Introduction: Woven Hoop Art
In this instructable, we will learn the basics of weaving on hoop. We'll have a look at basic materials, how to warp the hoop, how to weave on the hoop, finishing the piece with any additional embellishments.
This is just a starting point. After learning the basics I hope you'll feel bold enough to get experimental with weaving techniques and embellishments. And while we're using a medium/small hoop, some people weave on hula hoops!
Step 1: Materials
20cm Wooden Hoop
Cotton string for the warp
Yarn (aran to chunky weight) and wool roving for the weft (the actual weaving materials, so choose stuff you like!)
Large needle, such as a tapestry needle with an eye big enough to fit your weft materials
Optional: Additional embellishments and the appropriate materials to attach them (this will depend on what and how you add any extras. Be creative!)
1: We will warp the hoop with the cotton thread. The thread should be sturdy. On this 8 inch hoop, I want to have a total of 19 spokes. We need an odd number of spokes for the weaving to work correctly. To get the right amount of cotton thread, wrap it around the diameter of the hoop 10 times. You can give it an extra wrap if you want to be sure of having enough thread.
*If you're using a wooden hoop, you may want to lightly sand any splinters off. You may also want to add a wood stain. Now is the time, before we place the warp.
**Optionally, you can also wrap the hoop (metal, wood, etc.) in a decorative ribbon, but that can also be done at the end.
Step 2: Warping the Hoop
We will wrap the warp thread in a specific pattern to get 19 spokes on our hoop. You can do more or less than 19 spokes, but the final number needs to be odd. When wrapping the thread, pull it taut enough that it will not easily slip out of position (a bit of slide when pushed is ok) but also not so tight that it distorts the hoop. Don't worry if the spokes are perfectly evenly spaced. There should be just enough give to be able to push them back in place and a bit of unevenness won't be noticeable once you begin the weaving.
1. Cow hitch knot the thread onto the hoop. Leave at least 4in/10cm for the short end of the thread to make a loop for hanging the hoop at the end. You can always trim it away at the end if you change your mind. Push the knot to the back side of the hoop. Rotate your hoop so that the cow hitch knot is at top. Make sure the cow hitch knot is secure and won't come undone. Feel free to knot it with an overhand knot (like doing a shoelace), but the cotton thread should have enough friction with itself to not unravel.
2. Now bring the thread down so that it is now on the opposite side of the hoop. Also bring it so it is in the front of the hoop. Wrap it under the hoop, then bring it up to about 1 inch/2.5cm away from the right side of the cow hitch knot, bringing the thread back to the front.
3. Now, with the thread in front, wrap it around to the back again, passing under the threads, and coming up and over the hoop about 1in/2.5cm to the left of the previous thread (position 2).
Always follow this pattern of passing the warp thread from the back of the hoop, under the crossed threads, then bringing the thread to the front of the hoop to wrap it around to the back when crossing. The images show the order and position of each wrap.
4. Continue until you reach position 19.
Step 3: Finishing the Warp
Now we want to finish the warp. You will notice the first wrap is not double like the other spokes and that the spokes aren't aligned. We will wrap the thread twice around the middle of all the threads to achieve this, but we must do it in a certain way.
1. Bring the thread from position 19 over and around the hoop as normal, but bring it up between spokes 18 and 1. Do not bring it over the top of the hoop. Bring behind the crossed threads, but pass it up and between spoke 18 and 1, pulling tightly.
2. Bring the thread over the front of the crossed threads between spokes 2 and 19, pulling tightly. Do not bring the thread over the hoop, instead pass it between spokes 2 and 19 and pull it up towards position 1.
3. This should have pulled all the spoke threads into alignment, centered the crossed threads and completed spoke 1's double string. Keeping the thread pulled tight, tie it into a knot with the loose thread from the cow hitch knot. You can also knot the two loose threads at the top of the cow hitch knot to form the loop for hanging the hoop.
Your warp threads should now look like the final image in this step. If the threads are nice and tight (and only give if you push them, but otherwise stay mostly in position), then you are done with the warp and ready to begin to weave!
Step 4: Weaving the Hoop
Now that we have our warp thread secured, we can begin our weaving.
1. Thread your needle with whichever material you want to begin with. Sometimes it is easier to start with a thinner material, or even the warping thread, because the warp threads are so tight at the center of the hoop.
2. Begin behind and between two spokes of the warp thread, such as 18 and 1. Leave a loose tail in the back of about 4in/10cm. We will weave this in at the end so it doesn't unravel.
3. Bring the needle up from the back of the hoop between two spokes and then down into the next space. You will follow this over and under each warp spoke pattern for the entire hoop. This is called plain weave.
4. Every few spokes, pull your thread down and centre to push it to the centre of the spokes. Pull the yarn gently so that it is not too slack. As you weave more rows, continue to pull and push them into the centre. After a few rows you will notice a nice pattern appearing.
5. Do not be afraid to stop and check your work often, to make sure you are getting the yarn in the right place with the right amount of tightness to sit nicely.
Step 5: Switching Materials
You can switch materials on the under part of the weaving pattern. This will hide the switch on the backside of the hoop.
1. Take the ends of each material and hook them around each other, as in the image. The old material should hook from the bottom, behind the new material, then over the top and front.
2. Gently tug the materials until they sit snugly in the back of the hoop, reasonably secure (they will not be fully secure quite yet) and on the "under" of the weaving pattern.
3. Now bring the new material up for the "over" part of the weaving pattern and continue. After a couple of rounds the weaving should look pretty seamless from the front and look like a little twist in the back. We will secure the loose ends later, just be careful to leave a 4in/10cm tail of each material in the back.
Step 6: Weaving With Roving
Roving is wool, a step or two before it's made into yarn. When you buy it, it will seem like a really chunky and loose singles yarn. Roving comes in a lot of colours and even multi-colour and material blends. I'm using multi-colour rovings with sparkle. The roving is what makes the puffs in the hoop.
Roving is probably too thick in it's default form for the 8in/20cm hoop. We can thin it out by gently pulling from one end and stretching the fibres apart. Be careful not to pull it too thin or pull it apart completely.
Switch in the roving as you would any material and weave as normal. For roving and chunky yarns (or just a lot of yarn) you might find it easier to just ball it up and use your hands rather than the needle. On the "over" parts of the weaving, leave a loop or puff of roving. Don't pull it tight like the yarn. Leave a bit larger of a puff than you want, as when you weave more layers of roving or yarn, it will compress a little. If you have more roving that you need, gently tug the excess off, leaving a 4in/10cm tail in the back. Don't cut with scissors as roving won't behave as nicely for weaving in the ends in the back if you do.
I did a single circle of yellow roving, end with one extra puff to prevent a gap, then I wove more green to secure the roving into place. For reference, I have two circles of the purple roving later.
Continue weaving and switching materials as you please until the hoop is full.
Step 7: Adding Embellishment Afterwards
There are a lot of ways to embellish the hoop further. You can sew on buttons or beads, add tassels or streamers, etc. I added some more roving puffs and some long streamers.
Roving pieces (first six images):
I decided the hoop needed a few more yellow puffs. I want to add them on every other spoke, except for the bottom, where I added on between spokes to make it fit. This is due to the odd number of spokes, but you don't have to limit yourself by making everything evenly spaced. Add your embellishment wherever you like.
1. I pulled out 9 small lengths of roving.
2. Thread one end of the roving through the needle and push it through from the front of the hoop to the back. Only pull the end of the roving through the back.
3. Thread the other end of the roving through the needle and push it through on the other side of the spoke.
4. With both ends of the roving on the back of the hoop, pull them gently until the pull on the front of the hoop is the size you want. Repeat with the rest of the roving pieces.
Streamers (last four images):
1. Cut lengths of yarn, ribbon, thread, etc. into lengths twice as long as you want them.
2. Using the same cow hitch knot, loop them them between the hoop and the last row of weaving wherever you want them on your woven hoop art, usually the opposite end from the initial spoke.
3. Pull them tightly to secure them and add beads, braid them, leave them plain, etc. and then trim the ends if necessary.
Step 8: Securing the Loose Ends on the Back
We will secure the loose ends on the back by pulling them through the back loops of the weaving. If you only go through the back loops, they won't be visible from the front.
1. Thread the loose end onto the needle.
2. Push the needle gently through some back loops nearby. You can check to see if it's showing in front by pushing the needle through, then looking on the front to see if you can see the needle. If you can't, you should be good.
3. Pull the needle and loose end through the loops completely, gently holding the puffs or yarn on the front, if necessary to stop them from getting pulled too tight.
You can also dab a bit of hot glue if you feel that is more secure.
I'm using all wool on my hoop, which is nice, because wool tends to stick to itself and hold it's position pretty securely. If you are using synthetic yarns/materials or alpaca, bamboo, silk, which are slippery, you might notice the loose ends can work themselves loose quite easily. In that case, I recommend a dab of hot glue on the back where needed to secure the ends.
Step 9: Ready to Hang Up!
The hoop should be ready to hang up now! If you didn't before, tie the two loose ends of the warp thread at the cow hitch knot together to form the hanging loop, or attach your own custom loop.
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