As I continue to ‘weave my way’ (pun intended 😉 ) through skeins of yarn, I find that I am always learning new weaving tricks and techniques that stretch me – which I am happy to share with all of you. From An Introduction to Weaving to showing you how to DIY a Mini Framed Weave to posting an Interview with the very talented fibre artist, Kate from The Weaving Loom blog, I’ve loved passing along bits of creativity to all of you lovely readers. But, of course, some of the best lessons of all have come from my missteps, too! This is no less true for today’s post: 3 Mini Weavings, 2 Techniques. While these mini weavings are easy to make, there is one crucial step that I initially missed (and later corrected) that you’ll want to pay attention to when you try this too. Below, I’ll take you through my initial mistake, how I fixed it, and then the final – super cute – results 🙂
Without further ado, let’s get started!
- lap loom
- tapestry needle & scissors
- cotton or hemp yarn (to create the warp)
- choice of coloured yarn (to create the weft)
- shed stick (or cardboard of equivalent size – about 1 inch by 10 inches) (not pictured)
- kitchen fork (not pictured)
- 3 dowels for hanging your weavings (not pictured)
Step 1: Create Your Warp
I’ve already discussed how to do this in a previous post, but in brief: Make a loop knot at one end of your cotton or hemp yarn and place over your starting peg along the bottom. Pull the yarn up toward the opposite peg along the top, looping around the peg from left to right and back down again.
Continue in this fashion until you are satisfied with the width of your weaving. End with another loop knot. (Both my loop knots start and end along the bottom extreme pegs, pictured below).
Before you begin your first row of weaving, take your shed stick (or a long piece of cardboard) and feed it over and under the warp strands, as shown above. This will provide a base to your weaving and help maintain a straighter edge along the bottom.
Step 2: Technique 1 – Plain (“Tabby”) Weave
Using your tapestry needle and chosen yarn, begin creating your ‘weft’ (i.e., the actual weaving) using the most basic weaving technique, called a plain (or ‘tabby’) weave. A plain weave is the simple technique of weaving your yarn over and under the warp strands, as shown in the picture below.
Once you reach the right side of the warp, pull the remaining yarn through, leaving a few inches of ‘tail’ on the far left side.
The tail can be woven back into the weaving at the end of your project OR right away using your fingers.
Next, taking your fork, gently push that first row (including the tail that’s been woven in on the far left) down towards the shed stick to create a long, even line.
Now, going from right to left, go ahead and make a second row of plain weave. When you do, make sure that you weave on the opposing side of the warp strand. (In other words, if you ended under the last strand on the right, then begin going over it when heading towards the left).
Continue creating rows in this way, making your way up the warp.
Step 3: Technique 2 – The Rya Knot
For the textural portion in the middle of these weavings you will be using the “rya knot.” Rya knots are simple to create and add a lot of visual appeal. In this case, they will be taking center stage – quite literally! Here is how to create them:
First begin by cutting a large bundle of smaller pieces of yarn about 3 inches long. To increase the speed of this part, simply wrap the yarn around two of your fingers and snip along one side.
Do this a few times or until you have enough yarn to create the middle portion of your weaving.
Now onto your rya knots. To ensure these rya knots are thick, I gathered 3 strands together and placed them on top of the warp. (If you are using a thicker yarn, you may only need to use one strand).
Tuck the ends down around 2 warp strands.
Then pull the ends back up through the middle, between the 2 warp strands.
Pull upwards and tighten to create your first knot.
Gently slide the knot downwards. The tail should lie flat, covering a portion of the rows of weaving below.
Continue creating as many rya knots as you need for your first row.
Since you are creating a circular shape, each subsequent row will get wider as you move up the warp. For this weaving, I added two extra rya knots – one on either end – per row. I also staggered (instead of stacking) each knot so that they would not be sitting directly above one another. This will create a sturdy, more integrated weaving.
When you reach the widest point of your circle, add two (or more) rows of the same width. This time stack these rows (instead of staggering them) one on top of the other. This will create a smoother transition when creating the upper half of the circle. You can see how I’ve stacked the three rows of rya knots below.
For the upper half of the circle, continue staggering the rya knots the rest of the way, this time creating one less knot on either end of each row as you work your way up to close the circle.
Tip: When creating the bottom half of the knots, continue creating rows of plain weave at the same time on either side. In other words, as you finish off a row of rya knots, pick up your tapestry needle and fill in a few rows of plain weave on both the right and left sides of the rya knots. By doing this as you go, you will avoid having to lift those loose tail ends of the rya knots and risk getting things tangled up. For the upper half of your circle, however, since the tails will not be hanging over the plain weave, you can always wait to complete the circle before weaving in the negative space left (as I did in the photo above).
A LESSON LEARNED
Okay, so this is the part where I made a small ‘boo-boo’ in the first weaving that I corrected after the fact. I was able to learn from this and ensured not to repeat the mistake for the next two.
You wanna know what it is?
It’s simply this: This is a small weaving with the rya knots taking up much of the interior space. Without reinforcing the center in some way, the weaving will bulge out in the middle once removed from the loom. Here is how it looked, ‘boo-boo’ and all:
Not bad, but definitely misshapen with the middle portion bulging out.
I decided this cute little guy was worth saving. If you find yourself in a similar predicament, you may be able to to do the same. To correct this, I created space between rows of rya knots and filled this in with plain weaving, making sure to weave end to end to pull the bulges in.
Here is a view from the back side after the correction. You can see how the bulge has been pulled in a bit. Not perfect, but looking better.
I learned my lesson from this and made sure to weave extra rows of plain weaving between the three stacked rows of rya knots in the middle to prevent excessive bulging.
The view from the back of the second weave shows it to be neater and tighter than the first weaving.
Step 4: Removing Your Weaving
Once you’ve completed your weaving (hopefully, without any missteps 🙂 ), to remove it start by taking a dowel and weaving it through the warp strands along the top end of your weaving. Snip the warp strands two at a time and tie a double knot onto the dowel. Move across the dowel, snipping and tying until you’ve snipped the whole weaving off the upper half of the loom.
Then snip along the bottom.
Carefully tie double knots along the bottom edge as well. For additional security, you can always apply clear nail polish to prevent unraveling.
At this point, feel free to shape the circular portion of your weaving, taking care not to cut into it too much.
Follow these steps for the next two weavings and you’ve got the makings of a super cute trio of wall art!
Once you are satisfied with how they look, hang them up and enjoy!
I loved creating these mini weavings! The rya knots are a lovely way of adding a dose of texture and visual appeal. I hope you give them a try.
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