In the latest edition of The Stitchy Scoop, I let my subscribers know the story behind my unicorn embroidery hoop as well as a new craft I’ve added to my bag of tricks, how I started to weave. As in, wall hanging-boho-chic-weaving. In that email, I also asked if writing up a post with the loom weaving resources I used to pick up the craft would be something of interest. Well, I got a resounding yes.
This weave is my second one. I am currently on my third. Here’s the amazing thing, I actually sold this weave! I sold it. It’s made of 100% mohair, and the all white yarn is 100% cotton. It matches perfectly with the unicorn hoop I was commissioned to make. There is so much back story to how this all came about, this post will only focus on the resources.
I made my loom for under $20 with supplies from Wal-Mart. I didn’t come upon the decision to make my own loom immediately. I was researching all of the weaving hashtags to find the best of the best weavers I could find and see what they were weaving on. Each of these weavers either carried a specific brand of loom, or created their own. Their price range was anywhere from about $50-$150. Here are the ones I was looking at:
Looms and Complete Loom Kits on Etsy
Maryanne Moodie (USA)
She has a loom kit at $140. Out of the box you get:
1 x Hand made, sustainable loom 12″x16″
1 x instructional booklet
1 x calico bag
1 x yarn needle
1 x weaving scissors
Enough yarn to complete your first weave (there are color choices to choose from).
Some hand spun or unspun yarn to experiment with.
This kit also contains a how-to book, and yarn so you can get started right away.
She also has a discount of 20% with a purchase of $15 or more using SUMMERWEAVER at checkout, in her shop right now! Don’t know how long this will last, so if you want it, and the discount, get cracking.
I would also recommend a podcast interview she was on at Woolful. She talks about how she got into weaving, quite by accident, or maybe it was the universe calling. I think the latter because her weaves are amazing.
Tall Grass Workshop (Canada)
They have a Magic Heddle Frame Loom Weaving Kit for $68. Out of the box, you get:
1 x Loom (19 inches by 14.5 inches)
1 x Heddle Bar
2 x shuttles
1 x Cotton Warp
1 x Scissors
1 x Needle
1 x Canvas Bag
2 balls of wool roving
1 x Beater comb
This set also comes with instructions on how to use the loom.
Oake & Ashe (USA)
They have a Beginners Frame Loom for $98. Out of the box, you get:
1 x 14″X 18″ Frame Loom (Two hard maple beams and Two dowel supports)
1 x Beginners Instruction
1 x Stick Shuttle
1 x Pickup Stick
1 x Weaving Needle
1 x Yarn Needle
1 x Small Scissor
22 x Yards of Warp Yarn – enough to complete an 8″ wide project
4 x Balls of 100% Wool Yarn – Navy, Mint, Ivory in two thicknesses (there are also other color palettes available)
1 x .5 oz Wool Roving
1 x Hanging Rod
1 x Loom Kit Fabric Bag – fits collapsed loom and tools
The Unusual Pear (Australia)
She, Rainie, has a Large Bamboo Weaving Loom Kit for $68.94. Out of the box, you get:
1 x Large bamboo weaving loom (29.5cm w x 40cm h) or (11.6 inches by 15.75 inches)
1 x 10g ball of cotton warp
1 x Large bamboo weaving needle (16cm) or (6.3 inches)
1 x Bamboo weaving comb (10.2cm l x 5cm w) or (4 inches x 2 inches)
You get a link right on the listing page of how to use loom as well as beginner weaving stitches.
Lost Pond Looms (USA)
They have a Medium Table Top Loom for $48. Out of the box, you get:
1 x Loom (18 inches by 20 inches)
1 x Weaving Sword (16 inches)
There are plenty of places to purchase an already made loom, these are just the ones that I found, and favorited. This was my short list!
Making My Own Loom + a Few Tips
I decided to make my own loom because I wanted to understand it. Weaving is an old craft or art. This medium wasn’t just something hippies decided to do with their spare time. According to the almighty Wikipedia, “The oldest known textiles in the Americas are some fiberwork found in Guitarrero Cave, Peru dating back to 10,100 to 9,080 BCE.” So while people back then didn’t have access to Wal-Mart, obviously, I wanted to make my own loom and try going “slow” from start to finish.
I got the idea initially from a Weaving for Beginners class with Annabel Wrigley on CreativeBug.
In it, she requires the following:
- Canvas frame (Just like the ones you paint on. The materials list notes a 12 x 16 inches frame, but I got the size up. Go big or go home).
- A plastic fork (thank goodness for saving all the plastic cutlery from every birthday party since the boys were born!)
- A ruler (thanks again to my boys and their leftover school supplies)
- 3/4 inch wire nails
- 1 1/2 x 10 inch cardboard piece (I cut the top of a screwdriver set I bought for my husband’s Father’s Day gift)
- 12″ long dowel (1/4 inch thick)
- Angled tapestry needle (I got this from Hobby Lobby, they didn’t have it at my Wal-Mart)
- Worsted weight yarn (she suggested colors, but my boys had other palette plans.
There’s my loom!!! I made that! Here’s the one downside to making your own loom. Measuring and maths. I am not good at either. This took me the longest time to figure out. Seeing as I didn’t have the same frame as the instructor, and I purchased a larger canvas frame, I had to disregard what she said in terms of how to measure, and come up with my own.
Also, the tongue and groove nature of the corners of my loom started to slip after I was halfway done with my first weave. I panicked and had to chop my own nails off to push the pieces back together and nail them in place. I would suggest doing that before you start to weave – even if you think it looks secure. Nail it down anyway. Trust me.
I already knew the basic tabby or plain weave without realizing it, because I made this for a necklace.
But I immediately went searching for more detailed instruction on how to weave more intricate knots and loops. I of course, came to The Weaving Loom. This site has everything you could possibly want to know about yarn, spinning (which, hello, on the horizon as a next step), weaving, patterns, colors, interviews. Everything. I would recommend you start here, or get on her mailing list and download her beginner pattern. I was tempted to do the pattern, but again, wanted a bit of a struggle.
I look at weaving as a metaphor. It’s a safety net. I am all about safety nets, always shave been. But sometimes, you have to work without one, or, in this case of weaving – make your own.
Another great read was this post by A Beautiful Mess, Weaving Class: The Basics. They have built a few more posts after this one that are totally worth the read. I found the writer of this series, Rachel Denbow, from a magazine that found me, in the supermarket. I was ticking items of my shopping list at my supermarket, when this magazine jumped out at me from the newsstand aisle. I got this magazine even before I started weaving! See how the universe speaks to you?
I bet it’s at your local supermarket, or even Barnes & Noble. It’s $9.99. I keep it at my bedside, it’s like my nightly bedtime story.
Let’s talk about The Unusual Pear (again) for a moment. Rainie, the chick behind the shop is hosting a workshop that I am attending at the end of this month! Can you be-weave it? (sorry, I had to). She was also recently featured on the Etsy blog as a featured shop. My favorite part about her interview on Etsy:
What is the one piece of advice you wish you’d known when you first started weaving?
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your finished product. In the beginning, I was so concerned with what my weavings should look like that it interfered with the creative flow. I still feel like I’m finding my style. I see beauty in everything: Sometimes my weavings are quite raw and organic, and other times they can be rather precise and geometric.
My husband and I were up late looking for workshops, or classes for me to attend in the area. There was nothing!! Nothing!
Because I’m on email lists for some of the weavers mentioned here, and follow them on Instagram, I hoped that one of them would host one closer to home for me to attend. Maryanne Moodie put one out in Brooklyn. It would be really hard for me to get to Brooklyn. Her workshop is $250. That’s out of budget for sure, but I could have saved and scrimped to make it. BUT, it takes place on my kids’ birthday weekend.
Within two days of realizing I couldn’t go to that workshop, Rainie posted on Instagram that she was hosting one an hour away from my front door!! At $115 and taking place at the end of the month, that was totally doable.
Anyone want to join me in taking a weaving workshop with @theunusualpear? ➿ if you're close, we can carpool (and grab a Starbucks for the road trip, on me, of course!) ・・・ Come and join me for 3 hours of weaving fun in the beautiful barnyard studio with @anne.choi in New Jersey! Tickets available through my Etsy store now! Only 4 spots left so hop to it, it's Sunday the 31st of July 😝
Included in her workshop:
-3.5 hour intensive workshop
-FSC certified bamboo medium weaving loom
-FSC certified bamboo small weaving needle
-FSC certified bamboo weaving comb
-Plastic tapestry needle
-Hand dyed Australian wool yarns (enough to complete your first woven piece)
-10g hank of wool roving
-10g ball of cotton warp
-Afternoon tea and snacks
-A wonderful set of new skills to continue your weaving journey at home
What, what, what?? What it doesn’t say is that I’ll meet other weavers!! That’s huge! Community and connection with other makers and creatives is priceless to me. I can’t tell you how excited I am about it and will definitely report in.
I should also give a shout out to my friend Vanessa Lauria of pidge pidge. I interviewed her on this blog, remember? Here’s a podcast by Elise Gets Crafty where Vanessa waxes poetic about weaving. As I was listening in the car, I was so engrossed that I missed the turn to get to the supermarket! It’s that good. You should give it a listen.
My Weave Love Story
You know, when I started embroidering, I was interested in weaving. I saw this link in my Facebook feed, and when I ran a crafty-entrepreneur Facebook group, I shared it with the members. After mentioning the interest to my husband, we decided that I should focus on embroidery, since that’s what I started with. We thought, anything else would be a distraction, or maybe a dilution of where my focus should lie.
A few weeks ago, a friend (who lives in Washington state) mentioned that she was interested in weaving. We got to talking about it and that.was.it. The interest took over, and then the universe started talking. How do I know? See the branch that I used for the rainbow colored weave, I sold? Go ahead and scroll up, I’ll wait. I found it with my boys, walking back from taking them to lunch. My boys said “Mom, that’s totally rustic, you should take it home with you.”
And I did, along with my passion and love for this weaving thing. I am already working on my third weave. She’s a back breaker. I really wanted to play with texture – and I didn’t have a large supply of yarn on hand when I started it.
Some More Weave Tips
Here’s another tip! Ask your friends if they have any yarn they don’t want. I asked on my Facebook wall. I’ve received 4 bags and a box full!
You don’t need full skeins, partial will do, because in a weave, you can add bits and parts to accent certain patterns and colorways.
Another, note when purchasing your yarn, don’t worry so much about the texture of the yarn, believe it or not, the weave patterns you make will help with the texture should your yarn, lack it.
This current weave uses the same 100% cotton yarn. I’m using two different skeins of yarn (one white and another variegated). See how the plain weave at the very top is smooth, then you have the loops and fringe? If you can’t afford tons of yarn just yet, play with texture. Learn your weave stitches and knots. Make it all up as you go. I’ve since added some soumak, injected a color wave, and added even more fringe!
Anyone else read The Artist's Way? I'm just at week one and this quote from the margins leaped out at me. Especially with my foray into weaving. It's new for me, it's new for my audience, whatever that means. It's a risk, an investment, a change, something I have to work at and strive for . But you know what? I leapt and will continue to leap because my heart wants it. I want it. I want to see how far I can go. The net appeared in the positive reinforcement from friends, my husband, and my sweet children. I'm going for it. I'm going for it all. Whatever that means, because I know, in my heart, the net will *always* appear . These are the words I live by. What words do you live by? Anyone else reading this book ? Let's do it together . .📸: @beaheartdesign
I can talk about this all day. In fact, I mean to talk a lot more about it. I’ll have to change the name of my shop soon, but it won’t be anything you aren’t already familiar with. All of this is in the works already, but I’ve given you enough to chew on today.
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Good luck and happy weaving, stitching, creating and making! That’s what it’s all about.