DIY fabric creation: osloom

jacquard_loom Kevin Carson forwarded me a message from Margarita Benitez, the mastermind behind osloom. Osloom is a DIY open source loom project. Briefly, the project goal is to develop blueprints and specifications for one to build their own loom. Specifically, a jacquard loom.

Jacquard is a process of weaving patterns with threads of various colors. The degree of design detail in loomed patterns is virtually limitless; one could even use photographs. Or I should say the only limitation now is cost; jacquard looms cost upwards of $60,000. However, were the instructions for such a loom made available (free) for folks to make their own, it could put fabric creation within the capacity of any designer who had the space to store and run a loom. One could create yardage to order, eliminating the need to make minimum yardage purchases in addition to creating the exact fabric patterns and in colors one desires. And if you’re not handy, I can only imagine you could find people to build it for you in the same way you can hire people to customize existing OS software (like WordPress). Here’s the blurb:

The OSLOOM project is about creating a hand loom that is computer controlled, creating a basic software where anyone can simply weave a photo thru a web browser (twill/satin), allow for the software import weave ready files from other software (such as Bhakti/Alice photoshop method), and then post the software on a repository for anyone to further develop or customize. In addition, all the loom blueprints would be placed online for anyone to build.

Of course there’s a catch. The project needs funding and they’re running up against a deadline to raise it by May 2nd. I wish I’d known about it sooner but I only found out about it from a second party. If you donate to the project, there are some premiums. You can find out more on the osloom site. There’s also a video which explains the project and concept in more detail.

Image courtesy: Wikipedia


  1. Sue says:

    I’m hoping this project comes to fruition. I pledged money awhile back but didn’t think to talk about it on F-I. Anyways, I think it would be fantastic if this technology is available since now only a few individual weavers are financially able to own a jacquard. On the DE side, if more individuals could own this kind of loom, think of the fantastic fabric we could weave for you.

  2. Lisa Bloodgood says:

    Yeah, like reproductions of Renaissance-era brocades and those 18th-Century flowers and stripes jacquards for theaters and re-enactors in the authentic colors!

  3. Paul Villforth says:

    I have been to the Nanjing Brocade Institute in Nanjing China. They continue the traditional weaving of brocade as practised in China for a thousand years. They also make their own looms. As far as computerizing the weaving, I say good luck if you are weaving in many colors. The Chinese have tried without success to build a loom that would make traditional brocades. I have some pictures of the looms and fabrics that are made if you can post them.

  4. Million says:

    This is so cool. I’d be all over learning how to use the Osloom! I hope they will find enough funding to go ahead with the project!

  5. Andy says:

    Perhaps Monty Don’s Mastercrafts programme showing how 3 novices could become weavers might inspire a few people to get involved. Those looms did look very complex to setup and use though.

  6. Kathleen says:

    Awesome. I meant to post the entry two days earlier than I did but I noticed when I posted it that they only had about $2,300 at the time. Thanks for coming through everyone, either through contributions or putting out the word.

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