Welcome to the swatching life! Swatching is a joyous part of my weaving exploration. A meandering path from here to there, where I can enjoy all kinds of discoveries along the way in order to arrive to my destination. Swatching is not required to create the cloth of your dreams, but it can help!
Swatching is a form of sampling. I swatch using a small frame loom, but you can certainly sample on the loom you are using right now or any other tool available to you. By working very small, I can sketch my ideas before you scaling them up using just a small amount of yarn and without having to thread my loom. This process has helped me gain a deeper understanding of yarn, color, sett, and how weave structures work. Swatching doesn’t have to be practical. I often take my swatching gear and a few bits of yarn with me when I travel and swatch an inspiration when I’m visiting a new place or enjoying a day at my local park.
Click to discover reasons to swatch and to see a list of loom features and comparisons between the two models. I’ve also compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions. There are more resources at the bottom of the page.
To shop the loom line visit www.yarnworkershop.com.
I’ll do my best to keep the shop stocked up!
Swatch Maker Looms and accessories were created as a collaboration between Liz Gipson of Yarnworker and Angela Smith, formerly of Purl & Loop. After years of making my own sampling tools—sanding popsicle sticks, building looms in multiple setts from various materials, and cutting out cardboard shuttles or purchasing frame looms in setts I don’t commonly use and adapting them for my purposes, I offer these looms to you as a tool to play around with your own ideas.
All components (wood, needles, cotton bag project bag, instructions, etc.) are sourced from U.S. businesses and produced and assembled in the U.S. The looms and tools are packaged in recycled or recyclable materials.
To learn more about how to weave a swatch using a frame loom, why you would want to do so, and tips for how to live a swatching life, check out A Weaver’s Guide to Yarn.
Available in print and digital format or you can bundle them together.
Ready to go all in on swatching? In this course, I’ll introduce you to my methodology for swatching, show you how to use a frame loom to swatch for larger projects although you can certainly use the loom you are weaving on right now, how to push the finishing in interesting ways, teach you to create a chart from written rigid-heddle weaving instructions so you can pick-up structures other than plain weave, and how to evaluate what you have woven and track the results. I’ve found that the art of swatching is most useful to weavers who have been weaving for awhile and have a basic understanding of how the endless combination of sett, beat, yarn selection, and weave structure can have sometimes subtle and sometimes profoundly different impact on your cloth depending on your choices.
Open, Balanced, and Close Setts: Meet the Sett Checker (Yarnworker blog post)
Swatch and Learn (Yarnworker blog post)
Weaving a Swatch Without Fringe (YouTube video from Purl and Loop, note this video has no sound.)
A recorded Zoom session with Angela Smith and Liz Gipson. Angela shares her no fringe method for warping the Swatch Maker 3-in-1 and other tips.