All elements of rope work incorporates weaving or interlocking of strands by passing over and under each other.  At a smaller scale, weaving can be used in the wild to create mats, tarps, blankets, and more.  The process of weaving is fairly simple.

Sword Mat and Homemade Loom

Constructing a Sword Mat using a homemade loom

Step 1: Begin with four, thin but sturdy bars.  Fix two of the bars parallel to each other, as far apart as the length of the matting required.  These two bars will form the end of our loom.  Wind the rope around the bars.  This wound rope is called the “warp”.

Bars form the frame of the Sword Mat loom

Step 2: Lay the other two bars across the “warp” ropes and connect the first bar (A) to every odd-numbered strand and the second bar (B) to every even-numbered strand.  Connect them with a small loop, one that easily slides, so that you can lift the bar and thereby lift all the strands that the bar is looped onto.

Two bars are used to lift the strands

Step 3: Lift up the first bar (A), thereby lifting every alternate strand.

Step 4: In the space between the lifted strands (odd-numbered strands) and the strands not lifted (even-numbered strands), pass a second rope.  This rope is called the “weft”.

Step 5: Take a flat piece of wood, beveled on one side if possible. and run it through the same space between the lifted strands and behind the “weft”.  This piece of wood is called the “sword”.  Use the sword to press the “weft” firmly to the end of the frame.

Step 6: Drop the first bar (A) and lift the second bar (B) thereby lifting the even-numbered strands.

Step 7: As in step 4, pass the “weft” back into the space between the two sets of strands and press to the end of the frame with the “sword”.

The Sword Mat Loom weft and sword

Step 8: Continue in this fashion until you reach the end of the warp (frame).

Here’s another picture of a loom construction using the same principles.


Another diagram of a loom



Oval Mat

This weaving pattern is fairly complex and will be explained using the labeled diagrams below.  When completed, this pattern provides a oval shaped mat or covering.

Weaving pattern for creating an oval shaped mat

Step 1: Lay the ropes in three loops.

Step 2: Carry end I over end II, under the bight “A”, over “B”, under “C”, over “D”, under “E”, over “F”, under “G”, over “H”, under itself and over “A”.  The final runs of rope will look like this.

The basic oval mat pattern completed one time

Step 3: Run the rope taking I back along the path of II or by taking II back along the path of I.  You can make this run as many times as you’d like as you are now running the rope in an “infinite” loop.  In this picture it has only been run once.

Oval Mat with the run completed once

Step 4: Tuck any loose ends under strands to secure them.


Square Mat

Use this pattern to construct a square shaped mat.  The pattern is complex so follow the diagram below and the directions, step by step, until you master the pattern.

Step 1: In the middle of the rope, make the loops as shown.  Ensure there is plenty of rope on both ends.

Beginning weaving pattern for a square mat

Step 2: Pass bight “A” over “B” and under “C”.  Make sure that point “D” stays outside of the loop as shown.  Make a loop on end I and pass it under end II.  Pass bight “E” (make sure “F” is kept out of this loop) over “D”, under “B”, over “C”, and under “A”.

Square Mat pattern continued

Step 3: Form a similar loop on end II (which will now be to the left of end I), pass it under I and similarly pass its uppermost bight only through the design alternately over and under crossing strands.

Step 4: Repeat this operation of passing a loop under one end, and a bight up through the design, using the two end alternately, until the mat is the desired size.


Step 5: Finish by passing an end, which has not been doubled into a loop, to the right under the other end and up through the middle of the design, over and under, until is emerges at the top.

Completed square mat pattern