I am a living history reenactor. Many years ago when I first became interested in weaving I heard about a tape loom. I didn't know what one looked like but at an 18th century trade fair at Cumberland Gap National Historical Park I saw something that looked interesting. I suspected it was a tape loom and when I asked I found out it was! I bought it then and there. There was someone there who was weaving on one. Throughout the weekend I would walk by her and try to memorize how she threaded it. After a while she asked if she could help me. I told her I was hoping to memorize how she was using the loom. She told me to go and get my loom then gave me some linen yarn and taught me how to warp it and after that how to weave. I was hooked! I really enjoyed weaving that first piece of tape but it sure was funny looking. You should have seen the selvedges! They looked like ocean waves!
After a few years I noticed that other women had tape looms similar to mine. I wanted to have one that looked different than anyone elses. In the book Spinning Wheels and Accessories by David Pennington and Michael Taylor there is a picture of a tape loom that was found in a barn in Pennsylvania. I really liked how it look and asked a woodworker I know to build me one. Here it is.
Not very impressive, is it. Neither was the original. When it was first discovered it was thought to be just an old box. When it was opened they found a treasure trove inside. Not only was it a tape loom but it also held a bobbin lace pillow, miniature skein winders and a multitude of other things. It even had storage spaces for sewing things. Mine is not exactly like the original. All I really wanted was the box and the rigid heddle. When it arrived I was surprised to find that the woodworker had made three divided storage trays for me! One goes under the warp and two are stacked. You can't really see it but there is a warp beam just behind the storage tray.
Here is another view. Isn't it interesting?
This weekend I will be heading to Wilderness Road State Park in Virginia where I will be weaving on this loom. I have already wound the next warp.
I wish I had taken a picture of what it will look like once it is woven. I took the pattern from the book, Tape looms Past and Present by Bonnie Weidert. This book is really interesting in that it shows pictures of different types of tape looms, samples of tape with the drafts and also diagrams and directions of how to build your own tape loom.
So, for those of you who may be interested in weaving and want to start small a tape loom might be just the thing for you but be careful! It could lead to a life long addiction to looms. After my first tape loom I went to a 12 inch loom and then kept getting wider and wider looms until I had one with a 47 inch weaving width!