Resources for beginning weavers

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Problems, or the ZEN of selvedges

Problems?  What problems?  Just keep that fire blazing and no one gets the pit bull treatment.
I considered calling this post "Selvedges -- the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly" -- I've known them all.  For me, selvedges thrive on inattention; the more I fuss the worse they get.  It's best if I just have a glass of wine and weave on . . . .

For anyone struggling with selvedges, fear not, there's plenty of wisdom out there for you.  Today we focus on the common problems of bad selvedges and broken threads.

I had an entire weekend at home this week, and other than taking a long run, knitting with a friend, and watching the Patriots spank the Bears in blizzard (the way football ought to be), I worked in my studio.  I'm weaving up my Alpaca-Silk warp with weft of deep blue Colerain Lace (merino-silk, both from WEBS).  It's a lovely combination that reminds me of bluewater sailing in Florida.  I have enough warp on for 2 scarves, and I'm thinking about a trip to Halcyon to find the second weft . . . .

Alpaca Silk in the raddle -- 22 epi.
Not bad, huh?


Weavolution 1, 2, 3
Weaving Today (downloadable PDF, free membership required)
Weaving Today discussion
Laura Fry 1 and 2

Floating Selvedges
Laura Fry Here and here
Weavolution (broken floating selvedges)

Broken Threads

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Weaving Underway

Today's post is about weaving -- actual weaving, the part where warp magically becomes fabric.

Here in Maine we've finally got our first snow -- but Mother Nature put forward a pitiful effort.  If it's gonna be cold, I say bring it on!  I want enough snow for skiing, throwing snowballs, and sledding!  This was just enough to get sand and salt all over the floors at work . . . .

In the studio, although there are lots of distractions, I'm beaming my Alpaca/Silk warp.  It's a bit sticky, and although I doubled up the threads in the cross, I had one end almost break (you know what that means later on, it will break once I start weaving.  Bummah.

Here's one of my distractions!  Can't you just hear her?  "You want to play with my Kong, right?  Isn't it awesome?  Throw it.  Throw it.  Throw it."
To the resources.  BTW, my next post will focus on problem solving (so I'll know what to do when that warp thread breaks, which it will).  





Laura Fry Here, Here, and Here
Weaving Today Here and here




Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Warping the Loom

I've been there.  You went to a weaving class, loved it, and bought a loom.  Now it's sitting there, staring at you, waiting to be warped.  My loom sat for 6 months when I first got it, because what seemed so easy in class now seemed impossible.

Today I focus on warping your loom.  There are as many ways to warp a loom as there are weavers.  Many weavers warp "back to front", and think any other way is inefficient and will cause broken threads and tangles.  They think friends don't let friends warp "front to back".  Others warp "front to back", and think those "back to fronters" are smug and uncreative.  Still others have created a hybrid method that works for them.

The challenge of warping is to find a method that is efficient, and that allows you to get your loom warped without tangle and with great tension.  The better you are at warping, the better and easier your weaving will be.

My warping board with Alpaca-Silk warp.  I have chalkboard paint behind it so I can make notes as I warp.
Before I get to resources, here's what's going on in my studio.  I still have the tencel scarf on my Louet Jane, but I'm approaching the end.  I'll do some sampling after that on my leftovers.  On my warping board, I have 6 yards of lovely grey alpaca-silk from Webs. I'm hoping to get 2 scarves out of it on my Norwood 4 shaft loom.

Now, on to resources.  If a resource focuses on back to front warping, I note it with a "BtF", if it is front to back I note it with a "FtB".

The Debate between BtF and FtB:

 Handwoven's Weaving Today had a great contest to determine which method was best!  Funny and informative.
Laura Fry's discussion of "Why I don't do FtB"

Getting your tension right:

Bonnie Tarsis' thoughts on getting your tension just right.


Peggy Osterkamp:  Weaving for Beginners:  An Illustrated Guide (BtF) -- $49.95
Peggy Osterkamp:  Warping Your Loom and Tying on New Warps (BtF) -- $39.95
Deborah Chandler:  Learning to Weave (Both) -- $24.95
Joanne Hall:  Learn to Warp Your Loom -- $20.00


Peggy Osterkamp:  Warping the Loom -- Back to Front -- $34.95 (Review of this here.)
Handwoven Editor Madelyn van der Hoogt:  Warping Your Loom (Both) -- $34.95
Deborah Chandler: Beginning Four-Harness Weaving with Deborah Chandler -- $34.95
Deborah Chander:  Introduction to Weaving -- $29.95
Sallie Guy:  Warping and Loom Preparation -- $19.95
Louet Looms, featuring Jane Stafford -- Discover the World of Weaving Looms (focuses on Louet Looms, but I found it helpful for all my weaving) -- $20.00

You Tube

Rigid Heddle Warping -- Here and here too
Louet, featuring Jane Stafford; Megado pt 1 and pt 2, Delta pt 1 and pt 2
Interweave -- Handwover Editor Madelyn van der Hoogt (Preview of the DVD listed above)
Laura Fry -- Threading


Louise French's PDF (BtF) -- $5.00
All Fiber Arts  (FtB)
Wovenspun -- for a rigid heddle loom (FtB)
Thrums (Susan Harvey) -- Warping a Louet Jane, Louet Spring, Sectional Warping, General Warping (BtF)
Dawn MacFall's use of milk jugs to help warp
Dust Bunnies Under My Loom -- Warping a Louet Spring, Louet Jane
Weaving a Life (Laura Fry) -- Sleying

Please let me know about any other resources to include here!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Getting a Warp Ready for the Loom

For quite some time I've felt compelled to start a blog for some reason.  However, nothing in my life seems so interesting that I think others would really want to read all about it.  There are so many terrific blogs of weavers out there, that inspire me and make me feel like I know these people.  My weaving isn't so advanced that anyone would learn anything, and frankly my life is a bit dull!  But something I've thought might be a useful thing for us all is a guide to all the resources available for beginning weavers.

I'm not too far from a beginning weaver myself, and I'm a member of Beginning Weavers on Ravelry.  Something I've noticed is the repetitive nature of questions on this board -- How do I warp my loom?  What kind of loom should I get?  What's that thingamajiggy on my loom for?  So I thought I'd tackle some of those common questions, not with advice or instruction of my own, but with links to resources on a particular topic.  Hopefully we'll all learn from this!

The first topic is near and dear to my heart:  creating a simple warp!  Most beginning weavers want to throw a warp on their loom before they even figure out exactly what they're going to make, so we're skipping drafts and planning for now.

My personal advice is to peruse the below resources, then get yourself some yarn, get out your warping board, pour your favorite beverage, and get started.  If you have suggestions to add to this list, please let me know at jabberwarpy AT


Peggy Osterkamp:  Weaving for Beginners: An Illustrated Guide (I have this book and really like the detailed illustrations)
Peggy Osterkamp:  Winding a Warp and Using a Paddle
Deborah Chandler:  Learning to Weave (A classic)
Joanne Hall:  Learning to Warp your Loom
Madelyn van der Hoogt Warping your Loom (just out!)


Wendy Cartwright:  Weave


Tom Knisely:  A Comprehensive Guide to Warping your Loom Front to Back
Peggy Osterkamp:  Warping your Loom Back to Front
Laura Fry:  CD Weaver, book with video clips

You Tube:

Laura Fry Demo
Warping Mill Demo
Nancy Today Demo
Weaving Class with Marci Petrini 
Mandanews (uses a warping paddle)

Web Site:

All Fiber Arts
Weavolution's Claudia Segal
Louise French

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tired but up for it

I should be stacking wood.  Or getting ready for our Kent Island Practice Thanksgiving, which will bring 30 people to our house Saturday for dinner with all the fixins.  Cleaning the house.  Grading papers or getting ready for this week's big test (for my students, not for me).  Or recovering from 4 weekends in a row away from home.

What am I doing instead?

8/2 Tencel from WEBS; undulating twill from

I am of course weaving.  And drinking a little wine too.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Weekend at Webs

I spent this weekend at Webs in Northampton, Mass.  What a place.

I took a Weekend Weaving course with Carol Birtwhistle and had a great time.  A nice surprise was the number of people in the class who had Norwoods -- two others!  I never meet anyone with a Norwood.  But I guess they're out there!

We're weaving a scarf from Alpaca Silk.  Although the Alpaca Silk is beautiful, it is a bit difficult to use as a warp.  Kinda sticky in the lease sticks.  To minimize problems, we doubled strands in the cross -- less friction that way.  Most of us had Wolf Pup looms and I have to say they're cute but kind of dinky compared to my Norwood.

Webs never ceases to amaze me.  The registers were ringing away all day.  Sunday they are closed and it was like Night in the Museum -- us in a big warehouse full of yarn.  Their packers are there even on Sundays, though -- apparently yarn-lovers are doing their part for the economy!

On my loom now:  Jane has a 8/2 tencel (also Webs) on it, with an undulating twill.  This is my second warp on her and I'm just tying on.  DH finished the window seat in my Room of Contentment, so I need to get a cushion made up for it.  Looking forward to lounging on it!