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In the Studio with Allyson Rousseau

Free Weaving Pattern Handwoven Wall Hanging By Allyson Rousseau
Free Weaving Pattern Handwoven Wall Hanging By Allyson Rousseau

In the Studio with Allyson Rousseau

This week we are featuring a bright and playful wall hanging designed and woven by Allyson Rousseau using a mix of our cotton and wool weaving yarns. We love Allyson's weaving style (& handmade frame looms!) and she has generously shared some of her design process and techniques with us. 

Want to learn more? Click here to take an online weaving class with Allyson

Weave Podcast Episode 71 - Weaving Wall Hangings with Allyson Rousseau

Free Weaving Pattern Handwoven Wall Hanging By Allyson Rousseau
Free Weaving Pattern Handwoven Wall Hanging By Allyson Rousseau


Allyson writes: "For the fibres, I chose to use a mix of cotton and wool to create some interesting variation in texture. For the Warp I used 8/8 cotton weaving yarn in “Natural”, and I absolutely loved it. The fibre works so well as warp as it’s sturdy, not stretchy, and other fibres weave really beautifully onto it. For the blue background weft I used the 8/2 cotton weaving yarn in Baby Blue, the wool weaving yarn in Bluebell for the blue squares, and the 8/8 cotton weaving yarn (that I also used for the warp) for the white squares."

Warp:1 tube of 8/8 Un-Mercerized Brassard Cotton Weaving Yarn in Natural

Weft:1 cone of fingering weight wool, 1 tube 8/2 Un-Mercerized Brassard Cotton Weaving Yarn in Baby Blue, (Allyson wove with two strands of the 8/2 cotton so that it matches the weight of the other weft yarn) and some of the remaining warp yarn 

Free Weaving Pattern Handwoven Wall Hanging By Allyson Rousseau
Free Weaving Pattern Handwoven Wall Hanging By Allyson Rousseau

Frame Looms 

If you are new to frame loom weaving, you can follow Allyson's tips below for making your own. We also recommend the Ashford Frame Loom, which comes in two sizes. 

Allyson writes, "The loom that I used to make this weaving is one that I made myself by hand. It’s a wooden frame lap loom, made from canvas stretcher bars (found at your local craft store) and metal finishing nails. I make all of my looms with these materials and in this way because it’s incredibly space and cost efficient. I’m able to make frames of varying sizes rather quickly based on need for custom orders, and they store really well leaned up against each other! The loom used for this particular weaving measures 14 inches x 15.5 inches." 

All you need to make your own are wooden stretcher bars and 1" finishing nails. (Also available at local craft & hardware stores). If you would like your loom to be a similar size to Allyson's, purchase 2 x 14" stretcher bars and 2 x 16" stretcher bars. Once you have assembled the frame, begin gently hammering in the nails.  Allyson recommends spacing them 1/4" apart and staggering them so that the wood does not split (see photos). 

Free Weaving Pattern Handwoven Wall Hanging By Allyson Rousseau
Free Weaving Pattern Handwoven Wall Hanging By Allyson Rousseau

Project Notes

  • Tools Required: Small frame loom, measuring tape, tapestry needle, tapestry comb 
  • EPI: 10 
  • Warp Ends: 58 
  • Finished Dimensions: 6" W x 12.5" L (including fringe)
  • Pattern: This pattern is designed as a grid with alternating color squares. Feel free to experiment with the grid and create some of your own designs. Allyson begins by dividing up her warp threads into the following pattern: 

    5, 12, 6, 12, 6, 12, 5   = for a total of 58 warp strings (see diagram below).

    "The 5’s and 6’s represent the warp strings for the baby blue cotton weft border between the squares and on either side, and the 12 represents the number of warp strings for the squares." Allyson notes that each border measures about 1/2" and each square measures about 1". 

  • Finishing Details: Trim excess weft threads on the back of your weaving, gently lift weaving off the loom, thread a small wooden dowel or stick through the loops on the top of the weaving, trim leftover warp yarn on the bottom for the fringe, cut a piece of warp yarn to tie to the dowel for hanging.  

Allyson writes, "I use a similar pattern for all of my work that has this grid-like design. I don’t ever plan out a weaving all the way through. Often times I don’t plan it at all, but for this weaving I sketched out a few different options to figure out how to fill out the squares in the design. If I ever have one goal in mind for my work, it’s to create successful balance of colour, space, shape, and form throughout. I want to look at a finished piece and have my eyes flow through the entire weaving with ease without ever getting stuck in one place. 

Only when I feel the weaving is balanced is when I tie off the strings on the back and cut it off the loom! To finish the weaving I cut it off the loom, leaving the leftover warp threads to act as fringe, and then attached a wooden dowel (that I sawed down to size and sanded) through the loops at the top of the weaving. I often use a bit of super glue here and there when finishing a piece on the back to ensure that everything is secure and in the place I want it to stay." 

Free Weaving Pattern Handwoven Wall Hanging By Allyson Rousseau
Free Weaving Pattern Handwoven Wall Hanging By Allyson Rousseau

Weaving on a Frame Loom 

Allyson writes, "This style of weaving is by no means unique to me and my work, although this is the only way that I both learned how to, and continue to weave. 

Depending on the size of this style of loom, I like to use it by sitting on a chair and resting the frame comfortably on the edge of my desk in front of me. Because the frame doesn’t have a stand, it’s most comfortable to weave with it rested on your lap, while being propped up on something in front of you (maybe even a wall if the loom is large).

The techniques I used to weave this piece on this loom are quite simple! I began by tying the 8/8 cotton around one of the nails on the bottom of the frame close to the far left edge, and brought the yarn up to a nail at the same place on the top of the frame, and wrapped it around, up and down- continuing this process until the warp was 58 strings in total. I then tied the last wrap string to a nail at the bottom of the frame just as I had done with the end on the other side. 

I made sure to leave about half of an inch of space between the nails and the top of the weft- so that this space will be wide enough for the wooden dowel to be attached later on. 

I then began weaving with the 8/2 Baby Blue cotton yarn, using two pieces together to make it a bit thicker to work with. I found that the 8/2- while being a thin yarn- worked very well with the 8/8 cotton warp, although it does take a little longer to weave as the 8/2 covers less space than any thicker yarns do. 

In order to achieve the straight, clean edges of the squares in this weaving, I wove the entire background (Baby Blue) first, creating a grid-like design (see photo), and then I wove in the squares without connecting the weft to the Baby Blue grid. Doing this can be a little tricky if your warp strings are spaced out more than a 1/4 of an inch, but if the nails are spaced a 1/4 of an inch apart- they’ll be close enough that there won’t be very much space visible along the edge (like this piece). 

Finally, tension is key! In every piece that I weave, I am constantly checking the consistency of my tension. It’s important to be aware of how tightly you’re weaving each line in order to achieve both; straight edges on the sides of your weaving, and lines within the weaving. Maintaining optimal tension can be tricky, and I often get asked how I’m able to maintain good tension in my work, and the answer is simply that it takes a lot of practice. Just like anything other skill, you’ll only get better with lots of practice, patience, and hands on experience." - Allyson Rousseau


About Allyson Rousseau

Allyson Rousseau is a Fibre Artist and Designer, born (1993) and based out of Montréal, QC. 

With a degree in fine arts (2014) from the University of Guelph, Rousseau has studied and worked with a wide range of media including specialized training in woodworking and welding. It wasn't until her final year of study that she began to teach herself how to weave, and newly discover and develop an interest in the juxtaposition of traditionally woven textiles, and contemporary woven fibre art. 

Rousseau has since turned her research and interest into a full-time, self-taught artistic practice. She has exhibited work in both solo and group exhibitions in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Website |Instagram