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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tradition of Carving a Tape Loom for your Sweetie

Years ago I found a crude paddle tape loom in my attic. It is just a plank of wood with holes and slots cut in for the heddle and  indentations to set between your knees.  It has holes and slots enough for 42 threads total. Then I met Roger about 8 years ago. Roger is Norwegian and lives in Minnesota where a lot of Scandinavians settled in the 1800s.  After seeing all his books on Scandinavian folk art, visiting the Vesterheim Museum in Decorah IA and meeting lots of other Scandinavian folk artists, I wanted to try out the elaborate patterns they wove.

Here in New England, we made simple practical bands to use as ties and trim. The Scandinavians love bright colors and took the patience to make elaborate bands. It would seem all women were weavers, knitters and sewers.  A girl learned these skills at a young age.

So a young Scandinavian man trained at a young age to carve wood and looking to please a sweet young girl, would carve an elaborate mangle board or tape loom for a chosen girl. He would sometimes carve her name and date or a little saying into the loom.  On presenting the loom to the girl, and if she accepted the loom, she accepted him and the courtship would begin.  However, if the girl refused the young man and his present, he would have to carve another one for the next girl.

Thereby the saying, "Beware of the man with too many mangle boards."

So, all you reenactors, weavers, crafters and romantics out there, why not carve a simple tape loom for your sweetie this Christmas, (or girls, get your sweetie to make one for you) there is still time!  If you google tape loom images you will find many ideas. None of them are perfect, none precise, all are beautiful and a cherished gift to hang on your wall when you are not weaving.

 Utstilt på Norsk Folkemuseum, Oslo. Norway

And if you are still not sure how to weave on it, you can check out my new instruction book, "Tape Loom Weaving... simplified", on Amazon or

Life can be fun... go make it so!

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