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.


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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!


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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.


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!



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!


Types of Tapestry Beaters & When To Use Them

Types of Tapestry Beaters & When To Use Them

I did not get my first tapestry beater until years after I started weaving. This may be a surprising thing to say considering this post, but they are not a necessary part of weaving. 

Just because they are not necessary, though, does not mean that they are not helpful!

Like most things, different tapestry beaters have different pros and cons. Not to mention that personal preference and price may play a vital role in choosing the option that is right for you.

While you can purchase a bunch of tapestry beaters to try and see what you like best – more than likely you will want to find one that works for you and stick with it. Choosing what is best for you means learning about your options.


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 is a tapestry beater?


wood weft fork and tapestry

Tapestry beaters are handheld tools that you use to compress your weft yarn. These tools help you to “beat” your weft into place by pushing it down and around the warp yarn. They are also sometimes called weaving forks, weft beaters, or weft combs.

Depending on what loom you use you may already have a beater attached to it. The beaters attached to your loom are fantastic for when you are weaving anything with continuous weft such as patterns. That is because due to their width and stability they work best when your weft goes across your entire weaving.

When you are weaving tapestry you will more than likely be weaving up smaller areas at a time. Since tapestry beaters are much smaller than attached beaters it makes them perfect for use in these small areas. 


Wood vs. plastic tapestry beaters


wood tapestry beater with chips

Wood tapestry beaters are the traditional option.

These beaters are usually a beautiful addition to your studio and can be a clear extension of your wood loom. They are also the most common type of tapestry beater that you will find and therefore have the most options to choose from. These different options will be discussed a little bit later in the post. 

While they are generally very sturdy – if they are fully wood then the thin tines can be prone to breaking. I have dropped my beater on more than one occasion off of my loom and it has a few chips in the wood (see image above.) These can be sanded out, so it is not a total disaster, but they could require this extra work.

Despite this, my Navajo weaving fork (pictured above) is one of my favorites because it has a really good feel in the hand. The wood handle is smooth and the curves feel good in my hand. While it does not add to how good the beater is – it is also the first one I ever bought. It is a great size and weight for an everyday tapestry beater.

If you are worried about chips in your beater then you have the option to attach your beater to your loom by using some extra yarn. This will not only keep you from dropping and having it chip, but it will also help you to always know where it is!

While most tapestry beaters that you find will be made of wood, there are also other options that you can choose from. 

So why would you go beyond the traditional wooden weaving tool?

Plastic beaters tend to be less expensive! This makes them a great option for someone looking for a dedicated tool that does not cost a lot. They are also going to be much harder to damage. Dropping one of these probably will not result in the need to sand and smooth. The biggest con of plastic is that it is plastic. If you are concerned about the use of plastic then sticking with the wood beaters would be a better option for you.

If you are considering a plastic tapestry beater then be aware that they are not always available at regular yarn and weaving shops. That is because they are more likely focused on the traditional wooden ones. If you are looking for a plastic beater then I recommend checking out Etsy


Tapestry beater vs. tapestry comb


tapestry beater and tapestry comb

When looking for a tapestry beater you will have 2 options when it comes to the handle. The tapestry comb options are going to be wider and cover more area at one time. These are going to be the most like your attached beater. They work well when you are weaving wider shapes because they will let you compress the entire shape at one time. 

Longer-handled tapestry beaters are usually much narrower. They are also easier to grip so they work well when you need to add some extra strength to compressing your weft. These are the most similar to weaving with a fork.

If you are wondering which option you would like best then I recommend trying out a fork or a comb and seeing which one has a better feel for you while you are weaving. This is not a definitive test, but it can help you decide what feels right.


Double-ended tapestry beater


double ended tapestry beater

Double-ended tapestry beaters are usually on the smaller side and have tines at both ends. Some of them have a “waist” in the middle for a more ergonomic grip, but others are just straight.

Their smaller size may be an advantage if you want something with a longer “handle”, but it is more compact. This makes this type of beater great for weaving on the go! It will take up less space, but work exactly the same.

Beyond their size, one of their biggest advantages is that they can make weaving a bit faster. This is because you do not have to fiddle while picking up your beater when you need it. Instead, every time you pick it up it will be in the correct orientation. 

The one pictured above is the Schacht Double-Ended Tapestry Beater and it fits perfectly in my small travel tools bag. Despite its small size, it has the same beating area as most other tapestry beaters.


Weighted beater


Some tapestry beaters come with a weight in them that is just above the tines. This is perfect for when you need some more help packing down your weft. This is most often the case when you are weaving something that needs a really tight weave. 

The added weight will take the stress off of your wrist when you have to thoroughly compress your yarn. Without this weight, you may not get the right compression, or you might tire your wrist trying. That being said, using this type of tapestry beater without rest might also tire or hurt your wrist. Only you know your body – so make sure to listen to it.

These weighted beaters are a great option for anyone wanting to weave rugs or other tightly woven fabrics.


Tapestry beaters with metal tines


tapestry beater with metal tines

Some beaters will have metal tines instead of being all one material. 

An advantage of these types of beaters is that due to the tines being metal, they can be slimmer without losing integrity.

If metal or plastic beaters had tines that thin, they would be much easier to break. This makes them a good option for when you have smaller EPI weavings. They will more easily slide between the warps to pack down your weft and the smoothness of the metal helps with this.

The one pictured above is a travel tapestry beater by Threadsthruetime on Etsy. Since it is a travel beater it is on the smaller side. When I first bought it, I was actually a little worried it was too small, but after using it I found the size to be really comfortable. This beater works well for detailed weavings where you only need to focus on small areas at a time. It also comes in a larger size if you are looking for something with some more range.

The craftmanship on this beater is beautiful and you can get it in different types of wood depending on your preference!


Alternatives to tapestry beaters


There are a lot of different tools that you can use when you are weaving. Some of these tools even have alternatives that you can find around your house that work really well. The question is: do they work just as well?

Check out weaving tool alternatives here.

Tapestry beaters are one of those tools that you may not need, but they have advantages over their non-specific counterparts. Dedicated beaters are spaced correctly, some of them are weighted, and they are more comfortable to hold. Whether or not these pros will outweigh their price is something that you will need to decide for yourself.

When you are choosing your beater, make sure to think about what you want to weave and where. If you are looking for just one option then find the one that ticks the most boxes.



Crammed And Spaced – Weaving Technique How-To

Crammed And Spaced – Weaving Technique How-To

Plain weave is one of the most versatile weave structures that you will find. I have talked about it many times so if you want to learn some more about plain weave then make sure to check out these other posts:

3 Basic Weave Structures

Plain Weave Patterns

What Is Tapestry

So it is pretty easy to see that plain weave does not mean plain weaving! 

Another example of that is crammed and spaced. While this technique does not need to be done in plain weave (it works in twills and other patterns as well), it can add a fun twist to your simple weaving.


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 is the crammed and spaced technique?



Crammed and spaced is a technique that uses different EPI’s in the same weaving. (Brush up on your EPI knowledge)

Unlike when your EPI changes due to not paying attention (been there!), crammed and spaced is an intentional technique that utilizes the different spaces to make a dynamic weaving.

This does not mean that you are intentionally pulling in in certain areas, instead, you are either leaving dents in your reed empty or you are using a special type of rigid heddle that does the spacing for you. Either way, the technique creates areas with a lot of warp and areas with little.

In the example above, the crammed and spaced technique creates an undulating movement across the scarf. The twill pattern exaggerates this movement.


On a floor loom


Regardless of the reed that you are using, weaving crammed and spaced is as simple as warping a loom regularly. 

The only real difference is that you will have some dents with more than one warp in them and some dents with none!

Even though it may seem difficult at first to choose the “right warp” in each dent to go next when you are threading your heddles, it does not really matter. Make your best guess, but it will end up warping up correctly either way. That is one reason why it is important to shake out your warp as you are winding it onto your back beam. 

I recommend creating a diagram when planning your crammed and spaced weaving so that you can space it out evenly (assuming that is what you are going for.) This will also make the sleying of your reed easier so you do not have to think about it too hard while you are doing it.

If you can do all of the thinking beforehand then you can relax a little more and get lost in the warping process.


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!


On a rigid heddle loom



If you have a rigid heddle loom, then you can sometimes get a variable dent heddle that will do all the spacing for you! Both Schacht and Ashford have these types of heddles that you can purchase.

The heddles are really great because they have multiple options depending on the type of spacing you are wanting to do. 

The heddle that I have for my Schacht Flip Folding Rigid Heddle Loom (review of my flip loom here) has 4 x 5 Dent Sections, 4 x 8 Dent Sections, 3 x 10 Dent Sections, and 3 x 12 Dent Sections. These can be taken off and arranged any way that you want to create a crammed and spaced weaving.

You can get the Schacht variable dent rigid heddle here!

The Schacht variable dent heddle also has the option to purchase extra sections. If you are looking for something specific that you can not make with the sections it comes with you can purchase them separately as needed. This means you also have the option of getting enough sections to create a whole new full heddle without actually purchasing a whole new heddle. 



Warping your variable dent rigid heddle is exactly the same as any other heddle you use. The only thing that changes is the end result!

If you are creating a narrow weaving then you have the option of only using the heddle pieces that create the width you are going for. When choosing this option, your heddle comes with little bands that go around the top to keep them in place. This is necessary so that they do not move around while you are warping and weaving. You can see these at the top of the heddle in the image above.

Choosing to do this or putting sections on your heddle and just not using them is a purely personal preference.


Create ridges (crammed warps in the same heddle)


Generally speaking, crammed and spaced weaving has all of the warps weaving as individuals despite the fact that some of them are very close together.

Another option is to double up and cram a few warps here and there and have them act as one. These double warps would also go through the same heddle so that they raise and lower together. This will give you thicker warp areas to add vertical ridges to your weaving.

This is probably the simplest way to use this technique even if it is not the most traditional.

You can get this same effect by just using a thicker warp in certain areas, but that may not be ideal if you do not have a suitable warp to use! Just make sure to keep the double warps in mind when you are planning your weaving so that you have enough yarn to create your warp.

Learn how to plan your weaving project!


What to watch out for



Unfortunately, it is easy to just create a weft-faced weaving using this technique since you are using more than one warp sett! A weft-faced weaving will barely show off the crammed and spaced effect that you are going for, therefore making it basically obsolete.

In order to avoid this, you will want to make sure that your highest EPI allows for a balanced weave. You can always check this by using your EPI mini-loom to check what warp sett your yarn needs to do this. As long as one of the warp spacing options you choose creates a balanced weave it will accentuate the different spacing areas.

The image above shows a weaving that just barely allows for the crammed and spaced technique to show through. While that is not a bad-looking option, you may want to make sure you get a little more bang for your weft!


What to make with the crammed and spaced technique


If you are wondering what you can do with this technique then I highly recommend creating a scarf, shawl, or anything that you want to wear and dress up a little. If the warp setts and weft choice is right then it can create a lace-like appearance in your weaving.

This makes it perfect for use on anything that you want to be dressy.

While this technique is relatively stable, it is still best to not use it for anything that will be actively used. This means that it is not ideal for things like towels because the crammed and spaced yarns could start to even out. It also will not make a very absorbent material so you would not want to do that anyway!

Make sure to wash your weaving gently before using it to allow the fibers to bloom. If you are weaving with a protein fiber that can felt then doing this could also further secure your yarns in their place.


Let me know if you try out the crammed and spaced technique! Tag @cole.bun on Instagram.


How To Price Your Weavings

How To Price Your Weavings

Pricing your work is one of the hardest parts of being an artist. It can be hard to convince people to pay what your art is actually worth when mass-produced textiles can be found just about anywhere. 

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that there will almost always be somebody that says that your prices are too high.

Maybe this is controversial, but – that person does not deserve your art. 

With that in mind – do not be ridiculous either. It is easy to just make up inflated numbers that sound good, but you need some sort of backing for your numbers when you are trying to sell your work. Without this, lit will be hard to come up with numbers and be consistent. Buyers also might want to know what it is they are paying for – especially if they are commissioning work from you.


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!



You weave hard for the money


If you are selling your artwork then it is a job.

You should not work for free!

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon to come across people that want to pay you in “exposure”.

Really?!?

If you have an Instagram then you have all the potential for exposure that you need.

You. Should. Get. Paid.

It is also important to note that you should not get underpaid. I will be going over some ways to decide what to charge for your woven artwork, but that does not mean that it is not possible to charge too little.

Not only is it important for you to get paid what you deserve, but also charging too little can harm other fiber artists. This is because it sets a bad precedent.

The fiber artists that are charging what their work is actually worth will be seen as overcharging to anyone looking to buy. This hurts them and it will eventually hurt you too.

It is in your best interest not to devalue weaving and fiber art.

If you read about what I wish I knew before I started weaving then you already know that fiber art is an undervalued art form already.

That being said, you can not just pick an exorbitant price and expect people to pay for it. Make sure you can back up your pricing with real numbers because price gauging can hurt too.


Deciding your hourly weaving rate


price your weaving hourly rate

Deciding what to charge for your weavings is based on a few things.

The first of which is what you are going to charge as your hourly rate. I can not decide that rate for you, but establishing an hourly rate is one of the best things you can do to help you price your artwork. It is also the most subjective part of the pricing process.

I know that It is not always comfortable thinking about what your time is worth. Just keep in mind that you are not putting a price on what you are worth.

You should keep in mind your experience and the area you live in when you are determining your rate. 

That is your starting point.

If you went to school to learn your craft then make sure you think about that. You get paid more for a degree for any other job, right? (At least you should.) People who are buying your artwork are also paying for your expertise. Even if you did not go to school (school is not for everyone!) keep in mind how long you have been weaving. That time is worth something too.

Other points to note about time: the time put into each piece is not just the time it took you to weave it. You should also take into account the time it takes you to research and develop your idea, set up your loom, finish your ends, and market your work or apply to shows. You should be getting paid for all of these as well because they are required steps in creating your weaving.

Once you know how much your time is worth you need to keep track of how long it takes you to make what you make. If you do not have a normal weaving schedule that you can refer to then you can make notes in your sketchbook or anywhere else when you start and stop working on your weaving.


Keep track of your weaving supplies


price your weaving cost of supplies

Do not forget that you have to pay yourself back for all that wonderfully expensive yarn that comprises your weavings. 

I talked briefly about having a kitchen scale in your studio in my post about furnishing your weaving studio. Keeping track of how much yarn you use is where this really comes in handy.

You will also want to make sure you keep a yarn notebook with all of your yarn prices. Every time you purchase new yarn add it to your notebook so that you know how much to charge for it when you use it in a weaving. Doing this will make sure you do not have to try to remember pricing off the top of your head or go looking for it when you would rather be weaving. Make sure to read more about why you should have a yarn notebook here.

At the beginning of your project make sure to weigh your yarn cones, skeins, etc. Jot down the weight pre-weaving somewhere that you will remember it.


Get It On Amazon


I like to make these notes in my sketchbook along with the initial drawings and research that goes with each new weaving. 

Once you are finished with your weaving do not forget to re-weigh all of your yarn so you know how much you used.

To do this:

Divide the weight of your yarn by its price to get the price per ounce.

Then subtract the new weight from the initial weight to figure out just how much yarn you used.

Multiply the amount of yarn used by the price per ounce to determine the price of the amount of yarn you used.


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!


Galleries take a commission


Not every gallery will take a commission, but most of them will.

When your work gets into any show you will probably have to sign or agree to a contract that states that the gallery or whoever is putting on the exhibit will obtain a percentage of the sale of the art if it sells while being exhibited.

Sometimes this percentage is as low as 20% and as high as 60% but both of these are pretty rare. I most often see galleries taking 40% commission for work sold. This may still seem like a lot. It is, but they are doing a lot of work for that 40%. They pay for the space, all of the advertising for the show, the staff that is working, and they handle the money so that you do not have to. They work hard for their money too.

The important factor here is that you do not lose that 40%, but instead you build it into the price of your artwork.

This is probably one of the biggest reasons that your work seems expensive to some people. What they do not understand is that purchasing your art sometimes benefits more than just the artist.


Dealing with the haters



No matter how much thought you put into your pricing and subsequently how many weavings you have sold. You will have haters.

There will always be someone that will say that your weavings are “too expensive.” They are not “worth that price.” They can “get the same thing cheaper elsewhere.” (Remember what I said before about undervaluing your work hurting others?)

Well, it may be hard to come to terms with this, but your weavings are not for them.

The right person that appreciates your work and your time will not be that person.

If you encounter these people and you are feeling generous, then you can present them with how you came to your price. Perhaps they will come around when they realize that your pricing reflects the work.

You also have the option of offering to do a commission for them at their price. Just make sure they know what they are getting for the price they are willing to pay.

The last option is to just move on and remember that the right buyer will come around.


Pricing your weaving does not have to be intimidating


price your weaving info-graphic

If you are having trouble with pricing your weavings then you are not the only one. I avoided it for as long as I could, but eventually, I had to come up with the numbers.

I get it. This is not the fun part of being a weaver.

If you are making art that will never be sold then this does not matter, but if you want to send your weavings off into the world then it is a necessary evil. Also, if you are wanting to do commissions you need to be able to explain how you come up with your pricing. Think of it as offering an estimate or a receipt on work done.

Doing this not-so-fun part of the art process may even pay for the ability to make more art!

I know it can be intimidating, but if you follow this pricing model or any pricing model it will help make it easier. Guessing how much to sell your woven artwork for will not get you far. Use the equation above and you will be able to come up with a number confidently and quickly.

This way you can spend less time pricing and more time weaving.


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