Loom Rollers and Groups Making Mats for Haiti

January 10, 2011 at 11:27 pm 11 comments

My post in 2010  about Mats for Haiti has brought 35 responses, which have included people sharing information, a school saving bags for the project, individuals looking for bags to start a mat-making project, people wanting to share bags they’ve collected, as well as requests for information on making the bags.

In the process,  fellow writer Jan Cox connected me with Violet Ropp, also in Ontario, who has been active in facilitating mat-making groups. She knows two individuals who cut the bags and have come up with their own cutting tools.

One group that makes mats from milk bags went to a school and showed them the cutting tool and how it works. People at the school had collected 1000 milk bags for the project. Violet allowed me to share the photos on my blog that it may help other groups.

Photo one—”Roller Loom” [made by an area man] and Photo two—Milk Bag being cut

In the interest of helping other groups, the Woodlawn Group has provided construction details for the loom for those who wish to make their own loom.

Loom Dimensions:

Dressed Lumber  2 — 2 x 8 x 20 inches    sides

1 — 2 x 8 x 27 inches     bottom

1 — 2 x 4 x 25 inches  for stabilizer at bottom insert.

4 — 1 1/2 inch x 20 inches to create grove for PVC pipes

4 — 1 1/4 X 3 inch slats (to place under PVC pipes)

Long screws to screw the bottom and sides together. Add glue before tightening.

Short screws for the side peices, as shown before.(The sides are fitted snuggly for the PVC pipe you have for this project.)

PVC Pipe   2 —-  2 inch x 25 inch, to fit into the grove. The bottom PVC pipe can be smaller if that is what is available.

Look closely, and you will see a nail at the “side” towards the top. A hole has been drilled, so that the nail goes into the PVC pipe, and therefore the top roller can be used as a handle for easy carrying!!

This person says to keep a  dryer sheet inside the top roller so you can rub the PVC pipe to keep stop the static and  the rolling easy. For anyone with sensitivity to these scented sheets, perhaps a small set of cloth dryer sheets would work. It’s worth a try.

Another individual who makes the loom roller is Norman Yost. You can call [519 656-2485] or write to him [6115 Deborah Glaister Line, RR 2 Wellesley, Ontario N0B 2T0].

Current groups making mats:

At St. Paul’s Anglican Church, 9 Douro Street, Stratford, ON: meets every Monday 2-4 pm to work together. Contacts for this group are Jeanne and Ray Ford, 13 Battershall Court, Stratford (519 273-1464) and Donna Simpson, 169 Norman Street , Stratford (519 271-4859) [note corrections on time and address]

Corinne Malloy-Smith (705 878-7865) Email: health2u@sympatico.ca  connected with IFM

Rev. Bev and Tina Leslie, Executive Director, Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, Canada, RR # 6, Moulton-Aikien Road, Dunnville, ON, N1A 2W5 Canada 905-774-7021; Email: tina.leslie@nwhxm.ca; website http://www.nwhcm.ca

Collecting bags at school: Leanne Gabel at Mornington Public School 519-595-8995    Email:leangabe@fcamdsb.ca

Cassie Peters   [cpeeters@catholic.org ] moved to Wingham and is in school there. Send an email to see how she’d doing.

The Woodlawn Group is still collecting, cutting and crocheting mats.  Meets once monthly. Contact source: Violet & Christian Ropp chviropp@porchlight.ca      (519) 595-4001

The Milverton Mennonite  Fellowship group  (519-595-8762) You can drop off bags of Milk Bags at their door anytime. North East edge of town.
Norman and Mary Ann Yost of Kingwood have pitched in and are really going with renewed interest. They are serious about getting various ages involved.

IFM says, “If any mats are coming to Tina’s organization, we need them before the end of January for the next load. They are very busy with cholera patients at this time.”

Thank you, Violet, for all of this information. I hope it’s helpful for people looking to start or continue projects.

Note: These mats are made from second-hand material and are not for sale at any price; they are intended only for poor and destitute people in Haiti.


Entry filed under: community, Missions. Tags: .

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11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Violet  |  January 11, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Well written. I hope we get several nore groups crochetting due to this article. We need a group or 3, in Kitchener and Waterloo!
    If making the loom sounds difficult, Norm Yost has made 7 so far, and would be willing to make one for your group. Just call him! Each person makes them a little different, but the concept its the same, and works well to make it easy to cut the milk bag into 17 foot strips. Violet also EMAILS out a set of instructions about cutting and crochetting. Join us in this worthy cause.

    • 2. storygal  |  January 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm

      Thanks, Violet.
      Anyone who wishes to contact Violet may do so.

    • 3. Lori  |  September 24, 2011 at 1:40 am

      I would like to get on board with the milk bags for Haiti. I am a teacher and I’d like to bring up the idea to our eco group and my class but need to make sure there is a group or organization locally that can take care of things. We can collect bags, cut and plarn them but need someone to crochet them and send them to Haiti. Please let me know if anyone knows or can help me out. Thanks

      • 4. Rosemary  |  September 26, 2011 at 2:04 am

        I too am a teacher and I would like to get on board with the milk bags for Haiti. I’d like to bring up the idea to our elementary school. I would also need to make sure there is a group or organization locally (Bolton/Brampton, Ontario)that can take care of things. Not sure if there is one in my area?? Our school would like to collect bags, cut them but need someone to crochet them and send them to Haiti. Please if anyone knows what organization can help i would appreciate it!!!!
        Please Help us Help Haiti!!

  • 5. Violet  |  September 27, 2011 at 4:43 am

    Please get in touch with me by email,a nd I can send you more information how to “Get on Board!!” Keep the younster’s collecting those milk bags!
    Violet Ropp

  • 6. Bernadette Oulton  |  November 5, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Does anyone have the actual instructions on how to weave on this loome? We have built the loome and need more instructions. Thanks

  • 8. Nancy  |  May 7, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Rev Bev and Tina Leslie have passed away

    • 9. storygal  |  May 7, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      I believe that I read that in an email somewhere, Nancy. Does it mean that the project is going on under someone else?

  • 10. Angela Kesthely  |  May 20, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    I have instructions on how to make a loom, how to weave, and how to get the mat off of the frame. Everything is explained.
    Go to milkbagsunlimited.ca and look under the subheading “coaching”

    all the best,


    • 11. storygal  |  May 20, 2014 at 4:41 pm

      Thanks for your post, Angela. I will soon be putting up a letter I received this weekend about the project. You might call it an update. Stay tuned.


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