Keep Calm and Weave On: Weaving Resources for Extraordinary Times

weaveAs we are curtailing our travel and staying home more, we may be looking for something to keep our hands busy and our nerves calm while we are facing the unknown consequences of Covid-19.  As a weaver, I work out my anxieties at the loom. Cost can be a barrier to learning to weave, we may need to be more mindful of our expenses at the moment,  or we simple don’t know where to begin.

If learning to weave has been on your list, I’m opening up the Yarnworker School’s Weaving 101 class for free through April 7. No coupon code requried.

I am also mindful that there are many folks who are unable to stay home, particularly those who must venture out due to necessity (healthcare workers, essential service providers, and grocery store operators and employees we see you and thank you). Our current global situation has far-reaching immediate and unknowable consequences that weaving can’t cure. If you are in a position to do so, please donate to the charity of your choice that strengthens your community. I chose Direct Relief and my local shelter as my charities of choice.

On April 8, we will get started with a beginner-friendly Weave-Along. Weave-Along are always free while they are active. The classes at the Yarnworker School are an offshoot of the weave-along where we tackle big things together. While hosting these quarterly events, I noticed that weavers seemed to have the same kind of skill gaps. With support from the Yarnworker patrons, the booster club of the school, I started developing classes to build weaverly muscle.  Folks that are new to weaving on a rigid-heddle loom may be hesitant to jump into big projects. Start with Weaving 101 now and you will be ready to jump into the next weave-along in April.

Resources for Those A Bit Beyond a Beginner

Many folks who are reading this have already taken the first steps on their weaving journey. For those who haven’t tackled two heddles yet, I’m leaving the Winter Weave-Along open until April 30, which is thirty days longer than normal, because these aren’t normal times. The Four Looks Weave-Along is always free. All weave-alongs are free for patrons.

Gist Yarn and Fiber has a robust list of weaving resources, including a lot of free patterns. Their Weave podcast is also fabulous.

I can’t think of a better time to tackle Saori-style weaving, with whatever you have on hand—think yardage. You will be amazed at how beautiful the fabric can be when you stop overthinking it and just weave. You don’t have to have a Saori loom to tackle freeform weaving. Debbie Held wrote a lovely blog on the Schacht Spindle Blog about weaving Saori style on a Cricket loom. Pinterest is full of inspiring ideas on what to make with your cloth once you have created it.

Rebecca Mezoff has a playlist on her YouTube channel that includes how to warp a small frame loom and navigate some of the tricky bits of weaving a tapestry. Perhaps starting a tapestry diary is a positive practice to start honing your skills and quieting your mind.

Don’t Have a Loom?

mini_wallhangingIf you are wondering what the heck a rigid-heddle loom is, try the School’s free class, Why This Loom for a broad overview of loom types and why I love this particular loom. Check out the list of loom manufactures at the bottom of the Yarnworker resource page. Visit their  dealer page to find a retailer.

Amy D. McKnight creates a wealth of resources for those who want to get started weaving with items they probably have on hand. She offers a clever DIY pin loom plan and shows you how to weave on it at Commonthreadloom.com. She also has a Facebook group where you can share ideas and weave together.

Creativebug has a frame loom weaving class from Anabel Wrigley on YouTube. The class includes how to build a loom from a picture frame and nails and how to weave basic shapes. A few years ago, I used the instructions on A Beautiful Mess’s website to create this little wall hanging with my left over bits. It was quite cathartic and fun for all ages. (I offer homage to Marianne Moodie who I consider the modern frame loom weaving pioneer who set our feeds ablaze with wall hangings.)

The School of SweetGeorgia has a free tutorial on weaving in circles. This is a productive way to spin your wheels. The School has other resources for the weaver, dyer, spinner, and knitter.

Support Our Suppliers

The art of weaving is reliant on small business and educators to keep our craft strong. Knitty is keeping a list of events that have been canceled. If you were going to an event or conference that has been canceled, planning to take a class locally, or have a local shop that you rely on, consider some simple and meaningful things you can do so support them.

  • Visit their social media sites and like, follow, share, or generally boost their signal.
  • Leave them a review on your favorite review site. This is like gold to small business.
  • Take them up on any discounts or offers. Many shops are offering delivery or drive-up options.
  • If you don’t need anything now, consider buying a gift certificate.
  • This is a perfect time to make that purchase of an on-line class you have had your eye on. Check out Gist’s lists for weaving teachers who teach online. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is a good place to start if you are looking for an online teacher.

If you have any other resources, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Deep breaths, big hearts, and steady nerves will see us through.

Heddles Up!

Liz

 

 

 

 

13 comments on “Keep Calm and Weave On: Weaving Resources for Extraordinary Times

  1. Thanks for the resources and common sense suggestions. You are generous to continue the weave along and open the 101 class. God’s Blessings.

  2. Thank you for creating and offering a calming respite from the current uncertainty and stress. I am going to use this at-home time to weave some towels with my stash of 8/2 cottons, as well as cotton-hemp and cotton-linen blends.

    I have tried saori-style weaving on my Ashford rigid heddle, and it is lots of fun!

    Wishing everyone good health and happiness,

    Victoria

  3. Thank you, Liz, for being a voice of reason and sanity, and helping us to keep ours! Crafting is a wonderful way to calm and ease nerves, and can be such a lovely distraction. I appreciate your help and support during these times. Happy weaving and good health to all!

  4. Thanks Liz, I needed this calming post! The resources you’ve listed are great. I’m looking forward to the April weave along, I have plenty of time to get my latest project off the loom before it starts. Your help and support is always appreciated, stay healthy!

  5. Thank you.

    Does a resource exist that can tell you what results to expect when combining different fibers? That’s part of my fear, that I don’t know how different yarns will react together and they cost too much to make mistakes.

    • The safest approach is to mix like fibers, that said, if you hand wash the worst thing that will happen is a little puckering and that can look intentional if it happens all over. Mixing fibers isn’t quite as big of a deal as folks make it out to be. There are great traditions in weaving, for example linsey woolsey, a linen warp and a wool weft, where very different fibers are mixed with great results. The only way to know for sure is to do a little swatch first.

    • Good one! Folks Lisa’s channel is geared toward floor loom weavers and it gives you some hands-on introduction to the techniques used in the Chimayo Style of weaving.

  6. I’m a first-time visitor to yarnworker.com, and just found this post, I’m excited because 1) my guild would meet this Saturday and obviously that isn’t happening; 2) I’m looking for ways to use my rigid heddle loom while I’m off from work; and 3) I saw something about “saori” in the post.

      • I’m very glad to be here, Liz. I’m enrolled in Weaving 101, and finished watching the first time.

        Now, I’ve watched the “Measuring” section again while warping for the first time in months. Any suggestions of how to keep the details for future reference when you don’t warp often?

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