Ever since I began experimenting with waves in my weavings, I can’t seem to get enough of them. I love the fluidity and beauty that curves can create. So today, I’m popping in to share 5 wavy weaving techniques that you can add to your own weaving projects. Fun and quirky, waves are a great way to jazz up your weaving repertoire.
(If you are brand new to weaving, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with several links to tutorials that will help you along the way).
Some of the techniques I’m sharing today are new on the blog. And I’ll show you exactly how I did them. Others, I’ve shared elsewhere. In these cases, I’ll refer directly to the post where I’ve provided a step-by-step tutorial. Either way, you’ll be learning how to create each and every technique.
Let’s get started!
- loom (see how to DIY your own here)
- white cotton yarn (for your vertical/warp thread)
- yarn varieties of your choice (for your horizontal weave)
- bent weaving needle
- long weaving needle (like this 5-inch one)
For some variety, I added the items below, but they are totally optional:
- natural wooden beads
- copper nuts
- lace ribbon
5 WAVY WEAVING TECHNIQUES
Before you begin, warp your loom using the cotton yarn. (The ‘warp’ refers to the vertical threads on the loom). The warp creates the foundation of your weaving.
(For instructions on how to warp a loom, see my Introduction to Weaving, Part 1).
(For detailed instructions on how to make the loom pictured above, see How To Make A Standing Loom with Adjustable Legs).
Technique #1: Wavy Fringe
Creating the wavy fringe along the bottom requires a bit of advanced planning as well as some creativity as you weave.
The planning part:
- To recreate this fringe, choose at least 3 different yarns/materials: for example, 1 thick yarn, 1 pencil roving yarn (like this one), and 1 lace ribbon (like this one).
The creative part:
Taking the thickest yarn, weave the tail end into your warp to secure it. Make sure the tip ends up at the back (as shown below).
Tip: Before adding the fringe, you should weave a horizontal portion across the entire width of the warp to anchor for your fringe. For this weaving, I used a technique called twining, which you can learn about in step 4 in this tutorial. I wove 2 rows using this technique. Or, if you prefer, weave at least 3-4 rows of plain (or ‘tabby’) weave instead (see how to plain weave in An Introduction to Weaving, Part 2).
Taking the opposite end of your yarn, weave it under and over two warp threads (as shown below).
Pull the yarn towards the right until you have formed your first loop along the bottom. Then weave the yarn under and over two warp threads at the far end of the warp, creating a second loop.
Repeat these steps going in the opposite direction.
Create at least 3 rows of loops.
Tip: When creating the third row, make sure the loops are smaller in order to fill in any ‘negative’ or empty visual space. Also, this fringe is not perfectly symmetrical, so weave your yarn into random warp threads.
Repeat this process with the pencil roving yarn and lace to create a full, thick and textured fringe.
I used wood beads and copper nuts for some added flair. If you’d like to try this, thread your pencil roving yarn (which forms the second row of looped fringe) through your tapestry needle. Then begin feeding the beads and copper over the needle (as shown below).
In the same way you wove the first yarn to create loops, weave the pencil roving into the warp. Whenever you wish to leave a bead or nut behind, simply slide it down the loop and continue weaving.
Tip: Feel free to feed the roving and the lace rows through random loops as you weave. Instead of the fringe appearing ‘layered’ it will add a few ‘tangles’ in the fringe.
Technique #2: Incorporate Roving Yarn
Roving yarn is yarn that is unspun, forming a thick bundle of fibres.
It is a lovely material to use in your weavings if you are looking to create some added depth and texture. Just be careful handling roving. Since it is unspun, it can pull easily and create a fuzzy appearance.
First, start by tucking in one end of your roving yarn at least 2 warp threads in from the end, making sure the tail is behind the warp.
Because of how thick roving yarn is, you will be using your fingers to weave the material into the warp.
There are a variety of ways to weave using roving. For this particular weaving, you will be creating a bumpy, ‘popcorn’ effect.
To create the popcorn effect, begin gently twisting the roving in your hands.
Now begin weaving, going over and under two warp threads at a time.
Tip: To make sure you get that ‘popcorn’ effect, twist the roving in your hands in one direction, weave it in and few times, then twist the roving in the opposite direction, and weave it in a few more times. By twisting back and forth, your roving will look more uneven, thus creating the popcorn look.
Continue weaving over and under every 2 warp threads across the warp.
(BTW: Make sure to secure the tail end on the far right by weaving it into the warp (see pic above). This will secure the roving and keep that tail tucked away.
Feel free to use your fingers to gently pull out different portions of roving to add more of that ‘popcorn’ effect.
For this piece, I wove one and a half rows of roving.
Now, onto the wavy portion:
Taking your roving, continue from the mid-way point of the second row, this time weaving on a slant up your warp. Weave in at least two rows along this curved portion to match that first horizontal pair of rows.
(Note: I first wove in several plain (or ‘tabby’) rows into the warp to create the curved shape, and then added the roving on top. I’ll touch on this further along in the tutorial.).
Technique #3: Soumak Weaving
For all of the remaining textured waves along the upper portion of the weaving, I used just one simple technique: the soumak stitch.
I covered how to create this stitch in great detail (along with a video link) here: 5 Simple Ways To Add Texture.
Once you understand how to create the soumak stitch, then simply add it to various parts of the warp.
For added interest, use different yarns as you move up the warp.
Tip: When creating the curves along the upper portion of your weaving, I recommend you weave on a slant, going up and then going down the warp. But remember, once you weave your soumak into the warp, you can then use your fingers to manipulate the yarn to create a more precise placement of the waves you are creating.
(For more on finger manipulation to create waves, see Weaving Techniques: How To Make Waves).
Technique #4: Plain Weave (or Tabby Weave)
People often forget that you can also create waves just by using a plain (or ‘tabby’) weave.
(The plain or ‘tabby’ weave is the basis of all your weavings. For a detailed, beginner level instruction on the plain weave technique see An Introduction To Weaving, Part 2).
To create a wavy appearance using the plain weave, begin by weaving horizontal rows as usual (over and under every alternate warp thread).
To create a woven wave, simply create shorter and shorter rows as you move up the warp.
(This is where I added the final two rows of wool roving).
That is really all there is to it. Using plain weave, you can create a variety of basic shapes from waves to circles to squares and angles.
Technique #5: Negative Space Weaving
Another really interesting way to create waves in your weavings is by leaving areas of your warp unwoven. This is called ‘negative space.’
To create the waves, simply push the yarn with your fingers into the shape you are creating. (Again, I cover making waves through finger manipulation in How To Make Waves).
Continue filling in portions of your weave as you make your way up the warp.
When you are done, remove your weaving and add a dowel through the loops along the top.
Now it’s ready to be hung!
There is endless creative potential in weaving. Experimentation is part of the fun. Try any or all of these 5 wavy weaving techniques to add a little flare to your wall weavings.
Happy weaving 🙂