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Topic: Help! Is it possible to teach yourself how to weave?  (Read 2867 times)
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« on: May 18, 2008 02:34:41 PM »


I really want to try weaving but there are no classes or groups nearby. It seems a huge risk (and expense) to buy a loom without knowing if I'll enjoy weaving but most of all, I'm worried that I'll find it too tricky and there won't be anyone about to help. Plus, I read something online the other day that it's not possible to learn to weave from a book - is there anyone out there who can disprove that please?! Have any of you taught yourselves to weave and, if so, was it hard to learn? Also, any general tips about how I should start off - are there particular looms that are better for beginners? Can you recommend any 'must have' weaving books etc.

Right, sorry for all the questions! Any advice very gratefully received!

« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2008 08:23:43 PM »

Learning to Weave by Deborah Chandler: great step-by-step guide to 4-harness weaving. Like having a teacher by your side. If you want to learn how to weave on a floor loom by yourself, this is the book to get!  It explains step by step how to warp and weave.

I have taught myself to weave and am still learning.  I do use this book for warping.  I have made scarves and kitchen towels and a small rug.  Not every thing turns out as I expect it too, but that is part of learning.  (My kitchen towels turned out thick and not really absorbent; I learned that I need to use finer threads for them.  They are pretty and usable, just not what I expected.)  I just warped my four harness table loom this weekend and was going to weave material for sewing up some bags.  The material woven is not as thick as I thought it would be, but is the right size, texture, and color for kitchen towels.  So kitchen towel they will be.   I am doing it in a plain weave not a four harness weave.  I am already planning to use some thicker threads for weft in my next project.
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2008 01:02:12 AM »

Thanks mountain waif. Did you learn on a four harness then? I was thinking of getting a  single shaft rigid heddle loom you see - I thought it looked more straightforward but might it be a bit limiting in terms of what you can make? I'm guessing you can do much more intricate patterns on a four harness?

I'll certainly try to get hold of a copy of the book you mentioned - thanks.

« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2008 06:35:50 AM »

Yes, I learned on a four harness loom.  I would think that a rigid heddle would be very similar.  Probably a little easier on the warping as you would not have to thread through the four harnesses or figure out the patterns for four harnesses.  I also got a book with my table loom that showed how to set the loom up and warp it.  It was also very helpful.  I bet the rigid heddle would come with instructions also.  I do like my table loom as it can be folded up and put aside and can do more patterns other than plain weave.  Of course there is so much you can do with plain weave that I do like it also.  Textures tend to make weaving interesting.  I know I will never know it all with my loom.  There will always be things that it can do that I haven't tried.

I spend more time weaving the weft in rather than warping.  Warping on my loom takes a good part of the day; my usual warp is 10-13 yards long (this is enough to weave three kitchen towels or three scarves).  I have warped by myself but it goes much better with someone to help wind the threads on once it is threaded through the harnesses and reed.

« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2008 09:54:37 AM »

I am mostly learning in class, but I have read through a lot of the weaving section in my library. I recommend Simpson and Weir's book (weaver's craft is one title, I think it had a second name) and Virginia West's finishing book. We used the Betty Davenport book in class, but there were lots of times that the instructor knew an easier/simpler way to do something than I have seen in books.

You can weave small items without a real loom (cardboard or weave-it or jiffy weave) and then you can build up the pieces like you do in granny-square crochet or pieced quilts. Starting with a small loom is frustrating, because there are techniques that won't work without some room for your hands but it will give you an idea of the weaving process.

Most of what you really need to learn for weaving is warping the loom. I found the instructions too intimidating to try without a class. Maybe you should read through some instructions to see if they make sense to you before you buy the loom?

I do think weaving is the best way to show off handspun yarn, and I really am going to post my weaving/handspun soon, I swear this time, I really mean it. (Where the heck is my camera?)
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2008 09:56:12 AM »

It is possible to learn from books and dvds.  Learning to Weave is a great book, it is frequently recommended on the 2 weaving email lists I belong to.  I recently bought Peggy Osterkamp's Warping The Loom: Back to Front dvd, it is a great dvd and shows the warping process in detail.

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