Weaving for the First Time

Weaving for the First Time

This is our first blog for 2022 and I can’t believe we are in February already!  Christmas seems ages ago now, but I wanted to talk about a gift that I had for Christmas.  I’ve been wanting to have a go at weaving, and have been looking for an excuse to splash out on a loom for quite some time.  But I was really lucky, because my partner Peter bought me one for Christmas.  Boy was I chuffed!! Having it as a Christmas present meant I didn’t have to explain why I was adding even more fibre equipment to my ever-expanding hobby!   Poor Pete, at this rate he’ll be baa-ing me from the house!   I knew that he was getting me one, as having tried to find his way around the copious models and types of loom, he thankfully realised that a surprise was probably not the best way to proceed! So I was lucky enough to get the loom I’d had my eye on for about 8 months, having settled on an Ashford 16″ loom as it looked to be a great starter model and the reviews were good.  Nothing to do with the fact that about six months ago, Pete offered to go and pick up a second hand loom I bought off Facebook Marketplace, that turned out to be a 16″ Vari-dent reed instead!! (It could only happen to me lol)

 

So, after Christmas, I couldn’t wait to get started on putting it together.  I’d watched YouTube tutorials, so had a pretty good idea how to put it together, but I also wanted to make my setup my own, by staining some of the wood a different colour.  I knew from a previous project, that if I diluted Cuprinol external wood paint, I could change the colour whilst still allowing the  grain to show through.  Having stained the stand the colour I wanted using a sponge as an applicator, I left those pieces to dry before waxing every piece of the loom and stand as advised.

Then the fun part – putting it all together.

I’m quite pleased with the final result, and I like some of the parts show the original colour of the wood.  I like that the stand is a different  colour from the loom.  But I found later on that I had not assembled the stand correctly, as the loom wouldn’t tilt downwards.  I found out that the diagonal struts supporting the loom should have been on the outside and not on the inside of the loom! Thank goodness for Facebook, where there are a wealth of knowledgeable people to ask for advice!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once I had corrected the stand, I was ready to start weaving my first project.  Now anyone who knows me, also knows that I want to run before I can walk.  I had told myself that I needed to start with some basic wool, to practice with first.  Mmmm….that didn’t quite happen!!!!!!!  I was so enamoured with this beautiful hand spun Merino Sock Crimpy Yarn I bought from a local Welsh Etsy seller called Misguided Sheep, that I just couldn’t resist the temptation.  Risky I know, but I figured that if I really didn’t like the end result, I could always take it apart and start again!

  It’s so lush, I just couldn’t wait to use it!

For the warp, I dug out some lovely cotton yarn that I had left over from previous projects, which I had used to crochet babies’ hats.  I looked at the cerise pink yarn, and having tested it was strong enough, decided that I would use this for the warp.  I liked the contrast of this yarn with the Merino Crimpy yarn, and decided to experiment.

I didn’t take a photo of the cotton yarn to show you, but I did work out that the WPI (wraps per inch) was 20, to give you some idea of the thickness of this yarn.   I do have a photo of some of the hats I have made with this supply of yarn!

 

So – having finally managed to secure my loom at one end of my craft table and the peg at the other, I started warping my loom for the very first time!!!

I don’t think I did too badly for my first attempt.  I did have a panic at one point, as I thought I was doing something wrong when the yarn returning from the peg seemed to want to go above the warp stick sometimes and over the warp stick at other times.  But thanks for my friend YouTube, I realised that it is supposed to alternate between over and under each time you go around the warp stick!!!  Oh, the joys of self-taught crafts!!

The next step was threading alternate threads through the eye of each heddle reed.  The reed I used was the basic 7.5 DPI (30/10) one that came with the loom.

Once that was done, then I needed to tie the ends as neatly as I could to the front warping stick.

Yayyyyyy! I had done it!!!!  Now for loading my shuttle with my beautiful ‘Opalescence’ blended yarn!!

But before I did that, I had to work out how to transfer the wool from a skein! I’ve not used wool from a skein before, so this was quite a nerve-wracking moment for me as I had a vision of disappearing under bird’s nest of yarn but I managed to sort it out without too much effort, with the help (or potential interference) of Eccles (one day, I’ll be trusted to do a project without feline supervision!!!).

I found the loom useful for holding the yarn for me, much to the disappointment of Eccles, who only wanted to help bless her! (Likely story!)

So – once that was done, I was ready to start weaving…

I was quite pleased with the effect.  I love how the bobbly bits stand out from the rest of the weave.  The other thing that surprised me was how quickly the project progressed, far quicker than if I had knitted it.

I found it interesting how the bright cerise yarn changed the overall colour of the wool….

One thing I didn’t mention, was that Alex came home for Christmas, but unfortunately the day before he was due to return home, we both tested positive for Covid.  Thankfully, he sailed though it with no major problems, and the up side of covid was that by the time I managed to assemble the loom, he was still here to help me get started with the weaving!!  He really enjoyed learning to weave alongside me…

as you can see………. by the smile on his face!!!!

We were both really pleased with the final result, and we decided to have some ‘Welsh Felters’ labels printed, just for the fun of it, which I attached to the bottom corner of  the scarf!

We know it’s not perfect, but it’s not bad for our first attempt!! After Alex went home, I decided to have another go, and used the same type of cotton yarn for the warp and the same crimpy yarn for the weft.  But this time, I decided to try alternating two different shades of lilac for the warp….

  I love the candy stripes!!!

It’s surprising the difference it makes, just changing one component.  I think there is some improvement second time around, as the weave looks to be a little more even I think?

One think is for sure, we’ll be weaving more projects very soon!!!

 

 

 

 

 

28 thoughts on “Weaving for the First Time

  1. I think you are doing marvellously for someone starting from scratch, not to mention that a rigid heddle loom isn’t always the easiest for a complete beginner. You are obviously hooked on weaving, Alex too.
    I’m not sure where in Wales you are, but there are lots of Guilds of Weavers Spinners & Dyers in Wales, where there are bound to be members of all capabilities who I’m sure would be willing to help, and you’re bound to find great yarns for sale on their sales tables (at silly prices usually). Though the yarn you’ve used for the weft of your scarves is gorgeous.
    A lot of Guild members are also felters so you would be quite at home. Here’s the list of Guilds in the UK https://www.wsd.org.uk/the-guilds/list-of-all-guilds/ A lot of the Guilds also have a Junior section, so Alex could join too.
    Happy Weaving
    Ann

    1. Thanks for providing the list Ann, I would like to join a guild. I’m hoping I can find one that meets in the evening, as I work full time Monday to Friday. I can wait to reach retirement age so I can spend more time felting and weaving!!

  2. they are both delightful first weaves. The bumpy yarn is lush and really adds to the fabric you have made. I’m a fairly new weaver and I loved it so much I overdid it and wrecked my shoulder so remember to take regular breaks and continue to enjoy! If you are adventurous get the weavers ideas book for more techniques and ideas!!

  3. Brilliant, thank you, I’ll look for the book. Yes, the temptation is to keep going, but I agree, my arm and shoulder were telling me off too!!! Thank you for the encouragement, Alex enjoyed himself too, which was great 😊

  4. I think you’ll find that a lot of the Guilds meet at weekends. Most of them also have libraries so that you can find all sorts of helpful books to borrow. I used to find that borrowing or browsing Guild library books meant that I could check them out before I bought my own copy.
    Ann

    1. Thanks Ann, definitely good to browse before you buy. I’ll find out and hopefully the guild near me is one that does meet on the weekend. YouTube is great, but you can’t beat face to face conversations with real people!!

  5. This is so cool! I would love to try weaving but it is so intimidating and I don’t need another craft! I also have basically no space for a new craft, either. Thank you so much for sharing this. It was so interesting and inspiring.

    1. Thank you, we’re so glad you like the post. You should have a go, it’s so much fun. To be fair, this loom doesn’t really take up that much space as you can tilt the loom to hang down so it’s easier to store. Or you can use it without a stand, resting the back of it on the edge of a table. I only wanted a stand so I can sit on the sofa and weave ☺

  6. I have never braved weaving and I just love both your pieces – so luxurious! It’s quite amazing how the candy stripe impacts on the finished piece too. I have to admit it’s my favourite 😍 but I love them both.
    Alex looks like he thoroughly enjoyed the whole process – I suspect he will be doing more weaving too in the future.
    Looking forward to seeing more of your beautiful work. Exciting times – there’s nothing quite like the emotional impact of a new line of creativity. I imagine that lots of development ideas are going through your head.

    1. Thanks Helene, yes, I’ve got a few ideas I’d like to try out, I’m really enjoying experimenting. Like you, my favourite of the two is the candy stripe. I decided I’m going to give it to my sister for her birthday, which is coming soon. It does mean she’ll have to wait a bit longer to read the blog, don’t want to spoil the surprise 😉
      Alex took to it like a duck to water, which was great. It’s so nice to have a hobby we can enjoy together ❤

  7. Congratulations on jumping in and figuring it out. You and Alex did a wonderful job and both pieces are beautiful. Such nice color combinations and you’re right, the warp colors made a huge difference in the outcomes. Have fun with your weaving journey, I look forward to seeing more.

  8. What a lovely and exciting new venture. You did an amazing job assembling your loom and then weaving fabric that looks really good. I’m not a weaver but it does look like you both had a lot of fun. Look forward to seeing lots more woven things in the future.

  9. Great pieces, I love the bubbly look with that lovely yarn. I always want to run before I can walk too. Your edges look so nice. Weaving isn’t on of my bugs but I hang out will lots of friends who have it and they are always talking about edges.

  10. Thanks Ann, yes I was watching those edges like a hawk 😂 but it was a bit hard when those bobbly bits landed right on the edge! I thought I’d test myself in the next project, see how I do… 🤔

  11. You’ve no excuses now….labels printed, an apprentice eager & oh so willing & of course gorgeous yarn. And now you have more reasons to increase your fibre stock too (as if any of us needs a reason) 🤪

    Love the scarves you created (your sister will be delighted with her gift I’m sure) and the difference using the candy stripe warp must be feeding your creative thoughts.

    I know the excitement all too well of running before l can walk, but it sounds like you had done a lot of homework first – so you were ready to trot.

    You made me smile about your feline supervisor. Hope both Alex & Eccles feature in your next weaving productions!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement Antje, I did do quite a bit of research while I was considering what loom to go with. But it was still quite nerve-wracking, but oh so exciting too! It’s great to try different fibre crafts, Alex is loving it. He’s always enjoyed arty things, so this is right up his street!

      As for the felines, as soon as I put the loom together, Ember the Maine Coon thought it was a new bed just for her, and as soon as I turfed her off it. Eccles settled down for a snooze! I almost included photos of them in recumbent poses! They are comical! For once, Elliot was well behaved!

  12. Your scarves turned out great! The bobbly yarn is wonderful. It is amazing how a warp can change the whole look. Have fun!

  13. Beautiful. Weaving always seems magical to me, and I imagine needs full on concentration to do it. You seem to have hit the road running. I love the colourful yarn that you used too. Lovely work.

    1. Thank you so much, we were pleased with how they turned out. I think it’s fair to say we are well and truly hooked on weaving now! 😊

  14. Fantastic work, so glad you’re enjoying weaving, and what a great set of first projects, you should be so pleased with the results. I’m looking forward to seeing more.

    1. Thank you, we’re glad you like them. We are really pleased with them, and totally in love with weaving now (as well as felting!).

  15. As someone who definitely doesn’t need a new hobby, this is tempting! Your weaves came out so lovely. Alex’s happy face says it all, I bet you had a lot of fun watching the work grow and seeing how pretty it all was.

    I hope you’ve got lots of future weaving plans! Got to get through that stash, after all 😉

  16. Thanks Leonor, it’s definitely a fun new hobby!!! And yes, plans are afoot for experimentation!!! It was lovely to see Alex’s face when we took it off the loom and he saw how long it was!!! The trouble is, I’m perusing the online shops looking at all those beautiful yarns but I have to say, I’m finding it increasingly hard not to get carried away 😂

Leave a Reply to Arlene Toth Fiber Artist Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: