A Beginner’s Guide to the Zoom Loom

Hello! I am Heather McVickar, Schacht Spindle’s new Sales and Marketing Director. I have somewhat of an eclectic job history, but most recently come from spending 12 years in the yarn industry. I love fibers, how they are used, and how they combine to make so many amazing beautiful and useful items. Much of my experience with yarn has been through knitting, but I am so excited to expand and learn how to spin fiber into yarn and learn all the aspects of weaving. I am especially thrilled to be part of the Schacht team.

My first weeks here have been an exploration into many things previously unfamiliar to me. I am learning the ropes and dynamics of the company, and all the many names of the types of spinning wheels, looms, and their parts.

As an introduction to weaving I started on a small scale, practicing on a Zoom Loom to understand the basics. I learned that similar to a knitting gauge, different fibers, weights and twists work up differently.

I first wove up a light weight alpaca-rayon blend yarn and found it didn’t have much give or elasticity but made a rather ethereal square (left square). For the next square, I used a wool blend yarn with a lot of a twist which had more give (right square). This square shrank quite a bit when I popped it off the loom and the tension was released. My third test yarn was a purple/pink hand-painted cotton. This was a little harder to work with as the cotton had no give and was a bit thicker. (I learned that you need to use less tension on the yarn when threading up the loom.) I love how the multi colors created a weave pattern. The density of the fabric would make great coasters!

After these practice swatches, I decided I was ready to tackle a project. I chose this lovely pink tonal sock yarn, a machine washable wool blended with nylon. The yarn wove up into a light and airy square, and just like with my knitting and crochet pieces, I gave a bath to relax the fibers and full the fabric.

I have now made a total of 14 squares which are destined to become a cowl similar to the Stellar Cowl by Lois Weaver. I plan to incorporate a little bit of knitting to pull them all together. Stay tuned.

I have found that weaving these squares on my Zoom Loom is rather addictive and the possibilities of creating with them an endless fascination.

Next week I delve deeper into the world of weaving as I begin an in-depth 4-harness weaving class. Can’t wait! Spinning will be next.

I leave you with a picture of my Corgi, Tara, who made the move cross country with me. She has been a trooper with all the change, is adjusting well, and loved her first hike.

Heather McVickar

Heather is the new Sales and Marketing Director at Schacht Spindle Company. She has a 12 year background in the fiber arts and loves playing with fiber, yarn, and digging in the dirt. She also enjoys baking up treats to share.