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Weave-It and other pin looms

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Weave-It and other pin looms
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In the mid-1930's, several palm-sized *pin looms came on the market which used a relatively fast weaving technique and a mere nine yards of yarn (for four-inch looms; the most common size). The best known of these is the Weave-It, which was popular enough to remain in production until the 1970's.

WEAVE-IT
Weave-It looms can be distinguished by their patented pin arrangement, which visually aid the weaver in keeping track of where the yarn is going next. The original Weave-It was a four-inch wood loom with metal pins.  This was soon followed by the two-inch "Weave-It Jr." and (the rarest of the family) the five-inch rug Weave-It (which used wood dowels rather than metal pins). All of these had starting points and corner numbers stamped on their fronts and

"WEAVE-IT REG. U.S. PAT. OFF.
U.S. PAT. No. 3,011,916
CANADIAN PAT. No. 358058
MFD. BY DONAR PRODUCTS COMP.
MEDFORD, MASS, U.S.A."
on the back.

Donar also offered a "DeLuxe Weave-It" consisting of a Bakelite loom (The Bakelite was originally white, but by now, most have aged to a butterscotch color.), "Weave-It Weaves" booklet in addition to the regular instructions, and nicer box than the regular loom. The warping guides are usually visible, the back information may or may not be visible.

As production costs rose, the wooden Weave-Its were discontinued and the deluxe loom was changed to an injection-molded plastic. The Weave-It Jr. was also sold in plastic, both alone and in combination with the 4'' Weave-It. They are most commonly white, though other colors have been used throughout the years. The plastic looms have the Donar name (later Hero) and patent numbers molded into the back of the loom.

Wooden Weave-It and Weave-It Jr., Bakelite Weave-It

Later plastic Weave-Its:  front (white) and back (blue).

JIFFY LOOM
Jiffy looms consist of teeth cut from a cardboard-like (but much tougher) material set in to a wood frame. This method allowed Calcraft to make a variety of sizes at a fraction of the cost of the Weave-It and Loomette looms (MSRP of $0.25 for a 4'' Jiffy Loom vs. $1.00 for the basic Weave-It).

The basic four-inch loom (known as the #401 with needle and Adjust-A-Bar, #400 without) had grooves to receive Calcraft's patented Adjust-A-Bar, allowing four different sizes of weaving.

The #201 is 2''x2.''  The #801 is 4''x8'' and has two Adjust-A-Bars to weave 11 sizes. The #820 is 8''x8'' and, with one Adjust-A-Bar (included in the Hollywood Loom but not the individual loom), can be used  to make  eight sizes.

Calcraft also offered multi-loom kits which it called Hollywood Looms. The #1101A contained the #401 and the #820. The #1101 included the #401, the #201, and two looms (2''x4'' and 2''x8'') not available individually.

LOOMETTE
Loomettes share the same wood frame/metal pin construction as Weave-Its. The earliest Loomettes also share the clustered pin arrangement, however Cartercraft Studios was forced to change to a straight pin arrangement after the Weave-It pin arrangement was granted a patent in 1936. The regular loom is four inches; Cartercraft also made a Loomette King. Loomettes are stamped "Loomette Trade Mark Reg. 19322" on the front and "Cartercraft Studios" along the top edge. Shortly after the style change, Cartercraft began stamping guide marks (in place of the clustering) and row numbers (to aid in pattern weaving) on the front of the loom. After the style change, Loomette introduced two metal (full-width and half-width) adjusting bars which fit over the pins and allow for up to 11 sizes.

Loomette also produced a ''Loomette King,'' which was roughly 12''x18.'' I say roughly because the large size of the King required a tension bar which, depending on size and stretchiness of the yarn, was moved as much as an inch during weaving.

Early Loomette with Weave-It-style pin clustering, more common Loomette with numbered straight pin arrangement

BUCILLA
Bucilla produced an all-plastic four-inch loom with an adjusting bar similar to the arrangement used by the Jiffy loom.

FELLOWCRAFTERS' EASIWEAVER
The Easiweaver is a 5'' loom. Like the Loomette, it uses a wood frame and straight pin arrangement. Unlike the previously-mentioned looms, the four sides are constructed separately and screwed together. The looms were sold with hardware to allow two or more looms to be reassembled into larger looms.

CYNTHIA MILLS' WEAVALL
The Weaveall frame is similar in construction to the Easiweaver, however, rather than metal pins, the teeth are cut into the inner edges of the frame. This makes it a slightly smaller loom than the Easiweaver (so you can't mix Easiweaver and Weavall loom parts), even though the frames themselves are the same size. As the wooden teeth are also shorter than metal pins, they are less receptive to heavier yarns, more likely to break, and more difficult to repair than the Easiweaver.


*By ''pin weaving'' I am referring to a type of weaving done on a loom made by driving pins (or nails, dowels, etc.) into a frame or board. Both warp and weft are wrapped around these pins during weaving. It should not be confused with the loomless ribbon-weaving that is often called ''pin weaving'' (because the ribbons are pinned in place during weaving).

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