If you are a beginner weaver, then you are probably already thinking about how you can add all those lovely textures to your weavings. Aside from all the colours you can choose from and the lovely patterns you can create, texture is one of the most lovely – but perhaps a little intimidating – aspects of creating a wall weaving. So today, I thought I would share with you 5 simple ways to add texture to your weaving to get you started. You will be surprised at how easy it can be!
(If you are brand new to weaving, I suggest you start by reading An Introduction To Weaving to learn all the basics first).
Are you ready to add some texture? Let’s get started!
- lap loom (or a DIY loom)
- cotton/hemp yarn to create the warp
- weaving needle
- 2 dowels (not pictured)
One of the most common ways to add texture to a weaving is by adding fringe or ‘tassels’ along the bottom edge. You’ve also probably seen them added to interior portions of a weaving. But for this particular tutorial, I’ll show you how to add lovely long fringe along the bottom.
First, taking your yarn of choice, determine the length of your fringe, double it, and snip off. You can either use a single strand or a group of strands to create a nice full tassel. Fold the full length of the snipped yarn(s) in half.
To create your first tassel, you will be using 2 warp strands, beginning from left to right. Feed the looped end of your yarn over the first strand and under the second. (In this case, you will be treating the loop knot along the bottom as if it were 2 warp strands).
Taking the end(s) of the tassel, feed through the loop.
Pull through until you’ve created a knot.
Gently pull the knot down and under the first peg. (If you are using a DIY loom, this may be a nail instead of a peg).
Continue creating your fringe, one peg at a time until you reach the end.
The soumak technique resembles a braid in that it creates a lovely raised and slanted look.
The trick to this technique is to remember that unlike a plain weave in which you are feeding your yarn over and under the warp strands, as pictured below…
…you will actually be looping around the strand instead. (Again, for more on the ‘plain’ or ‘tabby’ weave see An Introduction To Weaving).
Okay, now let’s take a closer look at making soumak loops.
First, taking the end of your yarn feed it under the first 2 warp strands (the loop knot is here treated as a single strand).
Then, taking the other end, feed it under the 2 warp strands to the right starting from the right side and pulling toward the left. Continue pulling towards the left to create your first loop.
Repeat these steps to create the second loop.
Note: You can also create a soumak weave looping 1 strand at a time.
Continue creating your loops until you reach the end.
Here is a view of the first row from the side.
When you create your last loop (I had only 1 strand left, so I treated it as if it were 2 strands), you are ready to create the upper half of the ‘braided’ look.
To head in the other direction, loop around the last strand(s) a second time.
Now you can create the upper half simply by recreating the loops in the opposite direction.
The soumak technique creates a lovely ‘braided’ look and adds a beautiful line of texture in any weaving.
For more on soumak weaving, watch this great instructional video: Soumak Weaving.
Another way to add texture to your weaving is to create a ‘bubbling’ effect, called ‘pile’ weaving.
The bubbling can be any size, but does require something you can wrap your yarn around. This can be a weaving needle, knitting needle, skewer or dowel, for example. For this weaving, I used dowels to create the effect.
First, choose the yarn with which you want to create your pile weave. Take this yarn and weave one row of plain weave across the warp.
Next, taking one of the dowels, feed it down the second available space from the end.
Going beneath the yarn, gently pull upwards to create your first bubble.
Gently turn the dowel towards the left. Then feed the dowel end down the second space available to the left.
Gently pull up to create a second bubble.
Continue in this way looping the yarn around the dowel – going underneath the yarn at every second space to the left.
When you reach the end (I did not loop the final space, but if you are using thin yarn, go ahead and loop edge to edge), push the loops downwards using your dowel to align your row.
Tip: If you decide to create a second row of pile weaving, do not remove this dowel just yet. You don’t want to inadvertently pull on the yarn and thus eliminate the lovely bubbling effect you’ve created.
To create a second row, pull out your other dowel and repeat the process going in the opposite direction.
Once you have two rows, push the dowels together and gently slide out the first dowel.
The same steps should be taken when creating a third or fourth row (as I did here).
For an easy to follow video tutorial, I recommend watching How To Weave Loops (Pile Weave).
4. VARY MATERIALS
When it comes to adding texture to your weaving, perhaps one of the simplest ways is to vary your materials. Not only should you vary the thickness of your yarns – as I do for this weaving – but experiment with non-yarn materials, including ribbon, leather, jute, twine, and lace, for example. Anything long and flexible can work. Varying your materials will add to your weaving’s visual interest, making it uniquely your own.
For this weaving, I chose lace to add some textural variation.
To make it ready for weaving, I twisted it between my fingers and wove it across the warp.
So simple, yet effective!
As you make your way up your weaving, don’t be afraid to continue varying the materials as well as the techniques you’ve just learned.
Tip: Don’t forget to weave between each of your textured portions with some plain weave not only to emphasize the textures, but to make sure your weaving holds together well.
5. GROUPING STRANDS
When creating a weaving, whether you are creating a plain weave, soumak weave, pile weave or fringe, you can always create even more texture by grouping multiple strands together.
I did this when creating the fringe along the bottom, using two differing colours (white and tan) to emphasize the textural variation.
I also grouped strands along the soumak finish at the top end for added depth.
When you are ready to remove your weaving, simply slide a dowel or branch through the loops along the top and pull off the loom (the fringes pop off easily along the bottom).
Can you identify each of the techniques used in this weaving? Here is the breakdown:
Now you are ready to hang up your masterpiece!
I hope these 5 simple ways to add texture have sparked some ideas to get you started with added variation to your weaving. Experiment and have fun!
Happy weaving 🙂
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