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!!!