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Weaving on a Big Loom: Floor Loom Weaving Project Ideas

  • 8 min read
Weaving on a floor loom (Image credit: Schacht Spindle)
Weaving on a floor loom (Image credit: Schacht Spindle)

What is a Floor Loom?

A floor loom is an upright loom used in the process of weaving fabric. It consists of a frame, typically made of wood, that stands on the floor. The floor loom is operated using treadles or via a dobby system. As on smaller looms, the warp threads, which run lengthwise, are attached to the loom's frame and can be adjusted and tensioned using various mechanisms. The weaver operates the loom by pressing a treadle or triggering the dobby system to open a shed by raising and/or lowering shafts (and thus particular warp threads as the pattern dictates). The weaver then passes the weft threads, which run horizontally, through the warp threads using a shuttle or other weaving tools.

Floor looms come in various sizes and configurations, offering flexibility for different weaving projects, from small textiles to large rugs and tapestries. Professional weavers and textile artists often favour floor looms for their sturdiness, versatility, and ability to create intricate designs. In this article, we will discuss what type of projects you can weave on a floor loom.

The Importance of Choosing Appropriate Projects for a Floor Loom

A floor loom is best suited for weaving projects that require longer, wider, and more complex lengths of cloth. This type of loom allows for the creation of large-scale textiles such as scarves, yardage for towels or garment construction, rugs, blankets, and upholstery fabrics. The mechanisms of a floor loom, including its sturdy frame, treadles, and multiple shafts, make it possible to efficiently weave wider and longer pieces compared to table looms and other smaller looms. The adjustable tension and shedding mechanisms on a floor loom provide greater control and consistency when weaving larger and more complex cloth. Additionally, The ability to handle many warp threads and operate multiple shafts allows for intricate and complex patterns to be woven.

Floor Loom Weaving Project Ideas

A floor loom allows for the creation of intricate and beautiful woven pieces, and the possibilities are endless. There are countless floor loom weaving projects that weavers of all skill levels can take on, from simple to incredibly complex. Here are a few of the many projects you can weave on a floor loom:

1. Towels and Dishcloths

Handwoven dishcloths by Samantha Gehrmann
Handwoven dishcloths by Samantha Gehrmann

Weaving towels and dishcloths on a floor loom introduces weavers to the world of functional textiles. These projects often involve using durable and absorbent fibres like cotton or linen. Plain weaves, twills, and waffle patterns are popular for towels and dishcloths, allowing for absorbency and aesthetic appeal. Weaving these everyday items can be a gratifying experience as you create beautiful and useful pieces.

2. Blankets and Throws

Loom woven baby blankets (Image credit: Gillian Palmer via Loox Reviews)
Loom woven baby blankets (Image credit: Gillian Palmer via Loox Reviews)

Take your floor loom to the next level by weaving cozy blankets and throws. Blanket projects allow working with thicker yarns and creating larger-scale pieces. Whether you opt for a classic plain or twill weave or experiment with more complex patterns like overshot or double weave, blankets and throws are ideal for decorative and practical purposes, adding warmth and style to any space.

3. Table Runners and Placemats

Table runner woven by Samantha Gehrmann

Weaving table runners and placemats on a floor loom offers a chance to sample weaving techniques whilst creating practical items. Weaving items like table runners and placemats also allow for playing with colours and experimenting with various fibres. Patterns like overshot and lace weaves can add intricate details to your table linens, making them stand out as unique pieces of functional art.

4. Rugs

A rug being woven on a floor loom (Image credit: Sue Rosenthal via Loox Reviews)
A rug being woven on a floor loom (Image credit: Sue Rosenthal via Loox Reviews)

Many, but not all, floor looms are well-suited for weaving sturdy and durable rugs. From small accent rugs to large area rugs, the possibilities are vast. Experiment with different weave structures, colours, and textures to create rugs that complement your home decor. Rugs woven on a floor loom can be both functional and artistic, providing a unique way to express your creativity while adding comfort to your living spaces.

5. Garments

woven clothing by Sophie Marino
The top half ofthe dress and belt are both handwoven. Woven and sewn by Sophie Marino of ScribblyGum Weavings (Instagram and website) who encourages the blending of handmade and storebought/upcycled fabrics to make finished garments more easily realised. (Image Credit: Sophie Marino)

Take your floor loom weaving skills to the next level by crafting garments on a floor loom. Weaving fabrics for clothing opens up a world of possibilities, from lightweight summer tops to cozy winter sweaters. Explore different weave structures and fibres to create fabrics with the desired drape and texture. Garment weaving requires attention to detail and precision, making it a challenging yet rewarding avenue for those looking to push their creative boundaries.

6. Baby Wraps

A colourful baby wrap woven by Nicky Crane
A colourful baby wrap woven by Nicky Crane

Weaving baby wraps on a floor loom allows you to create custom, handwoven textiles that are not only functional but also hold sentimental value. Baby wraps, also known as baby slings or carriers, are woven fabric lengths for carrying infants and toddlers comfortably. Not only do you have the opportunity to create a functional and safe baby carrier, but you also get to infuse your craftsmanship and creativity into an item that holds special significance for both the caregiver and the baby.

7. Tapestries and Wall Hangings

tapestry by hannah cooper
Bay of Fires (hashtag dronephotooftheday) (2023) // Glover Prize 2023 Finalist. Woven on a Louet Spring by Hannah Cooper. (Image credit: Hannah Cooper)

Weaving tapestries and wall hangings on a floor loom allows for exploring artistic expression. These projects are an excellent opportunity to experiment with colour blending, texture, and shape. Use a variety of yarns, including specialty fibres like silk and wool, to create visually stunning pieces that can turn into focal points in your home. Tapestry weaving also enables weavers to tell stories through their artwork, making it a deeply personal and meaningful endeavour.

8. Scarves and Shawls

Wool and Silk Scarf with the loom it was woven on. Woven and photographed by Kerrie McAlister

For beginners and experienced weavers alike, scarves and shawls on a floor loom are excellent projects to start with. These projects provide an opportunity to experiment with different weaving patterns, colour combinations, and yarn textures. From simple plain weaves to complex twills and herringbones, scarves and shawls allow weavers to hone their skills and create functional and stylish accessories.

What to Consider When Selecting a Project for Floor Loom Weaving

Nicky of Thread Collective weaving on a floor loom
Nicky of Thread Collective weaving on a floor loom

Selecting the next project to weave on your floor loom involves considering various factors to ensure a successful and enjoyable weaving experience. These are some of the critical factors to take into account when choosing a weaving project:

  1. Skill Level: Consider your skill level as a weaver. If you are a beginner, start with simple projects that involve basic weave structures and straightforward patterns. As you gain weaving experience, you can gradually take on more complex floor loom weaving projects that challenge your skills.
  2. Size of the Loom: The size of your floor loom dictates the dimensions of the projects you can undertake. Larger looms are suitable for weaving wider and longer pieces, such as blankets or shawls, while smaller looms are ideal for narrower items like scarves or table runners. However, this doesn't mean you can't weave wide projects on a smaller loom! Consider learning double weave to make pieces twice as wide as your loom or stitch fabric panels together with an invisible or decorative seam.
  3. Type of Weave Structure: Different weave structures create varied textures and patterns. Consider the type of weave structure you want to explore, whether it's a basic plain weave, twill, herringbone, or more complex patterns like overshot or lace weaves. The chosen structure can significantly impact the final appearance of your project.
  4. Functionality and Purpose: Determine the purpose of your woven piece. Are you creating a functional item like a scarf, blanket, or tablecloth, or are you focused on decorative pieces such as wall hangings or tapestries? Understanding the intended use will guide your material and design choices.
  5. Yarn and Fibre Selection: Choose yarns and fibres based on the desired characteristics of your project. For example, select soft and breathable fibres for clothing items, durable and absorbent fibres for towels, or thick and warm fibres for blankets. Consider colour, texture, and weight when selecting yarns.
  6. Colour Palette:Consider the colour scheme you want to incorporate into your project. Decide whether you want a monochromatic, complementary, or contrasting colour palette. Experimenting with colours can greatly enhance the visual appeal of your weaving.
  7. Time Commitment: Evaluate the time you have available for weaving. Larger and more intricate projects may require a significant time commitment. If you're looking for a quicker project, opt for smaller items like scarves or dishcloths.
  8. Complexity of Design: Assess the complexity of the design you have in mind. More intricate patterns and designs may require careful planning and attention to detail. Beginners may initially prefer simpler designs before progressing to more elaborate projects.
  9. Equipment and Accessories: Consider any additional equipment or accessories needed for your chosen project. Certain projects may require specific tools, such as shuttles, pick-up sticks, or additional heddles. Ensure you have all the necessary tools before starting your project.
  10. Personal Interest and Motivation: Choose a project that aligns with your interests and motivates you to complete it. Whether experimenting with new techniques, creating functional items for your home, or expressing your artistic vision, weaving projects are more enjoyable when they resonate with your personal preferences.
  11. Seasonal Considerations: Think about the season when your project will be completed. Lighter, breathable fabrics may be more suitable for warmer months, while heavier, warmer fabrics are ideal for colder seasons.

By considering the factors listed, you can select a weaving project that suits your floor loom's capabilities, your skill level, personal preferences, and intended outcomes, ensuring a rewarding and successful weaving experience.

The Floor Loom Awaits You

Weaving on a floor loom offers a rich tapestry of creative possibilities, from functional items like scarves and blankets to intricate art pieces like tapestries. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced weaver, the floor loom provides a versatile and rewarding platform for expressing your artistic vision. As you undertake your weaving journey, remember that each weaving project is an opportunity to learn, explore, and create something unique with your hands. So, gather your materials, set up your loom, and let the rhythmic dance of warp and weft lead you to a world of endless creativity.

To read more about the different types of floor looms, you can read our other article titled “Exploring the Differences between Countermarch, Counterbalance, and Jack Looms.

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In the vibrant world of floor loom weaving, the possibilities are as endless as the threads we work with. Weaving connects us to age-old traditions and takes us on a journey of creativity and self-expression. Sharing experiences, insights, and discoveries with fellow enthusiasts enriches your journey as a weaver. Join the discussion, share your projects, and stay inspired by subscribing to our newsletter. Be part of a community that celebrates the artistry of weaving, where each thread woven is a story told, a skill honed, and a piece of craftsmanship cherished!

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