Quiet Friday: Cutest Loom Ever

We (truthfully, my husband) turned a 100 centimeter (39+”) Glimåkra Ideal loom into a 70 centimeter (27+”) loom by creating all new horizontal pieces. I can select either size loom–it is convertible! I plan to use the 70 centimeter loom for workshops, since I am able to break it down with a warp on it and and set it back up. Singlehandedly. Not kidding! Steve spent hours of measuring, cutting, creating, and fitting. All in a hot Houston garage. A lot of love went into this cute little loom. Here’s our story in pictures.

Second hand 100cm Glimakra Ideal loom

After months of searching for a second-hand 70cm Glimåkra Ideal, we found this 100cm one, right here in Houston, that was looking for a new home. So we took her in. Now, we just needed to figure out how to take her down in size. (Click picture to enlarge)

New warp beam and cloth beam for 70cm Ideal loom

Steve started with the most challenging part, the octagonal cloth and warp beams. One end is precisely shaped to fit into a round hole on the side of the loom; the other end also has the round shape, but then is squared to fit exactly into the turn handle, with a rectangular hole for the wedge that holds it in. Whew, he did it!

Horizontal countermarch made from scratch

After making all the beams, Steve said this horizontal countermarch mechanism was a piece of cake.

New pieces for 70cm loom being added: treadle beam at the back, foot rest at the front, and upper and lower lamms in the middle. No need to replace the treadles, on the floor by the old 100cm treadle beam.

New pieces for the 70cm loom being added: treadle beam at the back, foot beam at the front, and upper and lower lamms in the middle. No need to replace the treadles, seen on the floor in front of the old 100cm treadle beam.

Making warping slats

Last step before putting a warp on the cute little loom. With classical music in his ears, Steve is making 70cm slats to use for warping. The hat is to keep sawdust out of his hair. The fan is to keep him alive.

Re-sized Glimakra Ideal loom

Ready to weave! Besides being cute, this loom could well be the world’s first convertible loom. Two looms in one! Have you ever seen a loom that could convert to two different sizes? (Click picture to enlarge)

Lime Green & Blue Stripe Rag Rug from Simple Weaves

For the first warp, I used a simple plain weave draft from “Simple Weaves” (Nya Vävar) by Björk and Ignell, p.22, just long enough for two small rag rugs. This first rug, Lime Green and Blue Stripe, is happy proof that everything works!

Disassemble warped Ideal loom for traveling

One rug done, one to go. First rug is cut off, and warp ends are tied in overhand knots in front of the reed. Now I bundle up the reed and shafts with the warp beam, and completely disassemble the loom. Can I get it all back together in working order? By myself? (Click picture to enlarge)

Red Flame Rag Rug on 70cm Glimakra Ideal loom

Loom is reassembled (took me 28 minutes, 30 seconds) and Red Flame rag rug is in the making. The cherrywood ski shuttle is another one of Steve’s lovely creations.

Lime Green and Blue Stripe & Red Flame rag rugs

Two simple rag rugs, a test for this old-new loom. This cutest loom ever passed the test with flying colors, and oh so much love!

May you enjoy a quiet day of love – some old, some new.

Feeling immeasurably loved,



  • Irene says:

    I’m impressed with your husband’s work! It is indeed a cute loom 🙂

  • Gret says:

    Only one word: awsome 🙂

  • Sandy says:

    All I can say is wow! Great idea and well done both of you.

  • Betty Van Horn says:

    LOVE: You two are a team!

  • Bev says:

    I agree with Betty. WHAT a team! God really did a work when he put you two together. Beautiful loom, beautiful rugs, beautiful couple!

  • diane says:

    That’s the neatest thing I’ve seen in ages! I just restored a 35″
    Ideal. Wish I had the woodworking skills to make it convertible!

    • Karen says:

      Diane, thanks for taking time to leave a comment! I owe a lot to my hubby. This couldn’t have happened without him. My woodworking skills are zilch.
      How nice that you have restored an Ideal! I’m sure it will serve you well!

  • […] Ideal loom? The one we re-sized so I could use it as a workshop loom? You can read about it here. Well, it is time to take the show on the road, so to speak. Time to go meet Jason Collingwood in […]

  • Frances Dale says:

    I can’t believe you wanted to shorten the loom. Why>> I have a chanch to buy a 70 one and I think it is too small for rugs. Do you make many little rugs?? Pretty tiny, Fran

  • Karen says:

    Fran, I understand your question. 70 cm IS small for making rugs. Normally, I do rugs on my 120 cm Glimakra Standard. The only reason I wanted to make the 100 cm loom smaller was so I could use it as a workshop loom. I don’t expect to make many rugs on this smaller size loom, though it is sturdy enough for it, and it did function very well for the Jason Collingwood rug workshop, where the warp was only 11 1/4 inches. I have to say, though, I really enjoy weaving on this tiny loom. It will be perfect for weaving scarves, yardage for clothing (most pattern pieces are no more than 18″), and even kitchen towels.

    I’m glad you stopped by to ask a question!

  • Kerstin says:

    Nice job!
    – just wanted to tell you that having several width beams was not *that* uncommon in Sweden of old. (Source Lanthemmens vävstolar by Grenande-Nyberg) – so you are following an old tradition

    • Karen says:

      Kerstin, wow, I had no idea! That’s great to know. Now I can say I’m just following an old Swedish tradition. It does make sense, though, because it’s a very efficient use of materials and space, and the Swedish seem to be experts at that.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Leesa says:

    This is really fantastic.
    I found your post while searching for a Glimakra in Houston and it’s made me look at listings for much larger Swedish style looms differently. Now that they’ve stopped making the Ideal this might be the only way of owning one of these perfectly sized Glimakras.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Karen says:

      Leesa, I’m glad you happened upon this post, then!

      There have to be some more Ideals around, but it’s not easy finding one. I hope you end up with what you’re looking for, even if you have to re-size something. That’s not exactly easy, either. But where there’s a will, there’s a way.


  • Greta says:

    Wow! Amazing! I had discussed this very thing with a weaver friend of mine, but neither of us is a woodworker. To me the possibilities are endless. I love the Glimakra Julia, and she is built with less timber, I had thought… what about an 18″ or 20″ Julia instead of a 27″ Julia? What about a 36″ Julia? Julia also has a design flaw, because the vertical beater supports are inside the frame, not outside, so the supports cut into the maximum weaving width. Just a modification of the beater, which really ought to be done, would need a skilled woodworker. I offer my deepest respect for your husband’s talents. If he wants to make some money for his handiwork, I would love to hire somebody to create a replacement beater for my Julia.. just like the old one, but with the vertical supports outside the warp area.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Greta,

      It’s amazing how simple, really, these Swedish looms are! I love the thought of a little bitty 18″ or 20″ loom. You could fit that into any corner of a room. The Julia, especially, is such a beautifully simple design. My husband has thought of trying to build one like it from scratch, with a few improvements. But that’s way down on the “someday” list. For now, he has a “real” day job; so, even though he would love to help you out, he doesn’t have the spare time to do all these wonderful things. But he does feel very honored by your kind complimentary words. Thank you.

      Happy Weaving,

  • Betsy says:

    Hi Karen

    I love keeping up with your blog. I have a Cranbrook loom and would like to add 4 more shafts. Can you tell me what kind of wood your husband used for your loom parts?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, I love having you along with me here.
      Steve tried to match the wood as closely as possible to what was on the original loom. He used pine for the lamms, and poplar for the shaft bars and countermarch jacks. He didn’t add any treadles, but he said if he did he would use maple, a dense wood.
      I hope everything goes well with expanding your Cranbrook. Exciting!

      • Betsy says:

        This info will be very helpful especially about the maple for the treadles. Now I can sound more knowledgeable when I talk to a woodworker about making the parts for me. Thanks

      • Jane Milner says:

        Hi Karen…What kind of pine did Steve use?

        • Karen says:

          Hi Jane, Steve says it’s just pine he picked up at Lowe’s or Home Depot. He’s not so concerned about what type of wood it is, but how straight it is, how many knots it has, and how straight the grain is.

          Hope that helps.

  • Vibeke Bekker says:

    Love this post – and he even changed the bench to match the width of the smaller loom.

  • Karen Spray says:

    I loved reading this – I have just bought an Ideal loom and am amazed how easy it is to dismantle and put back together. If I had known this, I might have gone for a Swedish loom years ago! I had read that the only difference between the different widths is in the cross pieces, and the fact that the ratchets are a separate part makes it more do-able too. I doubt if I will do this (unless perhaps one day I move somewhere much smaller) but I do plan to add extra shafts at some point – mine came with 4, but with the countermarche for 6 and there would be room for 8.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Karen, It’s a great advantage that these Swedish looms are easy to dismantle and put back together! I’m sure you will enjoy your Ideal for many years to come.

      Happy weaving,

  • Jane Milner says:

    When you disassembled the little Ideal, did you also roll up the shafts and the reed in the bundle so you only needed to reassemble your loom and tie on at the class?

    • Karen says:

      Jane, That’s exactly what I did, and bundled it with the warp beam. I wrapped a sheet around the whole bundle and tied it with a few fabric strips leftover from rag rug weaving. It worked great.


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Feeling Empty or Filling Empty?

This Swedish lace warp is finally cut off! The big loom now stands empty. I don’t like to let a loom stay naked for very long, so I will wind the next warp soon. That desire to keep the loom dressed will give me momentum through the finishing details and sewing of the dreamed-about curtains. Like this loom, we humans face times of feeling empty in daily life, and don’t like to stay in that unpleasant state very long.

Cutting off Swedish lace from the loom.

Cutting off the warp always feels like a celebration! Now I have a piece of fabric in hand to sew into curtains. Ta da!

When we experience that feeling of emptiness, we try to find a way to overcome our bare state. We get super busy, stuff our life with things or food, or isolate ourselves to our own detriment.

The good news is that we do not have to stay alone and empty. Amazingly, our creator desires to live with us, not just above us. And that is when our soul is filled–when we make room for our creator. And being filled, we say, Bring on the next warp!

May your loom always be ready for the next warp.

Making room,


  • Irene says:

    Your Swedish lace looks beautiful! Do you know why it is called Swedish lace? Haven’t heard that name here in Sweden…

    And, I like your saying: May your loom always be ready for the next warp!

    • Karen says:

      Great question, Irene! A few weeks ago I tried to find out why it is called Swedish lace, so I could put it in my Weaving Glossary, but I could not find an explanation in any of my books. So my answer is, “I don’t know.” It is called Swedish lace in The Big Book of Weaving by Laila Lundell, p.114 in the project notes, Plain weave and Swedish lace ‘mosquito lace’ block.

      Thank you for coming by!

  • Jane Morrow says:

    I have no idea if this is correct but, for example, French lace is made using bobbins. Swedish lace is made on the loom and weaving is so traditional in Sweden that it could almost be called woven lace.

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Vintage Swedish Loom: Never Too Old

This old loom has been taken apart and put back together with all new horizontal pieces. Not a refurbishing, per se, but a new edition of a vintage model. My genius husband has refashioned an old 36-inch Glimåkra Ideal loom, down to 27 inches. It is still an old a vintage loom, but Swedish looms are built to last; and this little pieced-together handiwork will surely outlast me.

Glimakra Ideal with Swedish rag rug

First project on newly re-sized loom. Rag rug in progress, using cotton print fabrics. (Click picture to enlarge)

We humans have a lifespan, and at some point we start falling apart little by little. An ache here, a memory lapse there, and before you know it, we see the end of the warp coming over the back beam. How will we retain our value when we are all used up and worn out?

Our worth originates in the hands of the one who made us, not in our usefulness and ability. Our master weaver will never set us aside or abandon us when we finally become threadbare. In fact, he goes out of his way to notice those who are forgotten by everyone else. You will always be a special someone to your maker.

May you carry your years with elegance and grace.



  • Bev says:

    Lovely vintage loom and words to match! Amen to “May we carry our years with elegance and grace.”

    Thanks be to God that He “is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.” (2 Cor 9:8) Without Him, we are nothing.

    God’s rich blessings to you, Karen!

  • Gretchen says:

    Beautifully said Karen. What a beautiful thought to start my day… xx

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Keep it Simple Sweetie

A simple solution for keeping the guide string out of the way when winding a warp: Eliminate the guide string! Okay, use a guide string, but not while measuring the warp. After I select the appropriate length guide string, I line it up on the warping reel. And then — this is the simple part — I place a little piece of blue tape (fold under one edge for easy removal) on the inside of each vertical post at the spot where the guide string passes. Remove the guide string and wind the warp, following the little blue tape markers! Simple.

Rag rug warp for Glimakra Ideal loom. Read about simple solution to eliminate guide string.

New rag rug warp for little Glimakra Ideal loom. Little pieces of blue tape mark the winding path for the warp.

It is easy to complicate things. In my efforts to simplify, I occasionaly reach an impasse by trying too hard to get the perfect solution, and lose sight of the main thing.

Talking with our creator is one of the simplest things we can do. When we get caught up with trying to say the right words, we can make it so complicated that we totally miss having the conversation. Simply saying what is on your heart touches our creator. And I’m convinced he bends down to listen …just like a father.

May you find simple words to express your heart.



  • Barbara Crockett says:

    Thanks, Karen. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know the “right words” to pray for a situation. I tend to look for formulas when I just need to speak what’s on my heart. And keep listening and learning.

    • Karen says:

      That happens with me, too, Barbara. We need to remember that our creator already knows our whole situation, and maybe he’s just waiting for us to talk with him about it.

  • Wen says:

    A great reminder….how often do we make things more complicated than they need to be…including prayer!

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Weaving Windows of Time

The 8/2 cotton threads are doubled, and form an outline around the delicate 20/2 cotton threads, creating this Swedish lace. I see the 8/2 outline as a window frame around panes of glass. A repeating geometric pattern like this is a visual impression of the cycles that form our backdrop for life. The sun rises and sets; seasons follow their sequence; years come and go. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

Handwoven Swedish lace using double bobbin shuttle

By using a double bobbin shuttle, the thicker outline threads are placed in the shed together without twisting.

Life hands us constant changes, but one thing we can always expect is a new day. We have been given a lifetime of tomorrows. Even when we are not able to see the sun because of clouds, the sun still rises.

In that consistency of tomorrow, no matter what the present day offers, there is a knowing that runs deep in every soul. In moments of solitude we feel it: The creator loves me. No matter what. New every morning.

May your soul be refreshed today and tomorrow, and the day after that, and so on…



  • Bev says:

    His mercies are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see. All I have needed, thy hand hath provided. Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto thee!

    Are you singing to the Lord as you weave this pattern, Karen? Praises to our faithful Lord! Love to you as you weave away. 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Bev, when I weave, I’m doing more concentrating than singing, ha ha. But that old familiar hymn certainly rings true. I never get tired of thinking about his faithfulness–through ages and ages of time, and his mercies–new every day. Old and new, perfectly combined.

  • […] these open windows with this before picture, while the fabric was still on the […]

  • JEAN says:

    I am new to your blog site. My nephew has asked me to weave curtains for his kitchen window in his new home. I love the ones you have made. Do you have directions for them that I can use? Thank you so much.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jean, Welcome!

      You can find instructions for the Swedish lace curtains in The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell, “Cotton Summer Curtains,” p. 114.

      I think your nephew is very fortunate to have you!

      Happy Weaving,

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