Clasped Weft Guide

Clasped Weft Guide

Plain weave is a simple weaving technique that is full of depth and incredibly versatile. In fact, I have an entire post on patterns that you can make in plain weave just by changing up the colors of the warp and weft you are weaving with. 

What if you are looking for something a little bit different, though, something that can be spontaneous?

That is where clasped weft comes in!

If you are new, or you just want a general reminder of your weaving terms, you can brush up here before continuing!

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clasped weft weaving

Clasped weft is a weaving technique that is done in a plain, balanced weaving. The “pattern” that you create can be decided as you weave because you are not limited to the pattern created by combining certain colors of warp and weft. 

Clasped weft has some similarities to a few different tapestry techniques, but is also very different! 

For a quick refresher: tapestry is a weft-faced weaving with discontinuous weft. Clasped weaving, on the other hand, is a balanced weaving with discontinuous and double weft.

Learn more about tapestry here.

Learn about discontinuous weft here.

So let’s break down clasped weaving into it’s parts to get a better understanding of the technique as a whole. 

First, balanced weaving. A balanced weaving is one where you see the same amount of warp as you do weft – the ratio of warp to weft is balanced or at least close to it. 

Discontinuous weft is where your weft yarn does not continue across the entire pick of your weaving. Instead it stops somewhere between the selvedges, is met by a different weft, and then returns to the selvedge it started at. If you are weaving tapestry, then this weft returns to the selvedge in a different pick, but in clasped weft, it returns in the same pick. This is where the next part comes in.

Double weft. This means that you will have 2 picks of weft in the same shed instead of the usual 1. If you are weaving with just 2 weft colors (weft 1 and weft 2) then weft 1 and 2 will meet somewhere in the middle of your weaving, wrap around each other, and then return to the selvedges all without changing your shed. This will show up as having 2 picks of weft woven in the same shed. 

Where you decide to have your wefts meet is entirely up to you and your pattern! This is where you really get to have fun with this technique.

2 color clasped weft how to

So I already mostly explained the how of clasped weft while I was explaining the what, but we can go a bit more in depth.

The most common way to create your clasped weft is to weave your first color (A) all the way across your weaving and out of your selvedge. Then twist your second weft color (B) around the first weft and pull the first weft back through the same shed. 

By twisting the 2 wefts around each other, you are doing 2 different things. First, you are joining them together for the visual of the clasped weft. Second, you are ensuring that the first weft is not unweaving the first pick across the weaving since you never changed your shed. 

2 color clasped weft diagram

As I said previously, where to place the join is completely up to you and I recommend playing around and having fun with it. You can either do it in a very regimented way to create stair step patterns, diamonds, etc. Or you can do it where you just go back and forth and stop wherever you feel like it! Both of these methods are completely valid and can create super interesting and fun designs. They also create entirely different designs. All with the same technique!

Gotta love the versatility!

If you are weaving more than 2 colors with your clasped weft, then things can change up a little bit. 

2 color clasped weft close up

3 color clasped weft how to

Weaving clasped weft with 2 colors can create a really fun and interesting design, but what if you want more?

Adding on a third color isn’t really more difficult as long as you start it out correctly.

The most important tip for weaving clasped weft with 3 colors is that the middle color will always be your lead color and you will need to pay attention to where the middle color started in your weaving.

When starting your 3 color clasped weft you will need to start the middle color (A) in the middle of the weaving. Then this color will travel the rest of the way across the shed to wrap around and pick up your second color (B) and then back across to pick up your third color (C). Then A will make its way back to where it started in the middle of the weaving. ALL of this happens within the same shed!

3 color clasped weft diagram

It is important for color A to go back to where it started to maintain the double weft as much as possible. If it goes too far then there will be an area of triple weft and if it doesn’t go far enough there will be an area of single weft. No matter what you do, there will be a small transition area where the double weft switches, but it should mostly blend in to the rest of the weaving.

Once you pick up both B and C with A then you can maneuver the weft to exactly where you want it before you beat it, just like 2 color clasped weft.

Tip: If you are having trouble starting and stopping your middle color A in the same spot each time, then use a knitting stitch marker or tie an extra piece of yarn around the warp you need to start and stop at to more easily identify it.

3 color clasped weft

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Clasped weft is a really great option for pretty much anything you want to create. It makes a stunning scarf, table runner, pillow, towel, etc. etc. Really anything you want to create could be fun with clasped weft. 

When you are weaving with clasped weft, to really get the most out of your design, I highly recommend choosing colors deliberately because they will really change the outcome of your finishing weaving. Choosing colors that are very different will make a bolder pattern that stands out more. You could also choose one of your wefts to be similar to that of your warp to give off a purposefully unbalanced look. 

Variegated yarns can also be a really fun inclusion because they change as you go with no extra thought required! This can usually lead to some really interesting and unexpected results.

As always, I recommend playing around with different ideas before planning a full project to fully get a feel for what this technique can do and how you want to use it.


5 Simple Weaving Knots Every Weaver Should Know

5 Simple Weaving Knots Every Weaver Should Know

Knots and yarn a lot of times go hand in hand.

This can be a good thing – or a bad thing. I’m sure we have all had our share of unwanted knots that keep us from our weavings or other Fiber Art. If you are getting these knots because you are using yarn by itself with no shuttle or bobbin then you might want to consider making a butterfly to keep your yarn from knotting.

Otherwise, there are some useful weaving knots that you will actually WANT for setting up and finishing your weaving.

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Square Knot

The most widely used knot in weaving and probably, in general, is the square knot. If you only know how to do one knot – this is the one!

You can use a square knot in many different ways when weaving.

I use it the most often when setting up a simple frame loom to attach my warp or scaffolding to the frame. A lot of weavers also use this to attach their warp to the apron bar on the floor loom – but I prefer the half bow for that (keep reading for that one.)

The square knot is strong and simple to do. It is hard to undo if it gets tight, though, so make sure you are ok with potentially cutting it off later.

How To Make A Square Knot:

weaving knots - square knot

You will want 2 open ends of yarn.

Step 1: Twist yarn 1 around and under yarn 2.

Step 2: Bring yarn back over yarn 2 and up.

Step 3: Bring yarn 2 over yarn 1.

Step 4: Yarn 2 goes around and under yarn 1 (through the loop that was created.)

Step 5: Pull tight!

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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!

Overhand Knot

The overhand knot is often used as a method to secure the fringe on the end of a scarf or rug.

Besides the square knot, this is probably the other most used knot on this list that you might use in other scenarios outside of weaving. While this one is very simple and well known – I figured it is still worth mentioning.

An overhand knot is useful in a lot of different scenarios – it is also how I tie the end of my grey thread when I am attaching it to a weaving and how I tie up my warp bundles at the back of my floor loom.

This knot also works well as a simple knot to secure fringe on a scarf or rug.

Learn more about fringe options here.

How To Make an Overhand Knot:

weaving knots - overhand knot

This can be done with any number of yarns.

Step 1: Create a loop with the end of your yarn(s) with the open end on top.

Step 2: Bring the open end of the yarn(s) around to the back and through the loop.

Step 3: Pull tight.

Lark’s Head

The lark’s head knot is not really a knot as much as a way to fasten yarn to something.

It is notable as a common way to attach your yarn to a dowel rod when starting up a new macrame wall hanging. Two common ways that it can be used in weaving are for 4 selvedge weaving and on your frame loom.

When you set up a loom for 4 selvedge weaving – the lark’s head knot is used around the bar to attach it to the frame. 

On a floor loom, this same knot is often used to attach the apron strings to the apron rod. It can also be used to attach the treadles to the lamms of certain floor looms. 

You can do the same thing around any object. In this step-by-step, I have done it around a tree branch.

How To Make A Lark’s Head Knot:

weaving knots - larks head

You will want 1 piece of yarn and something to attach it to.

Step 1: Fold your piece of yarn in half and lay it underneath your dowel rod, stick, or whatever you are attaching it too with the loop end up.

Step 2: Bring the open end of the yarn up, around, and through the loop above the stick.

Step 3: Pull the yarn all the way through the loop and position where you want it.

Step 4: Pull tight!

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Weaver’s Knot

The weaver’s knot is often used as a way to tie your new warp onto your existing warp.

This is a GREAT thing to do because it can cut down on your loom setup time.

If you are not a fan of the warping process and you already have some leftover warp/ loom waste still on your loom you can save yourself some time.

This is also a knot that you can use to attach 2 weft yarns together instead of dealing with tails.

That is not my preferred method, as a knot can be hard to hide – but it may be an option for you to try out. If you are using it for this technique then you will want to snip off the extra tails and trust the knot to do its job and hold it together.

Learn more about dealing with your weft tails here.

How To Make A Weaver’s Knot:

You will need 2 pieces of yarn.

Step 1: Yarn 1 should be straight and yarn 2 should be looped over at the end. Pull yarn 1 through the loop of yarn 2.

Step 2: Wrap yarn 1 under the longer part of yarn 2 at the base of the loop. It should go over the shorter part.

Step 3: Bring yarn 1 through the loop of yarn 2.

Step 4: Adjust yarn as necessary.

Step 5: Pull tight!

Half Bow

Just like the lark’s head knot, the half bow is used in both the 4 selvedge and floor loom process.

On a 4 selvedge weaving, you can use the half bow on the other end of the yarn that is using the lark’s head around the rod. The half bow will instead be around the frame.

On a floor loom, using a half bow is my favorite way to attach my warp to the apron rod.

This “knot” is ideal for this because it is both really strong and easy to undo.

Unlike the square knot that is hard to untie – the half bow comes off the rod easily. It is also stronger than a full bow because the size of the yarn around the loop is smaller and therefore holds tighter.

How To Make a Half Bow:

Pt. 1

weaving knots - half bow

You will need at least 1 piece of yarn and something to attach it to. In this case, I am using a frame and 1 piece of yarn that has been folded to have 2 ends. Your yarn will most likely be attached to a rod at the other end whether on a floor loom or warping 4 selvedge.

Step 1: Lay the yarn over your frame or rod with both ends together.

Step 2:  Next, bring your 2 ends around the frame and split them so there is one on each side.

Step 3: Bring 1 end over and around the other end (like the first step of the square knot.)

Step 4: Pull tight!

Pt. 2

weaving knots - half bow

Essentially, the second part of the half bow is just tying a bow (like you tie your shoes) and pulling out one of the loops.

Step 5: Create a loop with 1 end of the yarn.

Step 6: Wrap the other end of the yarn over and around the loop.

Step 7: Next, pull that same end through the other loop you created when you wrapped it around (this should now look like a bow.)

Step 8: Continue to pull that second end all the way through and tighten!

Knowing these weaving knots will help you out in a lot of different scenarios – both in and out of the studio!

Do you have a favorite weaving knot? One that I didn’t mention that you use all the time?

Let me know in the comments!


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How To Fix A Broken Warp On Any Loom

How To Fix A Broken Warp On Any Loom

What is the worst thing that can happen while you are weaving?

Depending on who you ask, the answer may be “a broken warp”.

While this is not an ideal thing to have to deal with, it is not the end of the world! A small setback – yes, but something that is actually very easy to deal with once you know how to do it!

One of my favorite things about weaving is how easy it can be to fix any mistakes that you make and issues that come up. 

Regardless of the type of loom you are using, your fixed warp will be just as simple to weave with as your previous warp was. You may end up having 2 extra tails to deal with when your weaving is off the loom, but in the grand scheme of things – this is doable.

I believe in you!

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Why your warp is breaking

Luckily, with a bit of forethought, a broken warp should not be a regular occurrence. Sometimes they do happen though and these are a few reasons why:

  • Getting twisted in your heddles – make sure to double-check your threading as you go. It is important to make sure your warp is going through the heddles straight or it adds stress on the yarn.
  • Too much friction in reed – if your warp is too thick or there is just too much stress on your yarn (selvedges pulling in a lot) then the reed may be putting friction on it.
  • Accidently cutting it when you mean to cut weft – oops! 
  • Picked the wrong warp – Warp yarns should be strong! If you are trying to use yarns that do not meet the strength test then they will be more likely to break. While a broken warp here and there is not something to get too worried about – having yarn that is unsuitable for warp will make trying to weave with it an uphill battle. Do yourself a favor and do not choose yarn that is not strong enough for the job. Learn more about picking the right warp yarn here.

If you are not sure why your warp is breaking then try to see where it is breaking. This can help you determine the problem.

Fixing a broken warp on a simple frame loom

broken warp on simple frame loom

What you need: extra warp yarn

One of the best things about a simple frame loom is just how simple it is! That even extends to fixing a broken warp. 

Learn more about simple frame looms here.

This method is best for when you do not have a lot woven. If you have already woven a lot then you can follow the instructions in the next section for the notched loom where we do not completely replace the warp.

The first thing you will want to do when you have a broken warp is to tie off the top of the warp yarn to the frame to keep your tension even. This is important because your warp is one continuous piece of yarn. A simple square knot will be fine for this.

Learn more about weaving knots here.

Cut a piece of yarn to be your replacement warp. This warp yarn will need to be longer than the height of your weaving so that you have enough yarn to tie it to the frame. The amount extra will depend on the frame you are using and how much yarn you personally need to tie a knot.

Next: tie this new warp yarn to the bottom of the frame in the same spot as the broken warp.

new warp on a simple frame loom

Then with your tapestry needle, follow the warp channel (include your scaffolding with this) and up through your weaving. Be careful not to pierce the weft yarns on the front or the back of your weaving!

Take this new warp yarn and tie it to the top of your frame, again make sure to go through your scaffolding. This will be next to your original tied warp. 

fix broken warp

Once your new warp is in place you can remove the old warp from your weaving and tie it to the bottom of your frame. This will keep the tension of your weaving.

Done! Keep weaving like nothing ever happened.

tie on broken warp on simple frame loom

Fixing a broken warp on a notched frame loom

broken warp on notched frame loom

What you need: extra warp yarn

Fixing a broken warp yarn on a notched frame loom is essentially the exact same as fixing a broken warp yarn on a simple frame loom. This is because neither one of them has an advancing warp. These smaller weavings are easier to fix because you can just tie a new warp yarn onto your frame in place of the broken one. 

The same options also apply. If your woven area is small then I recommend a full replacement, and if your woven area is large then your broken warp yarn should stay in place with the new warp yarn overlapping and taking over for the rest of the weaving.

The size of the woven area in these photos is small enough that I could have done a full replacement, but I opted for an overlapped warp for the sake of this post.

tie on broken warp to frame loom

If you are overlapping your warp then instead of weaving up the entire warp channel, you would instead weave into your scaffolding and then float the warp on the back of the weaving until a few inches below the top of your woven area. Then weave up the remaining few inches of your warp channel and tie your new warp to the top of the loom. 

This is much simpler than trying to weave up the warp channel of a large weaving but it still anchors the warp in place for easy weaving.

broken warp float on weaving

Your old warp yarn will stay in place and your new warp yarn will overlap it by a few wefts. The friction of the weft on the broken warp will keep the tension intact for the remainder of the weaving.

The pictures show the warp floating on the front of the weaving because it is easier to fix this way, but you will want to push these tails to the back of the weaving when you are finishing it. This will make it look cleaner.

fixing a broken warp on a notched frame loom

Once the weaving is finished and off the loom you can weave the broken warp and the new warp back into the weaving. Pull the new warp from the scaffolding to free it to be woven in. This is done in the same way as you would weave in your weft tails.

Learn how to weave in your weft tails here.

You can find the notched loom I am using here.

Fixing a broken warp on a rigid heddle and floor loom

What you need: extra warp yarn, t-pins, weights, something to hold your extra warp

Fixing a broken warp on a rigid heddle loom and a floor loom (and also a table loom!) is basically the same because the warp mechanics are very similar.

The biggest difference will be in the weights and types of weights you will be able to use since floor looms are much taller than their rigid heddle and table counterparts. It is possible you can use similar weights, but you will have to play around with the right options to maintain the right tension on your warp.

The first thing you need to do for a broken warp on an advancing warp loom is to measure out a new warp yarn to replace the broken one. I always like to make notes on my weavings for occasions like these. That way I know exactly how long my replacement warp yarn should be.

Re-sleying a broken warp on a rigid heddle loom

Take this warp over to your loom and tie a small square knot at one end.

Insert your t-pin into this knot and insert your t-pin into your weaving a few inches below where your woven area has stopped. Be careful when inserting your t-pin into your weaving that you do not pierce your weaving. Also, I recommend putting the tip of the pin toward the back of your weaving so you do not pierce yourself…

Next, you will re-sley your reed or your rigid heddle with your new warp yarn. If using a floor or table loom you will need to also re-thread your heddle.

The remainder of your yarn can be wrapped around a weight and left to hang from the back of your weaving.

If you have old film canisters or pill bottles these work really well to contain the remainder of your warp so it is not dragging on the ground.

broken warp with weight

broken warp with weight

The weight that you choose will depend on the amount of tension that you need. Fishing weights are really good options because they are small and heavy, but you can use anything that is easy to get your hands on!

You will need to let out the extra warp as you keep weaving and moving your warp forward. Just think of this as a way to make sure you get up and stretch occasionally!

fixing a broken warp on a rigid heddle or floor loom

Your new warp will weave in seamlessly and beyond letting out some warp from the weight occasionally, your weaving experience will be the same.

Once your weaving is finished you can take it off your loom as usual.

To start your finishing process: remove your t-pin or straight pin and untie your square knot. You will finish this the same way as any other broken warp. Weave in your broken and new warp up and down the warp channels. It is ok if your new warp tail is on the shorter side, weave it in anyway. It will be overlapping your old warp so everything should stay in place.

This works even if you have a balanced weaving and you can see the warps. I have circled where the warps overlap in the picture below.

Barely noticeable!

The Schacht Flip folding rigid heddle loom I am using can be found here.

fixing a broken warp overlapping warp

When a warp breaks it can be easy to stress out and get discouraged. Luckily, if you follow any of the steps above then it should not be any more than a few minutes of extra time added to your weaving!

How To Use A Warping Board

How To Use A Warping Board

Measuring out your warp for your loom is an important weaving skill that all weavers should know how to do.

It is one of the first steps for setting up your weaving on your loom. When it comes to measuring your warp for your floor, table, or even your rigid heddle loom* there are 2 main options to choose from – a warping board or a warping mill.

*Rigid heddle looms are often direct warped, but using a warping board or mill is still a great skill to learn in case you don’t want to direct warp.

Learn more about the differences between direct and indirect warping here.

Today we are talking about the warping board.

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Why would you choose a warping board over a warping mill?

  • Available Space
  • Available Funds

Warping boards will take up less space than warping mills because they are flatter and can be hung on a wall. A warping mill needs room to freely rotate – although it can usually be collapsed some when not in use. Warping boards are also usually easy to take apart and therefore easier to travel with if you need to.

Boards tend to be less expensive than mills because they have no moving parts. In fact, they’re essentially glorified frames with pegs in them. That being said, the pegs are spaced out in such a way that you should be able to measure your warp in yards and half yards if you follow the right path.

First things first: How much warp do you need?

If you are planning your weaving then you will figure out how many warp ends (individual warps) you need and how long those warps will be. This is the first step when it comes to using your warping board.

If you need help figuring this out then make sure to check out my planning your weaving post. You can also get my Weaving Process & Planning Guide where I walk you through that (and more!) plus you get the exclusive project planning worksheet. Just click the image below.

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!

Create a leader yarn

warping board leader yarn

Choose some yarn that is a different color than your warp. I like to use inexpensive acrylic yarn in a bright color so there will be no doubt that it is not my usual warp and it is easy to follow.

Measure out one strand of yarn that is the length of your desired warp plus a little extra (just a few inches.) That little extra yarn will allow you to tie your leader yarn to your warping board and still maintain the length you need.

You can (and should!) hang onto this yarn to reuse in the future. Even if your future warp is shorter than your current one, you can mark the new length on your leader yarn and tie it around the correct peg at that point. It is ok to have some extra that isn’t being used. It’s better than creating a whole new length of yarn if you don’t have to!

Find your warp path

Not your war path.

Your warp path may be different every time you measure your warp depending on your warping board and the length of your yarn. You can follow the side of your frame, zig-zag across it, or do anything in between!

Find the path that makes the most sense to you and one that allows you to create a good rhythm. You will have to follow this path with your warp yarn hundreds of times so don’t make it too hard on yourself and it’s a bonus if it can even be a little fun! Put on some music and get into your warping rhythm.

When you apply your leader yarn to your warp path you will want to build in the beginning of your x so that you can account for that extra yarn and it’s easier to follow when you start warping. As you can see in the image above – the leader yarn does not go straight across the top of the pegs. Instead, it bends around and under peg 3.

More on that …

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!

The importance of the “x”

The x in your weaving is something that you want to stay mindful of when measuring your warp and setting up your loom. Creating this cross keeps your individual warps separated and avoids tangled yarn and messy situations. While losing your x is not the end of the world, it is definitely still something you want to avoid if you can help it. 300 tangled warp ends aren’t anyone’s friend.

Trust me.

Using your warping board

keep your cross on warping board

Attach your yarn straight from the cone/ tube/ or skein by tying it to your first peg.

Follow your lead yarn so that it goes over peg 2 and under peg 3.

Continue over the rest of your pegs and wrap around the last peg at the end of your leader yarn.

Follow the lead yarn back to the beginning but this time you will do the opposite of what you did originally.

Go over peg 3 and under peg 2.

Continue by going around peg 1 and starting over.

Do this as many times as you have warp ends!

You can count your warp as you go or just count every so often – it’s up to you. I do recommend stopping every once in a while to count out your warp ends and bundle them every 25-50 warps with a looped piece of yarn and an overhand knot. I always count more than once, just in case. This will make it so at the end you don’t have to count and recount hundreds of warp ends. (shown in first image under warp ties below- top row)

tie off warp on warping board

Once you are finished – cut your warp yarn with some to spare and use that end to tie your warp bundle together at the last peg. To do this you will loop your cut end around the top bundle and then bring it back through the loop you created. (shown above)

Do this twice.

Warp ties

warping board ties

You can use any yarn that you have that is a different color from your warp (I talk about using recycled yarn for this exact reason in THIS post!) I like to call warp ties “security blankets” because they help to make sure all your hard work counting out and creating your warp bundle doesn’t end up in a big pile of knots! The warp ties in the images above are made with bright blue yarn.

The most important space for your warp ties is around your x. You will essentially be wrapping your security blanket yarn around this cross twice to make it really secure. Then a simple overhand knot will keep it in place. (see the third picture above top row)

You will also want warp ties:

  • On each side of your x. Make a loop around the bundle and use an overhand knot. This will help you out if you accidentally lose your x later on.
  • Around every foot or so of warp. This one will be done sort of like a figure 8. I usually divide up my warp into 3 smaller bundles and go around those. (see middle picture above – top row) Follow the red arrows!

Once you are done with all your warp ties you can carefully pull your warp off your board and transfer it to your loom! If you are planning to warp your loom right away then you can move it straight over. If you are planning to warp your loom later or you need to transfer it then I recommend chaining it to move it easier.

How to chain your warp bundle

chain your warp

If you crochet then think of this the same way you start a project, but with your arm instead of a hook. Stick your arm through your x loop and reach down to your bundle.

Pull up some of the bundle through your loop creating another loop.

Continue until the end.

This will create a shorter bundle that is easier to transfer and less likely to get tangled.

Things to keep in mind

If you have a lot of warp ends then I recommend measuring out your warp bundle in stages. Once you are setting up your loom you can’t stop mid sleighing of your reed for each bundle (when warping front to back.) When you break up your warp into multiple bundles it allows you to take a break if you need to. Get up and stretch or grab a sip or water.

I recommend this once your warp ends get to be over 200. Then just break it up into bundles of 100 or whatever amount seems manageable for you.

fix knots on a warping board

If you come across any knots in your warp yarn while using your warping board then you will want to keep those out of your finished weaving. Cut your warp yarn at the knot and go back to either your 1st or last peg (whichever is closer) and tie the warp to the peg just like when you first started (see above.) Start again from this same peg and keep going. You may lose a little bit of yarn this way depending on where your knot was, but it’s better than having a knot in your weaving!

This is also how you would keep going if you finish up a cone of yarn and need to start another. Knots at the end of your bundles around your pegs will not affect your weaving at all because they are a part of your loom waste. Knots in the middle of your warp will be visible in your finished weaving.

You can avoid them.

Stabilizing your warp cone or tube while measuring your warp will help you have a more fluid motion with your board. It will also keep your yarn cleaner since it’s not rolling all around your floor. You can use a cone holder like this one that will rotate and keep it coming off the cone smoother. Or this stationary one that holds up to 4 cones at a time.

Or you can just put your warp yarn in a box on the floor and let it roll around in there. Not quite as elegant and a little finicky, but it works.

Warp a little faster

warping board - warp faster

Using two hands while you are warping can actually make it go faster. Follow your leading hand with your other hand in order to help you smoothly get around your pegs. The more you use your warping board the faster you will get and the easier it will be to get in the flow.

Put on some music and enjoy the movement of the warp across the board. It can be almost as meditative as the weaving itself.

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.

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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)


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.

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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!

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