Peg Loom by Lesley Alexander

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Peg Loom

Some 5 years ago I saw a peg loom at a local Open Studios event in Cornwall.  The maker was using it to weave untreated fleece and I was fascinated.   I sew for amateur theatre and we generate huge piles of offcuts with the attendant problem of how to dispose of them sustainably.  The peg loom offers one solution.

It is a simple device.  A piece of wood has holes drilled in it at equal intervals.   A hole is drilled towards the base of a piece of dowel of a size to fit the hole.   The warp is created by threading cord, string or whatever through the hole in the dowel, which is as close as possible to the hole in the base piece.  It’s relatively simple to make but I couldn’t persuade my husband to make me one so I bought one with a view to weaving my scrap fabric into a rug or wallhanging

Covid arrives and I start sewing scrubs and generating another huge pile of offcuts.  Scrubs were made of anything from the proper fabric in the shades favoured by the hospitals, to upcycled bedding, or people simply using fabric from their stash.  Time to have a go with the peg loom.

Knowing how big the project would be was the first issue.  I threaded a fine cord through the dowels for the warp.  How long should the warps be? How wide would it be, so how many pegs would I use?  I had no idea how far the fabric I had would go.  So I just went for it.

The cord only went so far, so I used about two thirds of the pegs.  I tore the fabric into two inch wide strips and sewed them together on my sewing machine in a random order.    After referring to  YouTube tutorial I started my project.  It was immediately apparent that the first few rows were too loose and I had to re-weave them from the bottom edge.  The edge warps need to be kept straight otherwise it is easy to miss them out.  When the pegs are full I found the best way to slide them on to the warps was to lift all the dowels just out of the holes, and when they are all out, push the fabric down the warp as this keeps it tight.  The warps need to be tied together in twos to give the woven fabric something to butt against.  As I reached the end of one strip I’d sit at the sewing machine and add more.  Tie off the warps at top and bottom, and there’s a rug.

The result is 17inches by 34 inches.  It’s my first effort and I’m pleased with it even though it’s a bit lumpy at the edges.  I could manipulate it into a straight line but I want to be reminded of what I need to adjust next time.

I shall use it as a wallhanging at Wimbledon Art Fair, and make a pair of miniature scrubs to go with it.

If I can persuade my husband to make a loom with bigger holes and spaces so I can use thicker materials, I shall make a rug from old wool tops bought for felting which have gone a bit matted.  Waste not want not!

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