Not a fork, but it works – looms again

DD was very keen on me making a fork-like loom so I could teach her some of the patterns. She did look at the more complicated ones in the magazine, but they were really beyond her to follow.  But the add loop, hook off process of the fork- style patterns (not all of them but at least SOME of the more complex designs) look very teachable so while she is off skating, I made one.  I used a couple of domino style things from a set I’ve had for ages, and an old block. It has issues, but basically, it works.


I thought at first that the spacing of the two forks, taped, would be what I wanted to mimic, so I eyeballed it, marked the placement on the block,


then touched the tines to an ink pad to mark the wood.

3forklikeI glued the wood to the block – the dominos are softer wood so they were easy to hammer in to begin with, then the block is much denser but it only has to go in a bit.

The panel pins have a very small head on them – big enough to hold the bands in place but small enough for easy hooking off.


I simply hammered them in for this first version, but for the next one I did pre-drill holes.  The thin domino wood split slightly and I wanted to avoid that for the second version.


Now the thing about the fork is that although the tips are spaced like this, you are really working on the middle of the fork so the pins really should have been closer together. See how stretched the bands are?


You can also see the wood version has a lot more room for the completed section to grow. and the final bracelet is fine, if slightly looser than the loom version.


I was looking at the domino box and had a brainstorm – I could build a fork-like loom on top of the slider lid, then there would be a bit of a storage area underneath!  Sort of. The lid is VERY thin, so I know I would need a thickness of wood UNDER it


so the nails wouldn’t poke thru.  But that was going to interfere with the lid sliding in.  I just hacked away a bit of the side so it would slide


but that compromises the storage cause stuff can slide out.  But it will hold a bag or two of loops so not perfect but not useless either.


One thing about the cheap 99p nails – they are NOT all the same length.  I had one or two come thru the underneath piece of wood but I was able to add a bit of mount board to cove the tiny tip of the nails that did break thru.

You can see that this version had the nails row spaced closer than the block version.


But I think it really could be even closer.  So long as the bands are slightly stretched that is all that is needed.  I like that the nails are long so you can clearly see which is the TOP loop when hooking off, for example, if you add the bands then slip them down the nail – you can have 5 or 6 levels and still see them all very clearly.

The solid base of the box will mean DD can use it with her one good hand and use her other one to stabilize it if she needs to, without needing to grip it.  I’ll maybe add a bit of felt to the bottom, or some non-slip mat stuff. I might even look at decorating it but not till I know this isn’t a momentary fad that she loses interest in a week.

My last task is to figure out a way to write out the visual pattern from the video for her so she can follow it on her own.  I think I can do that for some of them, ones with a couple of loads and hook offs, but not all of them  – the starburst one above has 12 steps for each burst, so perhaps too complex for her. We’ll see.  She might be able to watch the video and follow along but I’m not sure.  The fishtail one you can see in the top photo is actually only a couple of steps – I may start with that one….

So a little more involved that taping two forks together, and a bit bigger, but overall, I think it is a success.  DD will let me know if it is or not….



No loom? Try this!

Well, DD went shopping with me and spied a magazine of loom bracelets.  She had learned how to make the most basic ones at her Challengers craft day (for kids with learning and physical disabilities) and I was stunned that she was able to manage them completely on her own.  Given her cerebral palsy, the flat loom works for her.  She has made many, many bracelets but all of the same basic design, just using different colour combos to create variety.

The mag is loaded with complex designs. To be honest, the magazine was a compromise – she wanted a book but I wasn’t sure she would be able to follow the complicated looping and hooking needed for the advanced designs so I said we’d get the magazine and see.  It came with a basic loom, a TINY, and useless, hook, and a bag of cheap, thin, poor quality bands. She went thru the book and found this:

I looked at the directions and despite never having made a loom bracelet of even the most basic type, I managed it.  The problem came when I looked at the completed piece and found it was only about 2 1/2 inches from tip to toe.  Who’s wrist was THAT going to fit?  Looking carefully at the magazine photos  could see that all of the shots show just one complete sequence – you never see it in the round or the other side.  So I tried and tried to work out how to extend it.  I thought if I didn’t complete the final section then moved the loops to the other end and added more it should be easy to do. HA! Because you load the bands from one end then flip it around to hook them, the process just made ZERO sense, and the couple of attempts I made just fell into two pieces and began to unravel.  Hence no photo.

My other thought was to join the cheap loom that came with the magazine to the other loom she has, thus extending the working area.  But one loom was at home and one was at her dad’s office so there wasn’t going to give immediate satisfaction.  I figured there had to be a YouYube video and maybe one explained how to join up two (or more) series of stars.  I didn’t find it, but I did find a brilliant channel that shows how to make loom bracelets without a loom.  It was genius.  She does even have one for the starburst.  I thought I would try an easier one first to see if the process worked.  Result!


Don’t be fooled by the loom.  I didn’t use it.  What did I use?


I found this super simple, once you fix the sequence in your head.  The real advantage is as you are working on a continuous piece you simply stop when it is long enough – you aren’t constrained by the number of pegs on your loom.

There may be looms out there that come with a method to join them, to create a super-sized loom, but I don’t know if I would bother.  If I could figure out a way to make a version of the to forks taped together than would sit solidly on the table, so DD could loop and hook one-handed, I am pretty sure I could teach her some of the simple, couple of step patterns.  But until then, she will carry on making the single repeat versions and I’ll try out a few more of the complex ones…including that starburst LOL!

The YouTuber is Olgacrafts. It’s well worth a look, especially if you don’t have super fine-boned wrists {wink}