver’s tool rather than a means to make cloth.

      Pin looms, such as the Zoom loom are built on a slightly different weaving system. They are designed to weave in the shape of the loom–in the case of the Zoom loom a square. They aren’t the best choice for sampling, but they sure are fun!

      If you are interested in learning more about small looms and which one would be right for you, I would suggested you pick up a copy of Little Looms, a new special issue from Handwoven. It has lots of good information and inspiration.

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