Wellness For Makers Book Review

Wellness For Makers Book Review

I love weaving and creating!

Chances are since you are here that you do too. So what can you do to make sure that you can continue to create long into the future?

Let’s start off by talking about why this is even an issue. 

I want you to think about how you feel after a full day of making.

Not mentally, but physically.

How does your back feel from sitting at your loom or at a desk after weaving all day? How do your wrists feel after throwing your shuttle constantly or beating your weft?

Depending on the way that you create, these may or may not be an issue, but chances are you are not taking the proper care of your body while you are weaving (I know I don’t.)

This is because we were never taught to.



There are many things that we were never taught as artists and makers that I like to shine a light on here at Warped. Just because you did not learn it before, does not make it is not important. (I am looking at your fiber art history!)

On a side note – if you are interested in some fiber art history then check out these 2 posts:

The difference between weaving, knitting, and crochet.

What really is Tapestry?

I digress.

I know that I try to remind my students to get up and move after sitting for a while, but I am not perfect and we probably do not do it as often as we should. I also will not always be there to remind them to stretch! Not to mention, there are other things that you can and potentially should be doing to help avoid fatigue in the studio.

I talk about this briefly in my post on avoiding the weaving hunch by adjusting your position, but I am not a medical professional and there is more we can do!

That is where this book comes in.


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!



Wellness For Makers – A Movement Guide For Artists is a great resource for any artist and maker looking to prolong their making by taking care of themselves. 

While this book was not made specifically for weavers and fiber artists, the principles of movement, stretching, posture, and massage can be applied to all disciplines of art. 

Missy Ballone has a unique position as an artist as well as a massage therapist and yoga instructor. Her mission is to make sure that other artists learn how to take care of their bodies and arm them against the unique stressors that accompany a life of being a maker. (These are my words)


What Wellness For Makers has


wellness for makers book review

Wellness For Makers is a guide for artists to better understand what their body is doing or not doing during the creative process. 

Again, this book is not directly marketed towards weavers so some of the information is more general but no less useful. 

While some of the information may also seem like common sense (stand up straighter, do not sit all day) there are nuances within the information that make it worth the read. Sometimes we just need a reminder about what we should be doing. Not to mention viewing it through the lens of the studio can help to make it more real.

I don’t know about you, but the incentive to be able to weave for longer into the future without issue is pretty enticing. Not to mention, the idea that weaving is potentially harmful to my body just does not sit right with me.


What I love about it


wellness for makers book review inside

Wellness For Makers is about half text and half images. I appreciate all of the image examples of stretches, proper alignment, and massage. While this book can not and should not stand in for any medical advice (something that Missy makes very clear in her disclaimer at the beginning of the book), it is nice to be able to see the positions and stretches instead of just reading about them. 

I also appreciate that Wellness For Makers mentions and demonstrates some stretches and massages that I have not thought about before, but are very helpful for weaving breaks and after I am finished.

I personally do not currently have any issues with my wrists and hands while weaving (so far), but I know that I used to get bad pains when I would try to crochet or knit for any extended period of time. This book would probably have helped me a lot to avoid those pains!


Want to learn how to weave tapestry? It’s more than just imagery (although that can be a big part of it too!) Follow along with this self-paced online course that you can take from anywhere at any time.


Perhaps not the end-all when considering a book for purchase, but on top of being educational, Wellness For Makers is also very well designed. The colors are calming and the graphics throughout add a nice touch of whimsy. Despite talking about important things, this book does not take itself too seriously. Instead, it makes the ideas and information easy to digest in a small amount of time.

This is something that I find to be a big plus because it can allow you to get the information and implement it in no time so you can get back to what you really want to be doing: weaving.

The book also has a ribbon bookmark built in. This is such a small touch, but one that I appreciate. This ribbon allows you to easily mark a set of stretches or information that you want to easily be able to access in the future. 


Who Wellness For Makers is for


wellness for makers back cover

Artists.

Basically all artists.

I really think that all artists can find some useful information here if they are hoping to create a more physically sustainable practice. Really, that is what we should all be striving for.

Wellness For Makers is a stepping stone into a healthier practice and can get you started in the right direction to take better care of yourself while making. 

It uses easy-to-understand language and does not bog you down in extra information that you do not really need. This book is great for you to have in your weaving library and can also make a great gift for other weavers or artists in your life. Really anyone that creates for any amount of time could benefit from this book to better understand how what we do affects our bodies.


Putting it to use


Not perfect… but better!

The hardest thing about the aspects of this book is actually putting them to use.

I know that I have always struggled with my posture, so sitting at a loom does not exactly make that any better! I have to spend some serious mental energy making sure that I am keeping my back straight while I am weaving.

One thing that has helped me a lot is putting a yoga block like this one underneath my loom. This way I can rest my foot that I am not using to treadle on it instead of on the floor. If I do not use the block I have a tendency to tilt forward because at 5 foot nothing, I do not exactly touch the floor if I try to sit up straight!

This along with some of the stretches that are found in this book are great tools to keep you healthier.

Ultimately, though, it is up to you to implement them and keep at it!


Favorite Rigid Heddle Project For Beginners

Favorite Rigid Heddle Project For Beginners

Knowing what project to start with when you first start weaving can be a bit tricky. You want something that allows you to practice, but is not too difficult that it dissuades you from continuing with your weaving journey.

When it comes to weaving a tapestry, I like to recommend that you start out with a sampler. This allows you to try out the different techniques without committing to a full design or image.

If you want to learn how to weave tapestry and get a sampler cartoon to follow for when you are first getting started then make sure to check out my online self-paced tapestry course here!

I digress.

When it comes to weaving on a rigid heddle loom, on the other hand, there are different techniques that you will want to master. 

That is why I start out my rigid heddle classes with a simple scarf that teaches the fundamentals, but still gets you an interesting scarf that you can wear or gift!

So, let’s talk about what you should look for in your first rigid heddle loom project and why I teach this project to beginners.


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First project checklist



This project is not the be-all-end-all of beginner rigid heddle projects, just the one that I like to start with! I have been teaching this woven scarf project for a while and it seems to check all the boxes for what you would want in a first project.

You can take this pattern and change it up a bit to better suit your needs, just do not make it too complicated.


Project Length


first rigid heddle loom project warping a long warp

While you can start with something shorter, having your first project be a long scarf has its definite benefits. 

A longer warp makes it so you have more weaving to practice everything, but especially keeping your selvedges straight!

Since this is one of the most prominent issues that new weavers (and really all weavers) deal with, the more time to practice – the better.

If you want to learn how to weave straighter selvedges, then check out this post here.

Unless you are trying to save yarn, there really is no reason to start off with something shorter. It takes the same amount of time to warp a long warp that it does to warp a short one. You might as well get as much out of your time as you can and get some good weaving practice in.

That is why scarves are great first weaving projects. Scarf lengths usually start at around 5 feet and only get longer from there. Not only does weaving up a scarf for your first project give you a lot of practice, it also gets you a wearable piece of art that you made yourself!

If you do not want to weave a scarf, then you also have an option to weave multiple projects on the same warp if you are using a long warp. Again, this means you are saving time and yarn by only doing this once.

If you want to learn about weaving more than one project on the same warp – check out this post.

While you do want to practice warping your loom, subsequent warpings can always come with future weaving projects.


Warping different colors


rigid heddle loom scarf project 2 color warp

Knowing how to warp with different colors is a really important skill to have when weaving on a rigid heddle loom. This skill sets you up for weaving many different plain weave patterns!

The best part is that once you know how to warp one color you know how to warp multiple colors.

So in theory, you could get away with only warping the one color, but there may be many different instances where you will need to start and stop your warp. (Broken yarn, knots, skipped dents)

Warping multiple colors will give you some more practice!

Plus, I find that the idea can be intimidating – so getting it over with at the very beginning can set you up for more complex patterns in the future.

This pattern gives you the chance to apply this skill at least once so you can have the confidence to change colors in the future.


Different color wefts


first rigid heddle loom scarf project 2 weft colors

Beyond practice starting and stopping your weft yarns, having more than one weft yarn color in your scarf is a great way to understand what sides (if there is a correct side) to start and end your colors on. 

For example, due to the specific pattern we are using in this pattern, it is important to only start and stop your weft yarns on the color that corresponds with the warp. This will allow you to weave in your tails when you are finished and blend them in completely.

With this specific pattern, you are changing out your weft colors every 6 inches. This is great for a beginner for 2 reasons:

1 – This means more practice for starting and stopping different weft yarns. By the end of the scarf you will have had enough practice that your weft-changing ability should stick with you as you keep weaving. If you do it just once or twice, you may have a hard time remembering your skills for your next weaving project.

2 – Stopping every 6 inches helps you to keep track of your weaving better and keep you from getting too lost in the meditative aspects of weaving. If you just weave up 1 color, then you may be more likely to get distracted from your weaving and start to pull in your selvedges or beat too hard.


Keeping your rigid heddle project simple, but not too simple


students weaving beginner rigid heddle project

The simplest thing you could weave is one color weft on one color warp.

We have already talked about some reasons why that might not be your best option for your first rigid heddle project.

The last reason?

It could be boring!

Ok, maybe that is a bit harsh.

There are definitely ways that you could do that project that would make a beautiful woven scarf. For example using self-striping yarn, novelty yarns with different fibers or textures, or yarns that are hand-dyed and create interesting color movement across the scarf.

These are all great options. Just not options that I recommend for first-time weavers.

When working on your first project you will want to use yarn that is not finicky and can easily show you your mistakes (because everyone makes them!)

Weaving with just 1 color could make your first project feel a bit monotonous.

Weaving takes patience and time.

Learn more about what I wish I knew before I started weaving.

So until you are hooked, we need to make sure you keep weaving! This is why the color block scarf works really well. You only have 6 inches to get used to using 1 color before you have to switch it again.


Want to learn how to weave tapestry? It’s more than just imagery (although that can be a big part of it too!) Follow along with this self-paced online course that you can take from anywhere at any time.


If you are interested in trying out this project then make sure to join the Warped Fibers community! You get access to this FREE pattern and other free weaving patterns, a beginner weaver ebook, and a mini-course on making a butterfly bobbin.



Warp Separators – Why Do You Need Them?

Warp Separators – Why Do You Need Them?

A question I get quite often is what are warp separators and why do you need them?

Warp separators are a tool or material that you can use to keep your warp on any advancing loom (rigid heddle, floor, or table loom) evenly tensioned for the duration of your weaving. 

To fully understand this you will first need to understand how the back beam of your loom works and what it is for.

The back beam on any loom will hold your unwoven warp during the weaving process. When you have a loom with an advancing warp that most often means that your warp is very long and needs somewhere to go until you weave it. In this case, the warp will wind around the back beam and eventually start winding on itself. 

Even tension is really important when you are doing any sort of weaving project. It makes sure that your entire weaving builds up the same way and is not a struggle to weave. 

Using some sort of warp separator ensures that when you warp winds over itself it does so in an even layer. Without this layer, your warps can fall into the gaps of the warps immediately below them. These warps will end up tighter than the warps that do not!


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!



Types of warp separators


different types of warp separators

There are 2 main types of warp separators to choose from that (of course) have their pros and cons. The type you choose will depend on what type of loom you are weaving on and your own personal weaving preferences.

Long warp separators and stick warp separators do the same exact thing but in a slightly different way. 

The long option is great for when you are using a loom that is not going anywhere.

This is because as you advance your warp the separator will be hanging from the back beam. If your loom is moving from place to place then this can get really annoying as it can get in the way.

Depending on the type of separator you choose it may also be prone to damage. Moving it around while it is hanging down will make it more likely to get damaged!

Long separators are also great because they roll on with less effort.

Since they are long you can wind on faster with less stopping. You just have to make sure that it is rolling on straight. If it starts to roll on crooked then just give it a tug to straighten it out and keep going!


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!


Stick separators are great for portable looms.

Since they are much smaller they do not have the same issue with draping down from the loom as you advance your warp. Instead, they will fall out as you keep going. While you can use these on a stationary loom, they are a bit more work to put in when you are warping.

When warping your loom with stick separators you will need to stop every time your warp starts to contact itself again. When this happens you insert a new separator.

Since they are skinny you will have to do this often.


Long warp separators


cardboard and kraft paper from woolery.com

Cardboard


When I started weaving this was the only type I ever used! This is just because that is what was available at the university that I went to. So for a long time, cardboard rolls were the only option I really knew of. 

Cardboard is a really great option for when you are weaving something that has to be really tight because it gives less than some other options. Since the point of your warp separator is to make sure your warps do not fall into the gaps the stronger your separator – the better!

Using cardboard from boxes is not quite what you are looking for because it is too stiff, but if you take that same cardboard and separate the layers then it can work really well.

You can also purchase corrugated cardboard specifically for this purpose. This is great because it is already the perfect flexibility and it has clean straight edges.


Kraft paper/ paper bags


kraft paper as warp separator on rigid heddle loom

You can find kraft paper and paper bags just about anywhere. My favorite way to obtain this type of separator is to upcycle the packing paper often found in packages.

I always put it aside expressly for the purpose of using it for weaving. This is also great for being more sustainable!

Reusing your old packaging materials may limit the size of paper you have on hand to use. If you want something where you can control the width and length as well as to make sure you have straight edges then you can also purchase kraft paper on rolls. 

1 roll of kraft paper should last a long time because you can reuse your warp separator as many times as you want until it starts to tear or get damaged. 

You can also cut up paper grocery bags to use for this. Depending on how you cut it up you should be able to get a decent length out of it. 

If you are looking for another way to reuse grocery bags (this time plastic) you can check out my tutorial on making yarn out of plastic bags here.

I have also had students use paper towels. So if you keep paper towels in your kitchen then you can grab a roll and use that to separate your warp for a really inexpensive option!

Funny story: when I ordered some cardboard roll for my warp separator it came with some kraft paper in the package! 2 for the price of 1.


Sushi mat


sushi mat as warp separator on rigid heddle loom

If you want something that is going to have a bit more staying power then you can try using a sushi mat as your warp separator! This is also a really great option because it is not going to flex much and will make sure your tension stays even as you weave. 

The biggest possible issue with using these is that they do not come in large sizes.

You will be limited with the width of your weaving at less than 9.5 inches. You will also need to have many on hand because they are only 9.5 inches long. 

This means that you will have to continue adding more mats as you wind on your warp, but it also means you will have less flowing down from your beam after advancing your warp. 

These sushi mats are a great middle option between a long and a stick warp separator.


Stick warp separators


warp separator sticks on rigid heddle loom

Chipboard


Using chipboard or cardboard sticks is a pretty cost-effective way to use stick separators on your loom. Depending on the type of rigid heddle loom you have it may even come with separators right out of the box.

This is the case for the Ashford rigid heddle loom. These looms come with long chipboard warp separator sticks included. You can learn more about the Ashford rigid heddle loom in my review here.

If you are not careful these types of separators can get damaged, but are probably less likely than if you were to use a different material.

Due to this, these will not last forever and you will probably have to purchase more or change what you are using in the future. 


Wood


If you like the way that stick separators work but you want something a bit more durable, then wood may be a good option for you. (disclaimer: I have not tried wood warp sticks, but I know of many people that like them.)

Not surprisingly, these are going to be more expensive than chipboard or cardboard, but they are also stronger.

Your wood should not flex at all under the tension of your warp, so these will potentially have the best tension retention of all of our options.

They are also the most expensive especially because you tend to need a lot of stick separators for a long weaving.


Want to learn how to weave tapestry? It’s more than just imagery (although that can be a big part of it too!) Follow along with this self-paced online course that you can take from anywhere at any time.


Front beam separator


Where a warp separator of any kind is necessary for your back beam you can most definitely get away with not having any sort of separation on your front cloth beam. This is because your cloth is a solid piece of fabric and should not fall through any gaps below. 

That being said, if you notice that when you are winding your cloth onto the front of your loom your apron strings are displacing any of your warp and weft then it may be a good idea to add a front cloth beam separator as well.

This could be done in many different ways – including all those mentioned above, but since it should only really be an issue at the beginning of your weaving process you can get away with something much shorter.

If you do not have extra stick separators then you can use a paper towel tube that is cut down one long side to open it up. This can then slide onto your front cloth beam to smooth out where the apron string attaches to the front rod. 


Like most things in weaving it is important to think about what you want to do and the circumstances you have. These things can vary by weaver and by weaving. 

When trying to decide what warp separator option you want to use you can ask yourself these questions:

What kind of loom do I have?

Will I be traveling or moving my loom around?

Am I weaving something (tapestry) that requires a very tight warp?

Do I want to use found materials to be more sustainable and save money, or do I want to purchase something that will have straighter lines and was made for the task?

Am I worried about my front beam displacing my yarns?

When you can answer these questions you can start to make some decisions about what you want to use now and in the future! 


Direct Warping Vs. Indirect Warping (Warping Board)

Direct Warping Vs. Indirect Warping (Warping Board)

Depending on the type of weaving you are doing, this might not even be a question that you have to answer!

When it comes down to it, you can mostly assume that rigid heddle looms will be directly warped and floor looms/ table looms will be indirectly warped. 

Each type of loom though can be warped either way. 

The first things we need to go over are: what exactly are direct and indirect warping? And when should you choose each option?


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!



Direct warping


direct warping space needed

Direct warping is a warping method that is mostly associated with rigid heddle weaving and allows you to measure your warp and put it on your loom at the same time.

The simplicity of the rigid heddle loom lends itself really well to a simpler warping method! You can direct warp onto a floor loom, but there are a lot more “obstacles” involved in warping a floor loom. That takes some of the simplicity out of the entire system.

So let’s talk about how the direct method works.

First: this warping method requires the use of a warping peg and a lot of space. 

The longer your warp, the more space you need.

This is because you will be measuring out your warp directly onto your loom instead of on an intermediate device such as a warping board or warping mill. 

When you are direct warping the front of your loom is facing the warping peg.

Your peg will be placed your warp’s distance away from the back apron rod of your loom. So if for example, your warp is 8 feet long then you will have to place your peg and the back apron rod 8 feet apart. 

Weaving Tip: Since I usually use my rigid heddle loom to weave scarves, I keep an 8-foot-long measure yarn handy to always be able to easily set up my direct warping. This is simpler than taking out the measuring tape since most sewing measuring tapes only go to 5 feet.


direct warping warping peg

This is why you need a lot of space.

When you are working on a rigid heddle loom you are often working with a long warp. 

Having a long table is the best option for this method, but if you have the ability to span your warp across an open space then this can work well too. Just make sure you have a good place to clamp your peg at the other end. 

I, unfortunately, do not have a long enough table to warp my usual 8-foot-long warps.

Instead, I usually clamp my rigid heddle loom to my studio table and let it span my room. Attached on the other side of the room with a warping peg clamped to my weaving bench.

Clamp your peg to a bench, chair, another table, or anything you can that will not move when the warp is under tension.

Find a system that works for you!


how to weave tapestry

Direct warping is faster but requires open space


Since you are taking out an extra step of measuring all of the warp ends first, this method is a lot faster than if you are using a warping board. While warping time will vary depending on what you are wanting to make, once you have had a little practice you should be able to warp a 10-inch weaving in about 45 minutes! 

Direct warping also allows you to have a warp of any length. Is your weaving an unusual length? You can change your warp length incrementally but just moving your peg.

You are not limited by the constraints of your board or mill but can instead place your peg at any distance you want.

The only thing you are limited by is the amount of space you have.


Indirect warping (warping board)


indirect warping warping board

Warping boards and warping mills do the exact same thing but in slightly different ways.

They are both tools that you can use to measure out all of your warp yarns to the exact length that you need for your weaving. 

You can learn how to use a warping board here.

The biggest difference between the two types of indirect warping tools is that the warping mill turns as you measure your warp. This makes it a smooth process that is fun to do (subjectively speaking of course.) Each side of your warping mill will also be a half yard which makes measuring out your warp yarn easy without having to use a guide yarn. 

Warping boards take up less space than warping mills, but they take up a lot more space than warping pegs. 

Think about how much space you have for warping vs. how much space you have for storing your weaving tools.

Using a warping board or mill is great for when your warp is very long. Since it wraps around and around the mill or the pegs on the board you can get a lot of warp into a small space. You do not need 15 feet of open space for 15 feet of warp!


indirect warping cross

Indirect warping takes longer but can be broken up


Overall, indirect warping takes longer to do. You have to measure out your yarn and then put it on your loom.

Having your measuring and warping in two separate steps is not necessarily a bad thing!

If you can only dedicate small amounts of time to your weaving then this is a great way to do it. Measure your warp when you get the chance and then set it aside until you have time to move on!

You can split up your entire warping process into different segments.

For example, if you are warping from the front of your loom (my preferred method) then you will need to hold onto your cross the entire time you are sleighing your reed. This requires you to find a time where you will not be interrupted because you can not drop the cross.

If you have a long warp, then you can split up your warp into smaller sections to make sure you can get up and move between sections. (I talk about this more in my how to use a warping board post.)

Once you are finished with sleighing your reed, each part of the warping process can be started and stopped at any time!


Which warping method should you use?


direct warping vs indirect warping

The easiest answer will be if you are using a rigid heddle loom then you should direct warp. Your rigid heddle loom will probably even come with the peg and clamps to warp this way.

Floor looms and table looms are most often indirectly warped using either a warping board or a warping mill. They do not usually come with these tools but you should be able to purchase them in the same place.

If you do not have a lot of space to warp then you can use a warping board or mill with your rigid heddle loom. 

If you want to skip the measuring step and have the room then you can use a warping peg for your floor loom.

There is no wrong way to warp your loom if your warp gets on your loom! Figure out what is important to you, how much space you have, and your budget, and go from there!


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!


Warping tools:


Direct Warping

Warping board

Warping mill

Indirect Warping

Warping peg


Warp Finishing: Fringe Options

Warp Finishing: Fringe Options

There are many different ways to finish a weaving. One of the most common and possibly iconic ways to do this is to have fringe at the bottom.

As with most things, though, fringe for your weaving is not always so straightforward!

There are many different options both for how you create your fringe and what your finished fringe will ultimately look like.

You can go really simple with overhand knots at the base of your scarf or as “complicated” as macrame along the edge!

Your ideal warp finishing and fringe options might even depend on the type of weaving you are creating.

Tapestry?

Functional weavings (scarves, rugs)?

These may require different choices for finishing.

… or they may not.


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!



Warp fringe vs rya knots


The simplest way to have fringe on your weaving is to use the warp “waste” that is already on the weaving. This warp is what is leftover from attaching it to the loom and/or taken up by headers and scaffolding.

If you are planning to utilize this warp yarn for your fringe you will need to be aware of this before you even start weaving. This is because you will need to account for the extra warp when you are setting up your weaving and in your calculations.

Learn more about the weaving process and the order in which you should start your weaving here.

Another thing to keep in mind when using your leftover warp is what color your warp is. This is a given if you are weaving up something that is balanced or pattern woven. These types of weavings show the warp in the actual piece so it is important to the overall aesthetic. 

If you are weaving tapestry, though, then the color of your warp is not always something you need to consider. Since a tapestry is a weft-faced weaving you do not see any warp. That is unless you use some of it for fringe. 

Learn more about what tapestry is here.

If you are looking for a fringe that is full and overflowing, then using your warp waste probably will not be enough. Your fringe will be limited to the amount of warp ends that you have. If weaving tapestry, then these warp ends are usually even fewer since tapestry requires a smaller EPI.

Learn about EPI here.


rya knots tapestry fringe

If the idea of using your warp yarns is not going to give you the fringe of your dreams, you have the option to create new fringe using rya knots.

Learn how to create rya knots here.

Rya knots are great for this because you can use as many strands of yarn as you want for fuller fringe. They also give you the option of using colors that are not in your warp and/ or different colors in the same space.

Rya knots are great for fringe because they also allow you to create really long fringe without using your leftover warp. You do still have to plan for your fringe at the beginning, but you can at least wait until your warp is on and you are ready to start creating.


Fringe variations (twist, braid, macrame)



Sometimes straight fringe is just not what you are going for.

No worries!

There is a wide range of types of fringe that you can create with either your warp waste or rya knots. These are most often done with your warp, though.

These options are great for when you want your fringe to have a little extra “weight” to them. That means they will hang well when on a scarf. They are also good to keep your fringe from getting tangled and matted. 

No matter the option you choose, it is a lot easier to work with your fringe if your weaving is weighed down so it will not move! Something as simple as putting a book on your weaving will keep it in place while you attend to your fringe.


Twisted fringe


scarf fringe and fringe twister warp finishing

Twisted fringe is a really classic option that creates a heavy fringe that will drape well on a scarf.

The twist is also pretty easy to do, if not time-consuming by hand.

One great thing about a twisted fringe is that you have the option to use a fringe twister to make this process go faster and help your twists to be more consistent. Regardless of if you are using a fringe twister or doing it by hand, your general instructions are the same!

I am using the Schacht fringe twister and I love how quick it makes the twisting go! This fringe twister allows you to twist up to 3 bundles of yarn at a time, but you can twist only 2 if you want smaller finished fringe bundles.

You start your twist by taking at least 2 fringe yarns and twisting them together. Do this at least 1 more time, but for larger bundles do it a total of 3 times.

Make sure you twist them all in the same direction! This is important.

Take all 3 of these twisted bundles and then twist them together in the opposite direction.

Tie a knot at the very end and move on to the next bundle! Make sure you twist each bundle the same amount so they are consistent.

Check out the video below to see the fringe twister in action!



If you are using the Schacht fringe twister then attach 2 or more warp yarns to each clip. Try not to cross them over each other when clipping in order to keep it clean when you start to turn the handle.

Turn your handle clockwise.

Count how many times you turn the handle and remember it for the rest of your bundles.

Take all of your twisted yarns off and put them into 1 bundle.

Clip this 1 bundle together and twist counter-clockwise.

Detach and tie!


twisted fringe scarf

Braided fringe


braided fringe scarf

Braiding is another simple way to get bundles of fringe on your weaving. You can either do a simple braid with 3 strands of yarn or double it up. If you want to get real fancy then you can also do multi-strand braids. 

Here is a refresher of how to do a simple 3 strand braid:

Take 3 strands of yarn and separate them. Take 1 of the outer yarns and cross it over the middle yarn.

Then take the other out yarn and cross it over the new middle yarn.

You will keep doing this until your braid reaches the desired length or you run out of yarn!

Tie a knot at the end to keep everything together.


Macrame fringe


macrame fringe scarf

If you are feeling really fancy then you can do macrame at the bottom of your weaving. This will not be individual bundles of fringe, but instead will elongate your weaving with a lace-like texture on the ends. 

I will admit that macrame is not my expertise, but I have been known to do very simple macrame at the end of my weavings on occasion.

You can do this simple macrame technique like this:

You will be using smaller bundles of yarn for this. Make sure they all have a knot at their top at the edge of the weaving to keep your weft in place.

Take 2 small bundles of yarn and tie them together about an inch down from the edge of your weaving.

Move over to the next 2 bundles of yarn and repeat this step all the way across.

On your way back you will then take 1 bundle of yarn from each not and tie those together.

You can do this as many times as you want, just make sure to alternate which bundles you are tieing together to create your lacy “net” fringe!


Side (selvedge) fringe


If you are wanting something a little different then you can create side fringe on your weaving! This is really simple to do if you just ignore one of the main things that I teach.

That is, to weave in your weft tails as you go! Most of the time you want to weave in your weft tails. They can get in the way, and it makes the finishing process a lot easier. 

If you do not weave them in, though, it can be an aesthetic choice.

You can even exaggerate your side fringe by purposefully starting and stopping your weft yarns more often – as much as every single pick of your weaving. This will give you a consistent selvedge of fringe all the way up! 

You could also do some side rya knots every few picks to get some extra fluff on the sides.

Side fringe is not something I see too often, but if done well it could be a really fun addition to your weavings.



Tapestry vs functional weavings (scarves)


twisted fringe scarf and rya fringe tapestry

I already touched on this a little bit earlier, but the type of weaving you are doing may determine the type of fringe you have or at least the decisions you have to make when creating your fringe. 

It is very common to just use the rest of your warp on functional weavings like scarves. That is because there is usually a large number of warps to begin with and you will probably not want something too fluffy at the end of your scarf.

Probably.

You do you.

As for tapestry, adding rya is the most common method for fringe, but if you like the look of using your warp then there is nothing wrong with that!


Best Weaving Looms For Beginners

Best Weaving Looms For Beginners

Starting out on your weaving adventure can be a bit daunting. There is so much to learn and so much to buy! This is a common topic here at Warped Fibers because I am always hoping to bring more people around to weaving.

Why wouldn’t I?

Weaving is awesome.

I have talked a bit about what you need to start weaving here and if you want to know the looms and supplies I use in my studio you can see those here.

Also if you are a new weaver or just someone looking for a weaving refresher then check out my FREE Weaving Guide For The Absolute Beginner. 

Yep. 

Free.

You can enter your info into the form below to sign up for my mailing list to get access to the free guide or just click the link above!


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Looms are one weaving supply that might be the scariest to buy because they are the one that is the most exclusive to weaving. Everything else that you will need you will probably already have or will be able to use for other things. 


What to look for in a beginner loom


Once you get to know what you want to do it can be easier to figure out what type of loom you want. I will be going over the 2 main types of weavings that you will probably be starting with and what type of loom you will need to weave them.

That being said, there are so many different looms out there, and all of them offer different things.

When you are first starting out it can be a good idea to try to find a goldilocks loom that is not too expensive and has some options but is still simple to use.

If you want to go all out from the beginning because you do not want to buy another loom later, just remember that there is nothing wrong with having more than one loom! You can also upgrade later once you know what you really like. There are many different places you can sell a used loom if you decide to make room for a new one.

Other things you might be looking for are a frame loom with a stand for easier weaving or a loom that is small either for storage or portability.

Make yourself a list and go from there.


Why you should start weaving with a frame loom


beginner friendly looms - frame looms

If you are new to weaving or looking to get into it then these are my recommendations for looms to get you started and get you hooked!

If you are brand new to weaving then the best way to dip your needle in is with a frame loom!

Frame looms are my favorite beginner looms and not just because they are how I originally started weaving.

That being said, there is a reason that most people start with frame weaving. They are (mostly) inexpensive, (mostly) small, and generally easy to warp. 


Want to learn how to weave tapestry? It’s more than just imagery (although that can be a big part of it too!) Follow along with this self-paced online course that you can take from anywhere at any time.


Inexpensive


Frame looms are just about as simple as you can get when it comes to starting your weaving journey. While, yes, you can start with a cardboard loom (learn how to make a cardboard loom here) if you have the ability I recommend you give a frame loom a try instead.

Frame looms will not only give you better warp tension but also will not fall apart after a few uses. They can even be just as inexpensive or almost as inexpensive as just pulling some cardboard out of your recycling bin. 

That is because you can use a repurposed picture frame that you already have laying around or grab something from a clearance section for only a few dollars. 

This type of loom is called a simple frame loom and if you want to learn more about them then you can learn about simple frame looms here. 

Speaking of warp tension, their ability to hold a very high tension makes frame looms ideal for tapestry weaving. If you are wanting to start your weaving adventure with tapestry then frame looms are the best option.

If you want something that may actually be simpler than a simple frame loom then you can get a loom with notches or make one with nails. These will warp up even faster than a simple frame loom (which already warps up fast) because everything is already spaced out and good to go.

You can also learn about spacing hacks for your simple frame loom here.


Easy to warp



Since there are many different types of frame looms there are varying degrees of difficulty when it comes to warping your loom. All of them though, are going to allow you to get weaving fast and with little effort.

The easiest frame looms to warp are going to be ones with dedicated notches or nails with either no shed system or a simple heddle bar (see above video.) These looms require no extra math to figure out your EPI and keep your warp spaced perfectly as you go.

Other types of frame looms are not hard to warp, but they may require a little extra effort. They do have their advantages though.

Learn about different types of frame looms here.

Learn specifically about simple frame looms (my favorites) here.


They don’t take up a lot of space


Most frame looms are small.

This means that not only are they good for travel, but they are also good for when you do not have a bunch of dedicated space to devote to a skill that you may not even love.

Do not worry. You will love it.

That sounded threatening… anyway.

Not only do you probably not know if you will love to weave or not, but you may not even know what you really want to weave. It is never a bad idea to start small and work up from there. If you decide later that you want a larger loom of any type you can still rest easy knowing that you can always still use your frame loom for smaller weavings or samples.

You can read more about finding the best second loom here.


Need help planning your weaving project? Stuck trying to figure out how much yarn you need? What the h&^$ is WPI? Check out my e-book!


Why you should start weaving with a rigid heddle loom



Not everyone wants to weave tapestry.

When you are looking to weave something else, then a rigid heddle loom might be a better object for your creative input than a frame loom – at least to start.

Rigid heddle looms are great for weaving longer weavings that are either balanced or pattern woven, but tapestry should be left for a loom with the ability to hold more tension.


Easier to warp than a floor loom


Floor looms are notoriously annoying to warp. Not necessarily hard, but there are a lot of steps and it takes a while. The more steps there are, the more opportunities you have to make a mistake in the process.

Mistakes are good. They are how we learn. 

For most people though, when first starting anything new it is a good idea to start on the easier side to get hooked first. It is a lot easier to deal with things that can be frustrating when you love what you are doing. 

Rigid heddle looms have the ability to be warped directly instead of using a warping board or mill. This means that you eliminate a step in the warping process that requires you to measure out your warp first and then put it on your loom. Beyond this, the warping itself is simpler because there are fewer moving parts to deal with.

Unlike a floor loom, a rigid heddle loom only has 1 heddle for you to pull your warp through. This means fewer chances to make mistakes.


Longer weavings than a frame loom


Sometimes a frame loom is just not going to cut it for what you want to weave. If you know going in that you want to weave scarves or other long pieces of fabric then starting with a frame loom may not make sense.

Weaving on a rigid heddle loom is great for when you want to create longer weavings and when you want to work on balanced or pattern weavings.

With its ability to have an advancing warp you can create weavings that just keep going!

Even if your goal is not to weave something specific, rigid heddle looms can be great for beginners because they allow you a lot of room to practice your weaving skills. Weaving, just like any other skill, will only keep improving with time and practice.

The more time you have to weave without having to re-warp your loom keeps you in the weaving mind-frame longer. A.K.A. more time to get hooked!


My beginner loom recommendations


choosing beginner looms

If you really just want to get started with no fuss then purchasing a loom that already has notches and a shed device will get you weaving the fastest with the least amount of learning involved in the warping process. 


Frame looms


If you are going the simple frame loom route then you can use any old frame you have laying around or one that is found in a clearance bin to keep it cheap. You can also use canvas stretcher bars for a more tailored size. I usually purchase mine here.

Another inexpensive frame loom that is great for beginners is this notched loom that you can find on Amazon.

Easy to warp? Check

Inexpensive? Check

Portable and easy to store? Check

Heddle bar capability? Check


Rigid Heddle Looms 


Rigid heddle looms for beginners are usually less expensive, but still capable of weaving a lot of different techniques including pick-up weaving.

The Schacht Cricket rigid heddle loom is great for beginners because it is small and does not have any extra frills. You can read my full review here.


Take a class


If you are still having some doubts then the best loom to start with is one that you do not own! Taking a local class helps you to get your needle on the loom without committing to anything you have to keep in your home. A lot of times you will get to use a loom that may even be beyond beginner status (but still has beginner capabilities.)

If you are in the Richmond, Virginia area then check out my in-person classes. If you are not, then just google weaving in your area to get in with a local weaver who can teach you on their looms before you purchase your own!


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