Tala [userpic]

Weaving on the Cheap

March 22nd, 2009 (08:10 am)
accomplished

Feeling:: accomplished

Recently, a lot of my favorite knitbloggers have been sucked into the world of weaving, and have produced piece after gorgeous, drool-worthy, jealousy-inducing piece. What’s a broke college student to do?

My First Weaving
My First Weaving


This project is all about making something on the cheap and upcycling, two very hot topics in the current crafting universe. I was inspired by this Threadbanger video, which got me thinking about weaving without a painfully expensive loom. I did things a touch differently, however, and so have written up a tutorial.



This project has three parts: the yarn, the loom, and the weaving.

The Yarn:


Thrift Store Raid
Thrift Store Raid


I began by raiding the thrift store one warm Saturday morning. To the great dismay of XXL thrift-store patron men, I absconded with just about every green XXL men’s t-shirt the thrift store had, plus one large white shirt. Then I turned these shirts into yarn.

Yarn!
Yarn!


To turn a t-shirt into yarn:

1) Unpick the bottom hem of the t-shirt (if you’re looking to make the most of your fabric), or simply cut it off (if you don’t mind losing an inch or so).

2) Cut the shirt into a single long, narrow strip (I did mine about a quarter of an inch wide) by spiraling from the bottom up. Stop at the armpits, where the shirt is no longer continuous.

3) Before you wind it up into a ball stretch your strip lightly between two hands; the knit fabric will then curl in on itself and create your t-shirt yarn.

The Loom


For this one, I raided my boyfriend’s pile o’ scrap wood. Should you lack a pile of scrap wood, you can also ask your local lumber yard if they have any damaged or warped wood scraps they’re throwing out. Barring that, you need little enough wood (and quality doesn’t matter) that it should come cheap. You will also need a hammer and a box of cheap nails (I used old wire brads). Finally, you’ll need a big workspace that you don’t mind sticking tape on- your desk, your kitchen table, your kitchen counter, the floor, or in my case a folding table used specifically for crafty ventures. You’ll also need a roll of strong tape (duct would probably work best, but all I had was packing).

Marked
Marked


1) Take two chunks of wood that are as long (or perhaps a little longer) as the widest item you plan to weave, and draw a line longitudinally down their centers.

2)Mark every half an inch on this line.

Loom Parts
Loom Parts


3) Hammer a nail in every half an inch on both pieces of wood, until you’ve got enough nails for how wide you want your scarf. Said scarf will likely end up a bit narrower than the nails, depending on how tight you pull it, so keep that in mind. It helps if you hammer them in at an angle, so that when you line both pieces of wood up, the nails lean away from each other.

Plus 10 inches
Plus 10 inches


4) Line your pieces of wood up on your workspace with the nails leaning away from each other as far apart as you want your scarf to be long, add about ten inches (trust me on this one- I didn't, and it sucked), then tape them down with a vengeance. Voila! A loom. And hey, it’s length adjustable if you have enough tape!

Weaving Your Scarf:


Now to put it all together. Some weaving lingo, courtesy of Wikipedia: the warp threads are the threads that run from nail to nail on your loom. The weft threads are the “filling”- the ones you weave through the warp. In this case, to make it obvious what I was doing, I used the large white t-shirt for my warp and green shirts for my weft. This scarf will be done in a plain weave.

Tie on the warp
Tie on the warp


1) Take your ball of weft yarn, and tie its end to the nail furthest from you on the left (or on the right, or closest on the left or right- tie it to one of the corners).

Stringing the loom
Stringing the loom


2) Wrap the yarn with enough tension that it doesn’t sag in the middle around the nail directly opposite of the first, then come back and wrap it around the second nail next to the one with the knot, then back to the second on the other side, then back and forth until you’ve got as many nails wrapped as you’d like.

Tie off the warp
Tie off the warp


3)Tie another knot to secure your yarn on the last nail.

Plain Weave
Plain Weave


4) Thread your first piece of yarn through where you want your scarf to start, leaving a bit of space -say, five inches worth, and trust me more is better- to tie off the end of the scarf when you're done (and form the fringe, on this scarf). When you thread your weft through the warp (that so does not sound like English), make sure to go over one warp thread and than under the next.

Every Other Thread
Every Other Thread


5) Bring your weft yarn back through your warp threads again, this time going under the warp threads you went over before and over those you went under. The easiest way to do this is to pick up every other thread with one hand (the threads you want the weft to go under), then put the whole ball of yarn through the space.

Pack it down
Pack it down


6) Use the flat of your hand, still between the warp threads that went under and over your last bit of weft, to push the weft neatly up against the rest of the weaving.

Helper
Helper


7) Repeat steps 4 and 5 until your scarf is as long as you want it. It goes surprisingly fast for someone used to knitting, even with a loom as basic and bare-bones as this.

8) If you want to start any new colors, you can knot or sew your new color to the tail of your previous color and continue that way. Or maybe you can just weave the end in with the rest of the weft. I don't know; I haven't tried yet.

Near the End
Near the End


9) As you get towards the end you're going to hit a point where you can't fit your yarn ball between the threads anymore. That's okay- you added ten inches to your goal length anyway, right? And you want enough warp left to tie things off.

Cut it off
Cut it off

One over, one under
One over, one under

Knot
Knot


10) To finish the thing, leave a long tail on your weft yarn and cut the warp yarns off of the loom, tying knots in the warp yarn as you go to secure the weaving and create a fringe. Make sure each knot has a piece of the warp that went OVER the last weft and a piece that went under.

Tie the weft in
Tie the weft in


11) Tie the tail of the weft into the nearest bit of fringe to secure it, or weave it in as you would a new piece of yarn, or sew it to itself. You may be able to sew or weave in the weft ends too if you don’t want a fringe- I haven’t tried it myself. If you do, let me know how it goes!

Ta da!
Ta da!


It took me less than two balls of XXL t-shirt yarn for this project, so I've got plenty more to play with from the thrift store raid.

Now that I've got a grounding with the basic idea, I have lots and lots of variations I'd like to try. For example:
- Vary the size of the warp and weft yarns, both generally and in relation to each other
- Different weaving patterns. Perhaps Herringbone?
- Different fabrics (for less "old-school-nylon-loop-potholder look" and more "funky modern fashion" look)
- Don't stretch the t-shirt yarn
- Make the distance between weft threads larger
- Weave looser


If you like this tutorial, please share it with your friends! Also, I’d love to see what you make!

Comments

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 22nd, 2009 10:27 pm (UTC)

This is pretty amazing and something I could do to use all my scraps of jersey! Love the results!

LeeAnn
www.mintbasil.blogspot.com

Posted by: Tala (corvustristis)
Posted at: March 22nd, 2009 11:34 pm (UTC)

I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Posted by: Jen/Habibe (habibekindheart)
Posted at: March 23rd, 2009 08:29 pm (UTC)
Superpower

We are closer to the same kind of 'crazy' than I thought. I now have to try this. I've been wanting to start learning to weave for like 2 years. It's on my list of 101 things to do/learn in 1,001 days. You've just helped!

Posted by: Tala (corvustristis)
Posted at: March 23rd, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC)

Glad to be of service! I've already strung up the "loom" for my second scarf.

Posted by: Jen/Habibe (habibekindheart)
Posted at: March 23rd, 2009 09:28 pm (UTC)

There will be pictures?

I assume you have to add fringe to the one end of the first scarf. Shouldn't be hard with a crochet hook or something. You know how yes?

Posted by: Tala (corvustristis)
Posted at: March 23rd, 2009 09:42 pm (UTC)

Not leaving enough length for a good fringe was a major mistake on my part. Rather than add longer white fringe to the beginning side, I cut off the other end to the same length anb am now working on adding green fringe to both ends. The green fringe is still pretty short- maybe an inch and a half or two inches longer than the tiny bits of white fringe- but I'm kind of liking the bushy result.

The second one (and yes, there will be pictures) will have nice long fringe.

Posted by: Jen/Habibe (habibekindheart)
Posted at: March 23rd, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC)

Ahhh, I wouldn't have thought of that, but then I'm a long fringe kinda gal on scarves. Still, it's a good idea :)

Can't wait to see pics of the 2nd!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: March 23rd, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
Your weaving loom

This is great. I have a lot of helpers so I'm not sure where I could set up a loom. But my Craft Group were just talking about weaving so I will certainly pass this along. Thanks for sharing.

Lael, Jacksonville,FL

Posted by: sew-and-so.blogspot.com (sew-and-so.blogspot.com)
Posted at: March 24th, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC)

So that's what all the T-shirts were for! I automatically assumed knit or crochet, but I'm ok with being wrong. ;) I can't help laughing at the comment about the nylon loop potholders, since I used to make those as a kid! But this does look like a fun one to try.

Posted by: Tala (corvustristis)
Posted at: March 24th, 2009 02:22 pm (UTC)

Since it only took me a couple of balls I'll probably use some of the shirts for knitting. :) I'm already working on weaving my second scarf, though, so it might take a while before I get to knitting the stuff.

Posted by: estelaartesanias.blogspot.com (estelaartesanias.blogspot.com)
Posted at: March 24th, 2009 02:12 pm (UTC)
Tejiendo en forma económica!

Fantástico. Realmente maravilloso!
Congratulations!!
Estela

Posted by: oneprettything (oneprettything)
Posted at: March 27th, 2009 11:25 pm (UTC)

WOW! This is so creative and resourceful, I love it! I'll be linking to this if you don't mind.

Posted by: Tala (corvustristis)
Posted at: March 28th, 2009 01:47 pm (UTC)

On the contrary, I would greatly apperciate it. Thanks!

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: April 6th, 2009 08:04 pm (UTC)
The Ends

Hey-

Love the idea!!

You can weave in the ends when you change colors. Just make sure that you really really really really extra super pack down that row and the two or three rows after it. It should keep just fine.

Good luck with your next projects!

-e

Posted by: Tala (corvustristis)
Posted at: April 25th, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC)
Re: The Ends

Thanks! I'll have to give that a try.

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: June 1st, 2009 10:56 pm (UTC)

If you decide to use yarn, would the nails on the endpieces need to be moved closer than half an inch apart? OR Would the warp yarn be pulled together by the weft yarn so it would still be tightly woven?

Posted by: резьба "Татьянка" (tatianka_rezba)
Posted at: July 31st, 2009 01:01 am (UTC)

Hello! I found your tutorial.
I would like to translate it into Russian and post it in my site. I will mention you and your site (let me know which one).
Is it possible? What will be your condition?
Delia

Posted by: Tala (corvustristis)
Posted at: July 31st, 2009 01:53 pm (UTC)

Feel free! Just say you got it from here- I'd link to the tutorial itself ( http://corvustristis.livejournal.com/32558.html ), though if you wanted to include a link to the blog ( http://corvustristis.livejournal.com ) or etsy store ( http://corvuscorax.etsy.com ) I wouldn't refuse. :)

Posted by: ohflotsam.blogspot.com (ohflotsam.blogspot.com)
Posted at: October 11th, 2009 12:42 am (UTC)

now that IS droolworthy...love it and thanks for the tut...:)

Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: October 13th, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC)

You're a genius!! Luv luv luv it & will totally be making one myself.

Kat
http://kat-menieres.blogspot.com/

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