I spent 4 weeks in December & January with my Ashford Sample-It Rigid Heddle Loom experimenting with a huge collection of yarns and scraps from my stash.
I wanted to learn, hands on: what warp threads to use, what different yarns do, what intentional "mistakes" are beneficial, what "mistakes" shouldn't be repeated, and teach myself as much as I could (my favorite way to learn) about the most basic guidelines of weaving with art yarn.
Here are some guidelines I decided to follow while weaving. These are probably rules in books, but in my world all art rules can be broken in some way to make something beautiful. However, based on my frustration learning "the hard way" - here is what I found:
- When I used slippery (metallic gold) warp thread, my weaving fell apart. The knots untied after a day and it unraveled. Lesson learned. No slippery threads for me.
- When I used a stretchy warp thread (not even realizing that it had stretch) I wove a scarf and when I took it off the loom it was 50% the size that I planned. Impossible to wear. Awkward length. Lesson learned. I might try a length of stretch in the future (like elastic warp thread down the center of a scarf to create a very ruffly scarf) but as the entire warp - nope. Now I triple-check all my threads to make sure they aren't stretchy.
- Thick warp (like fabric) makes a scarf that many people might find too heavy / bulky. But the fringe on the ends is sure pretty. Anything with a bulky warp needs to be woven super, super loosely or it becomes rigid and uncomfortable to wear.
- Cotton warp thread is my favorite. By far. It isn't too stretchy, or heavy, or itchy, or grabby. It's got the goldilocks principle: it is just right.
- Leaving intentional big gaps in my warp was my favorite technique to play with. It allows the art yarn to breathe and be exposed like it is in the skein. And, as someone who is inspired by skeined yarn rather than patterns, this was a big deal to me.
- Using an accent yarn as a stripe in the warp (slightly off center) created a very pretty result.
- Making sure my blocks of color were random looked better than keeping each block the same size (too stripey for my taste)
- Putting fringe on anything was winning.
- Using any type of weft art yarn went effortlessly. There was never a moment thru my stash of random yarn where I said, "This yarn isn't working". Every yarn worked. Every yarn looked great. Weaving seems to be the best answer for mystery or abstract project yarns.
- Leaving all the ends untucked = fringe = winning.
Stuff I want to weave for THISyarn in the future:
- Wirecore yarns used as the center warp yarn. To create a sculptural / moldable scarf.
- Elastic yarn used as the center warp yarn to create a ruffly scarf.
- Weaving a whole scarf just as fringe texture.
I hope these simple guidelines help you as you begin your own weaving journey. Happy Weaving!
- Ashley Martineau