The Basics of Weaving
Weaving is a method in which two sets of yarn or thread are interlaced on a loom to form a fabric. Aside from a loom, the only materials you will need are a weaving needle and yarn (or thread) in different colors and weights, and basic sewing skills and tools to link one square to another. To begin weaving, the vertical threads that provide the foundation for your fabric are referred to as the "warp" while the horizontal threads are referred to as the "weft" or filling.
Weave pieces following the handloom manufacturer's instructions, using an over-and-under method. Depending on the size of your project, this can be done in a matter of minutes or a matter of hours. For our projects, we used a handheld loom that will yield a small swatch (completed in about twenty minutes). Then, you can stitch the pieces together into any one of these projects below, or something of your own making. The possibilities are endless!
Planning Your Pattern
You can choose a tweedy, solid-colored, or checked design. Just remember that the appearance of your woven swatch will differ depending on how many yarns are used to thread and weave the loom, how thick the yarn is, and, in some cases, the order in which the colors are used. For a solid colored swatch, use one yarn to thread and weave the loom. For a swatch with a tweedlike appearance, use two different colored yarns simultaneously to thread and weave the loom. And for a checked pattern, thread the loom with yarn of one color, then weave with a different yarn; the base color -- the color used first -- will be the predominant color of the swatch.
A collection of wool sachets -- filled with spoonfuls of fragrant dried lavender -- offer a cozy alternative to air fresheners and candles; the porous woven swatches are ideal for releasing the scent of the herb. If you wish, you can personalize them with a monogram or symbol. Here, we cross-stitched a heart shape to one side of each sachet with a contrasting yarn before sewing the squares together. Just use the weave of the fabric as a grid to keep stitches a uniform size.
A set of woven pouches can keep electronic devices such as cameras and MP3 players (at left) safe inside your bag. The ones you see here are embellished with an attractive scalloped edge -- no finishing required. Each one can be made by stitching two squares or rectangular swatches back-to-back. To determine what size loom to use, measure the item intended for your pouch and weave with slightly exaggerated dimensions. (Remember: Swatches will be slightly smaller than the dimensions of the loom.) If you want to make a makeup case, that requires a third rectangle for a closing flap.
Baby Booties and Play Block
Have a little one? When making items for a baby, use soft materials that will be gentle on sensitive skin. Traditionally, baby blocks are made of wood and hard materials, but we used cashmere and baby-alpaca yarns for our super-soft version. For this project, you will weave six swatches from a 4-inch loom and sew together in a "T" form.
Home-sweetly woven-home! Sink into a pile of these throw pillows in a gingham pattern. We created this cloth-backed removable pillow cover from squares made with two yarns in varying combinations: four in solid cream, nine in solid green, six checked with a green base, and six checked with a cream base.