Paddle Tape Loom

Posted by Tropical Twister under Articles , Tape Looms 
[8] Comments 

I have new “toy”, a paddle tape loom. Before zippers and velcro, everything was secured with “tapes” or ribbons. Tape looms were commonly used by the Swedes, Norwegiens and Germans. The Pennsyvanian Dutch (after immigrating from Germany, my ancesters lived in Sommerset PA in the 1850s before moving on to farm in Illinois and the Dakotas) have a history of tape loom weaving. Decorative “tapes” adorned clothing as trims as well as practical uses such as bonnet and apron ties.
My loom from Finnsheep arrived this week.

For a simple tape, or ribbon, the warp threads are threaded through the slots and a single row of holes. (That’s how you see it threaded here.) I tied one of the warp to a chair and held the other in my hand. By manipulating the paddle I was able to alternate sheds allowing me to weave a simple tabby pattern. The tape is a “warp faced weaving”, that is, warp threads create the design. My warp is a colorful mix of brown, yellow and orange. The first few inches I used the same cotton warp thread for the weft as the warp, first Kaki then brown. You can see both warp and weft. In the second bit of tape, I used finer cotton weft. The weft disappears and all you see is the warp pattern. (The pattern I used is from Handwoven Magazine … Warp Faced Dog Leash designed by Susan Weaver.)

Oh, and that second row of holes…

that is for floating picked design.

Soft wool or other fat yarn was threaded though the second row of holes. A plain tabby warp served as a background for the yarn design which was allowed to “float” above the face of the tape. The reverse side of the finished tape would have the negative image of the pattern on the face of the tape. The weaver had to be careful to design the pattern so that the floats didn’t get too long where they’d get snagged and pulled away from the tape. I understand the concept but haven’t tried to weave with floats yet, heh, it’s only been a few days. I will post more photos of this tape to show the design and techniques including my plan to make a backstrap belt to hold the end of the tape so that I will have two hands free to weave.

Other sources I found for Box Tape Looms, Paddle Looms, and Floor Two Treadle tape looms are (click on source name to be linked to source):

J. K. Sidel
Hand Woven Magazine
The Joyner’s Shop
Fred & Grace Hatton, Finn Sheep
Link to photos of Swedish tapes

Tropical Twister


8 Responses to “Paddle Tape Loom”

  1. loopykd says, March 25th, 2009 at 10:44 am

    I have never seen something like this. Very cool.

  2. Caprifool says, March 25th, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Just a few more examples. In Swedish.

  3. Jen says, March 25th, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    Oooooh, I love tape looms! I have one by JK Seidel, and I’m getting another one in the mail here soon. They are so fun to work with. :)

  4. Tropical Twister says, March 26th, 2009 at 8:12 am


    The site is amazing; it is a must see! Thanks for forwarding it. (I added it to the article so that others may see it even if they don’t read the comments.) Thanks again.

    Tropical Twister

  5. Natalie says, March 27th, 2009 at 8:02 am

    How cool! I just joined the Pinellas Spinner’s and Weaver’s guild and I’m thinking of learning to weave. I found one like this online that I’m hoping to try out. Here’s the link to the video.

    Hope all is well. Love all the fun stuff going on!

  6. Experimenter says, December 25th, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    The Clement Moore 18th Century re-enactment park (just south of Washington DC) has three fairs each Summer. One of the booths sells a paddle tape loom set that is different. It has a handle that makes it easy to hold. However, they are sold without instructions. Thanks for this site. I could see something similar.

  7. Ifat Mantel says, May 8th, 2013 at 8:07 am

    where can I but this kind of loom?

  8. Tropical Twister says, June 27th, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    Finsheep … see the link within the article.

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