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.

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!

“Lazy Weaving” & A Woven Coaster Project

“Lazy Weaving” & A Woven Coaster Project

Sometimes you just want to create an easy woven project that does not take a lot of extra thought or planning. Even better if it also does not require a lot of extra finishing techniques as well. From start to finish, lazy weaving projects are simple, fast, and satisfying.

If you are looking for a project that allows you to just keep weaving until you run out of warp and get lost in the weaving process then these lazy woven coasters are perfect or you. 

Why lazy weaving can be great

woven coasters long weaving

First, let’s talk a little bit about what I am affectionately calling “lazy” weaving. This style of weaving is not actually lazy as it still requires you to warp your loom and weave up your project. 

Instead, lazy weaving means the skipping of steps that are not necessary for the success of the weaving.

In the case of these coasters, the difference between lazy and “non-lazy” weaving is that we are not separating the coasters by adding in spacers. While this may seem like a small difference, when it comes down to the finishing process we will be going for a much faster solution. When you weave in spacers it means you will have to finish all of the selvedges which can take a long time.

Weaving this way means that you get to Just. Keep. Weaving! 

Go ahead and get lost in the process. Put on an audiobook or stream that new show. Have a weave-along with friends and get lost in the conversation. (all highly recommended!)

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.

This method will not work for every type of weaving you do. It may not even work for a lot of weavings that you can do, but if you are looking for something that will allow you worry a bit less and produce a useful product then this is perfect. 

Lazy weaving means taking shortcuts when they are appropriate but it does not mean sacrificing the integrity of your weaving. You still probably want to pay attention to your beat and your selvedges. Make sure the weaving itself lives up to your ideals and just keep going.

In other circumstances, lazy weaving may mean not caring about your selvedges because you are planning to sew your fabric into something else or not weaving in your tails for the same reason.

The pattern

woven coasters on rigid heddle loom

Let’s move onto a project!

You could use a lot of different patterns for this project, but the one that I am using here is adapted from my colorblock scarf pattern. If you haven’t already joined the Warped Community (for free!) make sure you do and you will get access to the colorblock scarf pattern and more! Join here.

This is a really great pattern for this coaster project because it is bold and simple. 

Unlike the original pattern we are stopping each color block sooner since our weaving is thinner. Each color block is about 2.5 inches long instead of 6. You can weave an extra pick or so of weft for each color too to make up for the space needed to sew between each one, but if you don’t then that’s ok! They will be just a little shorter than 5 inches. We are weaving lazy here, so do whatever feels right.

The width of our weaving is also 5 inches instead of 10 from the original pattern. This gets us 5 inch square coasters with 2 color blocks on each one.

Preparing your coasters for sewing

woven coasters tail error

Sewing your weavings can be really scary sometimes. I did an entire post about how to get over your fear of sewing handwoven fabric and you can read about that here.

That being said, we are doing something a little bit different this time around.

First thing you will want to do is finish up your weft tails. I highly recommend you do this before you do any sewing on your fabric. If you wait to do this step later then there is a really good chance that you will accidentally sew one of your tales onto your weaving (see image above. oops.) You should be able to cut any trapped tails, but it is a lot easier to just do the work at the beginning instead of fixing it later.

Learn about dealing with your weft tails here.

wash woven coasters

Next, you will need to wash your weaving.

This will make sure that your yarn has filled out and settled.

Handwash your weaving with a gentle soap and warm water and you will want to agitate it some, but not too much. I am using 100 percent wool so I am actually hoping for it to felt a bit. This will make it even easier to sew. If you are not using wool or your are using a superwash wool then don’t worry. It will still sew up fine without felting!

Learn more about yarn treatments here.

After washing, the best way for your weaving to dry is to lay it flat on a towel. I usually just leave mine overnight.

After your weaving is fully dry we can sew our individual coasters!

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!

Sewing our woven coasters

We will be using a regular straight stitch and going over it twice to make sure all of your warps and weft are secure. You could also use a zig-zag stitch instead, but without a backing on your weaving this can be a bit sketchy at times. At least on my sewing machine it moves the yarns too much. Doubling your straight stitches are a safer option.

I always like to practice on a scrap piece of fabric first to make sure my sewing machine is behaving. You don’t want to start sewing on your handwoven fabric only for your sewing machine to get stuck! Sacrifice some normal fabric first!

start sewing with test fabric

sewing lazy woven coasters

The first line of sewing will be up against your warp ends. I usually just tie off my warps for a fast option to keep everything in place to take it off the loom. I go over the same line twice to make sure to catch each and every yarn. This will help to make sure nothing escapes after you cut your weaving.

Next, you will want to sew two parallel lines just on either side of a color block change with about a quarter of inch between them.

You will cut between these lines when you are finished. You can either sew and then cut and sew more, or sew all of your coasters at once and then cut. It is entirely up to you!

sewing woven coasters

Finishing your coasters

cut apart woven coasters

finished lazy woven coasters

After cutting your coasters apart you may need to clean them up a bit.

Trim any threads left over from sewing and gently tug at the sewn selvedges of your coasters. You may get some errant pieces of yarn or fuzz that come out of the edge. This is totally normal! Just pull them out and trim your coasters until they look clean.

Your lazy woven coasters are now ready to use!

What are your thoughts on lazy weaving? Let me know!

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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!

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 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!

Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving Book Review

Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving Book Review

When it comes to weaving books there is always something new.

There is pretty much always something “old” too.

Just because a book is not new and flashy doesn’t mean that it isn’t a valuable addition to your weaving studio library!

One such book that you can always find when searching for rigid heddle books is Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving by Betty Lynn Davenport. So I figured it was finally time to look it over and see if it’s worth it.

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About the book

hands on rigid heddle weaving review

Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving is 120 pages of text, black and white illustrations, and color photos throughout that walk you through the process of rigid heddle weaving from start to finish. It was first published in 1987, so it is not a new weaving book. That being said, weaving has been around for over 10,000 years so it is still technically on the newer side if you think of it that way.

Also, it is always good to keep in mind that we can learn new weaving tips from ANY source no matter the age of the information.

Unlike some other subjects, weaving information does not expire so don’t be turned off by the age of the book.

Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving has 6 sections (not including the index)

  • Introduction
  • A First Project
  • Discovering Plain Weave
  • Hand-controlled Weaves
  • On Your Own
  • Appendix

Within these different sections you can expect to learn:

How to plan your weaving , choosing yarns, how to choose a rigid heddle, troubleshooting, warping variations, and more!

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.

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What I like about Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving

hand on rigid heddle weaving illustrations

While most often you will probably be direct warping your rigid heddle loom, this book has instructions for how to warp your rigid heddle indirectly instead. While I wish this book had both sets of instructions in case this was your only rigid heddle book, I like that it gives you another option if you want it. Especially because indirect warping is not nearly as popular for rigid heddle weaving and it has it’s own pros.

Having more options helps to eliminate barriers that can come up when you are weaving (or doing really anything). So I will always praise having more options!

Read more about direct vs indirect warping here.

Keep in mind that if you are indirect warping then you will need a warping board. You can learn how to use one here.

This rigid heddle book contains both color photographs and illustrations.

The illustrations that are peppered throughout the book are really well done and add some whimsy. This is a very welcome part of this book because they never feel dated!

Illustrations can also be a great addition to any book because they are solely focused on what they are trying to show you and not competing with a background or anything else. This allows them to be precise and to the point – something that you want in a book that is teaching you how to do something!

Get It On Amazon!

What I don’t like about it

hands on rigid heddle weaving 80s fashion

Visually speaking, most newer books definitely benefit from feeling fresh and bright. As previously mentioned, since Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving was published in the 80s (not old by any means, but not recently published either) it can feel and look a bit dated. 

Should we hold that against this book?

No, we shouldn’t, but that does not make me wish for brighter, more inviting photos any less. Some of the projects in the book are also a bit dated (think 80s fashion.) That being said, just because something is not exactly as you would want it, it does not mean that you can’t learn from the projects themselves. It is always a good idea to look through the projects regardless of whether you are interested in making them or not because it can help you to better understand how to plan your own projects.

Another thing that I do not love about this book (and other rigid heddle books like it) is it’s sections on tapestry weaving.

I have said it before, and I will probably say it again, but I generally do not recommend rigid heddle looms for tapestry weaving. 

Can it be done?

Of course it can. 

Will you be getting the best tapestry weaving experience?


That being said, if you want to weave tapestry on a rigid heddle loom, I am not going to stop you and no one else should either. Do what is going to be best for you. If you are interested in tapestry and a rigid heddle loom is all you have then go for it. Just know that if you love it (I’m sure you will!) then you may want to invest in a more suitable loom in the future.

If you want a recommendation for a great and inexpensive loom for tapestry then consider a simple frame loom. More looms is always better in my opinion!

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!

Who this book is for

hands on rigid heddle weaving book review

Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving is for any weaver that is looking to expand their weaving library!

If that is you then will find this book great to keep on hand. While it can be easy to think that if you have 1 book you will not need any others, having books by different people is always a great thing if you have the space and the means. 

Learning from more than 1 person can only help you to become a better weaver and develop a style and rhythm all your own. So while I always recommend Inventive Weaving On A Little Loom by Syne Mitchell, I also recommend this book for rigid heddle weavers.
I wouldn’t say that Hands On Rigid Heddle Loom is for true beginners, especially considering it does not contain information about direct warping.

But instead it is for someone that already has some knowledge and is looking to expand upon that.

Fixing Weaving Floats – Warp & Weft

Fixing Weaving Floats – Warp & Weft

Sometimes we want floats in our weaving. Sometimes we don’t. 

When you don’t want floats and they sneak up on you – DON’T PANIC – it is not the end of the world! Like most things in weaving, floats are fixable.

They are also avoidable!

Let’s take a look at how to keep ourselves from creating accidental warp and weft floats and how to fix them if we do.

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 are floats

weaving on rigid heddle loom with accidental warp and weft floats

First things first, what are floats? 

A float in your weaving occurs anytime your warp goes over or under more than 1 weft or when your weft goes over or under more than 1 warp.  

We have talked about floats a few different times here on Warped Fibers, so if you are interested in creating floats on purpose then make sure to check out these posts:

Weaving with weft floats

How to use pick-up sticks on your rigid heddle loom

As you can see, you might want to have floats in your weaving if you are going for a certain look or you are using a pattern that includes floats (pretty much any pattern other than plain weave – overshot, waffle weave, or huck lace). 

How to avoid floats in your weaving

large vs small warp shed

But what happens when you don’t want weft floats? The best thing to do is to avoid them to begin with if they do not fit into your weaving plan. There are a few good ways to help keep your weaving float free if that is what you want!

Your shed is important.

The size of your shed can make a big difference when it comes to avoiding floats in your weaving. 

As a reminder, your shed is the opening created in your weaving while using certain types of looms that are created when the warps you want to weave under are pulled up or the warps you want to weave over are pushed down. 

Your shed plays an important role in avoiding floats because the larger your shed, the easier it will be to bring your shuttle through without grabbing or missing any unwanted threads. If your shed is small and narrow, then you may struggle to glide freely – making it easier to make a mistake.

To avoid this, make sure to advance your warp whenever you notice your shed shrinking. As a plus, this can also help keep your selvedges straight because you don’t have to struggle to get your shuttle through causing you to pull too hard on your selvedges.

Always be touching your heddle or reed

shuttle position in heddle or reed to avoid floats

Regardless of the size of your shed, it will always be widest right next to your reed or heddle. Whenever you are bringing your shuttle through your shed it can help to slide your shuttle against the reed in order to help you avoid unwanted floats.

Something to keep in mind, “sticky” yarns will create more accidental floats if you are not careful. A sticky yarn would be one that is not smooth but instead is probably hairy. These little hairs tend to want to combine with others making them “stick” together. This can create a “messy” shed instead of a clean one. This is not a technical term, just what I like to call it.

If you have a hairy yarn that tends to stick you will need to pay attention and clear your shed before passing your shuttle through. Beating with your heddle or reed before passing your shuttle can usually clean this up for you.

clean vs messy weaving shed

Another possible reason for a messy shed is if you have twisted warps. This is usually the result of either incorrect threading or warps that are twisted around one another. Both of these need to be fixed prior to weaving.

Learn about fixing threading mistakes here.

Regardless, it is always a good idea to look through your shed to make sure it is clean before you start weaving. That way you know what to expect from the weaving process.

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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!

How to fix warp and weft floats

If you end up with a warp float anyway, that’s ok – we can fix it!

Here’s how:

*In the images below I will be using a different colored yarn to what is in my weaving to better show you what I am doing. Please note that you will be using the same yarn as you are fixing to keep your weaving clean and any fixes inconspicuous.

When your weaving is off the loom, cut some extra yarn that is the same as your warp or weft thread depending on what you are fixing. This piece should be a few inches longer than the float itself so we can anchor it to the weaving. 

how to fix a warp or weft float

Using a tapestry needle (I am using an extra long tapestry needle) locate the warp or weft that has the float and start to weave alongside it following the same pattern as that specific yarn – in this case over 1, under 1. Once you get to the float keep weaving the desired pattern and continue past it another inch or so.

This is a supplemental yarn (shown in blue.)

When you get to the area where the float is you may notice that you will have to dig a bit to find the missed yarns in the pattern. This is normal. You can also turn your weaving to the back if it helps you to find those yarns and catch them.

how to fix a warp or weft float

Once your supplemental yarn is in place you can carefully cut your float yarn to release it from your weaving.

If you are on the front of your weaving then bring these new cut warp tails to the back of the weaving. Depending on the length of the float and subsequently the length of your new tail you may be able to finish it off like any other tail!

Learn how to finish your tails here.

If this float was small and the cut tails are also small then you can just push it to the back and cut it flush to the weaving.

When you have to fix a warp yarn you will have a tiny bit of overlap where the old warp is and where your new supplemental warp is. This is how we want it!

This overlap keeps everything in place and does not allow for any holes in our weaving. 

Once everything is in place, the tails of your supplemental yarn can also be trimmed flush to your weaving.

how to fix a warp or weft float

trimming supplemental yarn from accidental weaving float

When it comes to fixing weft floats, well, it is basically the same as fixing a warp float except we are now working horizontally instead of vertically!

Seriously, there is no difference!

weaving with fixed accidental floats

If you used the same color to fix your weaving then you will not even be able to see where your supplemental wefts are. Everything will blend into itself perfectly.

That being said, adding in some fun colored supplemental weft might be an interesting way to add something extra to your weaving. No one said that you can’t add supplemental yarns on purpose!

It can be really annoying when you finish your weaving only to turn it around and see a float just waiting there, but luckily with these fixes, you can get your weaving to exactly where you want it with very little effort or time!

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