Weaving is a functional hobby, allowing people to create works of art that also serve a purpose. There are many different styles of weaving and types of looms, making it tricky for a beginning weaving student to choose the right equipment. A lap loom is a small loom, sometimes called a beginner loom, that allows a crafter to practice skills and learn the art without committing to expensive equipment or large projects. Choosing the right lap loom involves evaluating the size, loom construction and feel of the loom. There is not just one correct choice because it is largely a matter of personal preference.
The most obvious difference between a lap loom and a traditional weaving loom is the loom size. Lap looms are designed to be small enough to fit on a person’s lap, hence the name. Some lap looms are larger than others. The best lap loom in terms of size is the one that allows a person to comfortably hold it and work on it without stretching or straining.
Lap loom construction is also a factor to consider when choosing a beginning weaving loom. Wrapping the loom involves laying out the basic thread or yarn that a crafter has chosen to weave with. To do this, looms utilize a series of pegs, posts and bars. There are as many orientations and mechanisms for wrapping a loom as there are styles of weaving. Beginning weavers may prefer a more simple loom construction.
The material the loom is made from is also an important factor in choosing the right loom. Children's hobby looms are typically made of a lightweight plastic. This is well suited to the needs of some, but not all, lap loom weaving. Other looms are made from wood. Different types of woods feel different and stand up to different amounts of use. A pine wood loom, for example, does not feel the same as a cherry wood loom.
Because there are so many variables in the design and construction of the basic lap loom, finding the right loom is primarily a matter of trial and experimentation. Weaving specialty stores and some yarn stores allow customers to try the loom before purchase. A beginner should try as many types of looms as possible before deciding on which type to purchase. If possible, seek out a local weaving guild or group for different styles to try and advice from experts on the best beginning lap loom.