Introduction to Pin Weaving by Margaret Stump, a pin weaving expert, and author. Follow along with Meg as she teaches the pin weaving technique, using the KB Sock Loom Original.
NOTIONS: Susan Bates 5″ weaving needle, small scissors, tapestry needle for joining the pieces, 6″ zipper (longer size can be used and either cut off to needed length or extend into the bag).
Optional – a small (1.75 to 2.0) crochet hook used to pull yarn ends into the fabric. And a fork or other small pronged instrument to use as a beater.
SIZE: 4″ x 6.5″
YARN: Brown & gold bag: sample used Patton’s classic wool yarn, 20 yds. worsted weight knitting yarn in brown, 8 yds. worsted weight knitting yarn in gold. Green & white bag: sample was woven with Yarn Bee Arabella cotton/acrylic blend: 33 yds. worsted weight knitting yarn variegated color.
What is a pin loom?
A pin loom is any small loom that has pegs or pins around all four sides of a frame. You weave on it by first winding yarn around the pegs both for the warp (the up and down threads) as well as for half of the weft (the side to side threads). You finish by using a long tapestry needle to weave through the rest of the weft, turning it into cloth.
Is this different than regular weaving?
Yes. With regular loom weaving you put all the warp on the loom and then weave the weft back and forth. The looms you use can be table-sized or room-sized. Pin loom weaving is done on a small, very portable loom that is held in your hand. This makes weaving as accessible and portable as knitting or crochet.
What are the advantages of pin loom weaving?
Beyond the fact that you can carry your weaving loom anywhere you choose, pin loom weaving is very fast because you are only doing half as much actual weaving as with a regular weaving style. The other singular feature of pin loom weaving is that you are able to produce a piece of cloth that has a finished selvedge (edge) around all four sides. So that once you have woven it and taken it off the loom, it will not fall apart. You create your pin loom scarf or purse or blanket (or whatever you choose to make) by weaving a number of pin loom rectangles and then joining the woven pieces together.
This adjustable sock loom can be wound to accommodate very fine yarns to very thick yarns. If you are using a very fine yarn you will want to increase the number of lines of yarn in the warp to the maximum, which means looping warp around each of the top and bottom pins and around all of the side pins. If you are using a very thick yarn you will want to decrease the number of lines of yarn from top to bottom and will be possibly skip some of the side pins entirely. This project, making a zippered bag, will focus on weaving with a medium weight, category 4, yarn.
Make a Pin Loom Zippered Bag
This project involves making one or two woven bags with a zipper. The flat bag is made with four woven rectangles and features weaving in two colors. The larger bag is made with five woven rectangles and is sewn with a flat bottom.
For this project you will be weaving the entire length of the sock loom, which is 7”. When you remove the cloth from the loom it will contract to about 6.5”.
Follow the diagrams below to wind yarn on the sock loom.
1) Make a slip knot and loop around the bottom left pin. Wind the yarn from bottom to top around four pins at the top and four at the bottom so that there are eight lengths of yarn between top and bottom. You will notice that you have only used four of the five pins. The idea is to distribute the yarn across the width of the loom as evenly as possible. Don’t worry about any gaps, they will disappear in the weaving. Do not stretch the yarn or add any tension when you are winding it on the loom. [Loom 1]
2) Circle the yarn around the bottom right pin and proceed to loop around every other side pin. Keep in mind that you do not want to add any tension to the yarn when you are winding it, just lay it down from pin to pin. [Loom 2]
3) Circle up around the top left hand pin and wind another eight lengths of yarn from top to bottom. You will be looping this yarn around the same pins as you used before so that there will be two loops of yarn on several of the pins at the top and bottom. [Loom 3]
4) Measure off the yarn needed for weaving by winding the yarn around the outside of the loom three and a half times. Cut the yarn and thread the yarn end on to the weaving needle.
5) Start weaving on the top left side between the first and second side pins. This is the most difficult part of the weaving process because you will need to weave under each of the bottom yarns and over each of the top yarns. In several places the loops of yarn are on the same pin which means that you will need to use your weaving needle to separate the two layers and weave them separately. Take your time, you may need to weave this line bit by bit, pulling the yarn through several loops before using your needle to separate and weave further. It is likely that there will be places where you have to physically switch the placement of the top and bottom yarns so that they will in the proper “under/over” order. [Loom 4]
However once you have taken your time to weave through all of the loops, you will find that you have put them in proper weaving order so that you can continue to weave with some ease. [Loom 5]
6) Keep in mind that you are now going to weave a line between each of the floating weft lines that you have already put on the loom. Use a fork or your needle to push the floating line down in order to make a nice open space to weave through. I would suggest that you use the fork to push down the woven area before you weave each line. This makes the process of weaving much easier because you can more easily see what you are doing. Use the fork as a beater lets you even out the weave as you go along so that the rectangle looks more evenly woven when you take it off the loom.
7) With this loom you will begin weaving each line on the opposite side from where the yarn loops around a side pin. You will also treat that loop around the side pin as another line of yarn, going under or over it to complete weaving the line. By doing this you will be going around the empty pins that were left when you were winding the yarn on those side pin. [Loom 6]
8) Complete the last line of weaving between the two bottom pins. This is the second most difficult line to weave because you will again have to carefully through each of the loops. You may need to weave through little by little, pulling the yarn through in one section before tackling the next few loops. [Loom 7]
There have been times where I have found it impossible to properly weave through this last line. If that happens, you can simply take a whip stitch around the threads to lock them in place. This will serve the same purpose as weaving the line and will not be noticeable when you take the cloth off the loom.
9) After completing the last line of weaving, weave the yarn back into the finished cloth.
10) Depending on the yarn you are using, it can feel like a bit of a challenge to pull the cloth off of each pin. Take your time, this may be a place where the knitting tool is helpful.
11) After taking the cloth off the loom, pull out the starting slip knot and use a small crochet hook or your tapestry needle to weave the starting thread back into the finished cloth. Clip the ends of these threads so that they are lost within the cloth.
Making the zippered bag:
1) Weave your choice of four or five rectangles according to the weaving instructions above.
2) Join the rectangles on their long sides using a double overcast stitch.
Double overcast stitch – Start by placing the two edges you want joined, right sides together. Starting at one end of the bottom edge, pull your threaded tapestry needle up through the first pair of loops. Loop back through the same pair of loops again. Continue to the next pair of loops and bring the needle up through the two loops two times to make a very strong join. Repeat until you reach the end of the piece.
Continue to join the rectangles to make a flat piece of cloth.
3) For both bags, fold the fabric in half with right sides together. Join the sides using a double overcast stitch.
For the flat bottomed bag, pinch in the bottom corners to the inside to make a flat bottom for the bag. Tack the corners down.
Turn the bag right side out.
4) If you have incorporated any natural fibers, consider wet finishing your bag by washing gently in warm water with a small amount of shampoo or dish soap, rinse and lay flat to dry. Wet finishing helps the fibers bloom and settle into a fuller, softer fabric.
5) Attach the zipper. Using a sharp pointed needle, stitch a line of yarn to each side of the zipper, using either a running stitch or a back stitch. [Loom 11]
Place the zipper with the line of stitches on the inside of the purse, approximately 1/4″ from the top. Whip stitch the line of stitching on the zipper tape to the inside of the purse on each side to install the zipper.
Keep in mind that if you can make a small bag with four or five panels, you can make as large a bag as you choose by weaving more panels.
If you need a beautifully woven but heavier duty bag, consider lining your woven bag with a layer of duct tape. The tape will give it extra strength and rigidity.
Margaret Stump has been weaving on pin looms for over 40 years. She is the author of three books: Pin Loom Weaving, Pin Loom Weaving To Go, and Adorable Beasts, 30 Pin Loom Woven Animals & 4 Playscapes. Margaret features the process of weaving on knitting looms and weaving on potholder looms in her second book, Pin Loom Weaving To Go. Margaret lives in Minnesota with her husband, Jerry. She happily shares lots of pin loom techniques and projects at the website, Pinloomweaving.com.