Beginner's Guide to Loomwork - Part 2: Basic Terms, Tools and Materials

by Dan Day, Exclusively for Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ®

Basic Loomwork Terms

Now that you've selected a loom, let's talk about the tools and materials you'll need to do some bead weaving with it. But before we do that, here's a review of some basic loomwork terms. Thankfully, because the looms we are dealing with are basic, we won't have to cover all those terms used for advanced weaving.

Warp and Weft

Warp and weft are two weaving terms steeped in history and tradition. They are the names for the two directions of the thread on the loom. For our purposes, we don't need to know how the names came to be, we just need to know the difference. Here's a way to remember which thread goes up and down and which thread goes across: "warp and down" (up and down), "weft and right" (left and right)--it may sound a little silly, but it works. You may turn your loom sideways to weave, but the warp thread goes on first and runs the length of the loom.


Seed Beads Seed Beads - Seed beads are used quite often with the beading looms because their small size makes it possible to create more intricate patterns over a smaller area. Of course larger beads can be used if the loom allows the warp spacing to be adjusted.

Thread Thread - The size of the seed bead will determine which size thread you will use. Our Seed Bead Sizes and Hole Sizes chart shows what size stringing materials will fit each size of bead.

Needles Needles - Any needle that will pass through the beads will do. Some designers prefer a longer needle at least 3 inches long and less flexible. It depends on the width of your piece: long enough to hold the beads of the weft plus extra for the tip and the eye.

Patterns Patterns - Seed bead patterns provide a map of how the beads will be laid out on the loom row by row. Woven seed beed patterns can be combined into a larger design.

Seed Bead Loom Kits Seed Bead Loom Kits - Used to make a specific design such as a brooch or bracelet. A beading loom kit typically includes instructions, a stitch chart, beads, thread and pin back. To complete the project, you will also need a beading loom, scissors, ruler, cellophane tape and a beading needle.

In Beginner's Guide to Loomwork, Part 3 you'll learn basic bead weaving on the loom.

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