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6 Steps To Get Started With Rigid Heddle Weaving

If you're obsessed with knitting or crocheting, just wait until you start learning to weave! Weaving opens up a wonderful world of new projects - home textiles, apparel, scarves, shawls and more. And it's not as daunting as you think...we'll tell you everything you need to get started.

 1. Download our Guide To Choosing and Using Your First Rigid Heddle Loom. 

It's free and packed with helpful info and tips. Drop your email address below and we'll send it right over. 

 2. Buy a loom

If you're eager to get started weaving and are overwhelmed by the options, we made it very easy for you by compiling everything you need to start weaving. 

Rigid Heddle Weaving Starter Pack

Rigid Heddle Loom Starter Pack

Everything you need (but the yarn) to get started with Rigid Heddle weaving! This is our most popular 24" loom, made in New Zealand by Ashford, and comes with 3 heddles. It also includes a free digital download of some of our bestselling weaving patterns. Ships FREE in the US.

Rigid Heddle Loom Deluxe Starter Pack

The Deluxe Starter Pack is for people who know they are going to love weaving, and want some extra accessories to make weaving even more fun and comfortable. It includes everything in the starter pack, plus a loom stand, a bobbin winder, a boat shuttle and bobbins, and a fringe twister. Ships FREE in the US.

If you'd prefer not to buy a starter set, we have lots of options for you to choose from. You can see our advice on choosing a loom here, and reach out to us with any questions at hello@gistyarn.com.

3. Gather materials for your first project

For your first project, you want to choose something relatively simple, and lots of fun. Below are three projects we suggest starting with, one cotton, one wool, and one silk. Each project has kits in multiple colorways, with all of the yarn you need to make the project, plus a free downloadable PDF of the pattern. You can also explore all of our rigid heddle patterns here

Beginner Cotton Tea Towels

Cozy Merino Scarf Kits

Cozy Merino Scarf


Color Field Scarf


Shop Kits

4. Join our rigid heddle weaving community on Facebook.

We have a wonderful community of over 1,000 friendly rigid heddle weavers on Facebook, who are eager to help out newbies, share their projects, and support you in your journey. Join our free group by clicking here

5. Assemble your loom and start warping and weaving! 

Your new loom comes with all of the instructions to assemble it and start weaving. If you purchased an unfinished loom, we recommend finishing it with wax polish to best protect it long into the future. You can use Ashford's Wax Polish, or any finishing wax from your local hardware store. 

The first step to using your loom is warping. This means putting the yarn onto your loom, threading it through the slots and holes, and winding it around the back beam in tension so that you are all set up to start weaving. Your loom also comes with warping instructions, but sometimes a video is the easiest way to envision the process. Liz Gipson from Yarnworker put together this wonderful warping how-to video

The next step is weaving! You'll want to wrap your weft yarn around the stick shuttle included with your loom. Follow the instructions included in your loom for raising and lowering the heddle, and you'll quickly get the hang of it. There are many YouTube videos on the rigid heddle weaving process, so you can search over there if you want to see a video of the process.

Curious about all the weaving terminology and loom parts? This blog post breaks it all down for you. 

6. Get inspiration for further projects, and get lost down the weaving rabbithole ;-)

Rigid Heddle Weaving Starter Pack

Once you get started weaving, you'll see that a whole world of possibilities awaits you. We collaborate with weavers in our community to design fun and creative weaving patterns. This collection includes some of our favorite and bestselling projects, suitable for beginner and intermediate rigid heddle weavers.

Every project in this guide is accompanied by yarn kits that we sell in our shop. Follow the links in each project to explore these kits and choose your favorite colorways. 

February 06, 2020 — Sarah Resnick

How To Choose a Rigid Heddle Loom

Rigid heddle looms are often a gateway for knitters, crocheters, and other people new to exploring weaving  - if that’s the case for you, welcome to the wonderful world of weaving! Rigid heddle looms are wonderfully versatile, and will allow you to weave a wide range of projects - tea towels, placemats, scarves, shawls, rugs, table runners, and more. We have free pattern downloads and yarn kits for all of these project and more - you can find them here

If you're eager to get started weaving and are overwhelmed by the options, we made it very easy for you by compiling everything you need to start weaving. 

Rigid Heddle Weaving Starter Pack

Rigid Heddle Loom Starter Pack

Everything you need (but the yarn) to get started with Rigid Heddle weaving! This is our most popular 24" loom, made in New Zealand by Ashford, and comes with 3 heddles. It also includes a free digital download of some of our bestselling weaving patterns. Ships FREE in the US.

Rigid Heddle Loom Deluxe Starter Pack

The Deluxe Starter Pack is for people who know they are going to love weaving, and want some extra accessories to make weaving even more fun and comfortable. It includes everything in the starter pack, plus a loom stand, a bobbin winder, a boat shuttle and bobbins, and a fringe twister. Ships FREE in the US.

If you'd prefer not to buy a starter set, we have lots of options for you to choose from. You can see our full collection of rigid heddle looms here.

If you're looking for the most affordable option, we suggest the Ashford SampleIt Loom. This loom is a great “gateway” loom if you want to try out weaving to see how you like it. If you’d like a wider loom with more advanced capabilities, we suggest the Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom (included in our Starter Packs), the Ashford Knitters Loom, or the Flip Loom. These are more versatile and sturdy looms that will serve you well from beginner right through to advanced weavings. They also have the capability to add an additional heddle, allowing you to use much finer yarn suitable for up to 24 epi. The Knitters Loom and Flip Loom are ideal for weavers where space is a premium, because they can fold up mid-project for storage. 

What Size Loom Should I Buy?

The width of your loom indicates the widest possible project you can weave on it. A 10” or 16” loom is most suitable for scarves. On a 20” loom you could start to weave placemats and hand towels. A 32” loom will allow you to create shawls and even fabric yardage to sew into something. On a wide loom you can also weave narrow projects, but you can’t weave wider projects on a narrow loom.

What Size Heddles Should I Buy?

Rigid heddle looms come with heddles in a range of sizes, usually 5 dent, 7.5 or 8 dent, 10 dent, and 12 or 12.5 dent. Dent = the number of threads per inch, so a 12 dent reed will have 12 slots/holes per inch. The lower the dent size, the thicker the yarn you need to use for your warp. Having a variety of heddle sizes will allow you a greater diversity of thickness of yarn to work with. Usually when you purchase a rigid heddle loom it comes with one heddle size to start with, and you'll want to grab a few other sizes to allow you some more versatility in your weaving.  You can see all of our heddles here

Do I Need A Rigid Heddle Loom Stand?

This one somewhat comes down to personal preference! 10" and 16" looms are usually small enough to comfortably weave on your lap or on a table. Many people start to prefer stands at 24" or larger, as you are able to weave more ergonomically while sitting at the loom. You can see all of our Rigid Heddle Loom Stands here



Rigid Heddle Weaving Starter Pack

Still Have Questions?

Our Guide To Choosing and Using Your First Rigid Heddle Loom has all the answers you are looking for - and you can download it for free! You are also always welcome to email us at hello@gistyarn.com with any and all questions. 

February 05, 2020 — Sarah Resnick

How to Weave with Pick-Up Sticks by Liz Gipson

How to Weave with Pick-Up Sticks on a Rigid Heddle Loom by Liz Gipson

How to Weave with Pick-Up Sticks

Guest blog post with Liz Gipson of Yarnworker 

We have all done it, introduced a little skip in our weaving that creates a float in a place we didn't intend. Floats are the basis of so many weave structures, but we want to create them on purpose. (I'm also a fan of the flaw—it makes weaving more interesting.)

One of the most efficient ways for rigid-heddle weavers to do this is to use a stealth tool that allows them to make a third or fourth shed, and break the over/under configuration of plain weave--the pick-up stick!

When weavers hear the term “pick-up”, they often think of working patterns in front of the heddle, picking up the pattern each time. You can also place the stick behind the heddle and leave it there, engaging it only when necessary. 

Understanding the Basics

To place a pick-up stick, place the heddle in the down position so only the slot threads are up. Then you pick up the configuration you want behind the heddle. In this case, I'm picking 1 down/1 up. This is called “charging” the pick-up stick.

Once charged, you can slide the stick to the back of the loom and continue to weave plain weave.

How to Weave with Pick-Up Sticks on a Rigid Heddle Loom by Liz Gipson

You also have two additional shed options that allow you to weave weft floats or warp floats.

To weave a warp float, place the heddle in the up position and slide the stick towards the heddle. In addition to the yarns in the holes being up, the stick is also lifting up the threads that are on the pick-up stick, up.

How to Weave with Pick-Up Sticks on a Rigid Heddle Loom by Liz Gipson

To weave a weft float, you place the heddle in neutral and tip the stick up on its edge so just the yarns on the stick are up.

How to Weave with Pick-Up Sticks on a Rigid Heddle Loom by Liz Gipson

Adding this technique to your weaving know-how allows you to branch out to a lot of different structures. The next step is learning how to read a pick-up pattern. I cover that in this blog post.

PlayBox #1 & PlayBox #2 both include a simple warp float pattern that you can try. These projects are easy ways to start making floats on purpose.

For a deeper dive, check out my latest class at the Yarnworker School,  Weaving 301: Pick-Up, I teach you eleven essential structures that utilize these two positions AND begin to dive into the world of drafting and design as it relates to the rigid-heddle loom. GIST blog readers can get 10% off the class using the code: GISTJOURNAL. If you are interested in joining the Yarnworker School Patreon community to get more benefits, you can check that out  here. The School wouldn't exist without the amazing support of this community. 


Liz Gipson of Yarnworker

About Liz Gipson ~ Yarn is a big part of who I am—growing it, spinning it, and then making it do tricks, particularly the over/under kind (i.e. weaving). Passing this love on to newcomers is what makes my heart happy. I spend my days weaving, writing about weaving, teaching others to weave, and enjoying this thing called life.

I host Yarnworker, a site for rigid-heddle know-how and inspirations. I dream-up, films, edit, and hosts the courses myself from my home in central, New Mexico.




February 03, 2020 — Liz Gipson

In the Studio with Arianna Funk

Studio interview with Arianna Funk Swedish Weaving Patterns

In the Studio with Arianna Funk

Arianna Funk graduated from Friends of Handicraft School in Stockholm in 2017, became a card-carrying journeyman weaver the same year and was awarded the large medal of honor for her journeyman work. She is a founding member of Studio Supersju, a group of forward-thinking weavers. In addition to running Weave of the Month Club, she is a teacher and advisor for students in the foundation year at Friends of Handicraft and writes drafts for Väv Magasinet and Svensk Hemslöjd. Her work is currently on view in the Studio Supersju group show “Butterfingers” at Konsthantverkarna Gallery in Stockholm, and will be in an upcoming Studio Supersju exhibition this March at Västernorrlands Museum in Härnosand. Photo by Campher Image.

Studio interview with Arianna Funk Swedish Weaving Patterns
                     
Studio interview with Arianna Funk Swedish Weaving Patterns
                     

1. You recently moved into a new studio space! Can you tell us about the new space and some of the projects that you have been working on this year?

I moved in in September to be closer to where my son goes to school and to expand. I've been working full time on the book I'm writing with my Studio Supersju colleague Miriam Parkman, called Att Väva (To Weave). You can read more about it below!

In addition I've been working on the final projects for Weave of the Month Club 2019 and opened membership for 2020 in early December. Read more about that below too.

And on top of all that and making works for our coming exhibitions, I write patterns for Väv Magazine and you lovely people at GIST! So it's mostly sampling and weaving up projects, but not the kind of production I thought I was going to be doing when I started my company. I'm looking forward to doing more product development next year in addition to writing all those patterns. It's just so fun to write drafts, knowledge is power and I love to spread that weaving power.

I've just "inherited" a 7.5 ft rug loom from the estate of textile artist Hjördis Jansson, and I can't wait to invite six of my most patient, beefiest friends to set it up. It's a really simple loom, but is as sturdy and crazy heavy as professional rug-weavers need it to be.

Studio interview with Arianna Funk Swedish Weaving Patterns
             
Studio interview with Arianna Funk Swedish Weaving Patterns
             

2. We first heard about Studio Supersju on Episode 48 of the podcast. For those who have not yet listened to the episode, could you tell us about Studio Supersju and what your goals are as a group and for the handweaving community?

Studio Supersju is a group of seven weavers at the beginning of their careers. We started the group because we were sharing a studio and realized there is strength in numbers, especially having chosen a craft that is both a niche and also has been seen as a hobby for many decades. Our work is grounded in the deeply rooted traditions of Scandinavian weaving, but we want to bring weaving into a new era and create new contexts for the craft. We all have our own companies and artistic practices, and most of us have since moved out of the original shared studio, but we continue to exhibit frequently as a group. If you're in Sweden next year, we have an exhibition at Konsthantverkarna in Stockholm and one at Västernorrlands Museum in Härnosand, among other places.  

Studio interview with Arianna Funk Swedish Weaving Patterns
                     
Studio interview with Arianna Funk Swedish Weaving Patterns
                     

3. What is it like working collaboratively with the other members of Studio Supersju? Do you typically work together or independently?  

I actually love working by myself! One of the reasons for moving is that when I'm working I want to be by myself. It makes me more grateful for the times when I have collaborators over for meetings and discussion, and for the existence of Studio Supersju. The social spirit of being in my former studio with many of my SS7 colleagues was so great, you feel like you're part of something big. Having that context is really important when you've chosen a career that requires quite a bit of ambition and stick-to-it-iveness; your studiomates help you stick to it in good times and bad.

We don't really work collaboratively on projects, it's more that we maybe all make new works for a coming exhibition and that might have a theme. Even when we all sat in the same studio it was really important for us to be able to maintain our own creative processes. We'll see what the future brings!

Each of us has our own constellation of jobs and interests. One is a full-time weaver for an artist and works as more of a "craftsperson" for the time being. Two of us are full-time weavers and artists, two are in Master's programs, one is on maternity leave, and one has an exciting part time job that she balances with studio time. We all identify first and foremost as weavers, artists, or a combination of the two. Only five of us currently live and work in the Stockholm area, and as many as possible of us meet every month or so. We also have a very lively Slack workplace as an attempt at creating order in the wonderful chaos of all of our current projects and plans for the future. 

Studio interview with Arianna Funk Swedish Weaving Patterns
             
Studio interview with Arianna Funk Swedish Weaving Patterns
             

4. As mentioned above, you and Miriam Parkman are the co-authors of a new weaving book called Att Väva. Can you tell us about the book and the process of writing/designing patterns for it?

It all started because we have both wanted to write a book about weaving for a little while, and we had both noticed that there were tons of craft books coming out here all at once...but hardly any weaving books have been come out in the past decade. The book has a really modern aesthetic, we wanted to get away from the gentle, therapeutic, ultra-feminine side of weaving, and show a different way of approaching the craft.

We want to welcome everyone to weaving and show that there are plenty of different ways of weaving--everyone should do it just the way they feel--you don't have to have perfect selvedges or weave the same stuff everyone else weaves....unless you want to! But those books already exist, and we think more people will weave if they feel like there's no one "best" way to do it, and that you don't have to be an expert from day one. Miriam and I went to the same weaving school, sat next to each other in our shared studio for a few years, and our work--but especially our artistic processes--are really different. In hindsight we did in a sense fulfill that goal of writing our own weaving book; we got to focus on the topics and projects that most interest us, but our different roles and interests complement each other and make for a compelling book.

In addition to 15 different projects, we've written an introduction to weaving the Swedish way, dyeing without a recipe, and how to tap into your own way of sketching. Most of the projects are on 4 harnesses, with a few exceptions.

Att Väva comes out March 27, 2020 in Swedish, and hopefully in English soon.

Studio interview with Arianna Funk Swedish Weaving Patterns

5. Weave of the Month Club 2020 just started earlier this month--what have you learned/enjoyed from WOMC 2018 and 2019? What are your plans for WOMC this year?

Weave of the Month Club is a subscription service where all members get a new digital draft in their email inbox every month, in either English or Swedish. I also offer an ANALOG membership for those who also want a sample handwoven by me and a color card with the yarns used sent to their mailbox every month. The patterns are inspired by Scandinavian traditions but intended for modern lifestyles. The patterns can either be woven up precisely as written or seen as inspiration for looking at traditional patterns in a new, fresh way. There are unlimited digital memberships available, but the ANALOG memberships are more than halfway sold. I've got a mix of old and new members this year, which is so exciting.  

I've learned a ton about communicating weaving. I write all the patterns in Swedish and translate into English, yards, pounds, and inches, since Swedish is the language I learned to weave in. The patterns aren't so different in each language, and I ask a lot of my members: they receive a short introduction to Swedish weaving (and of course troubleshooting help via email with me!) but I am so impressed that they take these patterns on, even though everything is written backward and upside down.

I'm not planning any big changes for 2020, a few tweaks of the website and lots of administrative changes to streamline the process even further. I want to keep the price relatively low--although I do understand that it might not feel like a low price to everyone--because this is about the spread of knowledge and of experience. I love the idea that Swedish weaving traditions are making their way to Australia and all over Europe and North America. 

Studio interview with Arianna Funk Swedish Weaving Patterns

6. What is your advice for handweavers who are interested in starting their own business and weaving full time? What are some of the challenges you have faced? 

This is a little hard for me to answer because owning a small business here in Sweden is probably very different than owning a business in many other countries. I'm very grateful for the support that we get as parents here, that I pay very little for health insurance, that there are lots of scholarships to apply for. And I've been extremely lucky timing-wise, as interest in handcraft and especially in textiles and weaving here in Sweden is high right now. However, I do think my colleagues in Studio Supersju and I (and many of our contemporaries) have truly succeeded at identifying and capitalizing on that zeitgeist as well as expanding the definition of weaving and where it belongs.

1. So my advice is definitely to start some sort of collective of like-minded people with whom you can share some sort of burden/expenses/skills/etc. You are so much more visible as a group, and maybe then you don't have to do 100% of the work by yourself. And you have a built in group to celebrate your successes with!

2. Work on shine theory.

3. I get asked constantly if it isn't difficult to make a living as a weaver. Such an unnecessary bit of schaudenfreude (see #2). We all know it's hard--no one will let us forget it!--but my last bit of advice is to not believe it. Being honest with yourself about the challenges of owning a small business, especially a creative small business, should be something that spurs you on, not drags you down. Of course I feel way overwhelmed sometimes and while I was writing the book I was working 8-4, hanging out with my son 4-8, and then working 8-midnight. That's not very Swedish of me, and it was a bummer. But opportunities like the book are spaces I and my colleagues have dug out for ourselves, and I wouldn't have it any other way. It feels pretty amazing to have both created the opportunity and then have brought the project or the exhibition or whatever all the way home. Speaking of which, 3.a: if you have a partner you share your life with, keep the lines of communication wide open. While you don't have to ask for permission to make your vision a reality, a realistic conversation with your person about what your life may look like when you start that business is necessary. You'll need a lot of support, and they may not also be able to say "I wouldn't have it any other way".

Studio interview with Arianna Funk Swedish Weaving Patterns


January 22, 2020 — Emma Rhodes

Tidal Towels by Amanda Rataj

Tidal Towels

Amanda writes, "Since moving house two years ago, I’ve learned a lot about plumbing and water - and not by choice! Having found it flowing in places it shouldn’t be, I designed a set of thirsty bathroom hand towels using Mallo cotton slub and Lithuanian linen from GIST. I love the complex material experience that using a handwoven cloth can give - in these towels, the softness and thick and thin nature of Mallo pairs nicely with the crispness of linen, as well as giving the wave motif added visual and tactile depth. 

Often called ‘overshot,’ floatwork patterns of this type are easy to set up and weave. There are two components to the weave: a ground tabby and a pattern weft. The pattern weft shoots over blocks of warp ends and is followed by a pick of tabby that ‘locks’ it in. If you’ve never tried overshot before, this is an easy introduction to the technique. 

When designing these towels, I thought a lot about the visual language of washrooms, especially tiles, borders, boundaries, and how we contain water in our homes. This lead to the idea of a floating section of overshot - contained between two pairs of Mallo ends in the warp, the wave motif is woven is woven for as long or as little as you like, a high or low tide. If this looks especially hard or time consuming to you, don’t worry - it isn’t! There are instructions included in the pattern (and photographs) to get you started. But of course you can always weave across the length of the cloth if you choose."

Designed by Amanda Rataj for GIST: Yarn & Fiber. 

Need some help getting started? Check out Resources for Beginner and Intermediate Weavers. 

             
             

Materials 

Warp & Weft: 1 cone of Linen Weaving Yarn in Cream, 1 cone of Mallo Cotton Slub in Denim 

Tabby Weft: Linen Weaving Yarn in Cream, Pattern Weft: Mallo Cotton Slub in Denim

Kits: Each kit includes enough yarn to weave a set of 2 towels that measure approximately 15.5" W x 27.5" L each after washing and hemming.

High Tide Towel

Low Tide Towel

Project Notes

  • Tools Required: 4 shaft table or floor loom, 10 dent reed, 2 shuttles & bobbins
  • EPI: 20 (threaded with 2 ends per dent)
  • PPI: 15-20 in tabby (weaver's preference)
  • Width at Reed: 16.9"
  • Warp Ends: 338
  • Warp Length: 3.3 yards (120")
  • Technique/Draft: Overshot
  • Finished Dimensions: Set of 2 towels measuring approximately 15.5" W x 27.5" L each after washing and hemming
  • Finishing Details: Hand or machine sewn hem
  • Care Instructions: Machine wash warm, hang to dry, press while damp if needed

Weaving & Finishing 

Floatwork (what we call often call overshot) is created by ‘floating’ pattern threads over a tabby ground. Use tabby in between your pattern picks. NOTE: the draft uses grey in the weft for contrast only! 

Click on the draft below to see it larger. 

Warping/Threading: Wind the warp in the following sequence for a total of 338 warp ends. Thread heddles according to the draft above. 

  • Yarn A - 26 ends
  • Yarn B - 2 ends
  • Yarn A - 281 ends
  • Yarn B - 2 ends
  • Yarn A - 27 ends

Weaving/Treadling: Amanda writes, "For the inset ‘wave’ motif, use the pairs of Mallo in the warp as the outside border of the motif. Starting at the right side of your warp, insert your shuttle to the left of the Mallo ends, angling towards the outside of the warp. This lets you throw your shuttle easily across the length of your warp rather than fighting to stick it into the middle of your warp. Repeat this process at the left side of your warp, reversing the directions: insert your shuttle through the warp towards the right of the Mallo ends, angling towards the middle of the warp. Secure the tail of yarn on your first and last pattern pick by wrapping it around the linen warp end closest to the Mallo border. 

These towels can be woven with a tight beat for a stiffer towel, or a looser beat for a more casual look. I’ve woven them closer to 15 ppi - I hate a soggy towel, and I’m banking on this more open weave helping it dry faster. Find a beat that’s comfortable for you and weave within it. 

If you choose to weave your towels with the wave motif across the width of the towel, you’ll need to either add 1 floating selvedge end at each side of the cloth, or wrap your pattern weft around the outermost end."

High Tide Towel

  • Weave 4” of tabby. 
  • Weave 10 repeats of the wave pattern (see draft) - the pattern starts and finishes with treadle 1. 
  • Weave 11.5” of tabby. 
  • Repeat wave motif. 
  • Weave 4” of tabby

Low Tide Towel

  • Weave 4” of tabby
  • Weave 5 repeats of the wave pattern (see draft) - the pattern starts and finishes with treadle 1.
  • Weave 17.5” of tabby. 
  • Repeat wave motif. 
  • Weave 4” of tabby

Each towel should measure approximately 32.5" in loom. 

Finishing: Zigzag stitch the raw edges, machine wash warm and hang to dry, press as needed, finish with a hand or machine sewn hem. 

About Amanda Rataj

Amanda Rataj is an artist and weaver living and working in Hamilton, Ontario. She studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design University and has developed her contemporary craft practice through research-based projects, artist residencies, professional exhibitions, and lectures. Her textile focus of the material and conceptual nature of vernacular, everyday objects used for the home and body; her work (and weaving patterns) are available at her website, and at Guildworks, or by commission. 

Website | Instagram

January 17, 2020 — Emma Rhodes

Winter Rigid Heddle Weave-Along with Liz Gipson

We're thrilled to partner with Liz Gipson of Yarnworker for her Winter Weave-Along. This Weave-Along is suitable for Advanced Beginners who have a few projects under their belt on their rigid heddle loom. 

What's a Weave-Along, and why participate in one? You might be aware that handweaving hasn't yet caught on with the masses ;-) and many people don't know other weavers, or aren't in close physical proximity to other weavers. A Weave-Along is a wonderful opportunity to be part of a virtual community, all working on the same project, under the kind and expert guidance of Liz Gipson. You can ask questions and get feedback directly from other weavers and from Liz about how to troubleshoot your challenges. It can be nerve-wracking to try a new technique if no one is around to show us the ropes, so a Weave-Along is a wonderful opportunity to try something new within a supportive community. 

What will we learn with this project? A couple things, including how to use two heddles at once, and how to weave twill! If you've only ever woven tabby weave on your rigid heddle loom (the usual over-under-over-under weaving) this will help you significantly expand your skillset. You'll have the opportunity to work with two heddles (and you'll learn workarounds for weaving twill with one heddle if you prefer). 

What are we making? This oversized pillow was designed for serious lounging. The fabric is a 1/3 twill woven with two 5-dent heddles in a hardy wool grown, spun, and dyed in the USA by Mountain Meadow Wool Mill (lots more info and photos about this wonderful yarn and mill below).

You can find all of the other details, including how to register, how exactly the Weave-Along will work, and when it starts, on the Yarnworker website

Materials and Equipment 

Warp & Weft: Suffolk Tapestry Wool from Mountain Meadow Wool Mill (5 skeins for Large, 3 skeins for Small). See our bundles here.

Pattern: The pattern is not included in this bundle. Participation in this Yarnworker Weave-Along is free, but you'll need to buy a copy of Handwoven Home for the full pattern. (The education portion of the weave-along is totally free, but the publisher would frown on posting the full pattern for free.) If you're a rigid heddle weaver and don't already have this book by Liz Gipson - believe us, you want it! 

Equipment Needed: 

Bundles:

Large

The Large bundle makes a 21.5 x 21.5 inch pillow with an 8 inch flap. (You'll have some leftover yarn for future projects). 

Small

The Small bundle makes a 12 x 12 inch pillow. (You'll have leftover yarn for future projects). 

About Surprise Co. Ranch and Mountain Meadow Wool Mill

The yarn for this pillow is spun and dyed at Mountain Meadow Wool Mill, a woman-owned fiber mill committed to revitalizing the American wool industry through eco-friendly operations and fair prices for ranches. See the full line of colors for this Suffolk here, and pre-order your bundle for the Weave-Along here


The yarn for the bundles in this Weave-Along are grown by Lisa Keeler and Erasmo Garcia on Suprise Co. Ranch. Thank you to Mountain Meadow Wool Mill for writing up this description of Suffolk wool and Surprise Co, and sharing these videos with us!

"Suffolk sheep are a hardy breed of sheep that have a big body and produce quality meat. The wool from a Suffolk sheep can contain some black fibers since they have a black face and legs, and ranges in the medium range for coarseness with a fiber diameter of 25.5 to 33 micron. The coarseness and the black fibers are the general reason why most Suffolk wool is put into the wool pool, if it is sold for wool at all.

Mountain Meadow Wool began processing Suffolk wool several years ago because Suffolk is a common breed of sheep to our area. Many ranchers receive a very low price for their Suffolk wool and would drop it off at the mill hoping that something could be done with the wool. MMW processed the wool and marketed it on-line drawing attention to its outstanding qualities of being a very strong wool that is great for outer wear.  

Keeler and Garcia chose the Suffolk breed for several reasons, the primary reason being that they are tough. Wyoming is not a place for the faint of heart and that pertains to animals and livestock producers. Keeler and Garcia are proud of the ewes that they have created over years with ram selection and culling ewes that were not suited to the terrain or management practices of the ranch. Surprise Co. produces ewes that have big bones, massive bodies, great maternal instincts, long life span and produce a lamb that does well in the feedlot, producing a large, lean, lamb chop. A longer stapled wool has also been a primary consideration in their herd.

While the price of inputs, referring to vehicles, feed, fuel, etc. to run the ranch continue to increase, the price received for lambs and the wool has remained steady at best. Becoming Entrepreneur Extraordinaires is how Keeler and Garcia are able to survive in the ranching industry.  

As stewards of the land, Surprise Co. takes everything into consideration when making management decisions. Considering what effects those decisions made will have today, tomorrow and 10 years from today. Keeler says “if you are a steward of all your resources, they will be there for you in the future.” Some practices they have put in place include controlling weeds by being careful to purchase hay that is weed-free, and by grazing weedy areas when the weeds are young and green and will be eaten by their livestock, planting a lot of trees, and taking care of their wetlands.

While there is no doubt that Lisa Keeler is a tough Wyoming rancher, when asked what it meant to her that the wool she produced was going into a cooperative project between Gist Yarn and Fiber, Mountain Meadow Wool, and author of many weaving books, Liz Gipson of Yarnworker, her response showed [IN THIS CLIP] the softer side of her love for producing sheep.

January 02, 2020 —

Rigid Heddle Waffle Weave Blanket

Free Pattern Waffle Weave Blanket on a Rigid Heddle Loom
                     
Free Pattern Waffle Weave Blanket on a Rigid Heddle Loom
                     

Rigid Heddle Waffle Weave Blanket 

This extra plush lap blanket is woven with Mallo Cotton Slub on a rigid heddle loom. A pick-up stick is used to weave a windowpane pattern with warp and weft floats that closely resembles waffle weave.

The finished dimensions of this blanket are 29" W x 34" L, the ideal size for a lap or baby blanket. It is woven as 2 narrow panels, which are then seamed together. If you would like to adjust this project to be larger or smaller, see Christine's tips at the bottom of this post. 

Designed by Christine Jablonski for GIST: Yarn & Fiber.

We recommend this project for intermediate rigid heddle weavers. Need some help getting started? Check out Resources for Beginner and Intermediate Weavers. 

Free Pattern Waffle Weave Blanket on a Rigid Heddle Loom
                     
Free Pattern Waffle Weave Blanket on a Rigid Heddle Loom
                     

Materials 

Warp & Weft: 2 cones of Mallo Cotton Slub

Project Notes

Weaving & Finishing 

Begin: Using your preferred method (direct or indirect warping) warp and wind on 200 ends through a 10-dent heddle.

Pick Up the Floats: Place the heddle in the DOWN position. Behind the heddle, only the slot threads (there should be 100) are raised. Tip: Inserting a piece of cardboard beneath the slot threads and sliding it onto the back beam makes it easier to identify which slot threads to pick up and which to leave down. We used a spare pickup stick because it was handy--but only one pickup stick is required for this project. 

Using your pick-up stick, pick up the first slot thread, leave the next two down, pick up the next slot thread, leave the next two down. Continue in this manner of 1 up, 2 down until you reach the last slot thread--pick that up onto the stick. Slide stick to the back beam. (*See photo 1*)

Weaving: Weave 2 panels. Begin and end each panel with 1.5" of tabby (preferably using a thinner yarn than Mallo, for a  less bulky hem). These tabby sections will be folded under and hemmed. After weaving the tabby section, follow the weaving sequence below:

  • Pick 1: Heddle is UP
  • Pick 2: Heddle is NEUTRAL, pick-up stick slides forward to the back of the heddle and is turned on it's side to create the weft float shed (*see photo 2*), after weaving this pick slide the pick-up stick back to the back beam 
  • Pick 3: Heddle is UP 
  • Pick 4: Heddle is DOWN
  • Pick 5: Heddle is UP, pick-up stick is positioned at the back of the heddle but stays flat to create the warp float shed (*see photo 3*), after weaving this pick slide the pick-up stick back to the back beam 
  • Pick 6: Heddle is DOWN (due to the floats at the floats along the selvedges, you may wish to "catch" the up selvedge thread by weaving over it *see photo 4*)
  • Pick 7: Heddle is UP, pick-up stick is positioned at the back of the heddle but stays flat to create the warp float shed, after weaving this pick slide the pick-up stick back to the back beam (*see photo 3*)
  • Pick 8: Heddle is DOWN (due to the floats at the floats along the selvedges, you may wish to "catch" the up selvedge thread by weaving over it *see photo 4*)
  • Repeat this 8-pick pattern for 47", then weave picks 1, 2, & 3 to complete the window pane pattern
  • Switch to your thinner yarn (optional) and weave 1.5" of tabby for the hem. 

Finishing: Cut the panels off the loom and zig zag the tabby edges. Before washing, seam the two panels together (length-wise, selvedge to selvedge) using a figure-eight stitch or method of your choice. Machine wash cold on delicate cycle, tumble dry low. Fold under and press tabby edges, hem by hand or machine. 

Photo 1 - picking up raised slot threads, under 1, over 2, under 1, over, 2

Photo 2 - pick-up stick slides forward to the back of the heddle and is turned on it's side to create the weft float shed

Photo 3 - pick-up stick is positioned at the back of the heddle but stays flat to create the warp float shed

Photo 4 - catching the outermost warp thread to prevent long floats along the edge

Variations 

Christine writes, "To change the dimensions of this project, multiply the desired length and width by 1.3 to calculate the the width and length you will need your warp to be. Example: If you want to weave a 15" x 72" scarf with this pattern, your width at reed will be 19.5" (15 x 1.3 = 19.5) and your warp length will be 93.6" (72 x 1.3 = 93.6) plus loom waste (varies from loom to loom, typically 20-30")." 

You can also use our Weaving Yarn Calculator!

About Christine Jablonski

In addition to being GIST's Studio & Wholesale Coordinator, Christine is a weaver and exhibiting fiber artist. She scampered down the rabbit hole of rigid heddle weaving several years ago as a way to use up her knitting stash and never looked back. In addition to very practical cloth woven to adorn home and body (tea towels are her favorite home linen projects to weave), Christine also weaves conceptual works that explore themes of mood and memory, strength and fragility, and often reflect on the current political and ecological landscape. Her work is held in private collections across the country and is shown regionally in New England galleries. To see more of Christine's work, check out her Instagram

Mariah Gaar
December 02, 2019 — Emma Rhodes

Halvdräll Towels by Arianna Funk

Halvdräll Towels 

Arianna writes, "I wanted to make something that really plays up how beautiful Duet is, and the technique "halvdräll" is perfect: you get large swaths of surface and texture but the floats are tiny and secure. The slight variegated color of the yarn gives these towels extra spark.

I just love this simplified overshot technique and have used it in quite a few patterns. It offers endless experimentation and the effect you can achieve simply by changing colors is exciting. Make one warp in neutral colors and mix it up with your weft colors for each towel. Perfect for holiday gift giving! The name of these towels (Blodstensvägen) has a connection to a dear family member who has both turned 30 and moved into a great new apartment this year, which should be celebrated with handwovens. "Blodsten" is the Swedish word for hematite."

Designed by Arianna Funk for GIST: Yarn & Fiber.

Arianna is a handweaver in Sweden, and the founder of Weave of the Month Club, a weaving pattern subscription in which members receive monthly weaving projects and inspiration. 

To join the Weave of the Month Club and receive monthly curated weaving drafts and inspiration photos (Analog members will also receive a handwoven sample & yarn chart) click here!

Need some help getting started? Check out Resources for Beginner and Intermediate Weavers. 

Materials 

Warp: 2 cones of 8/2 Un-Mercerized Cotton (Arianna used Natural and Navy)

Weft: Tabby Weft: Remaining 8/2 Cotton, Pattern Weft: 2 cones of Duet Cotton/Linen (Arianna used Santorini and Marble)

Kits: Each kit includes enough yarn to weave a set of 3 towels that measure approximately 15.25" W x 21.25" L each after washing and hemming. 

                     
                     

Project Notes

  • Tools Required: 4 shaft table or floor loom, 10 or 15 dent reed, 2 shuttles & bobbins
  • EPI: 25 (threaded 2-3 in a 10 dent reed, or 1-2-2 in a 15 dent reed) 
  • PPI: ~18 in tabby, ~15 tabby + 15 pattern in pattern sections
  • Width at Reed: 17.25"
  • Warp Ends: 447
  • Warp Length: 3.3 yards (120") 
  • Technique/Draft: Halvdräll, a simplified overshot
  • Finished Dimensions: Set of 3 towels that measure approximately 15.25" W x 21.25" L each after washing and hemming
  • Finishing Details: Hand-sewn rolled hem
  • Care Instructions: Machine wash warm, tumble dry low, or hang to dry, press as needed

Draft 

This halvdräll draft is written slightly different than American weaving drafts. For this project, we will learn how to read a Swedish weaving draft.

Arianna writes, "Because of the way we dress the loom, Swedish drafts are set up as if one is sitting on one's bench at the loom. The harnesses are numbered 1-4, with 1 being the furthest away from you. If you thread from inside the loom just turn it upside down!

The treadling is also shown as if you are sitting at the loom, the wefts build on each other in the cloth just as they're shown in the draft. Treadle 1 is furthest to the right and treadle 4 is furthest to the left." 

Click on the draft below to see it larger. 

Weaving & Finishing 

Version 1

Version 2

Warping/Threading: Wind the warp in the following sequence for a total of 447 warp ends. Thread heddles according to the draft above. Tips for winding a multicolored warp with an odd number of warp ends. 

  • Yarn A - 49 ends 
  • Yarn B - 51 ends 
  • Yarn A - 98 ends 
  • Yarn B - 51 ends
  • Yarn A - 98 ends
  • Yarn B - 51 ends 
  • Yarn A - 49 ends

Weaving/Treadling: Arianna writes, "This technique is built on the rhythm of every other pick tabby, every other pick pattern. The draft (above) shows the two blocks: Block A is on treadle 3, Block B is on treadle 4. I tie up so that my right foot is only tabby and my left is only pattern blocks."

Version 1 Treadling Sequence with Yarn A (tabby weft ) + Yarn C (pattern weft):

  • Tabby Hem- 2"
  • Block A - 11.75"
  • Block B - 11.75"
  • Tabby Hem - 2"

Version 2 Treadling Sequence with Yarn B (tabby weft) and Yarn D (pattern weft):

  • Tabby Hem - 2" 
  • Block A - 2"
  • Block B - 2"
  • Block A - 2"
  • Block B - 2"
  • Block A - 2"
  • Block B - 4"
  • Block A - 2"
  • Block B - 2" 
  • Block A - 2"
  • Block B - 2"
  • Block A - 2" 
  • Tabby Hem - 2"

Finishing: Zigzag stitch the raw edges, machine wash warm and hang to dry (or tumble dry low if preferred), press as needed, finish with a hand-sewn rolled hem. 

                     
                    

About Arianna Funk 

Arianna Funk graduated from Friends of Handicraft School in Stockholm in 2017, became a card-carrying journeyman weaver the same year and was awarded the ‘large medal of honor’ for her journeyman work. She is a founding member of Studio Supersju, a group of forward-thinking weavers. In addition to running Weave of the Month Club, she is a teacher and advisor for students in the foundation year at Friends of Handicraft, writes drafts for Väv Magasinet and Svensk Hemslöjd, and her woven art and craft is sold at Fiberspace Gallery and Gustavsbergs Gallery, among other places. 

Mariah Gaar
November 21, 2019 — Emma Rhodes

Brick and Mortar Scarf

                     
                     

Brick & Mortar Scarf

A cozy oversized scarf woven with our Mallo Cotton Slub Yarn.

Designed by Mariah Gaar for GIST: Yarn & Fiber.

Need some help getting started? Check out Resources for Beginner and Intermediate Weavers. 

                     
                     

Materials 

Warp & Weft: 4 cones of Mallo Cotton Slub 

Kits: Each kit includes enough yarn to weave one oversized scarf that measures approximately 18" x 70" + 6" fringe on each side. (You will have some yarn left over for other projects). 

                     
                     

Project Notes

                     
                    

Weaving & Finishing 

Warp Color Order: Wind a warp in the following sequence for a total of 240 warp ends. 

  • Color A - 40 ends (4")
  • Color B - 20 ends (2")
  • Color C - 180 ends (18")

Weft Color Order: Begin and end the scarf with a few picks of plain weave and hemstitch. Follow the weft color order below. 

  • Color A - 4"
  • Color B - 2"
  • Color C - 61" 
  • Color B - 2"
  • Color A - 4" 

Threading Order: Repeat the pattern block of 12 ends a total of 20 times (see draft below). 

Finishing: In loom your scarf should measure approximately 21" W x 73" L (with room for 6" of fringe on both ends). Wet finish in cold water with a mild detergent, roll up in a towel to absorb excess water and hang to dry. Trim fringe to 6" on each side. 

    
                     

Variations 

                     
                     

About Mariah Gaar 

"I have a background in Studio Art -- specifically in fibers and graphic design. In my own work, I aim to create access to heirloom quality textiles. I explore various natural fibers and color combinations to make something worthy of holding on to. I focus on the juxtaposition between art and function - and try to find the balance between the two. Weaving is my passion and I enjoy continuing to learn more about this medium every day."

Weaving Projects by Mariah Gaar 

Website | The Weaving ProjectInstagram 

Mariah Gaar
November 11, 2019 — Emma Rhodes

In the Studio with Bree Bergen

Free Weaving Pattern Handwoven Minimalist Cotton and Linen Scarf
                 
Free Weaving Pattern Handwoven Minimalist Cotton and Linen Scarf
                     

In the Studio with Bree Bergen

This week we are featuring an elegant silk curtain by Bree Bergen woven with 20/2 Bombyx Silk and Italian Silk Noil. Bree deigned this project for her 32" wide doorframe--if you would like to adapt this project for your home, see all of the details below. 

Bree writes, "This is a super simple draft that highlights the character of the fibre, both the sheen of the Bombyx Silk and the nubbly matte texture of the Silk Noil. The whole project is woven using a modified plain weave. The finished yardage is open enough to allow light to leak through, but very stable. For me it resembles vintage curtain fabric, but the silk gives it a beautiful hand-feel and drape. Beauty in simplicity."

Free Weaving Pattern Handwoven Minimalist Cotton and Linen Scarf
                     
Free Weaving Pattern Handwoven Minimalist Cotton and Linen Scarf
                    

Materials 

Warp: 2 skeins 20/2 Bombyx Silk 

Weft: 2 cones of Silk Noil Weaving Yarn in White 

You will also need an approximately 36" W x 1/4" D wooden dowel or curtain rod and brackets of your choice for hanging. A tension rod will also work well. 

Project Notes

  • Tools Required: 4 shaft table or floor loom, 8 dent reed, shuttle & bobbins, fringe twister
  • EPI: 22 (8 dent reed sleyed 2-3-3-3) 
  • PPI: 15
  • Width at Reed: 17.5"
  • Warp Ends: 384
  • Warp Length: 4.5 yards
  • Technique: Modified Plain Weave (see draft below)
  • Finished Dimensions: 2 panels ~17" W (34" W total) x 50" L +10" fringe on each panel. Bree designed this project for a 32" W doorframe. 
  • Finishing Details: Hemstitch, twisted fringe, handmade rope
  • Care Instructions: Hand wash cold with mild soap, hang to dry, cool iron as needed

Weaving & Finishing 

Warp/Threading Order: Wind a warp with Yarn A for a total of 384 warp ends. Repeat the pattern block of 16 ends 24 times.

Weaving: Begin and end with hemstitch. Weave with Yarn B for the entirety of the warp length until your fabric measures approximately 108" in loom. Make sure to measure when the loom is not under tension for the most accurate measurement. 

Finishing: When complete, remove from the loom, press lightly and cut yardage in half widthwise (from selvedge to selvedge) so that you have 2 panels that measure approximately 17" W x 50" L + fringe. Create a rolled hem along the raw edge of each panel and hand stitch a pocket (for hanging the curtain) sized to fit a 1/4" diameter wooden dowel. Finish the fringe on the opposite end using a fringe twister and trim to 10". 

Bree writes, "This was a no-waste project. The remaining Italian Silk Noil weft fibre was divided and used to make 4 ropes of varying thicknesses and lengths - these silk ropes I used to drape across the top of the screen. The remaining Bombyx Silk weft fibre, including all the offcuts from removing the project from the loom, were used to make the tassels that decorate the ends of these ropes."

Making the Rope & Tassels: 

Bree made 3 ropes with these dimensions: 

  • 18 strand x 8' long (make 2 of these)
  • 10 strand x 6' long
  1. Cut 18 x 8' strands of silk noil.
  2. Divide the strands in two so that you are working with 2 groups of 9 threads.
  3. Tie one end of the grouped threads to something sturdy (back of a chair, loom beam, etc)
  4. Starting at the secured end, twist each group of 9 threads in the same direction (either clockwise or counterclockwise). As you move down the line the twisted strands will start to wrap around each other, thus creating the rope. You can alter the appearance of the rope, making it tighter or more relaxed, depending on how much you twist each bundle.
  5. Secure each end with a simple knot. 
  6. Repeat these steps for the other 2 ropes. 

Using the remaining bombyx silk and/or silk noil, create tassels to attach to the ends of the ropes. Hang the silk screen using the method of your choice (dowel or curtain rod with brackets or tension rod) and drape the tassels as shown in the photo. 

Free Weaving Pattern Handwoven Minimalist Cotton and Linen Scarf
                     
Free Weaving Pattern Handwoven Minimalist Cotton and Linen Scarf
                     

Variations 

  • Adjust the dimensions to suit your doorway and/or window--this draft will also make beautiful curtains. TIP: Use our weaving yarn calculator to determine how much yarn you need.
  • This project would also work well with Italian Cotton/Linen or Duet Cotton/Linen (for Duet adjust the sett to 16 epi or less). 

About Bree Bergen

Based in Winnipeg, Canada, Bree Bergen is a textile artist, art educator, and residential architect. Her interests include a number of very different disciplines, including drawing, art education, and architecture, all of which inform her weaving practice. She enjoys the material awareness that weaving instils, and the research-based learning and hands-on design problem solving that underpins the craft. Bree holds a BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and a Masters in Architecture from the University of Manitoba. She has led art classes for various organizations, including Toronto's Harbourfront Centre, the Toronto District School Board, Canadian Mennonite University, Manitoba Children’s Museum, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery. Bree has completed artist residencies at the Banff Centre, the New York Centre for Book Arts, and the Pouch Cove Foundation in Newfoundland. 

Website | Instagram 

October 24, 2019 — Emma Rhodes