Weaving 101

I didn’t know what can of worms I had opened when I won a loom at the Shenandoah Fiber Festival last year.  I really had not thought about pursuing weaving as a craft since I was already up to my eyeballs in fiber, spinning, knitting, sewing, and occasional beading.  When I dropped my ticket in the container for the loom drawing and said, “Here’s the winning ticket!”  I had no idea my prophecy would come true.

My rigid heddle loom
My rigid heddle loom

After putting the loom together, watching lots of YouTube videos on how to weave, and reading books that seemed to have their own language, I finally decided to dive in and see what happened.  My first attempt was a set of placemats.  I decided to use up some old acrylic yarn (and by old, I mean the price tag for a big giant skein was only 79 cents!) so if I messed up, it wouldn’t be a big loss.  I warped the loom by one of the methods I discovered and started weaving.  I my mind, I would end up with four beautiful, navy blue placemats with a white stripe across each end.  In reality, I ended up with something that looked like a bad Vacation Bible School project.

The sad, little placemats
The sad, little placemats

Later, I learned that acrylic is not the best yarn to weave with because it stretches and you can’t beat the weave tight enough.

I tried again with some alpaca lace yarn and some of my hand spun merino yarn.  This time the results were MUCH better!!  Undaunted, I became a scarf maniac.  I wove several using a combination of commercial yarn and hand spun yarn and was pleased with the results.  Then I got the bright idea to use up several skeins of this delightful blue merino silk lace weight yarn.  I warped the loom easily and began weaving.  This was when I discovered that each strand of lace yarn doesn’t take up much space so you have to weave back and forth thousands of times.  I was determined to finish so after about two weeks of weaving; at last, I could shout “Eureka!”  I calculated that this scarf used over 1700 yards of yarn.

With my most recent project, I decided to document the steps along the way.

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My skills have improved significantly since those ill-fated placemats.  I’m starting to understand more of the terminology associated with weaving and am ready to take my weaving to the next level, learning more intricate patterns and techniques.  Take a look at my woven treasures so far.  www.etsy.com/shop/PimlaOriginals

All except the placemats…they’re confined to a dark closet!


4 thoughts on “Weaving 101

  1. First off, I can’t believe you won that. Your so lucky! Try different fibers besides just yarns. You’ll be surprised what you’ll come up with. I like the place mats by the way and the runner. Nice job.

  2. I check the loom every morning to see if anything is going on. I have noticed the difference from the first time Pam used it to her latest project. I like to hear the sticks as I call them move because it reminds me of building things with pop cycle sticks when we were younger.

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