A Weaver's Journey
Howdy, and welcome! I'm Becky Anne, the fiber artist of Pan Fran Knit Co! It's nice to meet you!
It's likely you've stumbled upon this because you're a beginner seeking weaving advice. Where to even begin? The world of weaving is wide and varied, so it can be tough deciding how to jump into this fantastic art medium!
Today I'll be sharing my journey of falling in love with weaving. Please note that no journey looks the same and the important part is that you start! All forms of weaving are valid, and the thing that makes you a weaver is when you weave. There are so many different ways to weave, so whatever sparks your creativity is a good dream to chase.
If you follow this journey, you'll find I leveled up from very low investment to higher investments in my equipment. I hope this helps as you consider what feels comfy for your own journey!
WEAVING WITHOUT A LOOM
After I fell in love with weaving, I realized I had actually been weaving longer than I originally gave myself credit for - back in my girl scout days we wove on simple looms made out of popsicle sticks. This can be an affordable way to try out what's called "Rigid Heddle" or "Backstrap Loom" style weaving.
Here's a lovely blog post illustrating this type of weaving:
This type of weaving is ideal for skinny weaves, such as belts, bookmarks, dog leashes... very useful and a fun adventure!
I was inspired to try weaving out as an adult after watching episode 108 titled "Multicraftual" of "The Knit Show with Vickie Howell". Featured at timestamp 20:00 is a segment with Rachel Denbow of "Smile and Wave" - she leads a weaving project you can achieve without a loom! Crochet skills are required, HOWEVER, if you already crochet this means you can get a taste of weaving without the upfront cost of a loom. This project is a type of loomless "Tapestry Weaving". I highly recommend other beginners to try this out, it's a very cute and fulfilling project!
Here is what I created using this project as inspiration:
^ Link to episode 108 of "The Knit Show"
^ This is a link to the show notes from episode 108, which includes a picture of the loomless crochet / weaving hybrid project.
Materials: Knitting needles as the "stick" for holding the tapestry, and Yarn: Cotton worsted for the crocheted mesh base (I used natural / cream colored) & wool roving type yarn for the woven portions & large pom (I used teal, mint green, cream, and light pink colored).
After my first tapestry, I decided I wanted to attempt something larger without purchasing a loom. I stumbled upon these useful little tools called weaving sticks. You can also DIY your own weaving sticks using straws!
These are the weaving sticks I used for my big tapestry!
Here is a picture of my tapestry made with weaving sticks.
Another resource for trying out weaving before you commit to a loom purchase is the book "Weaving Within Reach" by Anne Weil. This book has a lot of practical, cozy projects you can make using materials you (probably) have in stash already, or if you're starting from scratch are easy to find around the house and at your local yarn shop. If you're in Nashville we even have copies at our local library!
WEAVING WITH A SMALL LOOM
After I tried my loomless weaves, I was ready for the real deal. I purchased a little lap loom from my local craft shop, Craft South. This kit costs $48 (2/3/22) and includes everything you need to get started - yarn for your warp, weft, and an instruction booklet with a beginner-friendly project to get your creative juices flowing.
This loom is called a "Tapestry Loom" or a "Frame-Style Loom". This loom is a great size for small to medium sized tapestries. After weaving a few years, I still use this loom. It's wonderful for grabbing to take my weaving on the go! I often like to bring this with me on vacation, especially if we're heading somewhere with pretty landscapes to inspire my weaves.
You can also make your own loom out of an old picture frame & some nails. Here is a great tutorial on how to do that:
Here are some tapestries I have woven on my tapestry loom:
There are a BUNCH of books written about these little looms. Here is my favorite:
Weave This by Francesca Kletz & Brooke Dennis
Featuring bright, poppy colors & fun designs, this is a must for new weavers! The book covers everything from getting your loom warped for the first time, to weaving projects, includes templates you can follow as well as some miscellaneous fun and funky projects. Go forth and weave this! If you're a Nashvillian, there's a copy at our local library.
WEAVING ON A RIGID HEDDLE LOOM
After witnessing how I was getting into weaving, my family was interested in supporting my weaving journey and they gifted me a rigid heddle loom. This style of loom is really awesome for a lot of things, but most especially weaving fabric. Things like scarves, shawls, table runners, blankets, etc. - there's so much to weave! My loom is a Kromski 32" Rigid Heddle. I like this size because I can weave larger items, such as shawls and baby blankets, or I can weave less wide objects such as towels and scarves. It provides a lot of wiggle room for my creativity to flourish. LOTS of people start with smaller rigid heddle looms though & there are SO many resources for making things with small rigid heddles!
Here is a link to my loom & stand:
https://bit.ly/3rq8X9W Here's the book that taught me how to use my rigid heddle loom. In my opinion it is an essential book for a newbie rigid heddle weaver.
Inventive Weaving On A Little Loom by Syne Mitchell
Here's the 2nd thing I wove on my rigid heddle loom. It's one of my all-time favorite things to wear that is me-made:
I started to dive into the rabbit hole of rigid heddle for this post and have decided it deserves its own post altogether.
WEAVING ON AN INKLE LOOM
Inkle weaving refers to weft-faced weaves, generally creating finely woven bands / ribbons. This style of weaving is so useful once you get the hang of it! I love it for key fobs and belts especially. You CAN also do this style of weaving on a rigid heddle loom. If you follow me on instagram or see me at a fiber show, this is often a favorite style of weaving for me to demo since the loom travels well and is fairly meditative to weave once it is set up. I even bring it for drinks at knit night occasionally!
My inkle loom is an Accordion Loom from Windhaven Fiber Co.
I love weaving rainbow inkle bands, often to make into key fobs for the shop:
Let me know if this post was helpful and send any beginning weaving questions my way! I love helping newbies find their groove. Happy weaving, dreamers! ⚡️🐼