Getting started in backstrap weaving

Hi to all members.

I thought we should start up a new thread so that those of us who are, or used to be ,active backstrap weavers can talk a little about what kind of looms and tools we use. I know that several members have never tried backstrap weaving and would like to see what it takes to get set up whether that means making your own loom or buying a kit.

Do you use string heddles, a rigid heddle or some other kind of ingenious device? What do you use for a backstrap and where do you tie up your loom? How do you prepare your warp? Do you sit on the floor or chair or do you kneel?

Please photos too if you can.



Posted on Wed, 07/01/2009 - 06:35

I have been Googling backstrap weaving and found a few sites to get you started. In not any particular order:  this site sells a backstrap loom, and has a Loom Template for making a rigid heddle and a shuttle out of cardboard. There is also a link to Youtube for an instructional  video. This is Carol Ventura's excellent site, probably one of the best resources on this subject. This gives a breakdown on how the loom is made up. While this site concentrates on the New World, backstrap weaving is also very common in Asia, and is found in Indonesia, Bhutan, Thailand, Nepal, China and many other countries. The loom set-up is pretty much identical, and it seems to be personal preference as to whether weavers use a rigid heddle, or make up string heddles.

Harrisville make a backstrap weaving kit for about $25.00, however it is just as easy to make your own, then you are not limited by size restrictions, and once you have made your loom, you will be able to be reasonably self-sufficient when setting up for weaving.

Back in the 90s, Aussie weaver Karen Madigan published a weaving journal, the archives are here: and she published an article on backstrap weaving as well as a project that can be made on a backstrap loom.

Your local library should have a copy of Rachel Brown's "The Weaving Spinning and Dyeing Book" which has an excellent introduction to weaving on a backstrap loom - its what got me started back in the dark ages, and her diagrams and explanantions are very easy to follow, and she has some interesting projects.

Basically, to get set up, you will need a belt, a pretty tough one, and looks don't matter, strength does. This goes around your waist, and one end of the loom attaches to it, so it must be able to hold your weight. You will need some thick dowels - a couple of broom handles are thick enough, just check them for splinters and cracks. You will also need some rope for attaching the other end of the loom to a convenient post, rafter, bed leg, or similar, as long as you cannot move it.  The belt, the big thick dowels, and the rope are your loom, with the your body as the tensioning device. The post or heavy object is the back of the loom.

For the middle bit of the loom you will need some more good quality dowel. These will become part of the loom frame when you set up the warp and one will attach to the front big dowel, and one to the back. You will also need other pieces of dowel for making heddle sticks, a ruler for a shed stick and beater, and a shuttle as long as your weaving will be wide. You can never have too many pieces of dowel as they are very useful for all sorts of things! The set-up is pretty similar to the photos francorios has put up of his little stretcher/chopstick loom - the inner part of the loom is the same, just on a larger scale. It will make sense when you have read a little.

Google "Backstrap Weaving" and "Backstrap Loom" and look at the images - its quicker at locating articles than trying to check through all the web pages to find something that is relevent. There are quite a few articles that explain how to set yourself up, and some interesting photos of weavers at work. The web pages are full of either tourist advertising, or weaving classes, grrrrrrr,  and its easier to avoid them by looking at the images.

I have some non-copyright photos from a book on Nepalese weaving, so will have to learn how to upload diagrams of how to set up string heddles etc., but there should be enough info here to get you started!

Posted on Thu, 07/02/2009 - 20:29

hi laverne ,

here   i have photos of my loom .they are not very good (have no scanner,just snapshot from webcam).I made it by myself following instructions and pictures of a book on backstrap-weaving . I use a roller and stringheddles and a sword i made from a piece of timber .I sit on a chair and worked above a table that time(2006) because i had to leave every now and then to show people around at the exposition. not very ideal when backstrap weaving;



Posted on Wed, 07/01/2009 - 15:42

Here are some photos of some of the loom parts and tools I have. Everything except the backstraps is ''homemade''. So if someone knows a way to make a good sturdy homemade backstrap please let us know. FRANCO I think this is your area of expertise!! A couple of the loom rods that are shaped at the ends were bought in Guatemala.

So you can see a few chopped down broom handles, dowels and pencils-pretty simple.

 Some of my warping boards above. The smallest one can be taken apart and popped ina backpack for travel!

A couple of ways to attach the far end loom bar. I tie up to the bottom of my bed at home. I prefer lashing the whole bar to something horizontal. Above that you can see some hooks in a dresser that my brother has kindly set up in his house for when I visit! I can just slip my loom bar into those. The dresser is good and heavy and doesn't move when I am beating away.

I use string heddles and there are many ways to set those up. Caroline, above, has given a link to Carol Ventura's web pages where you can see one way and I have some photos on my Flikr page which I may post here later. Here is the link if you are curious.....


I also like to weave 3 selvedge pieces, that is ,with only one cut end having a fringe or braids. a link to the method for this set up is also on my Flikr........

Hopefully someone will post photos of a rigid heddle set up.




Posted on Wed, 07/01/2009 - 19:01

Hi Laverne,

In picture number three, it looks like a leather belt and a woven fiber belt?

Is that correct? I think I'll be trying to build one of these this weekend.

I have leather belts in the closet that have shrunk (as least they are too tight now) and can be cut up for use as a backstrap. I'll look into other materials too.

Have a good day!

Posted on Wed, 07/01/2009 - 19:20

Hi Franco,

Yes, there is braided fiber belt and the other is leather. I knew you would come up with something! i guess you could also find some kind of material strips  to braid and then coil the braid and sew it together like the fiber belt above.



Posted on Thu, 07/02/2009 - 00:44

Some of the Asian weavers have a wooden frame that fits into their back, at about the waist. It sounds a bit painful, but it would also be re-assuringly solid to lean against. My first backstrap was from a removable bag handle - an adjustable nylon strip with hooks at each end which did the job beautifully. I still have it, and I used this for my first weaving, which was a cardwoven belt, which is alas long gone. I also have my original cards, cut from a pack of playing cards. The dowel was recycled into part of another loom, but I still have a sword and a tapestry fork made for me out of jarrah, and they still get used on occasion.

Backstrap weaving is ideal for cardweaving if you don't have a card loom, as the cards take the place of the heddles. if your cards have a hole in each corner, you are weaving a kind of 4 shaft warp faced weave which is very strong. Its a good way to start weaving as its very cheap to set up, there are loads of free patterns on the net, and its portable.

Another great resource for weavers, and lacemakers too, is the Arizona University weaving archives here:

Lots of free info to download, including many of the books and monographs written by Mary Meigs Atwater and Harriet Tidball, who were interested in all aspects of weaving, on or off loom. They recorded a lot of the pick-up designs they saw on their travels through South America. Its like being let loose in a weaving library, hehe!

Happy researching!

Posted on Thu, 07/02/2009 - 02:06


You are a gold mine of information! I am waiting for Alibris to track down an Atwater book called 'The ''Finnweave'' and the Mexican Double Weave''. Maybe I will find it at the above site. Thanks!


Posted on Thu, 07/02/2009 - 10:39

See you all in a months time, hehe?

I've just about killed my download allowance, lol!

Wait till you see some of the asian backstrap looms - they really do keep the tension with their feet, otherwise some are stretched out and wound onto what looks like tree trunks.

Posted on Thu, 07/02/2009 - 16:16

Thanks for that Franco. I just might try that. I wonder how comfortable it is. I usually don't last long with my legs tucked under preferring to sit with my legs stretched out. My Guatemalan teacher always sat with her legs under but she has probably been doing that since she was a wee thing.




Posted on Fri, 07/03/2009 - 00:15

Here is a fun picture of backstrap weaving on the road. I was learning to weave in Potosi, Bolivia with a Danish girl. We went to visit a kind of out of the way village and had to wait on the side of the road for hours for a truck to come by and give us a ride out of there. So Ulla just tied up her loom and started to weave. A local lady came out to see and was delighted!

Posted on Fri, 07/03/2009 - 01:39

I'm uploading some info onto Flikr about backstrap looms in Nepal. There should be 3 photocopies of pages from the book I have on Nettles in Nepal. The author and publishers have not claimed copy right.

I have other copyright-expired photos on my hard drive and will add those as I find them.

My photos can be found at:

and for the twill weavers, a puzzle: the set up on the 3rd page is supposed to be for the weave they call "gimte" which appears to be a reverse Goose-eye, only when I tried to set a loom up like that is was quite different!  Comments welcomed!

Posted on Fri, 07/03/2009 - 20:21

Progress report on making my own backstrap loom:

Am on the hunt for a wooden broomstick. Most brooms sold in my area have plastic or metal tube for broomstick. The little "swiffer" brooms have very small, thin tubes for handles. I did find some cheap garden tools (china) with wooden handles for US $4, but for that money I think I can buy two hardwood dowels that would work.

I'm trying to source my material for as little money as possible, free if at all possible. I did spend $2 at the thrift store on a 100 ft rope(china) because I forgot to grab some rope from the company warehouse before we shut down for the weekend.  I don't want to waste any time trying to "find" some rope. I also found a new small ball, 1.7 ounce cotton worsted yarn Peaches & Cream (Canada) variegated black & white color for 49 cents!!!

I have chopsticks and some shed sticks from my other looms I can use as well. I also have a pack of wooden rulers (12 inch - china) that I bought for a $1 at the dollar store with the intent of making shed sticks and shuttles.

I'll keep you all posted on the backstrap loom scavenger hunt.

Have a good day!

Franco Rios

Sacramento, Calif

Posted on Fri, 07/03/2009 - 20:23

hi everyone!

i am an extreme beginner at backstrap weaving... i have a backstrap loom made for me by a friend that uses a rigid heddle.

i blogged all about it here. here's a peek at it:

i started a group here at weavolution for DIY Looms and Tools... i've added a thread for Backstrap Looms that links to this thread so people can find it if they come looking there. there is so much good info in this thread!


Posted on Sat, 07/04/2009 - 07:47

I have found, and photographed, the pitiful remnants of my backstrap loom - please remember it almost qualifies as an antique - its certainly historical, lol!

remnants of my backstrap loom

The strap came from off a sports bag - it was the shoulder strap and nice and strong. I used the wooden rings to grip the warp and the weaving by winding the yarns around through the rings. it was held very firmly in place, and I could just loop the rings over an S-hook. The backtrap was fastened onto the thick piece of dowel; that went through the rope loop attached to one of the rings.

The rigid heddle came later - its too big and rough to be of any use, and I mainly used cut down plastic coated playing cards for card-weaving. But I scavenged all this. The only thing I had to buy was some macrame string/builders twine. I can't live without it. Oh, and some cotton shoe laces - THEY are extremely useful things to have around a loom! If you are planning on doing something wider than a belt, you will need another piece of dowel ( broom handle) at least as thick as the piece there, and several other pieces of dowel besides. I used a wooden ruler as a beater and pick-up stick, and made cardboard shuttles.

Total cost was the price of the macrame twine, but the pleasure I got from creating something was priceless.

Posted on Sat, 07/04/2009 - 13:06

I saw the photo and was puzzled by the rings. Then I scrolled down and read your explanation. That's brilliant!! Thanks so much for posting this, Caroline. Now that you have dug them out are they calling you to come and weave?!

Posted on Sun, 07/05/2009 - 01:38

How big is too big?

I bought a used bar stool at the thrift store for $5 US. I disassembled it and I now have four round legs 30 inch long that are about 1-1/2 inch in diameter. It feels awfully hefty. Would that be appropriate for a backstrap loom? Since Laverne talks about putting a backstrap loom in a backpack, I was thinking my pieces of wood are way too heavy for backpacking.

Should I shorten them? I also have some 10 inch cross pieces. about 1/2 inch thick.

Have a good day!

Franco Rios

Sacramento, CA

Posted on Tue, 11/03/2009 - 15:37

Hi Franco,

My longest rod is 19 inches long and all are around 3/4inch wide. I wish I had kitchen scales as i just tried to weigh my rolled up loom with work attached, cross sticks and beater on the bathroom scales and ,of course, it wouldn't register. You only need two for your two loom bars. As your work progresses and you go rolling it up, you need another rod for that.

You should probably cut them shorter. They should extend say 3-4 inches either side of your hips-they could be shorter but you can make wider pieces if you go for a longer length. I have seen people weave really wide pieces where they really have to reach from side to side to pass the shutle but I have never woven anything wider than 15 inches.

When you say ''cross pieces'' do you mean the sticks to hold the cross?-excuse my denseness. If so, then they sound fine-of course it depends on how wide a piece you would like to weave. I have a whole range of sizes. i am trying out a new pick up pattern on a warp less than a half inch wide right now and my 7 inch cross sticks are too long and clumsy.

A thick shed rod is sometimes preferable especially if you are doing a balanced weave-some people use hollow plastic pipe or bamboo as it can be thick yet light. .

However ,if you want to weave warp-faced and use string heddles than you don't really need a thick rod, The warps will not open freely just by moving the rod because they are pushed so close together and you will usually need to get your hands in there and help them separate.


I hope this makes sense!







Posted on Sun, 07/05/2009 - 13:28

Hi Franco,

A couple of pics that may help.

The first will show how big the looms can be. This is a poncho weaver in Otavalo, Ecuador.


Unfortunately you can't  see the backstrap here but it is a nice piece of cowhide. here's a photo of  a similar one I bought .

Isn't it a beauty!! The hairs can be a bit tickly, though.


And this is a photo of probably the widest thing I have woven so far....

The loom bars you see here are the ones I would take in my back pack. I wouldn't take that big sword as i don't weave such wide things on the road.

I hope this helps.


Posted on Sun, 07/05/2009 - 15:44

Hi Franco,

I sent you two replies-not sure if you saw the first rather wordy one but I think that your bar stool legs will work fine-just cut them shorter. However, if you find something lighter (thinner) and shorter-even better.


Posted on Sun, 07/05/2009 - 18:01

Yes, I did see your replies.

I'll be looking for something shorter and lighter. I've reassembled the stool, cut down down the legs and gave it to my sons so they sit on it to play their guitars.

I'll have to suspend my hunt for today. I must attend a barbecue and swimming party at my brother in law's house. The family gets together on most Sundays.  Tragically, my attendance is required. (smile)

Have a joyful day!

Franco Rios

Posted on Mon, 07/06/2009 - 20:40

These are great uploads.  Thank you for putting them up.  I Love the warping around the body and on the toe if that's the correct understanding. 

Posted on Mon, 07/06/2009 - 20:43

These are great uploads.  Thank you for putting them up.  I Love the warping around the body and on the toe if that's the correct understanding. 

Posted on Mon, 07/06/2009 - 21:17

Been trying to find ideas for a homemade COMFORTABLE  backstrap-the broader, the better and nicely seated on your hips. My braided fiber one from Peru is terrific but is 13 years old now- a bit chewed by the cat too.

I braided strips of fabric-old curtain pieces gave me nice long strips-and then coiled them into an oval shape to look more or less like my Peuvian strap. I sewed on some rope-which I think I'll change to something a bit thinner. It's not the most beautiful creation but it  does the trick for anyone who is scouting about looking for a suitable backstrap. Something like this really makes a difference if you intend to spend a lot of time at the loom.

The fabric strip job.

Fabric strp one above, Peruvian fiber one below.


Posted on Mon, 07/06/2009 - 22:42

So actually it's like making a rag rug then attaching straps, right?  It looks like it would distribute the pressure and be supportive to some extent.  Do you find that to be so? Virag

Posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 02:50

So far so good with the new strap-only wove for an hour with it today but the old Peruvian one has served me for 13 years and is still going strong. Yes, it definitely distributes the pressure and is somewhat supportive. Just make sure it is down around the hips-up around the waist is not comfortable for me at all-with any kind of backstrap. Laverne

Posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 18:22

Getting started on the loom.

I have rounded up enough dowels to get started. I have a couple of ideas for backstrap. Will get pictures later.

When I start the weaving, I want a finished edge (selvedge). Do I use an edge cord and lash that to a dowel in the same fashion as I would for Navajo weaving?

How is the edge that is on the loom rod usually woven?

Have a good day!

Posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 21:20

I usually weave warp-faced fabrics-all the warps are pushed close together and all my teachers have used an edge cord which they lash to the loom bar. First they put in a temporary loom bar. Then once they are in their backstrap and all tied up with tension on the warps, they pass the edging cord through the space between the upper and lower layers of warps a few  inches up from the lower loom bar. Then they place another rod, which will end up being the permanent loom bar on top of the warp over the edge cord. They go lashing the edge cord to this rod using twine or something similar,puling the twine through after every few warps-this is on a warp-faced piece where the warps are pushed close together. Once lashed, the cord and permanent rod are slid down to the temporary loom bar as far as they can go. You then detach yourself from the loom and pull this permanet loom bar right to the end and remove the temporary one. Lashing in progress seen below.on a staked-out ground loom........

I use a steel knitting needle or length of piano wire instead of edging cord-both around 2.8mm-finer for narrow pieces- as I like to put a lot of tension on the warps and this feels more secure to me. Also the multiple lashings needed for an edging cord are forcing the warps apart which doesn't work well for me when I want to weave warp-faced. They tend to make the start rows uneven. I have some step-by-step photos of this on my Flikr page if you would like to see....

Once off the loom I remove the needle and then pass wefts on a sewing needle through the space left behind.

As for weaving the first few rows, again I do mostly warp-faced so I don't do anything special fo rthe first rows. Some time ago I wove a small tapestry and I wove the first four rows as I had been taught for Navajo-style weaving.

Esmecat has just taken what looks like a balanced-weave piece off her backstrap loom which she wove with a rigid heddle. Perhaps she has some ideas on how to treat the first rows.

Hope this helps. Glad all the loom bits are coming together for you.



Posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 20:48

Okay, I got it. That's similar to something I did using a short section of coat hanger wire.

I might go ahead with an edge cord for the first piece.

Do the "traditional" weavers usually slide the piece off the loom bar and weave with a needle to finish the edge?

Have a good day!

Posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 21:17

Hi Franco,

I'm not 100% sure I know what you problem,not yours!! I may be rambling here about something completely unrelated!!

The start edge needs no work once off the loom. If they want fringe on the far end, they remove the loom bar and braid or knot the remaining unwoven warps. If they don't want fringe at all they weave to about half way, then turn the loom around and weave in from the other end. Then the tough part begins as you have to close the ever decreasing gap in the middle. First you replace the shed rod with thinner and thinner sticks until eventually you have to remove it completely and go weaving in wefts using the heddles for one shed and needle weaving in the other shed. Eventually, the heddles are removed and every row is woven in with a needle until you completely close the gap-you probably learned this for you Navajo style weavings.

There are photos of this on the group's third forum thread.

I hope I understood your question correctly and this helps.




Posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 21:36

Laverne said: The start edge needs no work once off the loom. If they want fringe on the far end, they remove the loom bar and braid or knot the remaining unwoven warps. If they don't want fringe at all they weave to about half way, then turn the loom around and weave in from the other end.


Let me re-phrase my question.

If I don't want fringe at all, when I remove the loom bar, what do I do to the remaining unwoven warps?

Do I replace with smaller loom bar and then finish with a needle?

Have a good day!

Posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 22:25

OK, now I get you. If you don't want fringe at all you weave until you are half to two thirds of the way through the piece. Then you turn the loom AROUND, DON'T REMOVE ANY LOOM BARS. Now you start weaving from the other end. You will have your heddles still in place but you will need to take out the SHED ROD and put it on the OTHER SIDE of the heddles. You keep weaving until there isn't enough room to keep changing the sheds. You can then replace your SHED ROD with something thinner. Eventually you will be using something as thin as a piece of coat hanger. Finally you will have to remove the coat hanger and make do without a shed rod at all. You can continue weaving just using the heddles to make a shed for two weft passes-one for each end of the weaving line and then needle weaving in the other shed. Keep doing this until there is no room to lift the heddle shed and then remove the heddles. The final weft passes will all be needle woven.

It may not sound it but this is easier than what you suggest above,that is, replacing the loom bar with increasingly smaller ones.

I don't know if you had a chance to look at the pics on the recently opened group thread but they will give you an idea.....

The only other option ,at least that I can think of, is cutting your unwoven warps and hemming...................

Franco, I hope this helps!


Posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 22:51

I'm not asking the question right.

Let me start at the end.


This is a washcloth I wove on a frame loom. The bottom and top edge are where the loom bars would be. I want the start end and the finish end to look like this. How would I do this on a backstrap loom?

Thank you so much for your patience Laverne. I'm sure if I was in the same room you could point to it and make it totally clear.

Have a good day!

Franco Rios

Posted on Wed, 07/08/2009 - 03:49

Hey there,

Isn't this fun!!! Here it is in ''lovely'' picture form.......

A...warp on loom. Loom bars through warp loops. YOU are tied up to loom bar 1. Heddles and shed rod installed. edge cord ,knitting needle or coat hanger piece has been passed through the warp loops at BOTH ends and this has been lashed to the loom bars.

C....You have woven up to half way or more.

D...You have detached yourself from the loom and turned the work around. You are now tied up to LOOM BAR 2. instead of LOOM BAR  1.  You can't start weaving yet because your shed rod is in the wrong place.

E....You have taken the shed rod out and put it in its correct position behind the heddles.

F....You have woven to almost meet up with the other half of the weaving. You have been replacing the shed rod with thinner and thinner sticks as you go. Now there is no more room to manipulate the sheds with the shed rod and heddles and you have removed them. (You can remove the shed rod first and then continue weaving a while with just the heddles.)Here you start picking up the warps with a needle,weaving over and under each warp. You keep doing this until you simply can't fit in any more wefts.

G...TA DA!!! your work is off the loom with two neat finished upper and lower edges.

It's better to do this finishing process some place in the middle of the weave rather than just keep weaving up to the upper loom bar. The last few wefts that you needle weave in won't be well packed in and they will make your edge ''loose''.

I posted the full size picture in your message box, by the way.

Phew!! yes, this IS fun.


Posted on Wed, 07/08/2009 - 04:24

laverne wrote: edge cord ,knitting needle or coat hanger piece has been passed through the warp loops at BOTH ends and this has been lashed to the loom bars.


That's the confirmation I needed. I was wondering if the "traditional" backstrappers had a different way of doing it.

Thankyou-thankyou again for your patience and I love the drawing!!!

Have a joyful day!

Franco Rios

Posted on Wed, 07/08/2009 - 04:39


- Did not get much work done on the backstrap loom today. Most of the tutorials online suggest putting a groove in the loom bars to help hold the ropes in position. One site says to cut a groove with a saw one inch from the end and use a chisel to cut a groove.

Since my goal is always to go with tools found inside the house, I decided not to use the chisel, which is outside in the garage. I could have done it with a sharp knife. But I used some rough sandpaper (60 grit) wrapped around a ruler to make a row of grooves around the dowels. And yes we keep sandpaper in the kitchen because we always seem to need it for one thing or another.

It was fairly easy to do, I did grooves on 4 dowels in under an hour while watching television. I marked a line one inch from the end, then sanded groove in sort of a V shape, but with more angle to the vee side near the end of the dowel. As you can see, our trusty wooden bar stool was the work bench for this job.

Have a good day!

Posted on Wed, 07/08/2009 - 12:08

Excellent! Nice to know it can be done with sandpaper alone. I wouId have been put off with instructions to use a chisel as I am dangerous with tools in my hands and probably would end up damaged in some way!!


Posted on Wed, 07/08/2009 - 14:12

A bastard file works just as well!

For the correctness police - its what Australian hardware stores call a particular kind of rasp.

My rasps and files live in my fruit bowl on the kitchen table, along with an assortment of pliers, snips, drill bits and drills, so they are always on hand! I may not know where a sewing needle is, but I always know where the tools are.

Posted on Wed, 07/08/2009 - 19:19

Caroline wrote: My rasps and files live in my fruit bowl on the kitchen table, along with an assortment of pliers, snips, drill bits and drills, so they are always on hand! I may not know where a sewing needle is, but I always know where the tools are.


If you get a florist frog or some foam you could probably make a nice tool arrangement as a table centerpiece.

Have a good day!

Posted on Fri, 07/10/2009 - 00:17


since this was my first piece of weaving, i don't have any secrets to share, lol. i left a fair bit of fringe on each end of my weaving... i am loving the information on ways to work with more selvedges! i am going to be giving it a try as soon as i get some free time!

i am preping for a retreat (leaving tomorrow) and haven't had time to sit down and cut/sew it. (not to mention, a fair does of fear about design decisions...) when i get back, i'll work on turning my first cloth into a bag for the loom and post pictures... i promise! in the mean time, here's the fabric off the loom:

and i blogged about it here:


Posted on Fri, 07/10/2009 - 00:10

i am definitly going to have to try this soon.... but i will have to make a string heddle to do it, since it would be impossible to remove the rigid heddle after weaving...

Posted on Fri, 07/10/2009 - 01:11

A backstrap weaver friend I talked to today mentioned cutting the legs off old jeans (while at the same time making a new pair of shorts for yourself!) to make an improvised backstrap. The denim would certainly be good and firm. Maybe it could be padded it out with something.........


Posted on Fri, 07/10/2009 - 03:53

Ideas for making the backstrap include some that have been mentioned on this thread already.

- Cut off legs from a pair of jeans for improvised backstrap. I thought about that one because I save old jeans for the purpose of rag strips for making rag rugs. You can also convert the "shorts" into a shoulder bag by sewing the bottoms/legs closed and using some fabric of the legs for sewing the shoulder strap.

- Take a dishtowel, tie a knot in opposite corners so you can attach a rope. You can also take an old terry cloth bath towel and do the same thing. You might have to rip it in half to reduce the bulk.

- A pillow case can be used with knots in the corners.

- In the Curious Weaver Journal #2 article they suggest using a length of rope around your body as a strap while you weave yourself a strap as a first project. You may want to pad that rope with a towel or something.

- I have a leather belt that is too small for me (it shrunk! I swear it shrunk!) but if I put loops on each end it should work as a backstrap. I also figure a regular belt can be used without anymodification at all. I'll try to take pictures of that idea soon.

- Old sheets can be ripped down to a wide sash sized strip, a knot in the ends, attach a rope.

Just some ideas.

Have a good day!

Posted on Fri, 07/10/2009 - 20:56

 Hi there -

My backstrap is a length of blue nylon (?) belt material - sort of like a seat belt for an auto.  I put LARGE key rings in the ends and use a baby-diaper-size safety pin to secure the rings in the belt.  It isn't the most wide belt in the world but it seems to work.

The other end of the backstrap "loom" is a length of green cord from a mountain-climber of some sort.  I put an overhand knot in the middle to make a loop and put loops in the ends.  I use a carabiner to attach the middle loop to an eye-bolt that is in my floor loom and the end loops attach to the loom bars that are tied to the warp.

The warp is twined onto small diameter dowel that is attached to the loom bars (a broken closet pole).

Photos are below.

J -

Posted on Fri, 07/10/2009 - 21:27

Thanks Jan, looks like pebble weave!! Is it EXACTLY the same on the back only with the colors reversed?.

Is this one of the pieces you were asking about -turning the loom around and weaving in for a 4-selvedge finish?

Looks like you are about to start a bird motif.

Thanks for the photos-more great homemade ideas.