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How to Measure Weaving Projects on the Loom

by Christine Jablonski

One question we frequently get from new weavers is how to keep track of the length they've woven. There may be as many variations of measuring one’s weaving as there are weavers, so the good news is that you can certainly find a method that will work for you. This post will go over a few different techniques and tips.

First, should you measure your woven fabric under tension, or with the tension released?

Often the first issue that comes up is whether to measure while the cloth is under tension on the loom or to measure with the tension released. When I am weaving from a pattern, I tend to follow what the designer prescribed—if the pattern says to measure the cloth under tension, I do—that way I figure I have the best chance of ending up with the size cloth that was intended. According to this article in Handwoven Magazine, measuring your woven cloth under tension is usually more accurate because once off the loom, cloth will relax immediately and then may continue to relax, so you may wind up with different measurements several minutes apart.

Now, how to keep track of the length?

Once the tension/no tension argument is decided, you have a few options for measuring or keeping track of the length.

Tape Measure Method

Some people pin a tape measure or strip of craft paper the desired length of their weaving to the cloth. Paper tape measures from IKEA are great for this, although they do tear over time. Cloth tape measures can stretch and fray over time, so make sure you have a stable, sturdy tape measure.

Measure & Track Method

Personally I don’t like having things attached to my weaving when I am working on it, so I mark my lengths with a T-pin and keep track of with a knitting row counter. My process is this:

  • When ready to advance the warp the first time, measure from the first pick that will be part of the cloth (so, not necessarily the first pick if it’s a hem)
  • Place the T-pin at some distance (a whole number, to make life easier)
  • Write that measurement down, or use a knitting row counter to record it
How to Measure Weaving Projects on the Loom
  • Advance the warp
  • Weave until the warp needs to be advanced again
  • Measure from the pin to a spot below the last pick where the pin can sit without the T interfering with the weaving (2-3”)
  • Move pin to the new spot
  • Record the length
  • Repeat

We hope this post helps as you set out to weave your next project!

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