Ok, so maybe this post should have been in January. That is when everyone does their resolutions, right? Well, January for me was more of a recovery from 2023. Plus, we can make resolutions to improve our weaving at any point, and really we should! We should continue to reevaluate our weavings goals throughout the year as new things pop up in our lives, we discover new techniques or materials, or really any time we just feel like it.
There is never a bad time to improve.
Weave more (think less)
When you are weaving, you have to make a lot of decisions. The type of weaving you do might require these decisions at different times, before you weave, during, or after, but those decisions are always there.
Now, I am not saying to not plan your weaving. Not at all, because planning is essential for a weavings success. You can learn more about planning your weaving here.
While it can be a really interesting experiment to not do a lot of planning at the start to see what becomes of your weaving, what I am really talking about is trusting yourself to make decisions without overthinking while you are weaving.
Overthinking as you weave will cause you to second guess yourself. Instead, you need to trust in yourself and the process. Try to be intuitive in your weaving and not only will it be more enjoyable, but it will also move along faster.
And really, what do you have to lose? If you don’t like it, you can always unweave and try again!
The act of unweaving may seem defeating, but really it is an opportunity to create exactly what you want. The fact that you can unweave so easily and without destroying your artwork is one of the things that makes weaving so wonderful. Everything is easy to fix.
So in order to weave more, you need to think less. Trust yourself and see what you create.
Think more (and weave more)
Ok, now you probably think I have lost it.
I stand by what I said above, that we could all stand to think a bit less when we are weaving. We could also stand to think a bit more. It really just depends on when we are thinking and maybe what we are thinking about.
As I said above, thinking before we start weaving during the planning process is greatly beneficial to the overall weaving. Spending a little extra time thinking about our colors, materials, techniques, etc. can save us from having to unweave and reweave so. many. times. It can also help to ensure the final product is exactly what we want it to be and functions the way we want it too as well.
Your practice may be completely different from mine, but the materials I use are incredibly important to the meaning of each piece. Each decision you make is a part of your final product. I am always thinking about the materials that I use and what they mean for my work.
For example, my tapestries never contain animal fibers even though wool is the most common weft for tapestry. (Learn more about tapestry here). Instead, I use all cellulose fibers like cotton, linen, and hemp. Since my tapestries are inspired by natural patterns found in rocks, trees, lichen etc. it just doesn’t make sense to me to use wool or alpaca for my weft.
This may not be the same for you but I invite you to think about what you are using and what it means.
Enjoy the process
Sometimes we get so caught up in making that we forget the reason why we make in the first place.
You probably got into weaving because you thought it would be interesting and you wanted to have a specific end result. Hopefully, you also think that it is fun!
If you are weaving just to weave then you are missing out on the magic of the art. This can happen a lot if you start a weaving business or you are creating a lot for presents. Really any time you are weaving a lot that is not for yourself.
I know that even with this site where I am constantly talking about weaving, it can be really easy for me to not weave for myself. The amount of weavings I create for classes compared to what I create for my own studio is vastly unproportional.
Due to this I am trying to make sure that I am weaving, at least a little bit, almost every day. What is working for me right now is weaving smaller pieces that I can take with me anywhere. The image above shows just some of the embroidery weavings and fabric weaving that I have been doing on a small scale.
Of course, I always have multiple weavings going at once. So there is always a larger piece sitting on the loom for when I can dedicate the full time to it.
Enjoying the process also means only weaving what you want to weave and not what you think you should. I weave small most of the time because I like to weave small. I do this for me. Make sure you are doing it for you.
Always be learning
It is 2024. There is no end to the amount of knowledge that is out in the world about literally everything. Weaving is no exception.
Even if you love exactly what you are weaving you can always be learning new techniques, weaving history, about new materials, etc. All of these things can be helpful to add to your own practice. Learning more about weaving can never hurt your weaving practice.
As someone who runs a weaving business, teaches weaving classes, and likes to think I have a lot of weaving knowledge – I also benefit from taking classes, reading books, and learning from other weavers.
Considering weaving has been around for over 10,000 years, it is safe to say that no one person knows everything. There are so many different types of weaving, different materials, techniques, and tools. Weaving has been done all over the world and has different origins and uses.
You never know when learning something new will spark a moment of inspiration that you can apply to your weavings. This can also help you to keep things interesting and continue to enjoy the weaving process.
No matter what your goals are for this year, I highly recommend you make some plans to change things up. Even if your goal is just to weave more, the act of weaving can sometimes be inspiration in and of itself. As you practice and gain more control over your weaving then you can gain more confidence in what you are doing. Confidence allows you to take chances without overthinking things.
I have been getting more and more questions from new or prospective weavers about how to actually get started with weaving. The world of weaving is vast and if you do not already have a clear idea of where you want to go it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to start.
Warped Fibers has well over 100 posts to teach you all about different types of weaving, tutorials for techniques, material and tool spotlights, weaving philosophy and so much more. That being said, you don’t know what you don’t know, so how do you know where to go first?
This guide will walk you through the very basics of figuring out where to start – including the most common weaving terms, types of weavings, types of looms, and more. This guide also includes many links that will help you move forward.
These links all go to various beginner friendly posts here on Warped Fibers that are great to read through to help you with the basics.
What happens after all of this though?
Instagram and pinterest are both perfect for finding inspiration to try and figure out what types of weaving you want to learn. Weaving comes in many different shapes and forms. By doing a bit of research and answering a few questions you can get a better idea of what you want to pursue.
See if you can answer these questions to get started:
All of these questions can lead you to a good place to start with figuring out what is right for you. If you said yes to all of the above, well, then try to narrow it down to what is the most accessible for you to start out with. There will be time for you to try out everything eventually!
One of the best ways for anyone to start weaving is to take a class.
Taking a weaving class allows you to not only learn from a weaver and ask questions, but if the class is in-person then it also allows you to use the tools and materials without purchasing them for yourself!
This is especially great for classes that involve large equipment like floor looms that you may want to try out before you invest the money and space in your home. I have had many students use this method and many who continue to take the class to keep access to the floor looms without purchasing and housing one themselves.
Classes can also help you to get started faster because the planning is usually already done for you. This way you can get into the weaving faster! Hopefully, the class will also teach you the planning, but admittedly it sometimes helps to get to the fun stuff before the tedious things when starting something new.
Taking a weaving class is also great because it allows you to dedicate a specific time to learn something. Sometimes it can be hard to sit down and learn on your own time. That being said, you might want something you can do on your own time.
Online classes are great options if there are no classes near you or you can’t make them work with your schedule. These classes can usually be done on your own time so you don’t have to worry about learning to weave around someone else’s schedule, instead you get to learn on your own!
If after everything else, you are still not sure where to start, then I recommend just starting anywhere. I know that can be easy to say and not always easy to do, but tough love time.
Let me let you in a little secret:
Your first weaving does not have to be perfect. Either does your second or your 100th.
It can be really easy to get caught up in the idea that you have to learn every little thing before you get started. And while I recommend learning about the techniques and mediums you want to use, if you wait to start anything until you know everything then you will never start.
So grab some cardboard, wrap some yarn around it, and try bringing weft to warp.
Starting with a simple plain weave, you can get a feel for the act of weaving itself by playing with your materials. Think about color, texture, and more. Then think about what you wish you could be weaving and that is probably a good place to go next!
Samples can also be a great way to try things out before you devote your time and materials to a full project. If you go into a weaving knowing that it is a trial then it can help allow you to take chances and make mistakes. This is what will really help you to learn.
If you are just trying things out then weaving with paper can also be a really good starting point. It is a surprisingly versatile weaving material that can go far beyond children’s crafts. It is also inexpensive which means it can be an accessible option for just about anyone.
The question of where to start your weaving adventure doesn’t have only one answer. Figuring out why weaving is calling to you can be one of the most helpful ways to find a starting place, and so does just starting literally anywhere.
One of the things that I love about creating this site is that I can bring weaving information to anyone who is willing to come find it. You can join my mailing list at any time and get an email whenever there is a new post. That way you can learn things you didn’t even know you didn’t know.
It is not an “I have this idea and I want to get it out as quickly as possible” artform.
It also is not a source of instant gratification.
So what I’m trying to say is:
Especially if you are weaving detailed tapestry, then your entire weaving will probably take longer than you think it will.
Here is the thing though, it will be worth it.
All that time it takes you to weave up each shape, image, or pattern – once it comes together – it will be worth it.
You just have to have a little bit of patience to get that far. If there is anything that can teach you patience is a technique with such a big payout.
If I am being honest – I am a generally impatient person. Weaving helps me to really appreciate the process, though. Since you can literally see it growing with each row of weft that is added, this definitely helps.
Here is a bonus tip: step back from your weaving on occasion. This is related to patience but takes it a step further. Sometimes it can be hard to see just how much progress you have made when you are so close. It takes stepping back and seeing the entire weaving from a different perspective to understand and appreciate your progress.
Do this in life too. Sometimes we are too close to something to understand how it is coming together. Step back to see the bigger picture.
Decision making / Problem solving
If you have read through my Weaving Shapes e-book then you know that one of the biggest parts of weaving shapes (or weaving in general) is making decisions.
I strongly believe that you can weave one thing one day, and the same thing another day and have it turn out differently.
Actually, try that out! That is a fun project idea.
Since we are all affected by our lives and our surroundings. Different days produce different results.
When you are weaving something (specifically imagery) you have to decide how to make it work on a grid. Depending on what you are weaving, this could be simple or hard. You have to problem-solve in order to make the smoothest curves and most precise shapes that you can.
Each day you may weave a little differently, though.
One day you may beat a little harder which makes you add an extra weft or two. This will change your weaving. While you can try your best to weave the same every day – we are all human.
These little shifts in our day-to-day weaving are a part of what it means to weave by hand. It is what really makes it stand apart from that which is woven by machine.
Each time that you place a weft you are making a decision.
Learning how to weave and the problem-solving that it involves can be translated to your life. Sometimes you just have to make the decision to move forward and if it does not work out? No worries, fix it and try again.
If you sit and ponder about how to weave what you want to weave for too long, you will never actually get anywhere.
Sometimes things do not turn out exactly as you want. You did not weave enough wefts, it does not quite match your image, or anything in between.
This is fine.
Weaving is an easy medium to fix. That is one of the reasons I like it so much. It is not like ceramics where if you drop it it will break or if you do not knead it well enough it will have bubbles and explode (can you tell I have not had the best experience with pottery…?)
If something does not work out then you will either have to un-weave it or live with it.
It helps to forgive yourself and not worry too much about the extra time spent (patience) or the change in your plans. Perhaps this situation taught you something, or maybe it just means that you get to spend some extra time weaving. Either way, no matter how careful you are, at some point you will have to fix something.
Even when you become an “expert” you will make mistakes. You will probably just make different mistakes.
So do not fret. It happens to all of us.
You learn to not spend too much time getting worried that it did not work out. Instead – you fix it, learn from it, and keep going.
We have all heard these before, but weaving can really make them make sense.
It can be so tempting and so easy to speed forward and try to get to “the good stuff” aka the weaving, but that is not always almost never the best policy.
Sometimes you may not even be doing it on purpose as a means to get to the finish line and instead you are just getting lost in the process. This is incredibly easy to do, and arguably the ability to get lost in the process is one of the best things about weaving. Who doesn’t want to get lost in their artwork?
With all that, though, paying just a little more attention to your process will save you a lot of time in the long run. Taking your time to set up means you do not have to undo any mistakes. Not only does this save you time, but it can also save you some sanity.
Trust me, it is incredibly annoying to finish warping your loom only to notice you made a mistake at the very beginning! If you took a second to double-check your work then you would not have to waste time undoing and redoing the whole thing.
While I firmly believe that making mistakes is how you learn best, avoiding mistakes and knowing how to avoid mistakes also helps you learn.
Speeding through the process is not only not a good idea because you are bound to make mistakes, but because you are bound to miss the things about weaving that make it so amazing.
Take the time to really enjoy the process, because if you do not enjoy the process then what is the point?
Do you have a favorite thing that weaving has taught you? Let me know in the comments below!
Like the yarn in the photos?
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