Speedweve Style Darning Loom

This was a really fun little project to figure out :slight_smile:

Speedweve was marketed as “Lancashire’s smallest loom” in the 40s and 50s - used for making darning faster and neater.

There were a few different brands of the same type of mechanism consisting of a flat wooden mushroom and a strange metal contraption filled with hooks. Fabric to be mended was held on the mushroom with an elastic and another elastic then fastened the metal bit to the fabric mushroom combo. The hooks hold the top end of warp threads. Flipping the hooks back and forth act like raising and lowering a heddle for a weft thread on a darning needle. You can read more about how they work here.

Vintage Speedweves are the darling of the visible mending movement; the results are much stronger than a fabric patch and can be very decorative.

In the “in use” photos below I hadn’t perfected the hooks yet and I need a lot more practice getting my stitches straight but it works and makes mini weaving go super fast.


Fascinating! I’d never heard of this before.


I need one of these before hub’s work pants get him arrested for exposure! :smile:


I’ve never heard of that, either. I’m still trying to wrap my head around how it works, but the end result is very cool.


Afraid to ask what he’s been doing in said pants!

That’s actually the main reason I did this (other than I irrationally love weird gadgets) - randomly became aware of these things a couple weeks ago and was skeptical that the tiny amount of lift from the hooks were helpful but they absolutely are! They run $50-100+ on Etsy & eBay but I have a laser :sunglasses:

My little test is pretty plain with just two colors - I’ve seen people doing stripes, plaids, tiny pockets, even fruits. Here’s a video of one in action.

Microweaving/mending examples from elsewhere (not mine):


Fascinating! I couldn’t figure out how it worked, especially with my basic knowledge of this sort of thing, but that video made it clear enough. Wow, the creativity of humans is incredible, and your version looks great. You’ll get the hang of this gizmo and be making some cool patterns in no time!


Really neat! Love the idea of the loom and the micro weaves. So cool!


I learned so much just now. That video led to others, and now I know what “darning” a sock is…and I think I’m happy to live in an age that buying new socks is really more practical for me.

But I love this mini weaver to fix jeans. It’s so cute too.


Oh no! A new project!
Thank you so much for sharing this, it looks like so much fun!


That’s awesome! Now I need this too! LOL


This is so awesome, and I too have these little looms saved somewhere as a future project (Etsy, Pinterest, … :woman_shrugging: ) I would love to know if/when you decide to sell your file design, as I’d jump on it, since it would save on me having do the design work myself :sweat_smile:

Speaking of random weird gadgets, have you seen razor blade sharpeners that flip themselves? https://youtu.be/YxSqQ8_YsCc?t=250 I’d almost brave COVID to search for one of those doohickeys in the antique markets down here!


Nice to learn something new


I love this!
In high school, we had to learn how to darn socks. I said I’d buy new. My teacher told me to demonstrate how to darn to fellow students. Which I did to get the grade.


Thank you!
I’ve thought about it setting up this one to sell the file since I haven’t seen it anywhere yet. The hooks give me pause though. I’d tried to work out a way to laser cut them but wire is still the best solution I’ve found and the tolerances for the hooks are very tight. So I’m not sure it would be a helpful file for the average user, although I’m considering putting physical ones up for sale instead.

The flipping razors is new to me. I’d slice myself to bits but totally would buy one if came across in an antique store, thanks for sharing!


:joy_cat: “average user” and “average crafter” are two different animals! I can’t even count all the different craft domains I have messed about in, and some just have really useful tools, like jewelry plyers and needle files ;p

As long as you could direct file buyers on where to find the wire to go with the project, and a template to bend it to, that would be enough to get them close (and maybe even a jig?!?)!

But there are always people that don’t have the time, interest, or tools to make and would rather buy the finished item :grin:

I’m up for a file trade if you are interested in puzzles!


This seems like the best way to go.


You’ll really appreciate it for mending knees, where you would otherwise have to have one hand out of sight in the tube of the leg, while the other is stabbing with a dangerous weapon. Ouch! Even using a spoon would be a challenge.


Oh man!! I’m all over the fiber arts and I’ve never heard of these! Aaaaand, I just had to make my own after seeing this! I have a couple of rigid heddle looms, spinning wheels, and all kinds of other fiber goodies and this little thing is so much fun! Thank you for sharing this project! Here’s the little guy I made…

My first weaving on it is a little wonky too, like yours, but I got so many ideas for this! I’m going to make a couple of bigger ones too, so I can weave some pockets on things!
I’m always trying to find ways to combine the laser and fiber worlds together, and this worked out awesome! :blush:


I’ve never seen one of these before. Super cool, and now I want to learn more!


That looks great! How do the acrylic hooks hold up? My stash was too brittle at this size and kept snapping (hence back to wire).