Weaving 101

Vocabulary:

  • Loom: an apparatus used for securing the warp threads used for weaving
  • Shuttle: an apparatus used for holding the weft thread during weaving
  • Warp: the vertical threads of a weaving
  • Weft: the horizontal threads of a weaving
  • Yarn Needle: A needle with a large eye (hole) for yarn to fit through

Materials:

  • Todd Loom
  • Shuttle
  • Yarn Needle
  • Variety of thread
  • Scissors

Weaving is the process of creating cloth through interlacing threads.  For this project we will be creating a small piece of decorative fabric using a Todd Loom.  A loom is an apparatus used for weaving and comes in many shapes and sizes.  The Todd Loom is a more basic version:

todd loom

compared to a Counterbalance Loom:

cb-loom

For this project we’ll be sticking with the Todd Loom.

Weaving involves two different types of thread.  The Warp, and the Weft.  The Warp consists of the vertical threads of your weaving, the Weft consists of the horizontal threads.

Warp-and-Weft

 

To begin your weaving choose some thread to be your Warp.  We made our weavings with three yards of Warp thread.  On our Todd Looms there are little notches for you to wrap your warp thread around.

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You can secure your extra tails with tape or tie them.  Try and have both your tails end on the same side of the loom.

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Next, select a thread to be your Weft thread. We will have the opportunity to change colors later so have a color scheme in mind!  Choose your first Weft thread and measure and cut three yards.

Take your Weft thread and load your shuttle.  Our shuttles are thin pieces of clear plastic with a rounded edge and a hole on the other end.  Thread your weft through the hole and then wrap the remaining tail around the shuttle until you have about two feet left.

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Hold your loom so that the leftover Warp tails are on the end farther from you.  We are going start at the end closer to us using a simple “over, under” pattern.  Take the shuttle and start by going under the first warp thread, then over the next one, and under again until you reach the other side.  Don’t pull the thread so far that it comes out, leave a five inch tail sticking out at the beginning… We’ll tuck it in later with the yarn needle.

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For the next row, it is important to start the opposite way of your last row.  For example, if your previous row ended with an over, your next row should begin with an under.  images

The result with be this alternating pattern.  Be careful not to pull your weft threads too tight or your piece will get “skinny.”

images

Also, push your threads up against the top of your loom so that there aren’t holes in your cloth.

When you have finished one color, leave another five inch tail before cutting any extra away.  Load your next color on the shuttle and begin the process again, leaving a beginning tail and remembering to check your previous row to see if you should start with an over or under.

Repeat this process until you are satisfied with the length of your cloth (for this project students will need at least five inches of cloth).  To end our weavings we will be making tassels with our leftover warp threads.

Remove your weaving from the loom by lifting the warp off the pegs.  Thread a dowel through the top loops of your weaving so that you will be able to hang it flat.  Next cut the bottom loops so they are individual threads.  Group them by three’s and tie them together in decorative tassels.

Lastly, we need to hide all those tails!  Thread your first tail onto your yarn needle.  Sew the thread back into your piece and clip any extra that is still visible.

Threading-in-Crochet-Tails

 

(This picture is of a crochet project but the concept is the same)

And finally, tie a thread to the top of your dowel so that you can hang your beautiful weaving!

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Requirements:

  • five inches of cloth
  • at least two colors
  • an even width (no “skinny” weavings)
  • hidden tails

 

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