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Back Strap Loom Review by Tina RiceHarrisville Designs
69 Main Street
Harrisville, NH 03450
The Back Strap Loom Kit from Harrisville Designs contains everything you need to make a belt, bookmark, or strap. Included in the package are a sturdy hardwood loom with a belt tie, 100% cotton weft and warp, one shuttle beater, and instructions. The loom comes with two yards of 100% cotton warp that is pre-threaded through a rigid heddle. The package is labeled for ages 13+, although the directions indicate ages 9+.
The yarns enclosed in our kit were earth tones and are very pleasing to the eye. The wooden clamp is made from a lightweight hardwood and feels very sturdy. Because the loom came pre-threaded, the user should be able to jump right into weaving. All you will need to get started are a pair of scissors and something to tie the warp onto (possibly a table leg.) The directions include instructions for putting on a new warp so that you can use your kit again - all you need for additional projects is yarn.
In our family, we do a lot of hands-on projects and have used a variety of products from Harrisville Designs. I feel that in comparing the directions from this kit to other kits, these directions are not as clear or easy to understand. At first I thought it was just me, but then I asked my 22-year-old daughter, and she could not figure out the steps right away. We did eventually figure out how to use the loom, but it was not a quick or easy process.
Despite the difficulties we had in figuring out how to use the loom, I still recommend it. I do think that for most students, the 13+ age recommendation is more accurate than the 9+ stated on the directions. Using a blackstrap loom would be a great accompaniment to a historical or geographical study of Central and South America. If I could change anything about the Back Strap Loom Kit, I would add more pictures to the directions; that would have helped me to get started weaving faster.
Product review by Tina Rice, Contributing Writer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2011