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Oct 16

Frame Loom Weaving Tips

Weaving on a little loom is satisfying and can yield instant gratification. However, every now and then, small projects can be more challenging than expected. This project was full of “learning moments” and I wanted to pass these nuggets of wisdom along.

Variable weights of weft yarn causing tension issues

As I was weaving, I was running into significant draw-in. This is unusual for me, so I was particularly perplexed as to why. I then realized that the weaver’s angle I was using when placing my weft, needed to be different when switching from the chiffon ribbon to the sport weight yarn. The thicker ribbon yarn was causing my sides to pull in substantially until I got a handle on it. All I had to do was use more of an angle with the thicker yarn.

Cloth woven with ribbon yarn

Working with a delicate warp

Normally I would steer people away from a delicate warp. However, upon inspection, the yarn had enough strength, and because I wasn’t weaving with a lot of tension it seemed sufficiently strong. Also, this silk yarn didn’t stretch, which is characteristic of silk yarn. This is why I warped the loom with moderate tension. After weaving half of the project, the friction of the pick-up sticks used to make the shed started wearing down the warp threads. This is also due to the lack of stretch in the yarn. Doubling up the yarn would have added strength, but also some bulk. The take-away here it that it’s important to remember the stress that warp threads are under when choosing the yarn.

Fixing broken warp threads

I had not one, not two, but three warp threads break during weaving. One thing to note: on a frame loom when one warp thread breaks it’s actually two because they are joined at the top of the loom by a loop.

To fix these broken threads, I took a length of warp yarn, folded it in half, and placed it around the tooth that was missing the warp threads. Using a t-pin, I secured it into the work about 1″ below the broken warp threads. Then, keeping tension on the replacement warp yarn, I wrapped the ends around the t-pin. I continued weaving as normal. Once the project was woven, I removed the t-pins, wove in the ends, and trimmed the tails.

Project management

Sometimes when sewing handwoven fabric, it wants to move around while you’re working. Normally I would use sewing pins to stabilize my fabric when sewing it together, however two layers of this thick fabric wouldn’t accommodate a pin. I improvised, and used thick binder clips along the edge to keep everything in place. This worked perfectly!

Binder clips holding cloth edges in place

I hope you find these tips and tricks helpful when working on your own frame loom projects!