How to build an upcycled loom and stand from recycled stuff

For the last month or so, I have been building and weaving up a storm.

I am part of a project in Edmonton, Alberta, called, Green Windows City, that has partnered 13 artists with small shops in the arts district.

The artists are creating installations built from upcycled or recycled stuff, and are creating magic!

Today is installation day, so I will take photos after I complete my installation and post them.

One of the really fun things that I have done is to design and build a tapestry loom (although it can be used for other things than tapestry) and stand from trash.

I built the loom from a picture frame and the stand for the loom using heavy cardboard tubes thrown away by the fabric store, an old broomstick and a few nuts and bolts.

It has ingenious ways of tensioning the warp strands, and opening the sheds for ease of weaving.

All it all, it is a wonderfully functional loom and stand that is almost no cost.

To my delight, I have found it to be a loom that I love and will be using for years.

I liked it so much that I have built a second one to be weaving on while this one is busy being in the installation.

I made a video showing how to make the loom and stand, and how to warp it (including the warping device that I messed up on and then replaced LOL)

Here’s the video-  it’s a cheap and cheerful way of creating a really great little tapestry loom.

I love it, and hope you will, too!

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Filed under eco crafts & green projects, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, tapestry, tutorial & how to, video tutorial, weaving & handwoven

Green Window project – weaving a tapestry of the earth

I have been incredibly busy, working to deadline on  a really neat project: The Green Window City project. LINK

13 artists were paired with shops in the Old Strathcona district of Edmonton as part of Earth Day celebrations.

We are each creating an installation in our partnered shop, using stuff that was pulled out of the trash…..

I have been building and weaving like mad….

I can’t show too much until I have the installation up and running.

But – I am going to give a sneak preview of a small tapestry that I have woven for my installation.

I was nervous about using discarded fabric that I cut into strips for the weft of the tapestry- I had NO idea if it would work!

Also, I built the loom (more about that later) and wasn’t sure if it would be alright for tapestry weaving.

On top of all the other unknowns, for the warp,  I used hemp yarn that was given to me by someone who gave up on weaving.

Fuzzy, sheddie, hairy hemp yarn? As warp? Bonkers.

I was sceptical when I saw that the cone of yarn was labelled as being warp, but thought- Why not?

This is all about experimentation, and creative adaptive re-use….

So, I warped up the loom:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

And then, I cut up strips of fabric and started weaving.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I’ve never used fabric strips to weave tapestry, so I was really quizzical about it at first….

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Those are the fabrics that I cut up, and wow…. I LOVED weaving with them!

Its’ very slow, but I was amazed at how well it worked!

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I loved it, and I am eager to weave more tapestries with upcycled, re-used, recycled fabric cut into ‘farn’ (fabric yarn).

But, for now, I have to get back to cutting up more t shirts and discarded garments for the banners that I am weaving for the installation.

And, then, back to weaving weaving weaving…. I have 5 more long banners to weave….. oh my!~


Filed under eco crafts & green projects, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, weaving & handwoven

Tapestry Diary – 4

I’ve been working on a series of little woven ‘dancing ladies’ for my Woven Women show.

And, I  am participating in a tapestry weave along on Ravelry.

This week, I finished one of my Dancing Ladies- “Snowy Spring”.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I have a thing about red shoes, so, I just had to make red patent leather shoes for her….

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

And I even made heels for them (the soles and heels are heavy leather, the uppers are very thin patent leather)

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

She’s about 13 inches tall/33 cm tall.

I wove her on the Schacht Mini loom, which is a small plastic loom that I quite like.

I was surprised by how well it worked for tapestry weaving- I wasn’t sure about tensioning on it, but that was not a problem. (I wove in a tiny thin dowel at the top, which worked beautifully as a shed stick, and provided some tension).

She delights me.

I love how the tapestry diary is leading me in unexpected directions.


Filed under Loom & looms & small loom weaving, weave along, weaving & handwoven, Woven Women tapestries and woven works

Wedding vest done

Boy, was last week ever a busy one!

I am working to deadline on a major project, and also needed to take time out to finish the wedding vest (LINK) that I’ve been working on for awhile.

Happily it is done, and delivered to the groom.

May he wear it in good health, and may he enjoy it for a long long time!

AND may their marriage be happy, lovely and long!

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

We didn’t discuss buttons, so I sewed snap closures inside.

If he and his bride want, they can stitch buttons of their choice to the front.

Or, toggles, or a clasp…. the options are endless.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

The front is quite sedate, but the back is a little bit more exuberant- more Saori.

The important part is that it fits him and he looks great in it.

Woven with love in every stitch!


Filed under Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Saori weaving, weaving & handwoven

Tea time in the studio

No matter how busy I am, (and I am wildly busy right now, with stiff deadlines) I still take time to have a lovely cuppa tea.


It makes me feel deeply contented!


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Tapestry Diary 2014- 3

This week has been insanely busy, with a major new project being on the top of my list, plus a maker’s faire yesterday, AND having to rush to get a vest done that I have been working on as a wedding gift… busy… very busy!

Even so- I have been working on my tapestry diaries….

Here’s where I have gotten to with my latest ‘Dancing Lady’:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

The Schacht Mini Loom has been surprisingly satisfying for this small piece (*no affiliations or profit from saying that I do like this little loom*) although, of course, tensioning is pretty minimal!

I still have a whole lotta work to do on her, but that is ongoing.

For April, I will be working on this piece, that is the other half of the warp strands from my first Dancing Lady of the month:

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

The light is so glaring in my studio right now that I am either getting totally over exposed or under exposed pics. Sorry.

One of the things that has kept me so wildly busy, is that I am participating in a very neat project in Edmonton, Alberta, called, ‘Green Windows City’.

A group of artists have been paired with businesses in Old Strathcona, a very artsy part of Edmonton.

The artists are scrounging up stuff that has been discarded, or donated to the ReUse center, and are creating magical installations in one storefront window of their assigned business.

I chose the theme: ‘Weaving a new world’, and have been busily building a mannequin and loom and stand and props, and will be weaving up all manner of things….
so, here’s the loom warped (I’ll show more about the loom and stand in the upcoming days), but I haven’t got the drawing done for the cartoon yet….

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

The warp is set at 6 epi, and is soft hemp that was given to me by someone who had given up on weaving. The label said that it was warp, but it’s sure new to me to use hemp as warp! Wish me luck!!!!

The next couple of weeks are going to be sooooooooo busy, as I have to have everything done and ready for the installation on April 17 – eeeeeeeeep!

But, I do feel that the weaving on the loom for the installation is very much part of my diary process, so I will be including it here, and posting about it.


Filed under eco crafts & green projects, Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Mirrix loom, tapestry, weave along, Woven Women tapestries and woven works

Tapestry Diary for Woven Women show – 2

This week, I began a series of small woven figures for my Woven Women show  (see previous post LINK).

I joined the Tapestry Diary Weave Along on Ravelry, and I am so pleased that I did.

This is the progression of the first piece, so far:

I warped up my 8 inch Mirrix so I can weave one diary entry on the front of the loom and one on the back.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

A Tapestry Diary is a kind of daily journal that, of course, reflects what is happening what is happening in the weaver’s life at that moment….

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I’ve been longing for springtime, so it was natural that flowers would appear immediately.

Using my mother’s stash of embroidery floss and yarn has been powerful for me.

Even though she is no longer with us, it is very tender to be working with something that she loved so much.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Each day, I’ve been uploading a pic of my progress in my diary- I find this rather daunting, as the ‘not good enough’ gremlins leap up and bite so uncomfortably! ugh….

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I had some concerns about weaving with super slippery rayon embroidery floss, but it was fine…. although, I’ll need to do some serious sewing in on the wrong side.

That’s a bit of tatting that I stitched to the hem of the dress.

I always have a tatting shuttle in my pocket for ‘incidental moments’- it’s  wonderfully contemplative, meditative and also so portable that I can take it with me everywhere.

I tat long strips of edging  that I then include in my tapestries.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

The face is applique’d on – I designed and wove a series of faces in a narrow band, using  my double hole rigid heddle loom.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

The arms are wrapped wires- I haven’t quite finished the wrapping, which is okay, as I won’t get to finish this piece until I weave the next one that is on the other side of the loom.

Being part of the Weave Along is such a pleasure- the international community of weavers that has formed around this weave along is a generous and supportive group.

I have no way of knowing how the Tapestry Diaries will unfold, but I will be posting as they do.





Filed under Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Mirrix loom, tapestry, weave along, weaving & handwoven, Woven Women tapestries and woven works

Handmade wooden buttons

There’s been a nice long hiatus since the winter maker’s faires ended and the spring ones begin.

I’ve taken advantage of the time away from the markets/faires to be extremely productive.

I love making (and using!) handmade wooden buttons, so I have been ‘button, buttoning’ like mad.

(and of course, had to build a display for them, too!)

I am sooooooo pleased with how they have turned out.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I’ll have them at the next Mercer Maker’s Market on Saturday March 29 from 10 -4 (The Mercer is on the corner of 104 ave and 104 St), so Edmonton peeps, I hope to see you there!




Filed under buttons, craft shows and makers faires, eco crafts & green projects

Copper pipe stand for copper pipe tapestry loom

After my husband and I made a set of pivoting clamps for my copper pipe tapestry looms, see this post: LINK

I thought…. oh, would it ever be great if we could make a stand for the looms.

I’ve been using a music stand as an easel, which works great for my little 8 inch Mirrix loom, but it was just not good for the larger copper pipe looms.

Luckily, last fall, I bought a length of 3/4 inch copper tubing at a garage sale- what a deal!

I paid $2(!) for 14 ft of copper tubing!  (The people used to run a ‘You Pick’ farm but were selling up all their irrigation equipment, including this unused chunk of copper tubing! wowsa).

I was convinced that we could uncoil it and use it to make a stand.

Jim was not at all convinced!

He insisted that we buy steel conduit, because it was stronger.  And straighter. And it hadn’t been coiled up by an over eager giant.

I hated it.

I stuck to my guns, and kept saying that yes, yes, the wonky curves in the tubing will be fiiiiiiiiine!!!!!

Jim was still not convinced.

But, together, we bodgered together a slightly wonky, somewhat Dr Seuss-y stand for my copper pipe looms and


We made 2 ‘U’ shapes…. basing the measurement for the inside tube on the width of my looms (we made 3 copper pipe looms that are the same width- at some point I’ll explain why) plus the height I wanted the stand to be.

Then, we made the larger ‘U’ shape to fit around the first ‘U’, so it can fold flat.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I wanted long pivot bolts so I can hang scissors and bobbin baskets and bags off the sides of the loom.

And, yep, the ‘stops’ are boot laces. Humble, but functional!

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

Yes, it’s a little wonky, but I LOVE it! It’s so much more ergonomically friendly to weave at it now than on the music stand.

And, now I don’t have to set up the saw horses to warp the copper pipe looms.

The loom can be easily rotated in the stand.  Bliss.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

This photo shows how we put a longer bolt into the pivot clamp so that it can easily pass through the 2 copper pipes of the stand.

I wanted a long bolt because I hang bags for bobbins and yarn, as well as scissors, from it for convenience.

I put a wooden bead between the stand and the pivot clamp (as well as washers) to space it out from the wing nuts of the clamps.

By tightening the bolt on the outside of the pivot, against the stand, it puts enough pressure on the loom to keep it from spinning while you are weaving.

I sit with the lower edge of the loom in my lap, which keeps it from spinning, but, eventually, when I have woven to the top, I can see that I will have to change that position.

Will post about that when I get there!

And, it is very easy to release one loom and transfer another loom onto the stand.  :)

I am such a happy camper.

Okay, back to my weaving.  :)


Filed under Loom & looms & small loom weaving, tapestry, weaving & handwoven

Tapestry Diary for Woven Women show- 1

Even though I haven’t been posting about my solo show of tapestries and woven works (Woven Women) that is opening in August 2014 (eep…. tick tock, tick tock…. eep), I have been working away on new pieces for it.

I noticed that the Tapestry weaving group on Ravelry (the facebook of the fibre arts world) is having a weave along in which people are weaving ‘Tapestry Diaries’.

That means that they are weaving daily, weekly or monthly, on pieces that reflect their lives in those given moments.

I have wanted to do this for several years, but just have never started one…. until, the other day, I had an ‘Aha!’ moment.

I have been contemplating a series of small woven figures- I’ve woven the faces for them, but haven’t started the bodies.

It struck me that weaving the bodies for these figures would work beautifully as a Tapestry Diary.

I got all excited about doing this, and then took the plunge and asked the moderator if I could join, even if I am late to the party.

She graciously said that I could, and so I am!

I love that the online community creates ‘Virtual Guilds’ with members from all over the planet inspiring and encouraging each other. It’s just awesome.

I decided to warp up my 8 inch Mirrix tapestry loom to get started, but I can see that I may want to warp up my 16 inch Mirrix for this, too.

Some people choose to weave very specific shapes in their tapestry diaries, like little squares or rectangles, that are quite uniform in size.

I have decided that my shape is going to be one that I have loved working with over the decades.

It’s an hourglass motif that has shown up in embroidery, weaving, stitchery,  stone and metal work for thousands of years.

It’s sometimes called. ‘The Shepherdess’ motif.

I did a bunch of drawings, until I was happy with a very simple, basic shape that I think will give me lots of options for experimenting with color and pattern. Of course, I have no idea how they will turn out.  :)

I chose to weave these figures in a fairly narrow configuration-  only 3 inches wide, set at 8 ends per inch.

Here’s my loom warped up, heddled, and with the first little bit woven.

copyright Noreen Crone-Findlay

I inherited my mother’s stash of embroidery floss and threads, and will be using them in this series.

Thanks, Mom….. hope you like what I am doing with your treasures……

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Filed under Loom & looms & small loom weaving, Mirrix loom, tapestry, weaving & handwoven, Woven Women tapestries and woven works