There are many different ways of creating your own simple weaving loom; from cutting slots in cardboard, to hammering nails into scrap wood, and from cutting notches into branches, to inserting wooden dowels into drilled holes in wood. And you can also weave in many different shapes too, including circles and triangles.
So weaving is an extremely versatile craft which you can start with very little...but no matter how you do it, all of the core techniques always remain the same.
You must have evenly spaced slots or nails/pins to hold the warp thread, and you then go in and out of the warp thread using the weft thread. And in basic terms, that's all there is to weaving!
So I thought about the best way of weaving in small size, and I came up with pin weaving where you use map pins on a cork block. Very simple, but very effective. I hope you enjoy my Instructable :)
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Step 1: What You Will Need
- Cork block; I used a cork sanding block.
- Map pins; with small round heads.
- Yarn; bigger yarn is likely to look more rustic, and smaller yarn more neat. I'm going to be using DK (double knit) yarn - also called medium or worsted weight yarn.
- Thread to use as the warp; This thread is going to run vertically throughout the whole weaving. I used size 8 cotton crochet thread in white.
- Threads & yarns to use as the weft; you can show your creativity with your choice of weft yarns and threads, as these are what will make up the pattern. I used size 8 crochet threads and some DK yarn.
- Wooden skewer, cocktail stick or thin twig; for hanging the weaving from.
- Metal yarn needle & a large plastic yarn needle
- A fork, a comb or 5 cotton buds and some sellotape; for compacting the weft thread after weaving each row.
- A scrap piece of thin stiff card
Step 2: Setting Up the Loom
The first step is to create your loom by sticking pins into the cork block, making sure that the pins are all an equal distance apart.
I placed 10 pins into one end of the block, spaced far enough apart so that I could just fit the warp thread between the pin heads.
Once you have put pins in one end of the block, you need to put the same number of pins at the other end of the block, so that they are exactly opposite i.e. this line of pins must be a mirror image of the first, and should also be a short distance from the end of the block.
Then we need to add the warp thread to the loom.
So, knot one end of the warp thread and secure it with a pin at the end of the cork block where we have left a bit of space.
Then take the thread past the pin at the end of the nearest pin row, and start winding the thread back and forth between the pins in a kind of zig-zag path. So take the thread around a pin (just halfway - don't wrap the thread completely around the pins), then to the next pin on the opposite pin row, and so on, until all of the pins have the warp thread around them. Then cut the thread, knot the end and secure it with another pin. See photos for any help.
You should be starting and finishing the warping of your loom at the same end of the cork block.
Make sure that there is tension in the thread, you don't want it to be loose at all.
Step 3: Beginning to Weave
Slide a narrow strip of thin card between the warp threads, at the bottom of the 'loom'. When you weave, you nearly always start at the bottom and work upwards and away from you.
You want the card to be woven over the 1st warp thread, under the 2nd, over the 3rd, under the 4th etc. all of the way across. This helps to keep the warp threads level, and will help with finishing off the bottom of the weaving later on.
If you don't have a fork or comb to use to help squash the weft threads together, you will need to make something to do the job. I decided to cut one end off 5 cotton buds and then tape the other ends together to make my own 'fork' tool.
We then can start weaving. To begin, you should use a thread (rather than yarn), and it should be similar in thickness to the warp threads. Use a yarn needle to feed one end in-and-out of the warp threads just above the strip of card.
Weave the thread in and out of around 6 warp threads, then use your fork tool to push this woven thread down against the strip of card.
Step 4: The Setup Rows
We are now going to do a few rows of what is called plain weave, which is the regular in-out-in-out weaving technique.
(Please note: the thread that is woven onto the warp threads is called the weft.)
The reason for adding plain weave to start with is to to create a more stable base to the weaving. If we did the tassels/fringing section first, this would be difficult to keep in place when removing the weaving from the loom.
We already wove the end of the weft thread onto the loom in the previous step. Now we need to weave back and forth for around 6 rows or thereabouts.
So, guide your needle & weft thread over a warp thread, under the next warp thread, over the next one, under the next one and so on, until you reach the end of the row. Then you pull the thread through, but not tightly - we don't want to distort the threads or 'pull in' the sides of warp.
Then we take our fork tool and press the newly-woven weft thread against the strip of card.
If we finished that row by going under a warp thread, then we start the next row by going over the first warp thread. And again we do a row of plain weave, going in and out of the warp threads.
Then use the fork tool to press this thread up against the previous thread row.
Carry on in this manner for a few more rows.
Step 5: Making the Yarn Fringe
Made from short lengths of yarn, this fringing is made up of stitches known as Rya knots.
You first need to cut one length of yarn per pair of warp threads. So in my case I have 20 individual (vertical) warp threads, so I need 10 lengths of yarn.
Each of these lengths of yarn need to be just over twice the length that you want the finished fringing to be. You're probably looking at the lengths being a few inches long. It's better to make these longer than you need, because you can always cut them shorter later on.
You then take one of these pieces of yarn and place it horizontally over the warp threads, with the centre of the yarn over the first pair of warp threads.
Next, push each end of the yarn down towards the cork block, either side of the pair of warp threads.
Then use your plastic yarn needle to bring each end of the yarn up between the 2 warp threads.
Pull the 2 tails of yarn downwards to drag this tassel/knot to the bottom of the weaving.
Then repeat the same for each strand or yarn and each pair of warp threads.
Step 6: More Plain Weave
Use the same method as before to add stripes of plain weave in different coloured threads and yarns.
I started with green yarn, first cutting a length of yarn by estimating how much I would need to use, then weaving it in and out of the warp threads using my yarn needle.
Don't worry about the tails of yarn and threads left hanging from the sides of the weaving when you have finished with a colour - these will be 'woven in' at the end.
I then did a plain weave stripe with white thread and then with red thread, remembering to compact each row of thread using the fork tool to keep it neat.
Step 7: Triangle Patterns
Next I wanted to add 2 triangle shapes in white thread, surrounded by green yarn (all in plain weave).
So I started weaving from the 6th warp thread in, and did plain weave across 10 warp threads, before changing direction and weaving back across those 10 warp threads. As usual I use the fork tool between each row.
I then started the next row on the 7th warp thread from the end, did plain weave across 8 warp threads, and then came back again.
And you just keep decreasing in this fashion until you get to the 'point' of the triangle shape.
For the next few decreases, I did 3 rows rather than 2. So I started at the 8th warp thread, wove across 6 threads, then back again, then forth again. Then from the 9th warp, across 4 threads, for 3 rows. Then from the 10th warp, across 2 threads for 2 rows. And lastly, I wrapped the weft once around the 11th warp thread.
Then I filled in the area around the triangle with plain weave using the green yarn. I started weaving just above the red thread on one side, worked my way up one side of the triangle until I could weave a full row above the triangle, and then I wove down the other side of the triangle.
On each row, I ensured that the green yarn changed direction on the warp thread next to the white triangle. It is possible to interlock the triangle with the surrounding colour by having the green yarn change direction on the same warp thread as where the triangle shape begins, but I wouldn't do this with mismatched thread/yarn weights as it can look messy. So I kept my triangles and surrounding colour separate.
Step 8: Remove the Weaving From the Loom
You want to leave about 2 cm of the warp thread free at the top of your weaving, as these threads will need to be tied around the bamboo skewer (or dowel or twig or whatever other narrow stick you are using to hang the weaving up).
So once you have finished weaving, simply cut the warp thread at the top of each loop - where the thread loops around the pin - and then tie each pair of warp threads together around the wooden skewer.
Remove the strip of card and repeat the same steps for the warp threads below the weaving i.e. cut the warp threads where they loops around the pins, but this time you don't have to leave space for a skewer; you just tie the pairs of warp threads together to secure them. Don't tie them too tight though, as this may distort the weaving.
Then you will need to 'weave in' all of the thread and yarn tails sticking out of your weaving. To do this, thread each tail into a yarn needle, and use the needle to feed the thread/yarn through the back of your weaving, thus securing the end and hiding it. Make sure these tails are not visible from the front.
Then just tie another piece of thread onto the bamboo skewer to hang your weaving up. And it's finished!
Step 9: Finished!
I really hope you have enjoyed this Instructable :)
Step 10: And a Video
If you like to watch rather than read :)
First Prize in the