A lavalava loom

Warp Board

Pieces of a Lavalava warp board

A.1 Warp Board

  • Alternative English: warp table; winding board; warping board; warping table
  • Purpose: guide for laying out the warp; used to create a continuous, spiral wound, warp. This “tube” or “ring warp” is then mounted onto the loom
  • Design: flat board with holes to mount warp pegs, which correspond with the position of the back and front beam, coiling rod, heddle rod, shed rod, and lease stick
  • Ulithian: meliel, maliyel
  • Woleaian: maniyel
Pegs of a lavalava warp board

A.2 Warp Pegs

  • Alternative English:warping fingers, warp finger; stakes; winding stakes
  • Purpose: lays out the threads for warping; pegs corresponds beams, rods and sticks utilized once warp is mounted onto the loom
  • Design: individual pegs mounted on warp board. Specific placement varies amongst the three board patterns of Ulithi/Fais, Woleaian, and Satawal
  • Ulithian: lol maliyel
  • Woleaian: hatiul maniyel

Loom Frame

The lavalava loom

B.1 Loom

  • Alternative English: backstrap loom; horizontal tension loom; externally braced loom with circular warp
  • Purpose: frame that holds thread between the back board and the front beam into which thread is interpenetrated at right angles. Tension is maintained and adjusted by body weight on the backstrap
  • Design: box type consists of of L-shaped ends joined by two or three stabilizing cross beams; legged type consists of two tall beams on ends joined by two cross beams
  • Ulithian: busol
  • Woleaian: bwisal

Weaving Tools

The loom's backboard

C.1 Back Board

  • Alternative English: back beam, warp beam; warp beam; warp board
  • Purpose: holds warp (vertical threads) to upper and lower parts of the loom
  • Design: piece of wood longer than span of loom and equal to span of front board; or 2 to 3 dowels at least 1 3/8
  • Ulithian: paapal yilug
  • Woleaian: paapil ilug
Lavalava Coiling rod

C.2 Coiling Rod

  • Alternative English: tension rod; lease rod
  • Purpose: warp threads are wound around/ Stick serves as a way to set fixed size (measurement) of cloth woven; also serves as tool to help weaver find the path of each thread on the warp
  • Design: dowel 7/8 or bigger
  • Ulithian: yilud, uluth
  • Woleaian: ulut, oolut
Lavalava Yard stick

C.3 Yard Stick

  • Alternative English: lease stick; yard stick; cross stick
  • Purpose: defines and separates crossing of warp threads
  • Design: yard stick or length of molding or strip with rectangular cross-section
  • Ulithian: thibal hamadaf
  • Woleaian: tibwale gametaf
Lavalava Shed Roll

C.4 Shed Rod

  • Alternative English: main shed rod; shed roll; large shed rod; shed stick
  • Purpose: separates crossing of warp threads; brings up the tops of the threads alternatively
  • Design: sanded bamboo or PVC pipe 1 1/2
  • Ulithian: taping
  • Woleaian: tapang

C.5 Heddle Rod

  • Alternative English: string heddle rod; bar
  • Purpose: lifts alternative threads of the warp to the top
  • Design: dowel 1/4 or slightly larger
  • Ulithian: wal ngung / ngung
  • Woleaian: ngung

C.6 Weaving Sword

  • Alternative English: batten, sword; weaving sword
  • Purpose: defines and extends the sheds to allow the shuttle to pass, and used to tighten and beat weft as woven.; separates alternative threads of the warp to allow shuttle to pass through them; also used to tighten weft as woven
  • Design: hardwood, longer than span of back board and front board
  • Ulithian: hapop
  • Woleaian: hapop

C.7 Shuttle

  • Alternative English: rug shuttle
  • Purpose: holds and carries threads of the weft as it passes alternatively through openings in the warp
  • Design: two small rounded or pinched planes with a block or pair of pegs joining them around which the thread is wrapped
  • Ulithian: hasap
  • Woleaian: gesaap

C.8 Front Beam

  • Alternative English: front board; cloth beam
  • Purpose: in tandem with the fixed back board, the front beam holds the warp as the tension on the backstrap determines taughtness of the warp
  • Design: board with notches, span equal to backboard
  • Ulithian: paapal fal mat
  • Woleaian: paapil imat

C.9 Back Strap

  • Alternative English: sling; belt
  • Purpose: worn around weavers back, strapping her to loom; weaver controls tension on the warp by leaning forward and backward
  • Design: a strap, large strip of cloth, or a woven mat of threads of fibers into which small dowels or holes are placed at both ends for attachment to front beam with rope
  • Ulithian: tal dur
  • Woleaian: tane tear

C.10 Pattern Rod

  • Alternative English: supplemental heddle rod; second heddle rod
  • Purpose: supplements the role of the heddle rod (C.5); controls the separation of the warp and create a shed, along with the heddle rod by selecting specific threads from opposing shed to create texture for decorative patterns
  • Design: dowel, 1/8
  • Ulithian: ngung
  • Woleaian: ngushige

C.11 Pattern Stick

  • Alternative English: supplemental shed stick
  • Purpose: supplements role of the shed rod (C.4); controls separation of the warp and creates a shed, along shed rod, by selecting specific threads from opposing shed to create texture for decorative patterns
  • Design: strip of modeling or yardstick or rectangular cross-section equal to or smaller than yardstick
  • Ulithian: thibal halut
  • Woleaian: tibwal halut

C.12 Header Sticks

  • Alternative English: header; heading rods
  • Purpose: used to start the weaving, creating the first shed
  • Design: thin strips of long segmented bamboo
  • Ulithian: thibwal hasowasow
  • Woleaian: teebwal kasow

C.13 Pickup Sticks

  • Alternative English:
  • Purpose: used for the fitch
  • Design: knitting needle or thin piece of marlin bone
  • Ulithian: cheel taabw
  • Woleaian: shole taabw

C.14 Cat

  • Alternative English: yarn cone holder; spool holder; lazy kate
  • Purpose: dowels mounted on block of wood at an angle holding spools of thread to ease the drawing of thread
  • Design: scrap wood with dowels inserted
  • Ulithian: hatuw
  • Woleaian:

C.15 Folding Sticks

  • Alternative English:
  • Purpose: used to fold in-progress lava lava for storage in between weaving sessions
  • Design: strip of modeling or yardstick or rectangular cross-section equal to or smaller than yardstick
  • Ulithian: dibal haluul
  • Woleaian: teebw

Learn how to build the loom here!