This review originally appeared on my blog on May 1, 2010
As my loyal readers may know, I’m just a little bit nuts about flower looms. So it will be no surprise to you that I chose to spend some of my birthday $ on some Japanese looms.
Hamanaka Flower Motif Cards come in three sets. Round, square and star shapes.
Here’s what they look like out of the packets.
The round set has four cards and the other two have 2 cards each.
The round cards are 12, 10, 7 and 4cm in diameter, the square cards are 4.5 and 6cm square and the star shaped cards are 7cm diameter on the outer layer of petals/4.2cm on the inner round on the larger card and 5 and 3cm on the smaller card.
I tried them out for a few days and I LOVE them. This was a surprise because I thought a piece of flat plastic couldn’t be all that flash, and was prepared to use them just as “carry around” looms since there are no pegs to lose or break and they pack flat.
I tried out a few of the designs that come with the cards, following the diagrams only. I don’t know how good the instructions with the cards are since they are in Japanese and I don’t speak or read any Japanese. The flower loom tutorials on knitting-and.com can be used with them though.
I tried size 5 perle cotton, dk weight yellow singles, and many fingering weight handspun yarns. The yarns used on the largest loom were held triple and wound quite a few times 🙂
They’re made of a very firm plastic with just the right amount of flexibility to take the finished motif off, but without bending and warping the shape of the flower as you’re making it. They sit really nicely in the hand because they’re flat, and the yarn doesn’t slip off the spokes the way it can on a flower loom with vertical spokes. Being flat, you can also weave many of the ends of your yarn into the back as you go which is great if you want to use lots of separate lengths of yarn for weaving, for example. This also makes them nice to use to make needle woven motifs with thread, such as the yellow flower in my photo.
The only caveat I could find is that the two larger round looms are the only ones that are really suitable for yarns thicker than fingering weight (Aussie 4 ply). I tried a dk weight yellow yarn on the smallest round loom, and while I made a perfectly OK flower, it was very difficult to keep the yarn in place as I wound it on.
These cards have been available for quite a few years. I bought mine from Kanzawa Company on the Japanese online mall Rakuten. The service was excellent and the website’s English version was relatively easy to understand. The small sets were the equivalent of just over AUD$3 each and the larger set was just over $6. Postage for a package under 500gm to Australia was a little more than the cost of the cards so you might want to browse for a few other items to make it worth the cost. I really wish I had seen the Leafy Puppy Spring Summer Wool (100% paper yarn) before I had placed my order. The colours are gorgeous and I think it would make amazing flowers.