Weaving Tool Spotlight – Yarn Holders

Weaving Tool Spotlight – Yarn Holders

I love to deep dive into different equipment that you can use in your weaving studio because there is so. much. out. there! No matter what equipment you are buying (or making!) there will be different options that you have to choose from and sometimes it’s hard to know what the best option is for you.

Today we are talking about weaving yarn holders – what types you should use, when to use them, and how to make your own!

First, though, while you can definitely get away with not having yarn holders at all (I did it for years!) not having one means that your yarn may be rolling around your floor collecting dust or just generally getting as far away from you as possible. Using a yarn holder makes life and weaving a bit easier.



This page may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links then I will receive a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Please read our DISCLAIMER for more info. Thanks for the support!


What types of yarn holders are out there?


Weaving yarn holders come in different shapes, sizes, and can hold different amounts of types of yarn.

For the most part when you think about a holder for your weaving yarn, you are looking for something that can hold a cone or tube of yarn in place while your are moving the yarn from the cone to somewhere else. That being said, weaving with knitting and crochet yarn can also be a great way to expand your weaving possibilities and this yarn may require a different type of holder.


The stick yarn holder


vertical weaving yarn holder double

horizontal weaving yarn holder

This type of weaving yarn holder is the most common type that you will find when looking for an option for your weaving yarn. At its simplest, this holder is just a dowel rod that sits upright in a base. That is it! This is an option that is easily made if you have a few tools on hand and just a little bit of time. 

Don’t worry! I will go over that further down in the post.

This type of yarn holder can be either singular or can have multiple rods to hold multiple cones at a time. The multiple cone option can be really great if you want to warp multiple warps at the same time or if you are sharing a holder with someone else in a studio. We do that a lot in my classes.

Some of them might also have another part to it that helps to direct the yarn a bit more by threading your yarn through an eye (like this one here.) This can be a great option if you can’t have your yarn holder close to you when you are warping. This will help keep things clean and tangle-free.

Another option is the horizontal yarn holder that works best for yarns that can be found on tubes as they tend to be smaller.

Choosing between vertical and horizontal yarn holders is mostly a matter of type of yarns you use and personal preference. If you only ever weave with smaller yarns, then this one is really great because it has different spots for multiple yarns plus areas to store smaller tubes or even thread.

Regardless of whether you choose vertical or horizontal, ideally your yarn holder will have a bit of weight to it so it’s not sliding around while you use it. Otherwise, you might as well just put your yarn on the floor!

You can find the double vertical yarn holder on Amazon here!

You can find the horizontal yarn holder on Amazon here!


The bowl yarn holder


yarn bowl with yarn

When you are using yarn that comes from a ball or cake then you can usually use the stick yarn holder but you also have the option of using a yarn bowl. These bowls are basically just like any bowl you would use in your kitchen but they have a hole or a spiral slot to thread your yarn through. This keeps the yarn from jumping out of the bowl. You can usually find these in either wood or ceramic and can sometimes even come in cute designs!

This type of holder would most likely not work for any sort of cone or tube unless it was small enough to fit in the bowl. I still would not recommend using a yarn bowl for cones or tubes, though, since it wouldn’t move as smoothly. 

If you are working exclusively from yarn balls then you could really choose whichever option appeals to you the most since they will work on either option. If you are working from both forms of yarn or just weaving yarns then I would recommend the stick option.

Grab this yarn bowl on Amazon here.


Need help planning your weaving project? Stuck trying to figure out how much yarn you need? What the h&^$ is WPI? Check out my e-book!


When to use a yarn holder


Unlike some of the other weaving equipment we have talked about on Warped Fibers, the yarn holder is a tool used for the prep part of the weaving process and not the actual weaving part itself.

If you are interested in other weaving tool guides you can check these out:

Tapestry beaters

Tapestry needles

Warp separators

Shuttles, bobbins, & butterflies


When you are warping


students using shared yarn holder

Regardless of whether you are direct or indirect warping, you will need to find a place to house your yarn while it is going from the cone to its next destination. 

Don’t forget, if you do not have a yarn holder then your yarn may start rolling across your studio (this has happened to me SO MANY TIMES) and either getting away from you so you have to chase it and/ or collecting some of the dust bunnies that may live around your loom…

Learn how to use a warping board here.

Learn about direct vs indirect warping here.


When you are winding your shuttle 


wind shuttle with yarn holder

Another one of the big circumstances where you would want to use a weaving yarn holder is when you are winding your shuttles. For pretty much the same reason that you would want to use one while warping, having a tool to keep your yarn in place while your wind it onto your shuttle can be incredibly helpful and help keep your frustration down.

Learn how to wind your weaving shuttles and bobbins here.


Embroidery weaving is a hybrid technique of embroidery and weaving! It is a fun and portable weaving technique that is perfect for beginner and advanced weavers alike. The Warped Fibers Embroidery Weaving Kit contains everything you need for at least 3 samples and a finished embroidery weaving. Plus, if you have never done this technique before – don’t worry! The kit also comes with a download that will walk you through the process.


How to make your own stick yarn holder


Previously we talked about the fact that the stick yarn holder is basically just a dowel rod and a base and this means that it is pretty simple to make your own, if that’s your jam!

To create your own yarn holder you will need:

A dowel rod (I’m using 3/8 inch)

Hand saw

Drill and drill bit (drill bit the same size as your dowel rod)

Wood block (scrap wood is fine!)

Wood glue (optional)

Sandpaper


materials for diy yarn holder

drill into yarn holder base

Choosing the size for your dowel rod can be decided by trying out a few options with the yarn you currently have. You do not want to choose a dowel rod that is too thin because then it won’t have the strength that it needs to withstand any pull on it, but you don’t want it too thick that you can actually have it house your yarn cones or tubes.

For my holder I am using a size 3/8 inch dowel rod cut down to 10 inches with my hand saw. I also recommend sanding down the end of your dowel rod to make it nice and smooth for your yarn and yourself.

I took everything outside to drill the hole so it would require less clean up. A 3/8 inch hole is pretty big so it could make a large mess. Keep that in mind.

With your drill you will drill a hole into the center of your wood base either all the way through or about 3/4. I opted for 3/4 just so I didn’t accidentally drill into my deck railing, but you can do whatever works best for you.

Your dowel rod will fit snugly into the hole you just drilled! You can glue it if you never plan to take this apart or you can keep it unglued if you want to be able to store it more easily.

That’s it!


finished diy yarn holder

How to make your own yarn bowl


diy yarn bowl

If you have access to a clay or wood studio you could make a really nice yarn bowl, but we are going a little more low tech for this option.

What you need to create your own yarn bowl:

A bowl

A paperclip and masking tape

Or a clip with openings at the top


Can you see where this is going?

If you are using the paper clip then grab any bowl that you have that will easily hold your yarn ball and tape your paperclip to the inside with your masking tape. Make sure that there is enough of the paper clip about the rim of your bowl for your yarn to go through.

Using the clip is even easier because all you have to do is clip it on to your bowl and thread your yarn through the top openings.

This is probably as easy as it gets.


While using a yarn holder of any type is not a necessity for your weaving process, it can be a helpful tool to create a smoother and less frustrating weaving experience. There are many different types that you can choose from, but all of them should help you out and make your life just a little bit easier.



All About Heddle Rods

All About Heddle Rods

Weaving isn’t always fast.

It is actually pretty rarely fast.

That being said, some looms will help you to weave faster than others and for those that are a little more manual, we can “upgrade” them easily enough to work a little more for you!

This upgrade is a heddle rod and is perfect for simple frame looms and rigid heddle looms to expand the ease and speed of your weaving for different patterns.


This page may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links then I will receive a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Please read our DISCLAIMER for more info. Thanks for the support!



Manual vs assisted weaving


weaving shed on floor loom

When you think of weaving, at least at the core of what it is, you may think of over, under, over, under. This is how you manually weave plain weave. 

If you need a refresher on basic weaving patterns then make sure to read this post here.

Manual weaving is when you physically move your weft yarn over and under your warp yarns with a tapestry needle, bobbin, or something similar. This method is usually the least expensive method because it does not require a “fancy” loom but also usually the slowest since it requires you to weave o ver individual warps at a time. It also means you are responsible for keeping your pattern as you do. 

Manual weaving requires you to keep track of your pattern on a warp by warp basis, which may not be a big feat, but it may require some extra thinking. That being said, it also allows you to switch up your weaving pattern at any time with no extra steps. This is a fun experiment if you are looking for something a little different. 

Read about weaving with different patterns in the same weaving here.


Want to learn how to weave tapestry? It is more than just imagery (although that can be a big part of it too!) Follow along with this self-paced online course that you can take from anywhere at any time.

There are now 2 ways to take it – either purchase the whole course at once for a discount or “create your own” course by purchasing just the parts you want! Either way, get 10% off for being a member of the Warped Community!


What I am calling assisted weaving is weaving with any sort of shed system. As a reminder your shed is the opening that is created as your warps are moved up and/or down. This opening is where you can slide your tapestry needle, shuttle, bobbin, etc. This can be a big advantage because it allows you to interact with your warps as a whole instead of individually. This is both faster and doesn’t require you to keep track of your pattern warp by warp. 

Keep in mind you still have to keep track of your pattern pick by pick, but it is still faster. 


Why you would use heddle rods


heddle rod and pick up stick on rigid heddle loom

While I have made no secret of my love of weaving on a simple frame loom, I also can not deny that having some weaving assistance is nice! Depending on what you are weaving and how much time you have to weave it, this assistance might also be necessary.

While you can always purchase a loom with a built in shed system, you may prefer a simple frame loom or it may be all you have. When this is the case, you are not out of luck because that is when heddle rods come into play. 

Heddle rods are incredibly handy when you are weaving a pattern other than plain weave on a simple frame loom. They may take some extra time to set up, but they will save you a lot of time in the long run. Each heddle rod functions the same way as a harness on a floor loom. 

If the pattern is really complicated this also helps cut down on the mistakes that may come up with the pattern. 

Heddle rods do not only need to be used on simple frame looms, though. They can also be really helpful when weaving pick up on rigid heddle (like the image above), or just creating a second heddle when your rigid heddle loom does not have the set up for a second heddle (like the Schacht Cricket Rigid Heddle Loom.)


How to set up heddle rods


heddle rod options and simple frame loom

When setting up a heddle rod all you need is a sturdy yarn (scrap yarn if you have it), dowel rods (you could also use chopsticks, pencils, etc.), scissors, and tape (I like washi tape because it is easy to remove and can easily be color coded!) You may also want a guide, but I will get to that in a minute.

If you are using dowel rods then you will want to make sure they are wider than your weaving by at least an inch if it is a small weaving or more if it is larger. This will make sure that your loops stay on the rod and you can easily pick it up. I cut a long dowel rod I already head on hand with a small hand saw for this, but use what you have.


measuring heddle rod to cut

The general idea of a heddle rod is that it is connected by loops of yarn to all of the warps that you want to lift up for your pattern. Starting off with plain weave, this means that you will have a loop of yarn around every other warp yarn on one heddle rod and a loop around the other warp yarns on a second heddle rod. 

It is important to make sure that all of your heddle loops are the same length so that your heddle rod works efficiently and is not wonky. One of the best ways to do that is by using a simple guide for cutting your loops. I like to use my EPI mini loom for this, but you can use anything that is the right size and rigid. Cardboard cut to the right size makes a really great guide too.


measuring and cutting loops for heddle rod

Wrap your yarn around and around your guide as many times as you need and then cut them all in the same place to create multiple loops of the same length. You also will need to make sure to tie your knots in the same place. I am using a simple overhand knot for these.

You can read more about weaving knots here.

Take your first loop, fold it in half, and bring it around the warp that needs to be pulled up. Put your dowel rod through the two ends of the loop. Continue doing this for every warp in your pattern and then put tape on the first and last loop to keep them from sliding off.


heddle rod set up

heddle rod set up

tape on heddle rod

If using washi tape you can use different colors to mark the different parts of the pattern or you can number them. Whatever works best for you.

For patterns other than plain weave you may need to loop your yarn around multiple adjacent warps at a time (You can see this in the rigid heddle image at the beginning of the post.) Keep this in mind when you are cutting your loops and make them a little longer if needed.

If your pattern is complicated it may help you to draw out your pattern on graph paper to follow while setting up your heddle rods. This way you can also mark off parts of the pattern as you go making it easier to not miss parts or duplicate them. 

Continue this same process for every line of your pattern. For the plain weave pattern I am following in this post, I will have 2 heddle rods total.


2 heddle rods

Using a heddle rod


create shed with heddle rod

keep shed open with shed stick

When it is time to weave with your heddle rods you will also need a pick up stick, ruler, stick shuttle, or another long flat object to keep your shed open. Just make sure whatever you use isn’t too sharp on the edges so you don’t fray your warp! For this reason I usually stay clear of metal rulers and opt for wooden options.

To create your shed you will want to pull up on the correct heddle rod until it creates a large opening. Slide the heddle stick into this shed and flip it up so that it holds the shed open for you to slide in your weft! Once your weft is positioned you can slide out your stick or flip it back down and use it to beat your weft into place.

Move onto the next heddle rod in the sequence and do the same thing! 


Embroidery weaving is a hybrid technique of embroidery and weaving! It is a fun and portable weaving technique that is perfect for beginner and advanced weavers alike. The Warped Fibers Embroidery Weaving Kit contains everything you need for at least 3 samples and a finished embroidery weaving. Plus, if you have never done this technique before – don’t worry! The kit also comes with a download that will walk you through the process.


Using a heddle rod is a great way to expand your weaving options and make weaving complicated patterns on simple looms easier! While they take a little extra time to set up, the time they could save you during your weaving will most definitely make up for it.

That being said, it might be worth it to weigh whether or not creating heddle rods for a small weaving is worth it. Try it out and decide what works best for you!


Guide To Weaving Headers

Guide To Weaving Headers

Unless you were tie your warp onto your loom one warp at a time (not recommended…) you will end up with bundles at the beginning of your weaving. These bundles serve the purpose of attaching your warp to your loom, but they also make it so the spacing at the beginning of your weaving is off!

This is where weaving headers come in!



What are weaving headers?



Weaving headers play a really important part in setting up your loom and starting a successful weaving. 

No matter what way you warp your loom (front to back, back to front, direct, or indirect) you will need to tie your warp onto the front of your loom and space it out to create a perfect starting point. 

When you are ready to start your weaving you will be looking for a flat plane of evenly spaced warp with straight selvedges. This is because you will want to start your weaving off the same way you want it to continue throughout the entire weaving process. Have you ever heard the saying “set yourself up for success”? This is a perfect example of that.

To get that perfect starting point you will need to use a header at the beginning of your weaving! 

You can think of a header as sort of a “pre-weaving” because it is woven in your same pattern before you start your actual weaving to get your warps evenly spaced quicker than if you were to use up your regular yarn. 


Embroidery weaving is a hybrid technique of embroidery and weaving! It is a fun and portable weaving technique that is perfect for beginner and advanced weavers alike. The Warped Fibers Embroidery Weaving Kit contains everything you need for at least 3 samples and a finished embroidery weaving. Plus, if you have never done this technique before – don’t worry! The kit also comes with a download that will walk you through the process.


What can you use?


Different weavers may use different things for their headers depending on what their preference is or what they currently have on hand. 

Regardless of what you choose you can opt to either use short or long strips. Longer strips will require you to have a more continuous header which can be slightly easier to weave up (just make sure not to pull too tight!)

Shorter headers will mean inserting a new piece in each shed, but they may be easier to remove in the end. 

I usually do a mid range so that I can reuse them more often. If I keep longer ones than they will work for more weavings than if I only have shorter header pieces.

Some options for your weaving header are:


Fabric


fabric weaving header

Using fabric strips as a header is a really great way to get your warp evened out sooner because thicker fabric has a greater effect on the spacing. You might think you should just use the thickest fabric you can find then, but it does eventually have diminishing returns. 

I am a big fan of the fabric header and I usually stick with a fabric strip of about 1.5 to 2 inches wide. I also just use scrap fabric that I have left over from other things so that I am not cutting up virgin fabric for something that is ultimately not a part of the finished piece. 

Most of my weavings use an EPI of 6 -12 and this size works well for me. You might need to change it up if your EPI is different, so keep in mind there may be some experimentation involved!

Learn more about EPI and warp sett here.


Thick yarn



When I do not have any fabric strips available then I will usually use yarn that is thicker than my yarn that I am weaving with. Most often this is some chunky knitting yarn that I have sitting around in the studio, but any chunky yarn should do well.

You could also use a thinner yarn doubled over to make it weave thicker (you can see this in the first image of the post with the blue yarn). This is a really good use for scrap yarn that you have leftover from other weaving projects. For example, I have a scrap box of yarn from loom waste etc. that I keep for reasons just like this!

Learn about other ways you can use scrap yarn here.


Toilet paper


Yeah, I said toilet paper.

Never thought I would be talking about toilet paper here on Warped Fibers, but here we are.

While I have never used toilet paper myself as a weaving header, I have heard of other weavers using this as their preferred choice. If you do not have the fabric or yarn to use then this is something I imagine you have in your house that will be easy for you to use. 

A possible pro of using toilet paper is the ease in which you can remove it when your weaving is finished. Unfortunately, the toilet paper may not be as reusable as the other methods, though, so if you are looking for more sustainable options I would go with the other 2.


Getting the most out of your header


Your weaving header is doing a lot of work to get your weaving ready to go and set up for success. That being said, there are other things that you can do to make them even more successful and faster.

This can be really important because your header is taking up real estate on your warp but it is not a part of the finished piece. A large header will use up more of your loom waste and if it is too big then it may even eat into your weaving space!

If this happens then, at best, you will be wasting some yarn and, at worst, you will not have enough room to finish your planned weaving project!


Smaller bundles (find your goldilocks)



When you are tying your warp onto your front apron rod you will be doing so in bundles. First, I always tie my warp on with a half-bow because it is easy to undo but is also just as strong as a double-knot.

You can learn how to do half-bows here.

Like a lot of things in weaving when you tie your warp onto your loom there is a goldilocks sized bundle that you will want to strive for. This size will change depending on your EPI and size of your yarn. 

Essentially, you are looking for bundles that are small enough that they space evenly without adding too much header while not being so small that they are frustrating to tie and untie. 

All bundles will produce some space between them when they are tied onto your apron rod. Larger spaces will take more header to close up than smaller spaces. Remember: the more header you need the more loom waste you need to account for.

My most used sized bundles include about 6 – 8 warps per bundle, but yours may be different due to your EPI, total warp ends, and personal preference. I usually like tie my bundles in even numbers that divide into my total warp ends. This is because that way they will all be the same size and will tie up simply.

Play around with different bundle sizes to find your goldilocks size. Unless you are changing up the types of weavings that you are creating often, you probably will not have to experiment constantly with different bundles and instead use the same size more often than not!


Weave 2 beat 1






One trick that I love to teach my students when they are warping their looms is to weave 2 beat 1. 

This means that I want you to weave 2 picks and then beat your header into place instead of the normal weave 1 beat 1.

This works well because having 2 full picks in place before beating your header will add a bit of extra friction to the warp and make it even out faster than if you were to weave it in normally. 

The images above show the progression of your warp with a thick yarn header beaten 2 picks at a time from bundles to evenly spaced in only 3 steps!


Need help planning your weaving project? Stuck trying to figure out how much yarn you need? What the h&^$ is WPI? Check out my e-book!


Removing your header


Since your header is not a part of your finished weaving it will need to be removed during your finishing process. Depending on the material you used this could vary a bit, but generally you have 2 options for removing your header from your warp once it is off the loom.

A quick note before we get into that though: another advantage of your header is that it functions as a way to keep your weaving in place once it is no longer under tension before you finish off your warp! 

This is great for if you did not do a hemstitch on that end of your weaving. I have traveled with a weaving in my bag that was unfinished – just the header at one end – many times without worrying about it unweaving. So keep it in place until you are ready for your finishing!

Learn how to do a hemstitch here.

Learn about warp finishing options here.


Pull out with tapestry needle



Regardless of what you are weaving, every weaver should own at least a few tapestry needles. They are great for weaving in your tails on balanced woven projects and for helping you to remove your header without disturbing your finished weaving.

While you can, of course, also use your fingers to do this, I have found the dull point of the tapestry needle does a better job at moving only the header and not the weft once I get up to the weaving.

To do this: lay your weaving flat on a table with the header towards you. Use the blunt end of your tapestry needle to gently tug your header out of your warp one pick at a time. If you try to do multiple picks at a time then your warp could get a bit tangled. 

Removing your header this way is perfect for when you want to reuse it for later projects. 

Learn more about different types of tapestry needles here.


Cut it out



If you can not be bothered to slowly take the header out with your tapestry needle and you don’t care about reusing your header then you can cut it out! Just be careful not to accidentally cut your weaving in this process.

You can cut your header in a few different spots along your weaving and it should easily come out without much hassle. Shorter pieces should not get tangled if you tug them out.

Check out my favorite supplies (like tapestry needles and yarn snips!) here.


Regardless of what you choose for your header and how you opt to remove it, the importance of using one is something I cannot say enough! Just find out what works best for you and use that.

Do you use something other than what I mentioned for your weaving header? Let me know!


Simple Woven Loom Bag Project

Simple Woven Loom Bag Project

There are so many different types of weaving that you can do! One common type is to create yardage to be turned into other things. 

We have talked about yardage before when we made a cushion for your weaving bench and also when we learned how to sew your handwoven fabric (and get over your fear of cutting and piecing your weavings together.)

So I think it is time to start on another handwoven fabric project!

This time? 

We are making a handwoven bag to sit at your loom or to carry around your supplies.

The difference is in the size.


This page may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links then I will receive a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Please read our DISCLAIMER for more info. Thanks for the support!



Weaving the fabric


rigid heddle loom with yarn

Yardage for this weaving project can be done on any loom that has an advancing warp.

A loom with an advancing warp is a loom that allows you to have a long warp that will roll upon itself and make way for more weaving! Floor looms, table looms, and rigid heddle looms are all examples of looms with advancing warps.

For this project I will be using a rigid heddle loom for no reason other than that is what I have available at the moment. You can use whatever loom you want!

I will also be recycling a pattern from a scarf pattern posted on the community page because I think it would make a great bag, but you can use any pattern you want.

If you want access to this pattern then make sure to become a member of the Warped Community. It is free and you get access to patterns, ebooks, course discounts, and more! You can sign up from my form above!


rigid heddle loom with weaving

If you are using a rigid heddle loom then the pattern you choose will probably be plain weave.

Plain weave is also a great option for any bag that will be getting a lot of use. You will want to avoid using weaving patterns with a lot of floats because they will be more likely to get snagged onto things while the bag is in use. 

Learn more about plain weave patterns here.

Learn more about the 3 basic weave structures (and what they are good for) here.

As far as yarn goes, I am using Gist Mallo yarn in the colors Frost and Spice. This is a really sturdy cotton slub yarn that is perfect for this project. Slub yarn is always one of my favorites because visually it adds something extra to even just single colored areas of your weaving.


Want to learn how to weave tapestry? It is more than just imagery (although that can be a big part of it too!) Follow along with this self-paced online course that you can take from anywhere at any time.

There are now 2 ways to take it – either purchase the whole course at once for a discount or “create your own” course by purchasing just the parts you want! Either way, get 10% off for being a member of the Warped Community!


Choosing your size


The size of your bag will depend on what you want to use it for and/or what size loom you have available to you. The great thing about making your own bag is that if you are wanting it for something specific then you have the option to tailor it exactly to that need!

Say you want a bag to be able to carry around your frame loom.

Perfect!

Measure your frame loom to get a rough idea of the size that you will need. Do not forget that you will probably want to make it a bit bigger to make sure it slides in and out easily, plus have room for extras like yarn, tapestry needles, and more.

If you are creating a bag for something that is larger than the weavable area of your loom then keep in mind that you can always sew panels of woven yardage together.

This, obviously, will change the look of your bag, but you can embrace and plan it if you are aware of the fact going into your project. 


measure bench for woven loom bag

Since I am weaving a bag for my loom bench I measured the depth of my bench to get the parameters for my bag.

My loom bench has a depth of 9 inches.

I added an extra inch to my weaving to account for sewing seams so that the width of my weaving will be 10 inches.

For the depth of the bag, I decided to go for a depth of 11 inches, which is just over half the length of my longest flat shuttles. Again, I want to make sure there is enough for sewing seams so I will add an extra inch to my yardage length as well.

This means that the woven yardage will be 12″x10″.


Cutting your pattern pieces


woven bag pattern pieces

If you have not already read through my post on how to sew your handwoven fabric then I recommend doing that before continuing with this project. We will be using the same interfacing that we used for our loom bench cushion to keep our woven fabric together as we cut into it and sew it up. 

So make sure to attach your interfacing before you do anything else!

Once that is done, lay out your fabric and begin figuring out the pattern pieces. 

Since we are doing a simple bag, everything is at 90-degree angles. This means you will not need to print out any special patterns to make this work – just use a tape measure!

You will also need the back of the bag – this will be the same size as the woven fabric and the inside fabric. The fabric for the inside of the bag will be almost the same width, just a half inch narrower. This will make everything match up better once we insert it. You will also need 2 of them that we will sew together.

While I am using a neutral muslin for the back and inside of my bag, you can have the entire outside of your back be woven if you want. Since my bag will live at my loom, this seemed unnecessary to hide handwoven fabric where you will barely see it.

Overall we will have:

handwoven fabric = 12″x10″

Back fabric = 12″x10″

Inside fabric = 2 panels 12″x9.5″

Fabric strap = 12 inches


Putting your handwoven bag together


woven loom bag liner

The first thing we will need to do is put together the inner liner of the bag.

If your fabric has a right and a wrong side then make sure to put the right sides together before sewing. Then sew around the outside of the fabric on 3 sides – leaving one of the short sides open.

This will be the opening at the top of the bag.

I used a zig-zag stitch for this to make sure it is extra secure. A straight stitch can also work, though.

You may also notice I used a bright blue thread. I did this mostly so you could see the stitching on the fabric. You will not be able to see the blue in the finished project, though – so it works out! Feel free to use a neutral-colored thread or one that matches your colors for this instead.

Leave this part of your bag as-is! Do not turn it inside out.

Next, you will need to sew the front and back of your bag together. You should probably not use a crazy-colored thread for this one.

When sewing the outside of your bag you will need to put the right sides of your fabric together and sew around the same three sides.

Turn this part of your bag outside in when you are finished,


woven loom bag project in process

Fold down the top half-inch of both parts of your bag. The outside of the bag will be folded in and the inside of the bag will be folded out.

Do not forget to iron your edges to make sure your folds are nice and crisp!


fold over edges woven loom bag

Place your liner inside your outer bag and make sure that your side seams match up. Matching your seams first will make lining up the rest of your bag a lot easier. Insert pins around the bag to keep everything in place before you sew it up.

If you are adding your straps to the inside of your bag then this is the time to do it.


I am using this twill tape ribbon for my straps. In hindsight, I wish I had purchased a slightly wider ribbon for this, but the 3/8″ works fine. That is just a visual preference. You can find twill tape in many different widths and colors.


Insert your strap between the liner and the outside of your bag. Use a pin to keep it in place and this pin will also work to hold the 2 parts of the bag together.


pin woven bag project

Before you bring your bag to your machine, I recommend trying it out with the pins in it.

If you are using it for a frame loom then make sure the loom fits and the straps are the right lengths for what you want.

If you are using it on your bench then make sure it hangs as you want it to. This will allow you to make any necessary changes before you start sewing.


woven loom bag try out before sewing

If you have a color thread that matches the colors of your bag then you can use that to do the final touches. If not you can probably get away with a neutral grey thread.

Learn when else I use grey thread in my weaving studio!

Sew around the top edge of your bag with a straight stitch. I recommend backstitching over your straps while you have it on your sewing machine. This will give it a little extra staying power in case you store heavy tools in your bag!

Make sure to snip any loose threads and you are good to go!


finished woven loom bag with weaving tools

What will you be using your woven bag for? Let me know!



How To Make Paper Yarn

How To Make Paper Yarn

Creating yarn out of alternative materials has become sort of a tradition here at Warped Fibers because I am always looking at ways to upcycle materials and create something unique!

I have also previously discussed weaving with paper as it pertains to paper strips (taking it beyond a “kids” craft.) 

If you are interested in weaving with paper but you are looking to incorporate it into your weaving practice in a more traditional way then creating paper yarn is a great idea. This allows you to create a long thin yarn that you can use as a continuous weft. This yarn can be used just like any other weft yarn and is not limited to any type of loom!

Here are the other alternative yarn tutorials that you can follow:

How to create t-shirt yarn

How to create plastic bag yarn


This page may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through these links then I will receive a small commission – at no extra cost to you! Please read our DISCLAIMER for more info. Thanks for the support!



What you need


Paper 

Scissors (not fabric scissors!) or a paper cutter

Ruler (if using scissors)

Pencil

A piece of strong scrap yarn (approximately 8 inches) I am using 8/4 cotton rug warp

Water

Drop spindle (I am using a top whorl spindle)

Niddy noddy (optional)


Choosing your paper


yarn for paper yarn

You can use almost any type of paper to create yarn, but the thinner the paper the better. This is because thinner paper will be more pliant and easier to spin.

Some examples of good paper to spin are:

Newspaper

Tissue paper (what I am using in this post)

Paper towels

You could also spin pages from your journals, notebook paper, or really any paper that is not too thick.

Something to keep in mind when choosing your paper for spinning is to pay attention to what is on the back of the paper. This is because when spinning your paper it exposes both the front and the back. 

If you use paper this is heavily pigmented on one side and white on the other it will create a sort of swirled pattern on your yarn. This could be a really great effect that may want to exploit. If you want a paper yarn that is the same throughout, though, then you will want to make sure it is the same color on the front and the back. 

You may also consider changing your colors as you go to create a self-striping yarn or one that creates a gradient as it continues. Both of these options will require different colored paper used in a specific order as you spin.


How to make paper yarn


cutting paper into strips for yarn

It is important to cut your paper into strips first before attempting to spin your yarn. This will make your paper easier to work with as well as keep the finished yarn the same size throughout. 

You can either cut your paper by hand with scissors or use a paper cutter to do this. The paper cutter may be a bit faster and cleaner, but if your strips are not perfectly straight it is not that big of a deal. Just try to keep them relatively consistent and you will be fine!

If you have used a drop spindle before then this process is not all that different from spinning roving into yarn. The general idea is the same.

If you have not used a drop spindle before – no worries! Here is a quick explanation (and a video following that) of how they work so that you can experiment with your paper.

Attach your leader yarn to your drop spindle by tying a double knot around the shaft. Then fold one end of your first paper strip into thirds and tie the other end of your leader yarn to your paper at this spot with a single knot.


spinning paper yarn on drop spindle start

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Bring your leader yarn up to the hook by placing it in the notch on the whorl. Your leader yarn and paper should then be hooked into your hook to keep it in place while spinning.

Wet your first paper strip just enough to make it a tiny bit damp. Do not soak your paper or it will just fall apart. If it is not wet enough it will not spin easily or smoothly.

Play around with the amount of water you need to see what will work best. Keep in mind that different papers will also require different amounts of water.

I keep my water for spinning in a small dish or bowl next to me and I usually do this on top of a towel to keep my workspace from getting too wet.


spinning paper yarn on drop spindle

Start to twist your damp paper around your leader yarn to get it started.

Normally (for fibers) you would hold your spinning material and let the drop spindle hang as it spins. Depending on your paper it may not be strong enough to withstand this. If it is then great! If not then you can instead either roll the shaft on your thigh or just keep it low while twisting the spindle manually (this is what I did and you will see it in the video below.)

This twist that is created will follow up your yarn and the paper and apply the twist to your paper. 

Continue to spin your drop spindle as needed until your paper is spun to your liking. Keep the very end of your paper unspun and attach a second strip by placing them together – one on top of the other. Then fold them over each other before continuing to spin so that they “grab” onto each other. Continue spinning and the twist will transfer to the second paper and join them together.

If your paper ever breaks then you can reattach it this same way!

…and yes, your paper will probably break multiple times, but practice helps to keep this to a minimum.


spinning paper yarn -adding a new strip

Setting your paper yarn


niddy noddy with paper yarn and drop spindle

Once your yarn is finished you have a few different options to set it and make sure it stays together. Essentially you will be applying a bit of tension to your new yarn while it dries to make sure it does not unply itself. 

The easiest way to do this is by hanging it from something and applying a light weight to it. You want to make sure not to use anything too heavy so that it does not rip your new yarn before it is set.

The potential issue with this method is that it can create creases in your yarn, but it is not the end of the world and works if it is your only option.

You could also snugly wrap your yarn around the back of a chair or anything that can keep it tight while it dries. This is also a really inexpensive option but does depend on having a good place to keep the yarn in the meantime.

The traditional option is to use a niddy noddy.

This funnily named tool is the option most used by spinners who are creating a lot of yarn on a regular basis. This tool is specifically made to create a skein of yarn once it is finished setting.



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Weaving with paper yarn


newspaper yarn and weaving

Using paper yarn for weaving is not that different from weaving with any other yarns. Since it is spun to be one continuous piece of yarn you do not have to start and stop it as you would if using paper strips. 

The biggest thing to keep in mind is that more than likely your paper yarn will only be suitable for weft. 

If you remember from our post on choosing your warp yarn, the warp has to be strong. It is the yarn that is under tension as it sits on your loom. If you use yarn that is not strong enough to hold up to the tension of your loom then it will break and it will probably break often. 

If you do have broken warps then you can fix them! Learn how to fix a broken warp on different looms here. 

Unless your paper yarn is very strong, you will want to designate it as weft only. This will ensure you get the most out of your paper yarn and you are not constantly having to fix broken warps. 


niddy noddy with paper yarn and spinning yarn book

If you are interested in learning more about spinning then I really like The Complete Guide To Spinning Yarn by Brenda Gibson.

This book goes over spinning all types of materials with different spindles and spinning wheels!

Let me know what you are using your spun paper yarn for in the comments.


Warp Finishing: Fringe Options

Warp Finishing: Fringe Options

There are many different ways to finish a weaving. One of the most common and possibly iconic ways to do this is to have fringe at the bottom.

As with most things, though, fringe for your weaving is not always so straightforward!

There are many different options both for how you create your fringe and what your finished fringe will ultimately look like.

You can go really simple with overhand knots at the base of your scarf or as “complicated” as macrame along the edge!

Your ideal warp finishing and fringe options might even depend on the type of weaving you are creating.

Tapestry?

Functional weavings (scarves, rugs)?

These may require different choices for finishing.

… or they may not.


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Warp fringe vs rya knots


The simplest way to have fringe on your weaving is to use the warp “waste” that is already on the weaving. This warp is what is leftover from attaching it to the loom and/or taken up by headers and scaffolding.

If you are planning to utilize this warp yarn for your fringe you will need to be aware of this before you even start weaving. This is because you will need to account for the extra warp when you are setting up your weaving and in your calculations.

Learn more about the weaving process and the order in which you should start your weaving here.

Another thing to keep in mind when using your leftover warp is what color your warp is. This is a given if you are weaving up something that is balanced or pattern woven. These types of weavings show the warp in the actual piece so it is important to the overall aesthetic. 

If you are weaving tapestry, though, then the color of your warp is not always something you need to consider. Since a tapestry is a weft-faced weaving you do not see any warp. That is unless you use some of it for fringe. 

Learn more about what tapestry is here.

If you are looking for a fringe that is full and overflowing, then using your warp waste probably will not be enough. Your fringe will be limited to the amount of warp ends that you have. If weaving tapestry, then these warp ends are usually even fewer since tapestry requires a smaller EPI.

Learn about EPI here.


rya knots tapestry fringe

If the idea of using your warp yarns is not going to give you the fringe of your dreams, you have the option to create new fringe using rya knots.

Learn how to create rya knots here.

Rya knots are great for this because you can use as many strands of yarn as you want for fuller fringe. They also give you the option of using colors that are not in your warp and/ or different colors in the same space.

Rya knots are great for fringe because they also allow you to create really long fringe without using your leftover warp. You do still have to plan for your fringe at the beginning, but you can at least wait until your warp is on and you are ready to start creating.


Fringe variations (twist, braid, macrame)



Sometimes straight fringe is just not what you are going for.

No worries!

There is a wide range of types of fringe that you can create with either your warp waste or rya knots. These are most often done with your warp, though.

These options are great for when you want your fringe to have a little extra “weight” to them. That means they will hang well when on a scarf. They are also good to keep your fringe from getting tangled and matted. 

No matter the option you choose, it is a lot easier to work with your fringe if your weaving is weighed down so it will not move! Something as simple as putting a book on your weaving will keep it in place while you attend to your fringe.


Twisted fringe


scarf fringe and fringe twister warp finishing

Twisted fringe is a really classic option that creates a heavy fringe that will drape well on a scarf.

The twist is also pretty easy to do, if not time-consuming by hand.

One great thing about a twisted fringe is that you have the option to use a fringe twister to make this process go faster and help your twists to be more consistent. Regardless of if you are using a fringe twister or doing it by hand, your general instructions are the same!

I am using the Schacht fringe twister and I love how quick it makes the twisting go! This fringe twister allows you to twist up to 3 bundles of yarn at a time, but you can twist only 2 if you want smaller finished fringe bundles.

You start your twist by taking at least 2 fringe yarns and twisting them together. Do this at least 1 more time, but for larger bundles do it a total of 3 times.

Make sure you twist them all in the same direction! This is important.

Take all 3 of these twisted bundles and then twist them together in the opposite direction.

Tie a knot at the very end and move on to the next bundle! Make sure you twist each bundle the same amount so they are consistent.

Check out the video below to see the fringe twister in action!



If you are using the Schacht fringe twister then attach 2 or more warp yarns to each clip. Try not to cross them over each other when clipping in order to keep it clean when you start to turn the handle.

Turn your handle clockwise.

Count how many times you turn the handle and remember it for the rest of your bundles.

Take all of your twisted yarns off and put them into 1 bundle.

Clip this 1 bundle together and twist counter-clockwise.

Detach and tie!


twisted fringe scarf

Braided fringe


braided fringe scarf

Braiding is another simple way to get bundles of fringe on your weaving. You can either do a simple braid with 3 strands of yarn or double it up. If you want to get real fancy then you can also do multi-strand braids. 

Here is a refresher of how to do a simple 3 strand braid:

Take 3 strands of yarn and separate them. Take 1 of the outer yarns and cross it over the middle yarn.

Then take the other out yarn and cross it over the new middle yarn.

You will keep doing this until your braid reaches the desired length or you run out of yarn!

Tie a knot at the end to keep everything together.


Macrame fringe


macrame fringe scarf

If you are feeling really fancy then you can do macrame at the bottom of your weaving. This will not be individual bundles of fringe, but instead will elongate your weaving with a lace-like texture on the ends. 

I will admit that macrame is not my expertise, but I have been known to do very simple macrame at the end of my weavings on occasion.

You can do this simple macrame technique like this:

You will be using smaller bundles of yarn for this. Make sure they all have a knot at their top at the edge of the weaving to keep your weft in place.

Take 2 small bundles of yarn and tie them together about an inch down from the edge of your weaving.

Move over to the next 2 bundles of yarn and repeat this step all the way across.

On your way back you will then take 1 bundle of yarn from each not and tie those together.

You can do this as many times as you want, just make sure to alternate which bundles you are tieing together to create your lacy “net” fringe!


Side (selvedge) fringe


If you are wanting something a little different then you can create side fringe on your weaving! This is really simple to do if you just ignore one of the main things that I teach.

That is, to weave in your weft tails as you go! Most of the time you want to weave in your weft tails. They can get in the way, and it makes the finishing process a lot easier. 

If you do not weave them in, though, it can be an aesthetic choice.

You can even exaggerate your side fringe by purposefully starting and stopping your weft yarns more often – as much as every single pick of your weaving. This will give you a consistent selvedge of fringe all the way up! 

You could also do some side rya knots every few picks to get some extra fluff on the sides.

Side fringe is not something I see too often, but if done well it could be a really fun addition to your weavings.



Tapestry vs functional weavings (scarves)


twisted fringe scarf and rya fringe tapestry

I already touched on this a little bit earlier, but the type of weaving you are doing may determine the type of fringe you have or at least the decisions you have to make when creating your fringe. 

It is very common to just use the rest of your warp on functional weavings like scarves. That is because there is usually a large number of warps to begin with and you will probably not want something too fluffy at the end of your scarf.

Probably.

You do you.

As for tapestry, adding rya is the most common method for fringe, but if you like the look of using your warp then there is nothing wrong with that!


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