An introduction to: Weaving

As we pass into Autumn/Winter, I love finding new crafts to learn and my latest is weaving with a loom.

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A loom is the structure that you will make your weave from, there are numerous different types of looms but to start simple, I am using a lap loom. I got my loom as a gift from a friend, but know they are either available to buy or I have seen tutorials to make your own online from an old photo frame.

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Step 1: As well as the loom, you will need a tapestry needle, cotton yarn to create your warp, a shed stick, and a pair of scissors. You will also need a weaving comb – or a kitchen fork which is what I currently use!  Then pick your yarn that you want to use for your weave, I have gone for more neutral shades in this example.

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We begin by tying the warp thread at the side of the loom and then stringing it over the loom vertically in between the gaps (as pictured), holding the tension as you weave. Continue upwards and then downwards and then at the end make a loop knot. This will be the backbone of your weave.

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Tip: Make sure that your warp is not too tight as you want to be able to weave your yarn with ease.

Step 2:  I begin with a simple weave. To begin, use either a shed stick or a ruler (I have used a ruler here) by feeding it over and under the cotton warp, making sure every second string is raised.

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Next you can feed the first row of your chosen yarn with your shuttle stick. Tie your chosen yarn to the bottom right as shown, and then wrapping your yarn around the shuttle, guide through the gap you created with the shed stick/ruler. You can place the shed/ruler on its side to create more space to feed the yarn through with ease.

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Tip:  Use a weaving comb, or in my case – a fork – to gently push down each row that you weave.

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Step 3: Now we can begin creating multiple rows, making sure that each row of yarn goes over and under in the opposite direction to the previous row. So if you have finished the last row under the cotton yarn, then you will loop back up and start by going over on the next row. Then gently push the yarn together with your fork/weaving comb but do not pull the yarn tight as you don’t want to pull your weave too narrow.

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Step 4: When you reach the end of your yarn, or you want to change to a different colour then make sure you leave a ‘tail’ of loose yarn at the ends (as shown below), which we will tidy up upon completing your weave. You can then begin your new row in the same way. I like to use different textured yarn.

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Step 5: To add a bit of variety, you can add in ‘triangles’ to your weave. This can be added at the side (as pictured) or in the middle depending on wherever your mood takes you! Begin the first row threading upwards then downwards, reducing the rows as you go to produce the triangle shape. I find it easier to use the tapestry needle to thread your yarn for this.

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Step 6: If you want to try a different type of weaving, I love the look of the soumak weaving technique which sort of resembles a plait and adds further texture and dimension to your weave. Again, using your tapestry needle to thread your yarn, pull two of the cotton warp threads towards you and loop your weave yarn behind with the end coming out at the front. Then pull the next two cotton warp threads out again and wrap again to the right. Keep looping your yarn as pictured below.

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At the end of the row, wrap your yarn round twice and then head back again in the opposite direction, so this time looping to the left, as pictured below.

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Step 7:  Continuing with whichever pattern you decide to create, I continued with a simple weave following my Soumak stitch, but then decided to flip my loom and include some tassels. You can either create tassels in the beginning, middle or end. I decided to include some in the middle and then finish off at the end, but the beauty of weaving is you can just see where your mood takes you.

To create tassels, cut the length of your chosen yarn – I normally do more than I need and like the look of long tassels finishing off my loom, but whatever you prefer – short or long tassels. Fold your yarn in half and thread through the middle of two of your cotton warp yarn strands (as pictured). Pull the long threads up to tighten and let hang loosely down. You can add tassels at any point, adding more dimension to your weave.

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Step 8: Snip the ends to whatever length you prefer.

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Step 9: Its time to tidy those edges! Now you can either thread them within your loom, or I find it just as easy (though albeit not as tidy at the back) to tie the threads together but not too tightly as you don’t want to narrow your weave.

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Step 10: Its time to release your weave! Start by slipping the bottom of your weave off your loom. Cut the loops and tie them in a double knot securing your weave.

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Then release the top loops and you can either use a dowel to pop through the loops which can hold your loom up, or personally I like using twigs or branches I collect in the garden.

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And here is your finished loom! They are such a great gift some someone, or to just add a little decoration and texture to your walls.

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I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. I am no expert in any way shape or form but just enjoy playing around with crafts and seeing what I can create. There are much more professional tutorials out there for weaving – but I hope this encourages you to get crafty and I personally find it so therapeutic and calming to just see what you can create!

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