Weaving in the Round: an Experiment




In this experiment, I used a handmade cardboard box loom with heddle to weave an ear warmer/headband on elastic.

I've been fascinated by circular knitting since before I could even knit, and I've wondered for years if weaving could somehow be done in the round too.

This technique made a very thick and warm ear warmer, and due to the elastic, it makes an incredible headband, that when situated on the head, is not going anywhere.

The great thing about this custom loom is that you can pull the cardboard out of the recycling bin and when you are finished, back it goes, no storage space required. And it is fast! The addition of the heddle let me whip this whole project out (loom construction included) in about the span of a football game.

Also, my cat Whiskey really wanted to collaborate on this project. It was almost impossible to take a picture without him. I guess I should have expected it; cardboard, yarn, and measuring tapes are some of his favorite things. ;)

Step 1: Materials

Boxes I used 2 different kinds. For the loom, I used a corrugated 5" by 10" by 8" box, and for the heddle and spacer bars, I used a thinner and denser cereal box.

Beading Cord Elastic I used two packages, or about 10 yards. (I got mine from Joann's but you can get it from Amazon)

Yarn Sorry! I didn't measure how much I was using. I do know that the yarn for each section was about 3 arm pulls in length each, so with 7 color sections, I would say about 21 yards. This is complicated by the fact that I used 3 different thickness of yarn. You can see in the photo that the bands of color are different thickness. This is the direct result of the thickness of the yarn, not the length of the yarn used in these sections.

I just used random chunks of yarn from my stash, as this is a great project to use up all those left overs.

If you are interested, the blue is a roving (I don't even know what that means, but it it the only thing I remember from the label), the green is a Stitch Nation Full o' Sheep in Thyme, and the white is very thick, with two strands of white and a tiny strand of gold.

The Usual Suspects: Measuring Tape, Ruler, Marker, Tape, Glue, and Scissors

Awl or Small Punching Device

Printer and Paper for Template

Step 2: Make the Loom (Part One)

I measured my head and came up with about 22 inches around. I then measure the short length of the box (8") and multiplied it by 2 since there are 2 sides (8*2=16). Then subtracted (22-16=6). Then divided by 2 to get the height I would need to cut the box to (6/2=3).

I then measured up from the bottom of the box 3". I did this on all sides and then connected all the dots with a red straight line.

I then cut the box down to this line.

Step 3: Make the Loom (Part Two)

I made a template for the heddle and spacer bars and cut it out (template included). I then glued it onto a piece of cereal box cardboard. I smoothed it down and then used it as a template to cut out the cardboard. I used an awl to pierce the white circles in the blue.

I had intended to cut the long white rectangles out with a box knife, but then just cut them with the scissors and repaired the bottom with a scrap of cardboard and tape.

In the end, I only finished and made one of the spacer bars. I followed similar steps above, and then cut from the bottom just up into the circle. I'm not really sure the spacer bar was even needed.

Step 4: String the Loom

I strung the loom with the black elastic beading cord, going through each long-rectangle hole and each awl hole, tying the string off at the side of the box. I made them just tight enough to engage the elastic. When all the strings are loaded, you can test the heddle.

Pull it up, and every other string should go up. Push it down, and every other string should go down.

Step 5: Weave

I started weaving by tying one end of my yarn to the first elastic cord, and the other end to a sharpie (though I wouldn't use a pen with a clip in the future, it just snags things as it passes through).

I then pushed my heddle down, and passed my sharpie through the space made between the layers of yarn. I had to pull and pull to get the yarn all the way through. I made sure not to pull too tight so I wouldn't end up with a trapezoid shape. Next, I pulled the heddle up, and passed the sharpie and yarn all the way though. After each pass, I would slide the heddle toward me and tap the woven yarn together to keep it straight. I continued this until I was about to run out of yarn. When that would happen, I would remove the yarn from the sharpie and just tie on a new length of yarn, securing to the other end to the sharpie when done.

Whoopsie, I see that in my very first pass I missed an under (Do you see it?). Let this be a lesson to you; even with a state of the art cardboard heddle, human error can happen, and you still have to pay attention.

Step 6: Wrap It Up

The knots in the elastic would not pass though the awl made heddle holes, so I had to improvise. I took the weaving off the loom, cut the heddle free, and then just wrap all the remaining elastic cords together, making sure they were all covered. I actually kind of like the bow like look it gives, and it had the added benefit of hiding the elastic knots, which I wasn't quite sure how I was going to disguise with my original plan anyways.

If I were to attempt it again, I might make the loom just a bit bigger. I haven't worn it for any duration, but I do wonder if it is too snug that it might cause headaches. (Random side thought, if there was a closure system to get in and out of it, I think this method of weaving on elastic would make an awesome oops proof and secure tube top)

As for the knot issue, I think if I start weaving just before the knots, with the heddle just beyond them, I can get them covered up first thing, and then truly complete a weaving in the round. Slightly larger heddle holes could be a solution too.

Step 7: Final Product

Feel free to ask any questions :)



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    7 Discussions


    2 years ago

    ever thought about spiraling the elastic around through all of the heddle holes sequentially, so you only have 2 knots? Or, with your method, untyeing the knots to adjust the final width so it won't give you headaches?

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    I think spiraling is an excellent idea! Originally I was going for a more seamless look, so spiraling wasn't on my radar, but with how it turned out, I think your suggestion would be the ideal method. :)


    2 years ago

    So rad! I love your loom idea too!


    2 years ago

    Oh my gosh this is soooooo cute!!!!!!


    2 years ago

    Awesome, thank you for sharing! I always seem to have plenty of cardboard around and now a fun project I can try on the cheap.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thanks! It was really fun and rewarding. I am going to be experimenting more with elastic and maybe a cardboard heddle for different patterns. I was actually thinking of you; weaving over elastic might be a good way for you to make your corsets.