How To Wind Weaving Shuttles and Bobbins To Maximize Their Potential

How To Wind Weaving Shuttles and Bobbins To Maximize Their Potential

How To Wind A Flat Shuttle and Different Bobbins


Perhaps it’s not fair to say that there is a wrong way to wind a weaving shuttle or a bobbin – but that there may be a better way. While you could easily just slap the yarn on there – and hey, that’s an option. When it comes down to it, if you get the yarn on the thing and are able to weave with it – it’ll do! If you want to maximize the amount of yarn you can wind or you are having difficulty keeping it on the device then that’s where this post comes in.

Getting all you can out of whatever option you choose is not only good for a better weaving experience but also to minimize the number of weft tails you have to weave back in after your weaving is finished. This will mean you have less work to do later!

Different yarn “vehicles” are good for different things. Check out my blog post all about the different shuttle and bobbin options you have and when you should choose them.

So, once you decide what will work best for you – how do you get the yarn on there?


Tapestry Bobbin

Tapestry bobbins are a weaving multi-tool! Not only are they a means of holding your yarn, but they can also be used to beat your tapestry by tapping it into place. Bobbins don’t hold a ton of yarn – nowhere near the amount of the other options we are talking about today – but they are great for smaller areas. One of the most interesting parts of this bobbin is that the yarn will wrap around the thinnest part and allow it to hang from the front of your vertical weaving. Don’t worry, I’ll show you how.


wind tapestry bobbin

To load your bobbin – lay the end of your yarn across the skinny part of the bobbin. Hold this in place. Start to wrap the yarn around the top of the bobbin and work your way down. Fill in the whole bobbin. 

To make the bobbin hang you will need to first create a loop. Twist your loop upside down and over the top of the bobbin and pull the loop closed.

When you are ready to use your bobbin just loosen up this loop and use up the amount of yarn you need.

Re-loop when needed!


wind tapestry bobbin

Flat Shuttle

These shuttles benefit from keeping your yarn as flat as you can while maximizing the amount of yarn that you can get on it. To do this you don’t want to only wrap the yarn around the middle.

Although that is part of it.


wind flat weaving shuttle

You will start around the middle of the shuttle. You can either hold the end of your yarn as you start to wrap around the shuttle or you can tie a loose square knot around one of the ends. Depending on the type of yarn you are using – you may want to wrap the yarn around your fingers as well to keep the yarn from stretching too much. This is only really critical for wool yarns or any other yarn that stretches. Don’t do this too tight. Your hand should be able to slide out easily.

Once you have built up the middle of the shuttle you will want to maximize the amount of yarn you can get onto it by moving onto the sides.

Instead of moving from front to back you will instead wind the yarn by coming around to the front of the shuttle every time. This will create a sort of “x” on the side. Once one side is built up – move the the next!

Make sure to not over wind the shuttle or it loses it’s flatness!


Boat Shuttle

When winding your boat shuttle bobbin there are 2 schools of thought. 

  1. Wind the bobbin by building up the ends first. Then fill in the middle.
  2. Wind evenly across the entire bobbin for the entire time.
wind boat shuttle bobbin

I have heard that method 1 will keep the tension better while you are weaving because it is all coming from the same spot.

Option 2 is the way that I have always wound my bobbin and I have never had any issues. That being said, if you are having an issue with tension then try out whatever method you haven’t tried before to see if it fixes your issue.

It could all be dependent on how evenly you wind, how tight you hold the yarn while winding, or the motion that you use when passing the shuttle through the shed. There are so many different factors that could account for these issues – so it’s good to have options to play with. 

As with most things – do what works for you! It might not be what I prefer – but that’s ok!

Regardless of which way you wind the yarn, you will want to use a winder for the best tension and result. If you don’t have a bobbin winder then you can use a drill and a dowel rod or just wind it manually. Just make sure to be consistent and even for the best results.

When you load your bobbin into the shuttle make sure to insert it so it feeds from underneath. This will ensure the best results. 

Also, make sure not to overwind the bobbin. You don’t want it to be so large that it rubs against the bottom of the shuttle. If you want to save time and you have more bobbins – then just wind more than one at a time and have it ready!



No matter the way you decide to wind your weaving shuttle or bobbin just remember to not overfill them and choose the option that works best for your weaving and style.

So tell me, what’s your favorite yarn holder?

-Nicole

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wind a weaving shuttle

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5 Simple DIY Woven Gifts For Your List

5 Simple DIY Woven Gifts For Your List

Handmade Weaving Gift Ideas and Tutorials


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The best gifts are those you make.

No, really!

It’s not just something your mom told you when you gave her that macaroni necklace as a kid (I’m sure she loved it).

Giving the gift of woven art is an amazing handmade present that pretty much everyone would be lucky to receive. Perhaps I’m biased, but there’s not much like receiving something that someone put time and energy into. That being said, who has time to create large woven artwork for everyone on their list?

Not me.

Instead, you can create simple DIY woven gifts that shouldn’t take too long or cost too much. That way, you can make more! These handwoven gift ideas could be great for holidays, birthdays, thank yous, or anytime!

Gift ideas:

Bookmark

Bracelet

Ornaments

Coasters


Simple Handwoven Bookmark


DIY Woven Bookmark

This attractive little weaving is a perfect gift for someone who loves to read and enjoys the little things. You can weave this in many different designs depending on who you are giving it to. The simplest design would be simple horizontal stripes! This woven bookmark is a simple plain weft-faced weaving (tapestry).

Make sure to choose yarn that is on the thinner side. You don’t want anything too bulky between the pages of the book. You can also either iron (if you are using acrylic yarn than be careful of your heat settings) or press it to flatten it our some before gifting.


Project notes:

EPI – 6 Ends Per Inch

Yarn used8/4 Cotton rug warp and sock weight knitting yarn for weft

Size – 1 1/2″ x 5″

You can easily make different sizes for different books. This size is great for a small book.

Weaving instructions – You can weave as simple or as complicated as you want. You can easily make a very attractive woven bookmark with self-striping yarn with very little effort. If you want to get more detailed you can weave shapes or patterns (note that patterns will probably require a different EPI).

Weaving up a more balanced weave as opposed to a weft-faced weaving will also create a thinner bookmark. Experiment with different patterns and sizes!

This bookmark was woven on a simple cardboard loom to make it as fast and easy as possible. If you warp your cardboard loom like your EPI Mini-loom then you can actually weave a bookmark on each side and get the most out of your time.

You can also weave this on a frame loom or rigid heddle loom if you want! Do what works for you!

Finishing – You can finish this bookmark with simple overhand knots. You then have the option to either leave the warp as is or for a more frayed look you can un-twist the plies of your yarn. Don’t forget to tuck your tails back down your warp channels so the bookmark is flat and smooth on all sides.


Handwoven Bracelet


DIY Woven Bracelet

Similar to those friendship bracelets you may have made as a kid – this woven bracelet is a step above and makes a great gift for anyone who appreciates wearable art. You can create a thin band for the wrist or ankle or a thicker band to be worn like a cuff. Another option is to gift a few bracelets of different sizes to mix and match! If they all have complimentary color schemes than wearing thinner and thicker bracelets together can be a lot of fun.


Project Notes:

EPI – 12 EPI 

Size – 1/2” wide and 5“ long (6 total warp ends) or 1/4″ wide and 5″ long (4 total warp ends)

These bracelets are only 5″ long because I made them to go over my wrists and I have tiny wrists… That being said, the weaving doesn’t have to go all the way around the wearer’s wrist so if you don’t know exactly how long to make it then don’t worry!

You can make them as long as you want and as wide as you want. For a thinner bracelet – I don’t recommend any less than 4 warp ends though, for ease of weaving.

Yarn Used16/2 Cottolin for warp and weft. This is a GREAT yarn for this because it drapes really well and is super soft. This makes a comfortable and long weaving bracelet.

Set Up – A cardboard loom is really easy to use here as well. Wrapping the warp all the way around should give you plenty to work with for sizing the finished bracelet.

Weaving instructions – Again, just like the bookmark, you can make simple stripes look very impressive. Change up their sizes or position to create fun patterns or designs. Due to the size of the yarn and the weaving – you can get away with using a weavers knot instead of weaving in your tails for these woven bracelets. Normally I would never recommend weavers knots for a finished piece, but they end up being so small that it works out ok. Just try to make sure the small knots end up on the back of the bracelet.

Finishing – Finish these up with simple overhand knots that are flush with the edge of your weaving. I recommend anchoring your bracelet with your yarn, a book, or something heavy to make it easier to tie.

To create a movable knot you will want to start an overhand knot on one side of the bracelet, but don’t pull tight just yet. Place the other end through the loop. Then you can pull that knot tight. Place 2 more overhand knots on each end of the bracelet to keep it from coming undone. Trim off any excess. Make sure to leave enough slack in the bracelet for the receiver to get their hand through!

If making an anklet or you just don’t want to do the movable knot – then you can skip to the overhand knots at the ends of each side and the wearer can tie on the bracelet or you can add a bead button instead!

Variation Idea – Make a wider bracelet that has a button or snap on the ends. If you decide to do a button to close it then you can use split tapestry on one end for the button hole. No need to cut into your bracelet if you can plan ahead.

For this variation you would want to choose a finishing method that eliminates the warp at the ends. I.E. weaving them back into the weaving itself.



DIY Woven Ornament


DIY Woven Ornament

You can make many different types of ornaments with weaving, but a miniature wall hanging might just be the cutest option you have. Again, you can keep this pretty simple and it will still be impressive. Due to its size, I don’t recommend trying to be too detailed. If you are looking to add something extra then using embroidery on the surface of the ornament will probably be a simpler idea.


Project Notes

EPI – 6 EPI

Yarn/ Materials Used8/4 cotton rug warp and similar sized yarn for weft. Small dowel rod or stick.

Size – 2″ x 2″ – 12 total warp ends

Weaving Instructions – You can weave as simple or complicated as you want. You could do an entire ornament with rya knots or do one color tapestry and embroider on top.

Finishing – Attach your weaving to the dowel rod or stick by taking your warp yarn coming from the top of the weaving and bringing it around. Insert the warp back into the weaving and secure it by going back up an adjacent warp channel. Use an extra piece of yarn and tie it to the ends of the stick – you could also braid it for a more finished look. This will be how you hang it.

Tuck in any tails at the back.


Pom-Pom Ornament


DIY Pom Pom Ornament

While not actually a woven gift idea, this ornament does use yarn and is incredibly simple. You can possibly even use left over yarn from other projects if you have enough on hand! These are great when given in groups of a few ornaments and they’re so fast that it will probably take you less time than any of the other DIY gift ideas on this list.


Project Notes

Materials Needed – Any yarn that you have laying around! Play with fun colors and textures. You can use different sized yarns for variation in the pom-pom or the same yarn throughout for something simple. You will also need a pom-pom tool or a fork. Don’t worry – the pom-pom tool is an easy DIY.

DIY Pom-Pom tool – Find some cardboard or chipboard. Cut a notch out of the rectangle.

Done. That’s it. Now we make pom-poms!

Instructions – Wrap your yarn around the pom-pom tool or fork a lot. Like a lot a lot. The more you wrap it, the fuller it will be. Make sure to leave a little bit of room at the inside of the notch so that you can gather your ball later.

You can use more than one color of yarn for a fun multi-colored pom-pom. Wrap each color a few times and repeat. If you are using more than one colored yarn then just make sure to start and stop the yarn at the edge of the maker and not in the middle.

Once done, take a new piece of yarn (probably the same color) and tie a knot as tight as you can around the middle of the wrapped yarn. You will be able to access this if you left space in the notch. If you didn’t then you can use a tapestry needle to assist you. Slide the entire thing off the tool and tie another knot on the other side.

If using a large enough piece around the middle you can use the remainder after knotting to hang your pom-pom from. If it’s not long enough, you can prepare another piece of yarn or braid and attach it to the knotted yarn.

Cut the looped yarn ends to separate them and create your ball. Trim and fluff as needed! The more yarn you wrapped and the the more you trim off the denser your pom-pom will be.

Don’t throw away your trimmings! You can save them and use them in upcycled yarn projects later.


Painted Woven Coaster Set


DIY Woven Coaster

Woven coasters are a fun and simple project that you can weave up in little time. You can weave up simple stripes for a classic design without a lot of bulk on the back due to the changing of weft yarns. If you are looking for a more detailed design then you can paint it on with acrylic paint!

Project Notes

EPI – 6 EPI

Size – 4″ x 4″ – 24 total warp ends per coaster

Yarn/ Materials Used 8/4 cotton yarn in whatever color you choose. Cardboard loom or any frame loom. Fabric silkscreen ink, paintbrush and/or stencils. Iron and ironing cloth.

Instructions – Warping your frame front and back will allow you to get more coasters with just 1 warp. If you are planning to paint on your coaster then all you need is a simple weft-faced weaving of 1 color. You can change it up by adding in another color, but keep it pretty simple so that it doesn’t overwhelm the design. The less color changes you have will result in fewer tails to weave in at the end. Stencil or paint on whatever design you want! You can do this while it is still under tension or once it has been taken off the loom – personal preference. Polka dots are a cute and timeless option, but you can also use varying stripes, open circles, or any other geometric shape!

Finishing – Use an overhand knot on your warp as close to the coaster as possible. You can finish these with simple fringe (untwist plies for a fun shaggy look) or go for a cleaner look by tucking your warp ends back in the weaving. Don’t make the fringe too long or it will get messy.

Once your ink design is dry – cover your coaster with an ironing cloth and iron on the highest setting for your yarn. The silkscreen ink is heat set so this will keep it from washing out or transferring to your cup.


Other woven gift ideas:


Keychain – You can make this similar to the bookmark, but attach a keychain ring to the top!

Pot holders/ trivets – Think of this as a larger and thicker coaster! Test out your options before committing to make sure they will adequately protect you or your surface from the heat.

Headband – A woven headband won’t be stretchy (unless you can find a stretchy yarn) but can be woven with a button closure to get over and around their head.

Small mounted wall-hanging – When in doubt – make art!

You don’t have to spend a lot of time on your handmade presents for them to be special. Once you deem someone weave worthy, then any of these DIY woven gifts will be great for any occasion! Are you planning to weave up some gifts?

How (And Why!) You Should Weave In Your Weft Tails

How (And Why!) You Should Weave In Your Weft Tails

Your Weft Tail Method Depends On You And Your Weaving


Did you know that finishing your weaving starts during the actual weaving process? Or at least it should. It’s important to weave in your weft tails as you go to make finishing easier.

First, let’s go over what “tails” even are! If you checked out my post on the 5 easy to fix weaving mistakes than you might already know. If not – check it out!

Your tails are the ends of your yarn from whenever you start a new color or run out of the previous length of yarn. A lot of weavers let them hang out the sides of their weaving with the intent to deal with them later.

You want to try to reduce the amount of tails in your weaving as much as you can because it means you will have less to do later!

Let’s look at some different scenarios.


close up of weft ends

Tapestry


The technique that you decide to use when dealing with your weft is largely influenced by whatever method you prefer. There are some occasions where some methods aren’t ideal – but mostly it’s up to you.

For example, the first technique that I will be discussing is probably one of the least used techniques. That being said, it’s the one that I learned first and therefore the one I use the most often. 

What can I say, you usually stick with what you know.



Weave 2 Weft Tails On The Same Side


This technique has the potential to build up your selvedges somewhat, but if your weft is thin enough – then this really shouldn’t be an issue. Using this method is possibly a little more secure than the overlapping method (discussed later) but really they should all be pretty stable. This is especially true if you finish them by securing them in a warp channel when the weaving is finished.  (I always do!)

Now, there are 2 schools of thought when it comes to dealing with your weft ends this way. They both involve the same methods, but the difference is literally how you think about it.

So when you are dealing with your tails you will want to weave them back into the weaving as you go along. That means weaving about a half an inch of the end of your yarn on top of the previous line of weaving. You will weave the tail as the next line of the pattern and let the remainder of the tail (3-4 inches) hang out the back.


Back of weaving with weft tails on the same side

Back of weaving with weft tails on the same side

The part that trips most people up is what to do next. Since you will be continuing your weaving you will have to weave on top of the tail. Since the tail is woven in the next line of the pattern it can be confusing to know where in the pattern to start your next weft thread.

Do you start over or under?

So thought number 1 is this: You ignore the tail completely and go off of the pattern of the previous full line of weft. That would mean if you are weaving plain weave and the full line of weft ended over a warp then your next full line will start under. 

Thought number 2: You follow the tail yarn. Since the tail is already the opposite of the previous full line of weft then following it will mean you have chosen the correct next line of the pattern.

Either way, it will result in the exact same thing, but it all depends on what makes the most sense to you

It can be counter intuitive to start out with the same pattern as the tail, but once you get past it, it will weave up correctly.

If you use this technique I recommend trying to vary the sides that your weft ends on to try to keep the bulking down as much as possible.

I would say that the biggest advantage to this method is the ability to stay consistent since you are starting and stopping all your weft tails the same way for the whole weaving and staying on the same side you ended on. This keeps everything weaving more fluidly.


Front of weaving with weft tails on the same side (beaten down)

Front of weaving with weft tails on the same side (beaten down)

Weave Weft Tails On Opposite Sides


Much like the previous technique, you will want to weave your weft tail about a half inch or so into the next shed and let the rest hang out the back of the weaving.

Instead of starting your next weft immediately on top of this tail, you would instead start on the opposite selvedge and then weave that tail in.

The biggest advantage to this technique is that it will help to keep the weft build-up to a minimum since you are spreading it out across both sides. Also, in this case you won’t have to worry about the ignoring or following conundrum of the above technique.


Back of weaving with tails on opposite sides.

Back of weaving with tails on opposite sides.

Unfortunately, if this is your technique of choice, it doesn’t quite work when weaving discontinuous weft because you will have different colors on different selvedges. This technique is really best when weaving from selvedge to selvedge.

There may also be a time when (while weaving on a floor loom) it is important to have your treadles matched up to what side the weft is coming from. This can be a useful trick if you have a hard time remembering which treadle raises which harness. In this case, a different technique would work better.


Front of weaving with tails on opposite sides (beaten down)

Front of weaving with tails on opposite sides (beaten down)

Overlap Weft Tails Anywhere


Probably one of the most popular options for dealing with your weft tails is the overlapping method.

In this method, you could essentially start or stop your weft yarn anywhere in the weaving. You would just make sure to overlap the 2 wefts by a few warps and let the remaining tails hang out the back.

This is easily the simplest method as it requires very little thinking or planning ahead. That being said, I recommend still trying to stay close to your selvedges because the overlapping areas tend to be hidden better when directly in the middle of the weaving.

Another thing to consider, is that if you are overlapping different colored weft yarns and you are wanting a full pick of each color – then you will definitely have to overlap at the selvedge. If you overlap in the middle, your horizontal line won’t be quite as straight.


Back of weaving with overlapped weft tails

Back of weaving with overlapped weft tails

Front of weaving with overlapped weft tails (beaten down)

Front of weaving with overlapped weft tails (beaten down)

Pattern/Balanced Weave 


Dealing with your tails with your balanced or pattern weave isn’t much different than with tapestry. The overlapping method tends to blend into a pattern better than weaving in the tails at the selvedges. In general staying at the selvedge helps to keep the eye away from any inconsistencies that the weft ends could create. Pattern weaving has a higher chance of exposing your yarn ends due to the fact that it is more open.

The overlapping method should work especially well when working with wool (although it will work for any fiber) and if you plan to wash it. As long as the wool isn’t superwash than when you wash the fabric after it is finished it will allow the 2 wool weft yarns to felt together. The felting will help the weaving be more cohesive visually and allow it to be more stable as it essentially combines the two yarns into one.

If your yarn is especially thick you can also splice it before weaving it back in. To do this you will untwist the plies of the yarn and only weaving in some of the plies. You would also start the next line of your pattern with a spliced weft – essentially creating a normal-sized weft in its place.

If you are weaving your tails in at the selvedges, just remember to follow your pattern with the tail. Doing this will help it to blend in to the rest of the weaving.



What You DON’T Want To Do 


It can be really tempting to start one weft directly adjacent to the end of the previous yarn. You would think that this would eliminate your need to have double weft in your shed. While this is true, it also creates an exposed warp on the back of your weaving

This could also be the case if you start weaving multiple colors in the same shed (discontinuous weft.) If you are weaving multiple colors than you are bound to have some tails in the middle of your weaving – there really isn’t any way to get around it. It can be especially tempting to try to avoid overlapping your weft yarns here since we’ve already discussed that you want to keep them at your selvedges. Don’t give into temptation! Overlap just a few warps – splice if you need to. I promise it will be ok!

One of the biggest reasons to avoid an exposed warp on the back of your weaving is because it will make the weaving different on the front and the back. If you want to create something that will be seen on both sides then you want to make sure you are weaving in your tails.

Not weaving in these weft tails also makes the line of weft slightly less stable. While the weaving itself isn’t going to just fall apart (Don’t worry!) You do want to make it so the weaving can be handled and weaving in your tails will do this.


don't do this with your weft tails

The Last Tail


When you are finished weaving you have 1 last weft tail to deal with. Unlike the rest of your tails that are woven back in on top of the previous row, your last weft tail should weave under your last full line of weft. Just move up the weft yarn at your selvedge and weave back into the weaving a few warps. This will make it so that the last weft on your weaving is a full line. A full line of yarn will make it easier to finish off your warp.


weave in last weft tail

Now What? Finish Them Off!


Regardless of the method you choose to weave in your weft tails, you will need to tuck them in once you’re done. This is much easier to do when the weaving is no longer under tension – so make sure you have secured your warp ends in some way so you can handle your weaving without worrying about it un-weaving.

On the back of the weaving you will locate a warp channel adjacent to the weft tail you are tucking in. You can thread your tapestry needle before inserting the tapestry needle down the channel if your tail is long enough. If it’s not long enough then you can insert the needle first and pull it through until the tail is able to go through the eye of the needle. Pull the tail all the way through and trim your tail!

Do this for all your tails and you are done! I always like to start in one corner and work my way across. It’s very satisfying to watch the back of the weaving get cleaner as you go!


tuck in weft tails

There are many different methods and combinations of methods that you can use when weaving up your tapestry or patterned fabric. It really all depends on what works best for you and for your artwork.

Try out the different techniques and see if one feels better than the others! Then let me know in the comments what is your favorite way to deal with your weft tails.

-Nicole


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weave in your weft tails

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Why You Should Double Your Tapestry Warp

Why You Should Double Your Tapestry Warp

Double Your Warp To Create Emphasis, Visual Interest, and Strength


Did you know that you can double your warp when you weave tapestry?

Something so simple can have a really big impact on your weaving.

Occasionally, something may happen in the studio that you didn’t really plan – but it can actually turn into something great! This happened to me one day in the fiber studio at Virginia Commonwealth University. I didn’t properly plan out my weaving and I was left with a lot of extra warp left on my floor loom…

Oops.

I didn’t want to waste the warp, but since I didn’t have a plan for it I figured the best thing to do in a time like that is to improvise! My next weaving didn’t need as many warp ends as the first so instead of taking out half the warps or just starting over – I decided to double the warps on the next weaving.

double tapestry warp and tapestry pick up

This isn’t that weaving, but the left image shows doubled warp and the right image shows the same tapestry using a pick-up stick to create even more emphasis.

Warp Channels

This meant I was weaving over 2 and under 2 instead of the usual over 1 and under 1. I wasn’t totally sure how well it would work out.

I liked it.

Doing this made larger warp channels and it allowed me some room to play around with different textures! The warp channels are the vertical tunnels that are created by the weft completely covering up the warp in your tapestry. The decision to create larger warp channels can be purely aesthetic and based on how you want your weaving to look.

If you are weaving on a simple frame loom then doubling your warp yarn is as simple as putting twice the amount of warp on the loom and following the over 2, under 2 pattern.

Setting up a floor or table loom to weave both double and single will require 4 harnesses. You will thread your heddles for a straight draw and combining heddles 1 + 2 and 3 + 4 as well as the more traditional 1 + 3 and 2 + 4 for your tie-up. The treadling would alternate depending on if you were weaving single or double. The weaving draft would look like this:

weaving draft for double warp

Not sure how to read a weaving draft? Check out THIS blog post. 

Why would you want to do all of this though?

double warp tapestry titled Who, When, Where by Nicole Bunting

Nicole Bunting Who, When, Where 2016

Create Emphasis

Take for example this small weaving I did back in 2015. Who, When, Where was woven on an 18×24 simple frame loom with fabric as the warp. Even with the unconventional warp choice I utilized both single and double warp weaving methods.

This creates areas of weft floats and allowed me to use 1 white cotton weft for the entire weaving (with a few spots of fabric woven in) and still create texture and interest throughout. I used the floats to outline different areas of eccentric weft (the non-linear areas) and emphasize them. You can see the double warp areas throughout especially well against the single warp areas.

It’s amazing what you can do with basically just one color weft!

I am also using double warp on my current tapestry. This tapestry is utilizing more than 1 color, but the idea is the same. Changing up areas of the different warp channel sizes emphasizes different parts of the weaving and creates subtle texture. The areas that utilize the double warp will sit just a little bit higher than the single warp areas.

double warp woven rug

Strength In Numbers

Double warp is also a technique that I like to use when weaving weft-faced rugs.

Most rug warp is sized at 8/4 and can easily be used single when weaving rugs with no issues. You don’t have to double your warp in order to make a woven rug.

That being said, if you like the look of the larger warp channels then doubling your warp yarn will create the larger channels without sacrificing strength. I personally like the larger channels on a rug.

Personal preference.

The double warp used will fill up the entire warp channel and create a rug that is stiffer and will therefore wear better. There is always the option to just use a smaller EPI with single warp to create larger channels – but you would lose some of the strength of the rug. Considering you (or someone else) will be walking on it – I don’t recommend that. You could also use a larger sized single yarn – but those can be hard to find.



The Downside(s)

There are 2 major downsides to doubling your warp that you should consider before implementing this technique.

1. Doubling your warp yarn means using more warp.

Yes, this seems obvious, but the more yarn you use the more yarn you have to buy! If you are on a budget or unable to procure enough yarn then this might not be the ideal option. If you like the look of the larger channels, but you don’t want to spend the money to use twice as much warp yarn, then just like I mentioned above – you can use the single warp with a smaller EPI. Just know that the tapestry will have a more draped quality than traditional tapestry. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but just something to keep in mind.

2. Doubling your warp also means spending more time setting up your weaving.

Counting your warp ends and dressing your loom will both take twice as long.

So just make sure to keep that in mind if you are on a deadline! Luckily, the actual act of weaving doesn’t take any longer with doubled warp.

If your least favorite part of the weaving process is setting up your loom, then this may not be ideal for you. Depending on your finishing technique of choice, you also have extra warp ends to deal with when you are done weaving. This may or may not be an issue.

Basically, just play around with your warp! These are easy things that you can do to change up your weaving and have some fun.

Tapestry doesn’t all have to be traditional plain weave and mixing it up can lead to exciting and interesting results!

If you ever had a happy accident like this in your studio – let me know!

-Nicole


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5 Simple Weaving Knots Every Weaver Should Know

5 Simple Weaving Knots Every Weaver Should Know

Weaving Knots You Actually Want


Knots and yarn a lot of times go hand in hand. This can be a good thing – or a bad thing. I”m sure we’ve all had our share of unwanted knots that keep us from our weavings or other Fiber Art. If you are getting these knots because you are using yarn by itself with no shuttle or bobbin then you might want to consider making a butterfly to keep your yarn from knotting. Otherwise, there are some useful weaving knots that you will actually WANT for setting up and finishing your weaving.

Square Knot

Overhand Knot

Lark’s Head

Weaver’s Knot

Half Bow

Square Knot

The most widely used knot in weaving and probably in general is the square knot. If you only know how to do one knot – this is the one!

You can use a square knot many different ways when weaving. I use it the most often when setting up a simple frame loom to attach my warp or scaffolding to the frame. A lot of weavers also use this to attach their warp to the apron bar on the floor loom – but I prefer the half bow for that (keep reading for that one.)

The square knot is strong and simple to do. It is hard to undo if it gets tight, though, so make sure you are ok with potentially cutting it off later.

How To Make A Square Knot:

weaving knots - square knot

You will want 2 open ends of yarn.

Step 1: Twist yarn 1 around and under yarn 2.

Step 2: Bring yarn back over yarn 2 and up.

Step 3: Bring yarn 2 over yarn 1.

Step 4: Yarn 2 goes around and under yarn 1 (through the loop that was created.)

Step 5: Pull tight!

Overhand Knot

The overhand knot is often used as a method to secure the fringe on the end of a scarf or rug. Besides the square knot, this is probably the other most used knot on this list that you might use in other scenarios outside of weaving. While this one is very simple and well known – I figured it is still worth mentioning.

An overhand knot is useful in a lot of different scenarios – it’s also how I tie the end of my grey thread when I am attaching it to a weaving and how I tie up my warp bundles at the back of my floor loom. This knot also works well as a simple knot to secure fringe on a scarf or rug.

How To Make an Overhand Knot:

weaving knots - overhand knot

This can be done with any number of yarns.

Step 1: Create a loop with the end of your yarn(s) with the open end on top.

Step 2: Bring the open end of the yarn(s) around to the back and through the loop.

Step 3: Pull tight.



Lark’s Head

The lark’s head knot isn’t really a knot as much as a way to fasten yarn to something. It is notable as a common way to attach your yarn to a dowel rod when starting up a new macrame wall hanging. Two common ways that it can be used in weaving is for 4 selvedge weaving and on your frame loom.

When you set up a loom for 4 selvedge weaving – the lark’s head knot is used around the bar to attach it to the frame. 

On a floor loom this same knot is often used to attach the apron strings to the apron rod. It can also be used to attach the treadles to the lamms of certain floor looms. 

You can do the same thing around any object and in the step-by-step I have done it around a tree branch.

How To Make A Lark’s Head Knot:

weaving knots - larks head

You will want 1 piece of yarn and something to attach it to.

Step 1: Fold your piece of yarn in half and lay it underneath your dowel rod, stick, or whatever you are attaching it too with the loop end up.

Step 2: Bring the open end of the yarn up, around, and through the loop above the stick.

Step 3: Pull the yarn all the way through the loop and position where you want it.

Step 4: Pull tight!

Weaver’s Knot

The weaver’s knot is often used as a way to tie your new warp onto your existing warp. This is a GREAT thing to do because it can cut down on your loom set up time. If you are not a fan of the warping process and you already have some leftover warp/ loom waste still on your loom you can save yourself some time.

This is also a knot that you can use to attach 2 weft yarns together instead of dealing with tails. That is not my preferred method, as a knot can be hard to hide – but it may be an option for you to try out. If you are using it for this technique then you will want to snip off the extra tails and trust the knot to do it’s job and hold it together.

How To Make A Weaver’s Knot:

weavers knot

You will need 2 pieces of yarn.

Step 1: Yarn 1 should be straight and yarn 2 should be looped over at the end. Pull yarn 1 through the loop of yarn 2.

Step 2: Wrap yarn 1 under the yarn 2 loop.

Step 3: Bring yarn 1 over the loop of yarn 2 and back through it.

Step 4: Adjust yarn as necessary.

Step 5: Pull tight!

Half Bow

Just like the lark’s head knot, the half bow is used in both the 4 selvedge and floor loom process. On a 4 selvedge weaving, you can use the half bow on the other end of the yarn that is using the lark’s head around the rod. The half bow will instead be around the frame.

On a floor loom, using a half bow is my favorite way to attach my warp to the apron rod.

This “knot” is ideal for this because it is both really strong and easy to undo. Unlike the square knot that is hard to untie – the half bow comes off the rod easily. It is also stronger than a full bow because the size of the yarn around the loop is smaller and therefore holds tighter.

How To Make a Half Bow:

Pt. 1

weaving knots - half bow

You will need at least 1 piece of yarn and something to attach it too. In this case I am using a frame and 1 piece of yarn that has been folded to have 2 ends. Your yarn will most likely be attached to a rod at the other end whether on a floor loom or warping 4 selvedge.

Step 1: Lay the yarn over your frame or rod with both ends together.

Step 2:  Next, bring your 2 ends around the frame and split them so there is one on each side.

Step 3: Bring 1 end over and around the other end (like the first step of the square knot.)

Step 4: Pull tight!

Pt. 2

weaving knots - half bow

Essentially, the second part of the half bow is just tying a bow (like you tie your shoes) and pulling out one of the loops. This is how I tie my shoes 🙂

Step 5: Create a loop with 1 end of the yarn.

Step 6: Wrap the other end of the yarn over and around the loop.

Step 7: Next, pull that same end through the other loop you created when you wrapped it around (this should now look like a bow.)

Step 8: Continue to pull that second end all the way through and tighten!

Knowing these weaving knots will help you out in a lot of different scenarios – both in and out of the studio!

Do you have a favorite weaving knot? One that I didn’t mention that you use all the time?

Let me know in the comments!

-Nicole

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When You Should Use Shuttles, Bobbins, and Butterflies

When You Should Use Shuttles, Bobbins, and Butterflies

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Shuttles, Bobbins, and Butterflies All Have Their Own Pros and Cons


Whether you are weaving up tapestry or plain weave – you will inevitably need some sort of “vehicle” to transport your weft. Shuttles, bobbins, and butterflies are only 3 of your options – but 3 of the most popular! When should you choose which option? Our debate today is Shuttles vs. bobbins vs. butterflies.

What are they used for?

Cost comparisons.

 When should you use one over the other?

shuttles bobbins and butterflies

Shuttles

Shuttles generally fall into 2 categories:

Boat shuttles

Flat/Stick shuttles

Now, there are some variations on each option – and different companies make slightly different designs, but no matter the manufacturer most boat shuttles work the same, and most flat shuttles work the same.

Boat shuttles

These shuttles are great for when you are using a lot of a smaller sized yarn. They have the ability to hold more yarn then some of other options – but they are limited to thinner yarns that can fit inside the opening.

Most often, you will want to use a boat shuttle if you are weaving plain weave or balanced weave without a lot of discontinuous weft.

Discontinuous weft: 2 or more wefts in the same shed or woven on the same line.

They are one of the clunkier options when it comes to yarn “vehicles” and therefore not great if you will be using a lot of colors. You will want to limit your use to only a couple of shuttles at a time.

Arguably, the best thing that about a boat shuttle is the ease in which it glides through the shed of your weave and makes weaving faster and smoother. Since the bottom of the shuttle is glossy and the bobbin easily turns inside it – you can whip it through the shed with each pick woven.

When using a boat shuttle you will want to use a bobbin (different type) inside of the boat shuttle. While not completely necessary – I recommend a bobbin winder if you are using this type of shuttle so you aren’t winding all of your yarn by hand. THIS is the one that I have.

The bobbin winder and the shuttles themselves make this the most expensive option.



Flat/Stick shuttles

Flat shuttles and stick shuttles are the same thing – it just depends on who you are talking to. These were the first shuttles I used and probably the one I use the most often. They are simple and inexpensive. Between different manufacturers, the biggest difference is just the shape of the ends and whether or not it has a small notch. These minor differences aren’t a big consideration when choosing the shuttles to buy as they all do the exact same thing.

I recommend just buying the least expensive ones you can find in the size that you want. You can find flat shuttles HERE.

Flat shuttles work well for any type of weaving and come in all sizes. I use them often with tapestry when weaving on a low warp loom (a loom where the warp runs parallel with the floor) unless I have a lot of discontinuous weft in a small area – then I prefer using a butterfly.

Since flat shuttles stay flat they are great for when you only have a small shed and you wouldn’t be able to slide a boat shuttle through.

flat shuttles

Bobbins

These are used most often on upright tapestry looms (high warp looms) and are designed to hang from the weaving for ease of use. The yarn on these tapestry bobbins wraps around the smallest part – so depending on the size of your bobbin and the size of your yarn they may not hold a lot of yarn. Despite this, they will allow you to use more yarn than if you were just using the yarn straight without anything to hold it. They also feature a pointed end that you can use to beat down the weft as you weave it up instead or in addition to a tapestry beater/ comb.

Bobbins can be really cheap or more expensive depending on the material used to make them. THESE are the bobbins that I have, but they are unfinished and therefore can be a little rough and not as nice to hold. You can try THESE if you are looking for some that are a little nicer/ smoother.

You do also have the option of using the same bobbins from your boat shuttle without the shuttle if you have them and don’t want to use the shuttle.

This could be a great option if you have a lot of colors and you need a lot of yarn. Anytime you can use a tool that allows more yarn at a time it will help to cut down on your weft tails and therefore the amount of finishing you will need to do.

You can use them in much the same way you would the traditional tapestry bobbins, they just won’t have the extra benefit of being able to condense your weft since they don’t come to a point.

weaving bobbins
tapestry bobbin

Butterflies

This yarn only option is great for when you are weaving tapestry and you have a lot of colors in a small space. Due to the fact that they are under some tension, you can have them hang from the side, underneath, or on top of your weaving (if using an upright loom) so they are great in a lot of scenarios. They are also small so they don’t get in your way like a large shuttle might if you decide to keep them on top of the weaving.

Butterflies are the cheapest option since you don’t have to buy anything except the yarn you are using!

I have a FREE MINI-COURSE devoted to making butterflies and all about them. Check out the linked page or sign up below to take this completely free mini-course!

yarn butterfly

Which do you prefer for your weaving studio? Shuttles, bobbins, or butterflies? Or do you have something else that you like to use? Let me know why in the comments!

-Nicole


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