Welcome to part 2 of this introduction to weaving. If you missed part 1 (to read it click here), I provided an overview of the materials you will need, the often confusing terms used, as well as instructions on creating the ‘warp’ or framework upon which to create your very own weaving.
Today, we will cover making the ‘weft’ (aka the weaving) itself. For this project, you will learn to create a basic weaving backdrop with a few coloured details for added dimension. You will also learn to create basic shapes – in this case, three triangles. This will give you the foundation for creating any shape or design of your choice.
First, let’s review the materials needed:
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- Lap loom
- Cotton yarn for the warp (warp: foundation of the weaving created from the cotton yarn – in other words, the vertical strands of a wall weaving)
- Yarn of various thicknesses (for interest and texture) and colours (look through pinterest or google images for inspiration on colour combinations that catch your eye)
- these yarns will create the weft (weft: the material that is woven horizontally across the warp)
- Tapestry needle: about 3 inches long with a dull end and large eye to thread thinner yarns
- Shuttle: this is the stick with the u-shape ends used to feed thicker yarns into the warp
- Shed stick: this is the flat wood piece with the pointed end; this is woven through the warp to make space, making it easier when feeding yarn using the shuttle (all this will be shown below)
- Dowel (about 4 inches wider than the weaving)
- Washi tape (for some added colour on the dowel ends)
(Remember to read part 1 by clicking here before moving onto the instructions below).
Now, onto our weaving!
Step 1: Cut out paper triangles to the size you wish them to appear in your design. This is only a guide, but will help you determine spacing and placement. Set these aside to begin your weaving.
Step 2: To begin your first row of weaving, use your shed (the pointed stick) by feeding it over and under the cotton warp, with every second string being raised.
Now you can feed the first row of your chosen white yarn through. The shuttle (u-shaped stick) is helpful here as you can feed the yarn through and push it to the opposite side more easily, but you can also use your fingers to do the same. By placing the shed on its side, you can create space to feed the yarn through with ease.
Tip: The loop knot that you see at the bottom right of your warp should be treated as a single strand (the same for the loop knot at the top). So there is no need to weave through the loop.
Tip: To create even weaving without huge gaps and spaces between rows, you can use your shed stick to gently push each row together by placing it flat against the warp and sliding it downwards. You can also use your fingers or a fork to do the same thing – do whatever works for you.
Step 3: As you create multiple rows, make sure that with each new row the yarn goes over and under the strands in the opposing direction as the previous row. In other words, let’s say you’ve completed your first row, after you’ve done so and once you’ve reached the end, if you end up under the last strand, then you will loop back up and begin the new row going over that same strand. This way, you begin a new row on the opposing side of the strand. If this sounds a bit confusing, take a look at the photograph above, paying close attention to the edges of the weaving that shows how each row begins on the opposing side of the strand.
Tip: Make sure that your warp remains relatively slack as you weave. This will require that you do not tighten the rows as you move along, especially as you move from one row to the next. Keep it relatively loose. Otherwise, the weaving will become narrower as you go along.
Tip: When you reach the end of your yarn, make sure that before you begin feeding new yarn into your weaving, that you leave 3-5 inches of the old yarn loose at the ends (as shown below). When you complete the piece, you will have a series of ‘tails’ that will be threaded through the back side.
Step 4: After completing the white base, with the tail ends loosely hanging, you can begin making your first triangle. Begin the first row threading upwards then downwards (ensuring the tail end ends up underneath the warp and thus not showing through in the middle of your weaving). Alternatively, use your shaft and shuttle to help you achieve the same thing, as shown below.
As you create your triangle, make sure that you begin each subsequent row (or every second and even third row) one strand closer to the centre, until you get to the top or tip of the triangle. This will all depend on how tapered your triangle will be.
I chose to use two different yarns to create my triangles, but you can use the same all throughout. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to create a triangle. This is to be your one-of-a-kind creation, so be creative!
Step 5: After completing your triangles, you can now begin to fill in the rest of the warp around them. Rather than using the same yarn throughout, I chose to use 2 different white yarns for textural interest and I added a third black and white yarn for some added detail.
Add the black and white yarn by threading it through next to the base of the first triangle. For this particular yarn, I was able to thread it through the eye of the weaving needle, making weaving easy and the shed stick unnecessary.
Next, begin layering new rows of white yarn above the black and white yarn. I used a different-sized white yarn for this part that was a bit thinner and which I could thread through my needle with ease.
Continue in this manner, working your way up the warp, alternating between yarns as you like, until you reach the top, leaving about an inch and a half to two inches of unwoven warp.
Step 6: When you have completed your weaving (insert a sigh of satisfaction here!), turn it over. It should look something like this:
Now you can begin threading all those loose tails through the back of your weaving, making sure to weave like colours with like. Otherwise, the colours will show through on the front.
Clip off any excess where needed to keep it tidy.
Step 7: Flip your weaving over, so that you are looking at the front of it again. Now you can remove the bottom portion from the loom by gently pulling the looped ends of the fringe off one peg at a time.
Step 8: Now you are ready to remove the weaving from the top by using your dowel. Just before you do, you may want to add a bit of colour to it. I used washi tape, but you can also paint the tips or the whole dowel if you wish.
Now you are ready to remove the upper portion of the weaving from your loom. Take your dowel and loop each strand around it twice. If you have less room than you anticipated, however, loop through once. Gently slide each looped portion off the pegs one at a time.
Step 9: Once the weaving is removed from the loom, cut a piece of black and white yarn and tie it around the ends of the dowel. Because this weaving is light-weight, there is no need to secure the yarn with anything more than a single knot.
Step 10: Cut your fringe (if you wish) to shape it according to taste. First, comb through the strands so that they are evenly spaced, making cutting a lot easier.
Cut very slowly and carefully so that your cuts have a relatively clean edge. The cuts will not be ‘perfect’ nor should they be. This is a homespun project whose imperfections make it uniquely handmade!
Tip: The easiest way to do this is to hang your weaving so that the fringe hangs down.
Weaving is one of my all-time favourite crafts. I hope this two-part tutorial shows just how easy a simple wall weaving can be!
Happy weaving 🙂