How to Make a Simple Weaving Loom and Basic Weaving Techniques: part 1

I hadn't even finished the first piece of weaving on my new table loom before I began thinking about a weaving project that anyone could weave without owning a traditional loom or any weaving tools. I also wanted the project to be a "work in progress" that could be left on the "loom" as wall art.

 

And here it is...

...A wall hanging designed to be a "work in progress," as if the weaver had just been interrupted in her work. Of course it can be completed, but the concept is that it becomes a wall hanging from the moment you add the first few rows of weaving. It will be in a constant state of change, whether you choose to finish it or leave it as a "work in progress".

The best part of all is that by its very nature and design it cannot be perfect - so you can concentrate on just simply having fun with it!

However, as I was happily weaving, I began to come up with some really fun ways to share the actual weaving process with friends and others in the community. So, my original intention has morphed into two possibilities: 1) an unfinished "work in progress" piece of wall art for your home, or 2) a finished piece of wall art completed by a community of people with the intention of gifting it. More about all of that in a moment.

But first I wanted to let you know that I'll be sharing the tutorial for constructing the "loom" and simple weaving techniques in two separate posts (to follow in a couple days), so that in this post, I can concentrate on all the fun ways you can share this project.

To give you a sneak peak at the technique:

The "loom"...

Warping the "loom"...

Weaving...

Finished... for now! Like I said... NOT perfect! But so much fun!

Now ~ some ideas for sharing!

~ In your home, place a basket of yarn (balls and scraps left over from projects works great) near your hanging weaving. Every time a friend or relative visits, ask them to select a piece of yarn and weave it in.

~ For an even more adventurous take on this idea, ask your friends to bring along yarn from projects they have finished or are currently working on to weave into your wall hanging.

~ Invite several friends to a potluck party and while munching, each guest can weave a row or two. Having them bring yarn from their own stash will make for interesting results! Provide a basket of yarns you would prefer your guests to use if you want more control over the finished piece.

~ A unique bridal shower! Weaving would not only provide entertainment and conversation, but a gift for the bride-to-be as well! Or get together a group of her friends, do not invite her, and create a lovely wedding gift for her new home.

~ Wouldn't it be cool to ask your special internet friends to send you a bit of leftover yarn from recently-completed projects to weave into your wall hanging? Think what a beautiful reflection this would create of their support and friendship.

~ A classroom project! Ask each student to bring in a piece of leftover yarn from home, or pull together a basket of yarns from your own projects or those of generous, crafty friends. Students could earn a turn at weaving through good behavior or finishing tasks - just be sure everyone does get a chance to weave a little.

WHAT TO DO WITH THE COMPLETED CLASSROOM PROJECT:

~Donate it to the school to decorate a common area.

~Donate it to a local business that has provided support to the student body in some way (band uniforms, sponsorship to sporting events, etc).

~Present it to a local children's hospital.

~Make it a gift to a retirement home or community center.

~If you are a teacher with a blog, no doubt you have followers and friends who are teachers living in other countries. A weaving exchange between classes might be a fun way to raise students awareness of the world around them. Perhaps in the process, they could connect with each other through the internet or, oh dear, do I dare say it - snail mail!

~ If you are fortunate enough to have all of your family living near you, have all the grandchildren weave a wall hanging for Grandmother. And since it is designed as a work in progress, more grandchildren can add to it as the family grows. Make it something each child gets to do on a certain birthday - maybe using a yarn in their favorite color!

If YOU are the grandmother - or mother - allow each child to weave yarn in their favorite color as a part of every birthday! Or make it a summertime project!

~ Sunday school classes could create a wall hanging for the sanctuary or other community spaces in their church home.

~ How cool would it be for a bride to begin a wall hanging with a few rows and then ask wedding guests to each weave a row during the reception! I would suggest a narrow piece - 8" to 10". Also to make it easy and quick, allow the yarn to extend beyond the warp to create a fringe. (See my upcoming tutorial).

(The stick has absolutely NO function - I just added it for fun!)

To keep in mind...

~ Your weaving can be any size. Mine is about 14" wide and 45" long. Yours can be longer, shorter, wider or narrower. (For classroom or sunday school weaving projects, I would recommend keeping the width under 10".)

~ I used tree branches at the top and bottom, but you could use dowels, PVC pipe, copper tubing, broom handles, curtain rods, even a wooden frame made from narrow moulding.

~ You can use almost any yarn. I used basic sweater yarn, roving, looped mohair, slubbed yarns, fancy yarns and plain yarns.

~ Your color choices are endless and you could even select them to coordinate with the colors already in a given room. I happened to have a ton of earth tone yarns in my weaving stash, so that is what I used. But I spiced things up a bit with more colorful yarns from my God's eye stash.

~ You can weave embellishments such as beads or buttons into the design or add them later.

~ Your weaving can be a totally green project by using only leftover yarns or by selecting organic yarns. If you choose to make your weaving "green", the top and bottom of the "loom" should be branches or something that is recycled, like broom handles or old pipe from a salvage yard.

Or rescue an old multi-pane window frame and create mini weavings in some or all of the openings. Deb from Pretty+Simple came up with this clever idea in a recent post. She attached scrapbook papers to a multi-pane window frame to create a patchwork window to use as wall art. I loved the idea and realized it could be used to hold a series of mini weavings. 

An invitation!

I have just scratched the surface of all the possibilities for making this a "co-operative" project, or a "green" project, or just a lovely piece of personal wall art. I would love to hear what other ideas are bubbling up in your minds, so please share your own inspirations in the comments so that others can benefit from them. Thank you!

Oh! I almost forgot! I did finish that little piece I had on the table loom!

You will find part two of this series here. (How to build the loom and basic weaving.

And part three is here,  A few weaving techniques beyond the basics.

You also might enjoy trying a little Saori weaving on a cardboard loom.

I found this tutorial during

I found this tutorial during a search in google and am I happy to have found it. This is exactly what I have been looking for. Thank you for posting.

Amazing and beautiful! I

Amazing and beautiful! I love your table runner.

beauty-full! I like the

beauty-full! I like the runner you finished too. I have these old pressed-plaster picture frames that I bought but have no idea what to do with... maybe now I do!

What a fabulous tutorial, am

What a fabulous tutorial, am also posting monday your two tutorials outstanding!
Enjoyed your blog very much and well be back.
Thank you for sharing with us all.
hugs ginger

Meg! What is holding you

Meg! What is holding you back! Do it NOW! Since I am making God's Eyes in June using twigs and natural materials, consider this a challenge! Or maybe you could hop on a plane and come weave some of that lavender into MY weaving!!!

These are all such wonderful

These are all such wonderful ideas, Pam! I especially love the idea of an exchange between classrooms.

Oh and about the Pyrex - don't worry about not being able to send it right away. I am the QUEEN of sending packages late to friends. In fact, I made a Christmas gift for Diane that I still haven't sent her because I didn't have any money back in January after I lost my job. Now that's LATE!

I'd like to weave using

I'd like to weave using skinny twigs and lavender stalks in the weft some day...

Hi, Pam. I have always

Hi, Pam. I have always wanted to make a woven wall hanging, since we did a project like this in a high school art class. This is very close to the image of the wall hanging in my mind...except mine is smaller and finished. But this one is really vibrant in that it's a work in progress and others can contribute. It's a great idea. I hope to have time to do this before friends come over next weekend, and I can tell them to bring fibers to add to it. I think it would even be cool to cut strips from an old favorite teeshirt you were planning to thrift, and incorporate that. Or, a part of something my mom wore or used, like her ironing board cover, which has a distinctive pattern... a few strips of that could really inbue her energy!

This is a great project, Pam! And congrats on your new loom!

Hi Joanie! I am posing two

Hi Joanie! I am posing two tutorials in the next couple of days that will answer your questions about changing yarn colors. If you still have questions, please ask!

Wow Pam, I love the idea of

Wow Pam, I love the idea of making it a shared project, really lovely!
How do you start a new colour, do you tie a new one on or just leave the finished piece woven through and start with a new one?

I remember making something

I remember making something similar in art lass in 8th grade. My mom still has it on her wall and I'm 39 now.

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