Weaving – My Life Handmade


Warp Your Loom

The warp thread is the thread that runs over the loom vertically, and holds the loom vertically, and holds the tension while you weave. This is the backbone of your weave.

Place the wooden loom on a table with the notches facing upwards. Take your warp thread from your kit. Knot the thread around the top left notch on your loom.

Once your knot is tied, feed the thread down to the opposite notch below. Wrap around the notch and bring it back up the loom. Carry on this process until all of the notches are filled and you have reached the end. Make sure to keep the tension tight.

To finish, knot the warp thread securely on the last finishing notch in the bottom right corner. Trim the excess warp thread on each corner with a couple of cm spare.

Weaving – The Basics

Once you have warped your loom, you are ready to start weaving. A basic weave is the process of feeding your wool through the warp (vertical strings). This is done by moving the wool under and over the strings, alternating every other one. Inside the kit are two wooden shuttles. These are the tools used to create your weave. By having two shuttles you will be able to alternate colours quickly during weaving.

Choose the colour you would like to start weaving with. Take one of the shuttles and wrap your wool around the length of the shuttle, roughly about 10 times. This will depend on the thickness of the wool as it needs to fit through the warp threads on the loom. Once you have wrapped the wool around the shuttle, snip the wool free from the ball.

With a simple knot, tie the loose end of wool to the third warp string in from the left of the loom. This secures the wool whilst weaving, and will prevent it from poking out at the side of your weave.

Once the end piece of wool has been tied, you can begin to weave the shuttle in and out of the warp thread. To start, slide the tip of the shuttle underneath the fourth warp string, working from left to right.

The next row will be woven the opposite direction, working from right to left. This time the pattern you want to create will be the opposite to the last row.

After every row, it is good practice to push a complete row down to the bottom to keep the weave tight. Take the wooden comb from your kit and slide it down the warp, pushing the rows firmly against the bottom edge of the loom.

Rya Knot (Fringing)

Rya Knots are commonly used at the bottom of the wall hanging, but you can use them anywhere in your weave to create added texture.

Place the wool piece over the two warp threads.

Wrap the ends of the wool behind the warp threads and then up through the gap in the middle.

Pull the wool ends down to the bottom of your weave.

Repeat this along the loom with each pair of warp threads. If there is an uneven number of threads simply miss one out. To create a thick fringe, add multiple layers of tassels.

Rya Loop

You will use one continuous piece of wool to create a Rya Loop. They are a really nice way to add some depth and interest to your weave.

To start off a Rya Loop you will need to create a Rya Knot (see page 15) to secure. Then take the strand on the right and wrap round the back of the next warp thread.

Next, take it over the top of the same thread then under the next warp thread and out through the middle. You can determine your own loop size. Hold the loop gently to keep the shape as you pull down. Repeat this process.

This should create a row of loops. To create another row of Rya Loops, take the wool back to the left of the loom, using a basic weave. Repeat the previous steps.

The Soumak

The Soumak technique is great for adding texture and dimension to your weave. When two rows of Soumak are woven on top of each other, it creates a beautiful braid effect.

Wrap your wool upwards round the back of the first warp thread.

Then back over the first and second warp threads.

Repeat this process until the end for your first row of Soumak.* You can stop here, or continue with a second row to create a braided effect..

To create the second row, repeat the technique but in the opposite direction. This is the pattern you will create for the braided effect.

Changing Colours

You might want to change the colour of wool you are weaving to create stripes or shapes within your weave. To do this, simply fill the second shuttle with your new colour. Once you have finished weaving with your first colour, cut a 3cm tail and tie it to the closest warp thread, then tie the end of your new colour to where you would like that colour to start and then carry on weaving.

Off the Loom

Once you have finished your weave and you are happy, you are ready to remove it from the loom.

Firstly turn the loom over so you are looking at the back of the weave. Use the needle to secure all loose threads to the warp thread, and cut short.

Pull the top and bottom warp threads off the loom, trying not to distort the weave you have created.

With each individual warp thread loop, tie a simple knot close to the woven edge. Make sure to do all top and bottom loops, and that the top ones are big enough for the wooden rod to go through. If your top loops are too small for your rod, push the weave down with the comb to create some extra space.