One of the great things about a portable loom is that you can travel with it; whether that simply means down the street to your weaving group, or on a plane to an exotic destination.I'm taking a loom or two with me on a trip in a couple weeks, and I thought I'd delve a little deeper into how best to travel with a Mirrix!
Like anything you want to protect while traveling, I recommend taking the time to sufficiently pad your loom, especially if it will be in a suitcase. I like to use items of clothing to wrap around the beams and, most importantly, the wooden clips.
The carry-on question is one we still don't have a definitive answer to. Flying post-911, we've always been a little concerned about trying to take a loom onto a plane in carry-on baggage. Because of this, we haven't tried. Others have, however, and have been successful. We recommend contacting your airline and asking before taking a loom in your carry-on baggage.
We have not heard of anyone having an issue traveling with a loom in checked luggage, however, so you should be safe there!
Since suitcases are not uniform in size, I recommend checking our comparison charts to compare the size of each loom (check the width and lowest loom height numbers) to the size of your suitcase. In my experience, a 16" Big Sister Loom fits into most checked-baggage suitcases. You will start to run into space issues with any larger loom.
That said, a 22" Zach Loom without warp on it ( 22" x 17.5") should fit into many "large" suitcases. A typical "large" suitcase is somewhere around 27" - 30" long and 18" - 21" wide, at least according to the suitcase categories of some online retailers.
Traveling With a Warped Loom:
I've always been pleasantly surprised at how well looms with pieces on them seem to hold up in travel. Perhaps I've just been lucky, but there has only been one on-loom piece I've ever traveled with that has been destroyed, and that was a beaded bracelet using a No Warp-Ends Kit. Generally, I don't recommend traveling with a piece on the loom using a No Warp-Ends Kit, because the bars can tilt and your piece could slip off. Trust me!
If you are transporting a piece with the shedding device device, remove the device from the wooden clips, face the clips inward if possible and then move the shedding device down on the loom and pack it so it can't move around much. Doing this will prevent the clips from breaking and give you a little more space.
Taking Your Loom Apart:
If you are traveling with an unwarped loom, you'll save some space by separating the top and bottom pieces of the loom. You can take apart your loom, for example by removing the clips, but don't recommend doing much more than that.
Loom Bags and More:
Admittedly, when traveling locally with my looms, I tend to throw the looms in a tote back and call it a day. It certainly isn't the best solution, but it works fine. Many customers have found pre-made bags that work great for them, and some have even sewed their own. Check out this blog post from last March for a beautiful example.
What You Had To Say:
We asked for loom traveling experiences, tips and tricks from our customers. Here are a few answers. Feel free to add more in the comments section of this post!
Tapestry Teacher Rebecca Mezoff (check out her online tapestry classes here) said, "The 16 inch is the biggest size that will fit warped into any "reasonably" sized suitcase for checking on the airplane! And it takes up the whole thing (you can fit a lot of socks and yarn around it though). It fits really well unwarped in two pieces. I have never had trouble with TSA checking my Mirrix looms. And I always travel with them (usually one 16 and one 12--the 12 fits much better warped into a suitcase)."
Marg Yarma, of BeadFX mentioned some great travel bags they sell. She said, "BeadFX sells a travel bag specially made for us for beaders and crafters. This will easily hold up to a 12" loom with lots of zippered pockets to hold thread, yarns, beads, needles, patterns and all the other tools. Long handles so that that bag can be comfortably shoulder carried. Available in 4 colours. Handmade quality by Yazzii International," You can find them here.
Teri Moris said, "I use an "ArtBin" carry all to load my Mini Mirrix and all supplies. It is perfect for protection of the loom as well as threads and beads." You can learn more on ArtBin's website here.
Terry Hanson linked to a great video by Noreen Crone-Findlay about how to use Furoshiki wrapping to carry your loom. You can find it here.
No loom to travel with yet? Click below to get a free loom recommendation, and find out which loom is destined to be yours!