How and Why To Combine Weaving Patterns

How and Why To Combine Weaving Patterns

Weaving does not have to mean sticking with just one type of weave structure.

Beyond the fact that you do not have to always weave one type of weaving for your entire life because you can change it up whenever you want.

You also have the option to weave with more than one weave structure in the same weaving!

Combining weave structures has a lot of benefits that range from practical to aesthetic. Choosing your different weaving structures and patterns can be as simple as manually choosing which warps to go over and under or by planning ahead for different looms.

But why exactly would you want to do this?


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Plain weave at the beginning and the end of your tapestry


balanced weave at the beginning and end of your tapestry

For a long time, one of my favorite ways to finish a weaving was to start with a bit of balanced weave.

Yes, I wrote that correctly.

A lot of times knowing how you are going to finish your weaving is important to know before you even start weaving!

This is definitely one of those cases.

I talk about weaving order and how to get your weaving started in my Weaving Process & Planning Guide! You can get that here!

As long as you remember to add a bit of balanced weave to the beginning of your tapestry your finishing process could become even simpler! Who doesn’t want that?

This inch or so of balanced weave that you add to the beginning of your tapestry (or another type of weaving) will be folded underneath and tacked down to create a clean straight selvedge to your weaving.

While you can just weave up some extra tapestry to turn under there are a few reasons I would caution you against it.

The first reason being you will be using up materials you do not have to.

Why use that expensive yarn in a place you are not even going to see it? 

Tapestry also takes longer to weave. While an inch of tapestry is not going to take an incredible amount of time, it is time you could spend on a more visible part of your weaving. I recommend using your time wisely!

Another reason for weaving balanced weave at the beginning of your tapestry is because a balanced weaving is generally thinner than tapestry. Since there are fewer picks per inch (PPI) of the weaving it is not as dense. This makes it better for folding under and makes your weaving sit flatter when hanging!

Learn more about PPI here!

You can also weave an extra inch at the top of your tapestry as long as it has a straight top selvedge. If you end your tapestry in eccentric weft then you will instead want to choose a different finishing option that conforms to the tapestry’s shape.



Areas of interest (strips or shapes)


While you do not need different weave structures in the same weaving to create interest, it can be a fun way to do it!

Creating stripes of different weave structures or patterns can be a fun way to mix them up. Even something as simple as alternating twills to create chevrons can make a beautiful piece of fabric.

This can even work in tapestry! 

Throwing in a bit of balanced weave in the middle (or anywhere) in your tapestry can give the eye a rest as it is moving around. Take a look at the image below of a recent tapestry of mine.


adding balanced weave to tapestry

I included areas of plain weave to break up the density of the tapestry because it is on the larger side. Also, since it primarily consists of horizontal lines it allows the eye to follow up the balanced weave spots and travel all over the weaving. This means that the viewer will be more inclined to stay and look at the weaving for longer.

It is always a good idea to keep the interest of the viewer for longer! You spent a lot of time on that weaving – make sure they do too.

You can also weave up shapes in an alternate weave structure.

When you do this within a tapestry it not only creates a visual difference but also a tactile one. The tapestry is thicker than the balanced weave so it will sit above it. This small change in weaving elevation is just another way to differentiate the different areas.


Your loom choice can make a difference for your weaving structures


mixing weave structures on a frame loom

Changing up your weave structures can be really simple or it can require a bit more work depending on your loom of choice.

Weaving manually with a tapestry needle makes it so you can mix up your patterns and weave structures at any time. You are not relying on the loom creating the pattern for you so you have all the power! This does tend to make weaving go a bit slower, though, since you are doing it all manually.

On the other hand – working on a loom with heddles will require a bit more work upfront.

Setting up your weaving for multiple weave structures requires you to find some that work together with the same threading.

One of the simplest ways to do this is to use a book like the Handweaver’s Pattern Directory by Ann Dixon. This book has multiple patterns on each page with the same threading and tie-ups. The only thing you need to do to start weaving a different pattern is to follow a different treadling pattern!

If you want to learn how to read a weaving draft then read this post!

Read my full review of the Handweaver’s Pattern Directory here!

Generally, you will need to stay in the same pattern family, twills with twills, overshot with overshot, etc. That does not mean that you will not be able to create something dynamic, though. Just combining different versions of the same families can make for fun and interesting woven results!


Are you looking for a simple way to start and stop your weaving? Looking for a way to provide visual interest or move the viewer’s eye around your artwork? Mix up your weave structures and patterns!

Combining different weaving patterns can be practical or design-oriented. Both of these are great reasons to mix it up and try out different patterns together!


What is the correct way to weave tapestry?

What is the correct way to weave tapestry?

If you have never thought about how to weave tapestry, this may seem like a weird question.

The correct way to weave a tapestry is obviously to start from the bottom and weave upwards and to weave from the front. 

…right?

Let me be clear. That is what seemed obvious to me.

The actual obvious answer will probably be that the correct way to weave tapestry is the way you are taught. This is common for not just weavers, but really anyone learning how to do something new. You stick with what you know.

Let me be clear again, though.

There is no correct way to weave tapestry.

…only different ways.

These different ways all have precedent and the one you ultimately choose should be based on the pros and cons of each style. Do not be afraid to move past what you know if the pros outweigh the cons of a new way! You might just find something that works even better for you.



What does weaving from the front or back mean?


Let’s start out here: weaving from the front means that the area that you are seeing when you weave will be the front of the weaving. In this case, your tails will be out of the way and fall behind your weaving.

This type of weaving is said to focus more on creativity as you can more easily make decisions as you go to what the final weaving will look like.

Weaving from the back means that the area you are seeing when you weave is the back of your weaving. This will mean the tails from your wefts will be on the surface you are seeing. A focus on technique is a common reason to weave from the back since you are not seeing the weaving as it will be displayed.

The slight visual difference of viewing something from the back can be enough to take you out of the subject matter and into the weaving process.


Archie Brennan’s legacy


Weaving from the front of the weaving is one of the most common ways that it is taught in the US. This is partly because of Archie Brennan who led a transformation in American weaving.

Archie Brennan was a Scottish weaver who lived and taught weaving all over the world. As a young Scottish weaver, he was taught to weave from the back with a focus on following the cartoon.

In his attempt to introduce more creativity into his weaving he shifted to weaving from the front to focus on imagery and not just technique.

Brennan served in many prominent tapestry positions including director of Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh, consultant for both the Victorian Tapestry Workshop in Melbourne and the National Arts School in Papua, New Guinea.

After moving to the United States in 1993 and continuing to teach, his weaving style became very common around the country.


Should you weave from the front?


Put the image first


tapestry woven sideways

Weaving from the front allows you to see the exact outcome of your finished project. This is because since you are looking at it the “right” way there will be no surprises when you take it off the loom.

This is why weaving from the front is generally considered an image-forward (literally) approach to weaving tapestry.

The main concern is that it looks the way you want it to, and not necessarily that the techniques are perfect. As long it looks right – you are good!

This is definitely a pro in my book!

All that being said, weaving from the front does not mean that proper technique should be ignored. Technique is very important and should be a very large consideration when weaving. For me, though, when it comes down to it – the way it looks is my main priority.

You should always choose the options that align with your main priorities.

Another pro of weaving from the front is that you do not have to worry about accidentally creating floats on the front of your weaving. This is because you will be able to see any mistakes right away and you will be able to correct them as they happen.


Pulling through your butterflies


A con of weaving from the front is dealing with all of your yarns.

You usually have 2 options when it comes to working with your shuttles or butterflies. Either they can sit on the top of your weaving or fall beneath it when not in use. Both of these options come with their own pros and cons.

If you are weaving with a lot of color changes then that will mean that you have many shuttles or butterflies to deal with. If they sit on the surface of your weaving then they can get in the way of you being able to see your weaving.

This can essentially defeat the purpose of weaving from the front. If you want them to fall so they are out of the way then you really only have the option of using butterflies or tapestry bobbins because your shuttles would unwind themselves. It can also be annoying – especially if you have a lot of color changes – to have to reach underneath your weaving to pull through your bobbins each time. 

If you want to learn how to make your own butterfly bobbins then you can sign up for my free weaving course here!


Inlay


tapestry inlay front and back

Some techniques can be simpler to do from the back than they are from the front. Inlay is a great example of this.

Inlay is a technique that uses an extra thin weft in sections of each pick to create a subtle image.

When you weave inlay you will have floats on the back of your weaving because the weft does not go to each selvedge. Instead, the weft travels vertically on the back of your weaving to get to the next shed. If you weave inlay from the front then you will need to reach around to get to your inlay weft constantly. 


Keeping your weaving smooth


One other thing to consider is that when you weave from the front you may be abrading the surface of your tapestry.

Leaning, rubbing, and otherwise just touching the front of your tapestry could eventually make the surface become fuzzy. Yarn is subject to friction and reducing your friction will create a cleaner weaving. Wool yarns are going to be more prone to this, but in general, if you are careful you should not have an issue.



Weaving from the back


Focus on techniques


As you can probably guess, the cons of weaving from the front become the pros of weaving from the back. And vice versa.

There is a reason that traditionally weavings woven by schools were woven from the back. This focus on technique was important because they were executing the ideas of a master artist. They were not the ones making the creative decisions.

That being said, even if you decide to weave from the back you can still make your own creative decisions! You are the one that will be creating your cartoon, choosing the colors, and making any other decisions. If focusing on technique is important to you then you have the option to make most of your choices before the actual weaving process. This way you can focus just on how to weave what you want and not what it will look like.


Your weft tails can get in the way


tapestry woven from the back

Much like the way your shuttles or butterflies could get in the way if you decide to weave from the front, your tails could get in the way if you weave from the back. This may not be as big of a deal though, because you are not going to be as focused on your image when you weave this way.

If you do not like the look of a messy tapestry, though, this will drive you mad.

One important thing to note is that when you are weaving from the back you will need to mirror your cartoon. If you do not do this then you will turn your weaving around when you are finished and it will be backward!


What direction should you weave?


Another question you may have never asked yourself is whether or not you should weave from the bottom of your weaving. While weaving from the bottom is the most common direction to weave your tapestry, you also have the option of weaving from the side!

What I mean by that is you would weave your tapestry rotated by 90 degrees. This can be a really good option if your image has a lot of vertical lines. 

Look at the example cartoon below.


tapestry cartoon with vertical shapes and small vertical areas

This specific image has a lot of vertical diagonal lines. If you were to weave this image right side up then creating those diagonals would be really difficult. You would need a weaving with a very high EPI to create smoother diagonals. I am not going to lie, I gave up trying to weave this tapestry right side up at the same EPI I used for the sideways version.

It was just too annoying trying to create these diagonals plus I opted to do joins instead of split tapestry and it was taking forever.

You can see in the image below how it was turning out compared to the finished version that was woven sideways.

The tapestry that was woven sideways is a much better representation of the cartoon.

Learn more about EPI and warp sett here.


two types of tapestries - woven sideways and from the bottom - which is the right way to weave tapestry?

When you are planning out your tapestry it is important to keep in mind the shapes you will be weaving and techniques you will be using. These will help you to determine how you want to set up your loom.

As for me? Most of my tapestries have horizontal lines and discontinuous weft that starts from the selvedges. This means that weaving from the bottom of my tapestry works the best for me. I also weave from the front because when it comes down to it, the techniques are secondary to the finished outcome.

As for you? Try out different ways to weave and you may just surprise yourself. You can also mix it up depending on what you are weaving.

Remember, there is no right way to weave tapestry! Take advantage of the fact that tapestry can be woven many different ways depending on the weaver and the weaving.


Resources

https://textilesocietyofamerica.org/9716/in-memoriam-archie-brennan

https://www.brennan-maffei.com/


DIY Woven Gift Box!

DIY Woven Gift Box!

Are you looking for a unique and creative gift to give this year? 

A few weeks ago I posted 6 tutorials for simple on-day weaving projects. This woven box tutorial was originally going to be a part of that list, but it turns out that this box takes more than a day to complete.



The biggest reason this box will take you a bit longer is because of the materials being used. Using stiff linen makes it so this box is rigid enough to stand up and actually perform as a box. This linen is also on the thinner side which gives it a nice look and smoother appearance.

You could weave this up with larger yarns to make it go faster, but it may not have the same stability that you can get with the smaller linen.

While this box would make a great gift in and of itself, you could also use it as a gift box for something else! Perhaps another woven gift or some jewelry?

If you are looking for more weaving projects for small gifts then make sure to check these out:

One-Day Weaving Projects

DIY Handwoven Gift Ideas


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!



Materials you need


Frame loom ( I am using a simple frame loom – see why I like simple frame looms! )

Cardstock or other thick paper

Linen yarn ( I am using Bockens Linen 16/2 in colors 1440 and 1223)

Scissors or yarn snips

Tapestry needle (learn about the different types of tapestry needles here)

Tapestry beater or comb (learn about types of tapestry beaters here)


Making a mock-up box


paper box mock up

If you have ever had to break down a box (hello Amazon!) then you know that they are originally designed flat and with flaps that fold up and around each other.

One of the best ways to determine how to weave your box is to make a diagram and a paper version to make sure that it works first before you spend the time to weave it.

You can do this with any paper you have, thicker paper will hold up a bit better, though. 

First, you should draw out a diagram (as seen in the first box above.) If you are using it to specifically hold something then make sure to keep the size of that in mind! I recommend writing out your measurements on your paper box to make it easier to transfer them to your woven box.

Your deconstructed box will basically look like a giant plus sign. Each arm of the plus sign will end up folding up to create a side of the box. 

Once the bottom of your box is done, do almost the same thing for the top. Your box top will have shorter sides and be just a bit wider on each side. This will make sure it can easily sit on top of your box without pulling it in.


Weaving your gift box


woven box in progress

The box that I made is a great size to hold some jewelry or small trinkets. The base of the box is 3″ x 2″ and the sides are 2″ x 2″.

This means that you need a total weaving width of 6 inches. (2″ for each flap and 2″ for the bottom)

Using the Bockens Lingarn linen your weaving will be 8 EPI with 48 warp ends total.

You can learn more about EPI here.

Depending on what you want your box to look like you can choose different colors or do all the same color. I chose to do 2 colors just to make it a bit more interesting to weave up and to give it some extra interest when it is finished.

The first part of your woven box involves weaving one of your sides. This equates to the bottom part of your plus sign. This shaped weaving will have a lot of open warp – which might seem odd if you have never woven like this before. You can think of weaving this portion just like weaving a square in the middle of your warp. Remember: this square will be 2″ wide and 2″ tall.

Once your first square is woven you need to add some spacers next to your square to prepare for the next section of weaving.

Whenever you have to weave with empty space below it is best to put a placeholder in your warps to give you something to beat against and make sure things stay in place. I never recommend weaving with empty space below because it makes your job unnecessarily hard.

Do not make this hard on yourself!

All you need to fill in these gaps is some thick paper, like cardstock, that is cut to be the height of the bottom-most woven flap. It is best to weave your bottom square first and then add your paper into the warp so it does not get in the way.


woven box for presents in progress

Now you can weave up the middle portion of your box!

This portion of your box includes the longer sides of your box and the bottom. You will want to weave all the way across from selvedge to selvedge and up 3 inches.

Make sure to watch your selvedges and keep them as straight as you can. Otherwise, your box will be a bit wonky.

Follow these tips for weaving straighter selvedges.

When your middle section is completely woven you can move onto the top square! This will be the exact same size as the first portion of the weaving. You will not need more spacers though, because you will be beating against the already woven portion below it.


DIY woven box and top

The last step in your weaving is to basically do it all again.

But smaller.

A.K.A. weaving your box top!

The top of your box will have similar dimensions to the bottom. You will want to make the base of the top a little bit bigger, though so that it can fit snug, but not pull in the bottom.

The dimensions of the box top are 3.75″ x 2.75″. This adds about a quarter of an inch to each side of the base (middle) of the top and creates flaps that are a quarter of an inch as well.

When you start weaving up the middle portion make sure to add in your placeholders next to the first flap.


Finishing your woven box


You will want to choose a finishing technique for all of your warps that creates a clean edge. This will give you the best look for your box. I recommend weaving your warp ends back into the warp channels to create a smooth edge.

Once all of your ends are finished you can construct your box by folding up all of your sides. The linen will aid in making your box stiffer and your sides will retain the memory of the fold you put in it. This will be helpful when you are in the process of sewing it up.

Learn more about linen yarn here!


sew up sides of woven box

To sew your box:

Thread your tapestry needle with a long strand of yarn that is folded in half and knotted at the end. This is your working yarn.

Attach this yarn at the base of one of your flaps by exposing a warp and wrapping your working yarn around it. Bring your needle through the loop of your working yarn and pull tight.

Bring your flaps together and line them up so that they are even at the top. Sew your working yarn around the corners and to the top. Tie a knot to secure it and do it all again on each corner of the box.

Do the same thing for the top of your box!


woven box for presents and gifts

You can add some cardstock to the insides of your box if you are wanting to give it a bit more structure, but it will stand on its own just do the way it was made.

If you are looking for some filler for your box when you are giving it as a gift then you can use some fabric or yarn scraps! You can always use tissue paper too, but if you have the yarn scraps lying around – then why not?

Learn about what else you can do with yarn scraps here.

Try experimenting with different sizes and even different yarns. You can also create other three-dimensional tapestries using the same ideas and paper mock-ups! Tag @cole.bun on Instagram with your creations!


Weaving Tools I Wish I Bought Sooner

Weaving Tools I Wish I Bought Sooner

When it comes to weaving tools there are so many different things that you could use that it can be hard to know where to start. I actually have already put together a post about tools that you need to get started weaving. 

But then there are tools that I avoided buying.

Tools that did not seem important to add to my weaving studio because I already had something similar or I could do without. When I finally decided to try them out, though – well, I can not believe it took me so long to give them a chance!

Saying that you need these tools would be a bit of an exaggeration. But, these tools are the ones that I wish I had bought earlier because they make my life easier and my weaving simpler.

Plus, if I lose any of them – well, I will not be happy.


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!



Long tapestry needle


You can get the extra long tapestry needle HERE!


I do not remember the first time I saw this long tapestry needle, but by the time I did, I had so many of my own regular tapestry needles that there was no way I needed another one. 

That is until I was placing an order and I decided – why not? 

This is now my favorite tapestry needle.

Who even knew it was possible to have a favorite tapestry needle?

This needle is the one that I reach for the most and well, I think I actually need to buy some more for when I am weaving discontinuous weft! That is probably the best way you can compare 2 different lengths of tapestry needles – weave with them at the same time.

(Learn more about discontinuous weft HERE.)

The length of this needle makes it great for both wide and skinny weavings and allows you to pull up less. I can easily weave all the way across my 2-inch tapestries that I am working on without running out of room to hold the needle! If you are weaving manually (without the use of a shuttle or shed) as I do often, then I highly recommend giving these a try.

That being said, I still use regular-sized tapestry needles often.

They are especially good for weaving in my ends because a long tapestry needle would not be a good choice for that. When it comes to weaving tapestry, though, this long needle is a great option to have.

(Learn about weaving in your ends HERE.)

(Learn more about different types of tapestry needles HERE.)


Tapestry beater


You can get this Threadsthrutime tapestry beater HERE.


I spent a long time weaving with only the use of a comb (or a built-in beater) to compress my wefts. It is what I learned with and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it – right?

While I still love using a comb because it is lightweight and inexpensive – using a dedicated tapestry beater definitely has its advantages. 

If I am weaving at home I always grab my tapestry beater over a comb or a fork. Using thinner tools like tapestry beaters over combs allows you to focus on smaller areas at a time which is common when weaving tapestry. 

Most combs that you will find have different spaced teeth at each end, so you have to maneuver the comb accordingly. This is not a deal-breaker! But not having to do it is better. Tapestry beaters are meant to fit in your hand and therefore they have a really good feel to them that makes weaving just that little bit more enjoyable.

I did do an entire post on the different types of tapestry beaters, so make sure to check that out if you are interested in getting one for yourself.

(Learn about the different types of tapestry beaters HERE.)



Yarn snips


You can get these Singer yarn snips HERE.


Scissors are a must in your studio because you will need them in order to cut your yarn, fabric, and thread. Dedicated fabric scissors are a must because using them for anything else (like paper) can dull them and make them not work as well when you need them to cut your yarn.

I have always had dedicated fabric scissors in my studio (multiple scissors actually), but when I first got the opportunity to use yarn snips I fell in love.

Yarn snips are smaller and work with a spring mechanism that means that they are open when not in use. 

This design makes them perfect for clipping a lot of yarn ends continuously.

My favorite thing is to use them for snipping all of my weft tails after finishing. Using scissors for this is perfectly acceptable, but the snips make it just a bit quicker and more enjoyable. Since finishing is probably one of the least enjoyable parts of weaving (at least for me) every little bit helps.


Rigid heddle loom


You can get the Schacht Flip folding rigid heddle loom HERE.


Depending on who you talk to, a rigid heddle loom might be considered weaving equipment and not weaving tools. Either way, I put off purchasing a rigid heddle loom for a long time.

I know that a lot of people start out on rigid heddle looms, but I was not one of them.

I am mostly a tapestry weaver so I did not think that I needed a rigid heddle loom and truthfully I do not need it but I am happy I finally added one to my studio.

When I finally chose my rigid heddle loom, I chose a Schacht Flip folding rigid heddle loom. You can read my review HERE.

I actually find weaving balanced weaves and patterns extremely satisfying. They weave up so much faster than tapestry and the fast pace is refreshing.

If you normally weave on a floor loom then shelling out a little bit of extra money to also have a rigid heddle loom can be a really good investment in order to have a second loom.

Having a second loom can be great for many reasons including being able to weave up samples or just to weave a second project when your first is still in progress.

If you can only have one loom though, then make sure to check out my floor loom vs rigid heddle loom post to choose which one is right for you.

…and my post on choosing the right second loom for you!


Like I said at the beginning, none of these tools are required to start weaving. You will need some sort of tapestry needle, some sort of scissors or snips, some sort of beater, and some sort of loom! I do not regret starting with the ones that I did. I still use them all the time and love them!

That being said, these other tools have some perks that make them a great addition to your studio.



Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom Review

Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom Review

Figuring out what loom is right for you is not always the simplest task. There are so many options – some of which do not even seem that different. I know you do not want to spend money on a loom (or any tool) that is not going to work for you in the long run. I do not want that either!

This goes for pretty much everything but today it especially relates to rigid heddle looms and especially the Ashford rigid heddle loom. So since you can not really try before you buy – a review is the next best thing!


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!



First thoughts on the Ashford rigid heddle loom


Ashford rigid heddle loom with scarf in progress

Get The Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom On The Woolery


Ashford is a great company that makes many different types of weaving and fiber art tools. So when it comes to rigid heddle looms I was excited to get to try out their “mid-tier” option.

I am not sure they think of their looms in tiers, but they do have 3 rigid heddle loom options, and the simply named Ashford rigid heddle loom falls right in the middle cost-wise. Their other options are the SampleIt loom (a simple and less expensive rigid heddle loom) and the Knitter’s loom (a foldable rigid heddle loom.)

You can think of this loom as the goldilocks option.

Just right.



Let’s look at some of the loom stats:

The Ashford rigid heddle loom comes in 16″, 24″, 32″, and 48″ inch weaving width options, and they all ship with a 7.5 dent reed.

The smallest loom available to purchase (the 16″ weaving width option) is a total of 20″ wide and 24″ deep.


Assembling the rigid heddle loom


Ashford rigid heddle loom in box

Not all rigid heddle looms need to be assembled when you receive them, but it is not an uncommon occurrence. This makes them less expensive and easier to ship. The Ashford rigid heddle loom is no different. 

When you order your loom it will come in a long skinny box with the Ashford logo all over it. It sort of feels like a simply wrapped present and who does not like to open presents?!?

Purchasing a loom that is not already constructed has its own pros and cons depending on who you are talking to.

For one, smaller boxes are easier to ship because they will take up less space in the truck they are traveling on. While the weight will not really change, the size can make a difference. 

Beyond the loom, in the box, you will also find 2 flat shuttles, a warping peg, and a booklet with information on how to warp your new loom.

If you are in need of more shuttles or other rigid heddle loom accessories you can get those HERE.


Ashford rigid heddle loom

Another plus for purchasing an unfinished loom is that you get to finish it yourself. Right out of the box the wood pieces are unstained and unpolished. This gives you the opportunity to make it any color that you want. This may or may not be important to you, but if you want a darker loom (as most rigid heddle looms are made with lighter wood) then this can be a great option.

The unfinished wood can also be a big drawback if you are not into that sort of thing.

If you are looking for a loom that does not need a lot of extra work then I recommend checking out my review on the Schacht Flip Folding rigid heddle loom.

While your loom does not need to be finished to work, it is a good idea to finish your loom if you want it to last as long as it can. Staining and waxing your wood will protect it better from humidity and other moisture.

As far as constructing your loom, the process is relatively simple! The Ashford loom comes with a great instruction booklet with images and directions. There were only a few times that the booklet seemed to fail me and it took me a little bit of time to figure out how to do the next task.

Let’s go over those instances:


The pin


Ashford rigid heddle loom pin and pawl

When you are assembling your loom and you get to the part where you are supposed to attach the pawls to the sides of the loom – do not follow the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Yep.

The picture in the instructions shows the pin sitting in the middle of the pawl on the edge side. Instead, the pin should be in the middle of the pawl towards the middle of the loom. If you put the pawl on this first way, it will not contact the cog correctly. 

Trust me. I tried it.


Using wax


using wax to lubricate weaving roller

The instructions for putting together your loom mention that you will need some candle wax. 

It mentions this in multiple places, but I mostly only used it to lubricate the front and back rollers so that they will turn smoother. 

When you get your loom it includes a square of sandpaper in case you need to smooth out any rough parts. I really wish it had also included a small bit of wax as well. I ended up breaking a small tea light candle in order to get some wax to use. If you do not have a candle you want to destroy then this could be quite an annoying part of the process.

You can use this wax for the other parts of the assembly process as directed. It might make it easier to screw your pieces together, but it also is not necessary.


What I like about the Ashford rigid heddle loom


Ashford rigid heddle loom down position

One of my favorite things about this loom is the satisfying way that the heddle slips into place.

Every time I put the heddle back into one of its stationary spots it always slid in smoothly. Especially the down position. The way that the block that holds the heddle is made allows an audible and pleasing pop as it goes into position.

This may sound like a small thing, but it really did make it a pleasure to weave on. Sometimes it is small things like this that can really make or break a loom. 

If your loom is not a pleasure to weave on, then why would you weave on it?

The smoothness of this movement is especially surprising to me considering the wood was still unfinished. This tells me that despite being unfinished – the wood was prepared well from the factory.

Despite its slightly lower price tag, the Ashford loom is not a loom that can only be used by beginners. It can definitely be used for beginners, but it also has the ability to grow with the weaver and their abilities and desires to weave more intricate things. 


Ashford rigid heddle loom double heddle block

This is all because this loom comes with a built-in spot for a second heddle! Unlike a true beginner rigid heddle loom, the only thing this loom needs to make more complicated weavings is a second heddle. 

You can get extra Ashford rigid heddles HERE.

Another really great thing that the Ashford loom has is the ability to add an extended “freedom roller”. This roller allows you to weave with thicker yarns and weave longer weavings. Disclaimer: I have not tried out this roller so I cannot speak to the ease of adding it on or using it, but I love that it has the option.

You can get the Ashford freedom roller HERE.



Cons of the Ashford rigid heddle loom


Personally, I like a loom with a bit less work on the front end. While it was not hard to assemble, I would have rather had it ready to go (or almost ready) right out of the box. 

I am impatient.

The biggest con for me is the fact that the wood is unfinished. I know that I mentioned earlier that this could be a big pro for some people, but I am not one of them.

If you really want to put your loom together right then you really should be finishing it first. Taking the time to stain your loom also involves waiting for it to dry and possibly giving it another coat. Beyond that, you will probably also want to finish it off with some polish or wax. 

This is something I just do not have time for.

That being said, that is completely subjective and you should make your own decision about how much work you want to have to put into your loom before you can use it.

The second con that I have with this loom is the pawl just does not work as well as I would like. When I go to pull back the pawl to let off the tension and advance my warp you have to be very careful not to pull too hard. If you do then it will pop the pawl out of place and make it no longer effective. The only way to fix this is to push it back into place, but every time I have had to do this (it has been many times) it feels like you are going to break it.

That being said, if you are gentler than I am then it is possible this would not be an issue!

Lastly, this loom has a lot of plastic. Notably, instead of using chords to attach the warp rods to the front and back beams, the Ashford rigid heddle loom uses plastic connectors. While these work the exact same way, there is no reason that I can think of that warrants them being made of plastic.


Who this loom is for


If you are looking for a reasonably priced loom that you want to make your own then this is a great loom for you. While it is not the least expensive rigid heddle loom option, it is one of the least expensive with room to grow. You can use this loom both as a beginner and a more advanced weaver with no issues moving through your weaving journey.

Basically, the Ashford rigid heddle loom is a great loom that was relatively simple to put together, offers room for growth, and is worth the price.


One Day Weaving Projects – Quick & Easy Gift Ideas

One Day Weaving Projects – Quick & Easy Gift Ideas

While there are those people that do not appreciate handmade gifts, there are a lot of people that understand the thought and time that goes into these types of presents. 

That being said – as a weaver you know that weaving is not a fast past-time so giving woven presents is not something that you might want to do for everyone.

No judgment.

So for those weavers that want to give the gift of weaving to more people without sacrificing anything – I have created tutorials for 6 one-day weaving projects. Do not worry! These easy and quick weaving projects do not look like they took you only a few hours to make.

If you are looking for ideas of what yarn to use or other supplies then check out my weaving supplies page to see what I use in my studio.


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Quick weaving project tutorials and ideas


Woven iron-on patches


woven iron-on patch

These small patches are the perfect quick gift for anyone who likes to decorate their bag or jackets. They can also be basically anything you want/can fit into the size that you decide to create. 

Patches tend to be on the smaller side and can be simple or complicated. Due to their small size, more complicated patches can be a lot harder to do. If you are wanting some more detail then you always have the option of adding embroidery on top!

To keep this patch simple and fast we are going to stick with a standard 6 EPI for our warp sett. You can use whatever loom you want, but I recommend a small frame loom for its ease of set-up and the least amount of loom waste.

Learn about different types of frame looms HERE.

Learn how to make a cardboard loom HERE.


Supplies needed

Yarn for warp and weft

Small loom

Iron-on fabric backing or pins

Iron


Set up your frame loom for the size that you want to create. In this case, I am weaving a 2-inch square at 6 EPI which requires a total of 12 warp ends.

Next: weave your patch!

Some ideas for what you could weave:

  • Choose your intended giftee’s favorite colors and make a design with those. 
  • Weave their first initial or all of their initials.
  • Weave a simple colored square and add embroidery to the surface.

Once you are finished weaving and you have taken it off the loom, you will need to cut down your iron-on fabric (if using) so it is ready for you to attach it to the back of your weaving.


DIY woven iron-on patch quick weaving project

If you are using the same one I have linked above then you will iron the backing onto your weaving for only 2 seconds on medium heat. Paper side up. When your patch is ready to be attached you will use your iron on medium for at least 15 seconds. The package says that you should iron it for about 6-8 seconds, but I found that that was not enough.

Just keep an eye on it and move your iron around.

That is it!

If you are not using the iron-on fabric then you can include pins with your patch when you gift it.


Small mounted wall-hanging for anyone!


mounted woven wall-hanging

One of the most iconic things that you can weave for a gift is a wall-hanging. Since we are going for fast and easy, making a smaller weaving that you then mount to a fabric-covered canvas gives it a larger presence and also makes it ready to hang!

Similar to your woven patch gift, what you make for your wall-hanging is completely up to you. Think about the person that you are making it for and try to incorporate that into your ideas. 

One idea that seems to be pretty popular is monograms! If you are wanting to weave some imagery or shapes then make sure to check out my e-book where I walk you through both simple and complex shapes for your tapestry, plus tips for creating and securing your cartoon.

Some other ideas for this would be to mount some already made samples that turned out well or patterns/ designs in the giftee’s favorite colors.

One of the best parts about using samples is that you already wove them! All you have to do is finish them up and mount them. This also means you can get them out of your studio if you do not want to hold onto all of your studio experiments. I know I have a lot of samples that are just hanging around.


Supplies needed

Pre-stretched canvas

Fabric for covering the canvas

Staple gun and staples

Grey thread


I like to buy pre-stretched canvas and cover it in fabric for a simple and clean look. In this case, I am using linen fabric. It is simple enough to not take away from the mounted weaving, but has enough texture to make it interesting.

Stretch your fabric and use a staple gun to secure it on the back. It is important to keep the fabric taught so that it does not wrinkle on the front.


cover canvas with fabric quick weaving project

To attach your weaving to the canvas you can use a simple stitch in strategic spots. I like to use grey thread for this. You can read all about why every weaver should have grey thread in their studio HERE.

When you are attaching your weaving to the canvas make sure to bring your thread up between your weft and not through it.

Move your thread across the top of your weaving and make sure it will fall between the wefts and disappear.

Bring the thread back down through the canvas and repeat all the way across.

Do this on the top and bottom of the weaving.


how to attach a weaving to canvas

You will also want to add a hanging wire onto the back of your canvas. This will make it a better hanging experience for your giftee.



Woven keychain


DIY woven keychain

A keychain is probably one of the simplest and fastest gifts that you can make, but that does not mean it will not be something that everyone will love!

There are a lot of different sizes and shapes that you could weave up, but for this gift idea uses 6 EPI for a 1-inch x 4-inch weaving.


Supplies needed

Small loom

Yarn for warp and weft

Keychain D-clips

Tapestry needle


DIY woven keychain quick weaving project

When you take the woven keychain off the loom you will finish off one side like you normally would. This will be the bottom of the keychain.

Take one of these keychain clips and put the top warp through the D-shaped ring. Weave your warps back into your weaving and around the D-ring. This is very similar to weaving in your weft ends. Make sure to weave them in far enough that they will not slip out when the keychain is in use. About 2 inches or so (I only did about an inch, but more would be better)should suffice and allow the friction of the yarns to keep it secure.

Pull the tails a bit while you cut off any remaining warp yarn. Keeping them under this tension will allow them to easily retreat back and hide in the warp tunnels.

If you are worried about them coming out still, or you just want some extra security then you can apply a tiny bit of fabric glue to the warps when you pull them out so that it will get in the warp tunnel when it goes back in.


attach keyring to weaving

Woven cup-cozy for your friend that drinks coffee/ tea


DIY woven mug cozy

If you have someone in your life that loves their coffee or tea then you can weave them up a personalized cup-cozy!

This cup cozy works just like those disposable cardboard ones that you might get from a coffee shop, but you can make them for just about any cup that is not the same circumference all the way down. Having a mug with a wider top will make sure that it stays on and will not slip off.


Supplies needed

Yarn for warp and weft

Any frame loom

1 Button

Tapestry needle


Again I am using 6 EPI and I am using a variegated yarn. This yarn makes it so that the weaving has a lot going on with very little work. It is as easy as weaving up a simple rectangle and using interesting yarn will allow you to weave faster!

You will set up your weaving to be 2-inch x 9-inch and it will have 12 warp ends. This should be a pretty good size for any travel mug you come across. If you have a specific one in mind, though, I recommend measuring it to get an exact measurement.

Including a button on your cozy will give it a nice touch and can also make it so it can be used around a cup with handles. Sew your button onto the cup cozy and attach a small braided loop on the other side for the button to go through.


woven cup cozy quick weaving project

Bonus points if you include a travel mug to go with your cozy plus some tea and coffee!


Woven “hoop” ornament or necklace


DIY woven ornament and necklace

These miniature embroidery hoops are the perfect way to hold small sections of weaving to display.

You can use these to make everything from a necklace to an ornament! It all just depends on what you use to attach at the top.

I used miniature hexagon embroidery hoops, but you can also find them in different sizes and shapes.

I just happen to love hexagons.

You can absolutely weave something new for your hoop, but you can also use up some leftover woven yardage or samples. I used the woven fabric I had left from my loom bench cushion (this could also be a good gift – but it will take longer than a day.)

The biggest thing that you need to keep in mind when choosing a weaving to put in your hoop is that it can not be too thick. Tapestry or any other weft-faced weaving will be too thick to insert. Instead, stick with a balanced weave or any other weave structure that will weave up thinner. You can also use thinner yarn to make sure it fits well.


Supplies needed

Woven fabric

Miniature embroidery hoops

Glue

Extra yarn or chain to attach to finished piece


After you have a weaving ready, cut out a piece a little bigger than the hoop itself.

Make sure you have secured your fabric before cutting it. Learn how to secure your weaving HERE.

Push the smaller solid piece through the hoop with the fabric facing up. Once it is in place then close the hoop with the included screw and nuts. If the fabric is thick enough, you may not be able to use both nuts. That is ok! Just make sure you can close it with at least one.

Cut any excess fabric from the back of the hoop.


woven ornament quick weaving project

The larger solid piece is used to back the hoop and make sure it all looks clean. You can really use any glue you have on hand to attach the back to the hoop.

I used wood glue and painted it on with a brush since the hoops are small.

Hold the backing on until it is secure!


attach backing to miniature embroidery hoop

Depending on what you want to use these for you can either braid some yarn to create an ornament or attach a chain for a fun and chunky hand-made necklace.


Woven portable utensil holder (for reusable straws/utensils) for your sustainable friend


DIY woven utensil holder

It is becoming more and more popular to keep a reusable straw and utensils with you whenever you leave the house.

While there is nothing wrong with keeping these things in a bag or in your glove box – having a dedicated pouch could be a fun way to make sure you always have them on hand. It also makes sure they are easy to find and not just floating around. So if you have a friend that keeps their utensils with them then this is a great gift for them!

Admittedly, this gift idea will probably take the longest of the list. You can definitely do it all in one day (I did!), but you may need to work on it a second day too.

Similar to our cup cozy this one is mostly just a rectangle. This biggest difference is that at the very top you will weave an extra few inches on one half.

Set your loom up for 6 EPI again and at least 4 inches wide. Go a little wider if you know they have a lot to carry! The height can also depend on what they will put in it, but to be safe The shortest part of the weaving should be at least 8 inches tall.


Supplies needed

Yarn for warp and weft

Frame loom

Tapestry needle

1 Button


woven utensil pouch quick weaving project

After finishing, Sew your button onto the shorter half of your weaving towards the top. You can do this later, but it will be easier if you do it now.

Fold your weaving in half and sew your sides and bottom together to make a pouch. You can use either the same color or a contrasting color to do this. Make sure to fully enclose the bottom so that nothing can fall out. A simple yarn wrap will do really well to close up the bottom (see images below.)


woven utensil pouch

The side can be closed up with a blanket stitch. This will be decorative and not take nearly as long as wrapping the entire side.

To do a blanket stitch:

Start the same way you started your yarn wrapping – bring your yarn from the inside of the weaving and around to the other side, but before you pull it tight – put your tapestry needle through the loop that it creates. Pull tight and move your needle over a few millimeters and do it again. Do this across the entire side and end with a simple knot!

Next, take some extra yarn and braid it. Attach this yarn to the flap. This will be used to wrap around your button and keep your pouch closed.


blanket stitch tutorial

Bonus points if you make your pouch with recycled or scrap yarn and/or fill it with reusable utensils if your giftee is just getting started on their sustainability journey. These are the bamboo sporks that you can see in the images above.


All of these quick weaving projects can be done in a day (some in only a few hours!) They could all take longer, though, if you decide to add a lot of imagery or color changes to them. Keep your weavings simple, but maximize their wow-factor by choosing interesting yarns or adding simple patterns like stripes!


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