In the last post we looked at Masson Mill and saw a weaving loom in action. Given the materials we suggested you gather, I imagine you guessed that we were going to have a go at weaving. Although we have done weaving previously – in our Waterwheel inspired weaving post.
This is another fun and inexpensive introduction to weaving. Many of you will already have the materials around the house, if not, maybe you could ask your friends and relatives if they have any to pass your way. You can, of course, buy anything you don’t have – but it’s satisfying to make something with materials you already have lying around.
Below are instructions for this needle case wrap, and a bookmark. However, you can make whatever you want, the process is the same for this basic weave.
Here is the front of the wrap when folded.
And this is the back.
You will need:
A piece of card – I used grey board – 15cm x 22.5 cm. Grey board is used for backing art pads and notebooks – so don’t throw it away when the pads are used up. It should be the thick strong type for this project. Whatever card you use though, it should not be ‘bendy’.
Oddments of yarn.
A darning needle, or any blunt long needle with a large eye, and a long coffee/tea stirrer
A pencil, scissors, a ruler and some tape.
Take your board and make a mark at 6mm intervals across the top and bottom edges.
Draw a line across the board, 1/2 cm from the top of the edges, top and bottom – this is a guide for the depth of the cuts you are going to make. Very young children may need help with measuring and cutting. They don’t need to be so precise – this is fun, and they will be thrilled with whatever they make.
Make a cut of 1/2 cm (to the line) into the board, at each of the 6mm marks you made.
It is also useful to make 2 x 1/2 cm deep cuts, 1 cm apart, into the side of the top left of the board, and the bottom right of the board. (They are on both sides of the top of this board, which was used for something else – strong cardboard ‘looms’ are reusable too!).
Draw a line down the length of the board, 1/2 cm from the side edges. This line will act as your guide to help you to keep your weaving straight.
Your board is now ready to string with your warp threads. I have used the smaller bookmark board to show the stringing, as you can see it more clearly.
Take your yarn, leaving a decent tail, approx. 16 cm, and push it into the first slot – from the back, bringing your yarn to the front of the board.
2. Take the yarn down the front to the bottom of the board, keeping it tight – but not so tight that it bends the board, and then pass it into the first slot, front to back.
3. Next, turn the board over and wrap the yarn around the tab and into the second slot, brining the yarn from the back to the front of the board.
4. Turn the board over to the front, and take the yarn back up the board, again keeping it tight, and pass it through the second slot at the top, front to back.
Continue stringing the board in this way. Cut the yarn, leaving approx a 16 cm tail. You can anchor the tails in the cuts at the side of the board, and tape the ends to the back to keep them out of your way – see below.
You can see from the two images above, the warp strings run vertical on the front. On the back the strings wrap horizontally around the tabs/cuts you made. You can also see that the ends of the warp strings have been anchored to the sides of the board and taped at the back, to keep them out of the way. You are now ready to weave.
Cut a small slit into the side of the stirrer, if you are using one – this will help to keep your yarn in place when you tie it on, or thread your needle. I have used about approx. 2 metre lengths for the needle case wrap. I think more than that may not be manageable for children. In fact, if they are starting with a small book mark, maybe a 1 metre length will be easier to manage.
Starting at the left side, pass the stirrer/needle over the first warp string (leaving a 16 cm tail (approx.)) and under the next, continue in this way to the end: over under, over under.
Weave the second row in the opposite way – so, on the string you wove under on the previous row, you now weave over on this next row. The image below shows the stirrer passing over and under the warp threads. You can see the row will be opposite to the previous one.
When you get to the end of a row, pull the yarn through until it just touches the string, and you have, what I think, looks like a whale on the surface. Thar she blows! 🙂
Push the weft threads up tight to the previous row – if your yarn sticks out a little too much at the side, pull very gently to remove the slack. What you want to achieve is straight sides of an equal width. Do not pull tightly, or your weaving will begin to narrow. Use your guide lines at the side too. Having said that, so what if your weaving has a waist! Maybe you can make something unique from your finished material!
Eventually, you will get the knack and develop your own style. You just need to practice! You can use a fork, or a wide tooth comb, or even the edge of the stirrer to push the weft threads up tightly. I find that my fingers – the backs of my nails – work fine.
The next thing you have to decide is how to join your weft threads. You can knot them if you like – especially to begin with. Youngsters are learning to weave here, not necessarily the finishing.
Below is how to join the new weft thread in if you want to. I’ve used the larger board here so that you can see more clearly.
You start the next row with your existing yarn and stop so far in, finishing on an under weave. Thread your new yarn and, beginning a few strings back weave next to the row you were just weaving, match the weave exactly. ie Where you passed the yarn under you pass it under, where you passed it over, you it pass it over.
If you are weaving tightly, you can leave small pieces of yarn to be snipped close to the weave later. If you want to tie off, leave longer tails. Continue weaving in the same way. You will need to push the rows up tight. I have used a different colour for the warp and weft strings so that you can see more clearly. Sometimes this is done for effect. If you don’t want to see the weft strings at all on your finished piece you may want to use the same or a matching colour yarn. Continue weaving in this way, and keep checking your work as you go – it’s easy to go over when you should have gone under!
It gets a little more difficult to pass the stirrer through when you get near to the end, so switch to a needle. You have to continue weaving as close to the tops of the warp strings as possible, without dislodging them from the board. Finish weaving on the right side at the bottom.
Here is the wrap weaving almost finished. When the weave at the bottom is as close to the edge as the top, you can remove it from the cardboard. Below is the finished piece of weaving.
Here is a bookmark ready to remove. You can see the end have been left longer to knot or weave in, and the warp and weft strings, top and bottom are next to each other, ready to finish off. Younger children will probably just want to tie these off.
You can simply tie everything off or weave the ends in. Below you can see the warp string has been passed over the weft and threaded through the weave – I have left the needle at the front so that you can see, but it would go through to the back.
Below you can see the weft tail is taken to the back, where you can weave it in.
Even though the weft is pushed up close to the warp strings, the warp strings are still visible here because they are a different colour. Once you have finished off the ends, you may be able to push the threads closer to hide them. This is a nice chunky wool so it works fine as a bookmark without any backing.
I cut down a ruler packet and used a piece of card as a backing for this one – it will keep it clean – or if like me, you read in the bath, it will keep it dry!
You can weave with all kinds of things – yarn, thread, ribbon, raffia etc. You can also mix them – we might do that to make a wall hanging soon!
If your little ones can’t quite get the hang of weaving at the moment, for whatever reason, we will look at something they might like to do to make a different kind of ‘weaving’. And how to make a very simple needle case to put in the wrap.
So, what are you going to make? Whatever it is, happy weaving.
See you soon