Thursday, 5 August 2010

Backstrap Looms

An Izaribata or Jibata is a traditional type of Japanese loom that is used specifically for tight weaves of natural fibers such as hemp and nettle. It is also used for weaving ragweave as it can be beaten to a tight windbreak-proof weave. They are also used to weave Yuki Tsumugi the un-spun silk in the Yuki area. The weave is tight. Ones body actually becomes part of the loom controlling the tautness of the warp. The warp is beaten with both the reed as well as the baton-like shuttle with the tightness partially controlled with the weaver's back tension resulting in the tightest weave possible.
Here Yokoyama san is trying out a back strap loom.

There are pro's and cons to this kind of loom. You can't weave fast. You are almost stuck with plain weave. But you can weave tight and you are forced to think of what the essence of beautiful piece of cloth is because you are working with such a primitive and sensitive type of loom.


  1. I would love to use one! I love the cloth and the loom. Beautiful!

  2. i find i am more and more drawn to simple looms and simple weaves. being strapped in means you dedicate yourself to a chunk of weaving time.

  3. Recently I had my first lesson on a Japanese backstrap loom, and now I'm at the studio at least 18 hours a week. I love the work and want to learn as much as i can. I live in northern Japan near Misawa, but will be sadly leaving Japan in about a month. I have photographed and made some measurements of the loom I've been usin, so my talented husband can build me one. Do you know if ther are building plans available for this elegantly simple traditional loom? Your home and your life sound wonderfully serene. I will so miss Japan, the country and the people.

    1. Hi Ann:
      I just copied the loom I had and made three friends for it. I went to a loom museum and took hundreds of pictures of back strap looms and one day will get back to making better ones. Your husband won't have any problem making one. Could you take one apart and send it back home?

  4. Thank you, Bryan. We will wait until we are back in the US to try copying the loom from the many photos and measurements we've taken. I so look forward to continuing to work on this elegantly simple loom. I'm a novice weaver and know I'll get many, many hours of productive enjoyment and experience once I get going. Perhaps we'll create plans from what we build so others can more easily build looms for themselves. I know they are still produced as there are several in the studio where I weave that appear quite new. Then there are others that are ancient. I wish they could tell their stories. Wish me luck! Ann

  5. Have either of you developed a set of plans for this loom by any chance?

  6. Two years after the last comment - but I just came across this, and would love to purchase a set of plans for making one of these backstrap looms.