Various styles of looms have been around
for millenniums. Man (or woman) figured
out a long time ago that the process of making cloth would be much easier with a
few simple pieces of wood or other available material to help him (or her).
In weaving, the warp consists of the threads which are stationary, usually
the long way. The weft, then, consists of the threads which move in and
out of the warp threads to build or "weave" the cloth. The loom,
then, in its most basic form, is made up of parts which hold the warp in place
with tension. The weaver can then move the weft back and forth to create
A step further would be to attach a piece which would enable every other warp
thread to be lifted at the same time. This makes it easier for the weaver
to pass one shot of weft through the opening. On the next pass, the weaver
then uses that piece to lift the opposite warp ends so that the weft travels
over and under in the opposite pattern.
In more complicated looms, several
pieces called heddles are added so that the weaver can attach warp ends to be
lifted in a certain pattern. This allows the weaving of such well-known
patterns as twill, overshot, or herringbone tweed.
Another needed factor in weaving would be getting the weft sufficiently
packed between the warp ends. In simpler weaving techniques, this is done
by using a stick or comb to rake and pound in the weft. On a floor loom
this is done using what is called a beater. The warp ends all run through
holes in the beater. The beater is moved away from the weaver as the weft
is inserted. The beater is then brought forward to pound the weft between
the warp ends.
What if you have a small house and you want to weave something which is
longer than the space available? Simply add a bar or beam on which to roll
up the warp so that you can unroll as you weave. Then add another bar or
bean on which to roll up the finished product.
In carpet and kilim weaving, only the most basic loom is needed. The
only necessary function of the loom is holding the warp ends under
tension. At most a weaver might add a stick to keep every other warp end
separate so that she can easily move it up and down to add in the weft.
Often, the weaver will just pull every other warp end by hand, put the weft in,
and then count out the next section. For city carpets, a loom might be
bigger and allow for the finished material to be gathered on one end by rolling
The looms used for tribal and village weaving often consist only of a bar on
which to tie the warp, and then weights to add tension. They can be made
either by laying the warp out on the ground- a horizontal loom, or
by tying the warp to an upright frame- a vertical loom.
Horizontal loom in use in the village.
for sale in Isfahan.
Vertical loom in use in a village home.