Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Twig Weaving and Weaving in the Round

I've worked on large looms since 1998, including big four-harness rug looms and 7 foot triangle looms.  The hard part about the size of these monsters is finding a place in your home to set it up and what if you want to weave in a doctor's waiting room?

There are two really cheap and fun alternatives to the big standard looms that anyone can make and use.  The first is the twig loom.  Find three or four small branches in a finished size you like.  I've worked as big as 2.5 feet and as small as 4 inches. Here is a finished piece with three small twigs, great for Christmas ornaments or pieces of a mobile:

The weave was very simple, just two lines under and over.  But the frame could be warped and woven in a more traditional tapestry or common weave style.

Here is a stick frame warped and ready to weave on.  The sticks came from our beach and were sanded by the wind and water and snow--they are silky to the touch.  It helped to do a double-turn on each side of the "loom" to help keep the warp threads from slipping.  You can also gently score your loom with a pocket knife and allow the threads to drop into the score lines to help them stay put.

I bound the three interesting twigs together with hemp string, giving it a rustic look.

This is the weaving underway.  

And this is the finished product, ready to hang on a wall!  I created a rustic piece on purpose, and love the swoosh and energy, like a winter seascape.

If you want a more traditional loom, you simply lay two straight twigs parallel to each other, then bind on two cross pieces to make the square, warp it up and weave away!

You can also follow the natural junction of a twig or branch.  Here is a piece I am creating using "dreamcatcher" weaving and regular weaving as well as wrapping the piece with yarn. In this beginning stage, I wrapped the yarn, then warped from branch to branch, doubling up the top warp to create a firm line to weave to.

Here is the same project with the dreamcatcher weave added between branches:

It's really fun to create these projects and easy enough for upper elementary kids to each do a big branch then create a forest along one wall of the classroom.  

Finally, one of the easiest looms to make is the needle point frame loom.  Simply purchase a round needlepoint frame or look for them in places like garage sales and Goodwill.  I found several for $.50 at our local St. Vincent de Paul resale shop.  Separate the pieces of the frame, and warp the inner circle, wrapping thread away from you, keeping the tension, and giving the circle a little turn for the next pass.  When you are done, tie it off and gently slide the outer part of the frame over the inner circle. Tighten the screw to lock everything in place.  

Here is an example of weaving in the round with this type of frame.  What's great is you can then hang your piece from the tightening screw!  If you visit other sites on lines, there are some lovely pieces done with different widths of yarn, dyed fiber and even dried flowers and plants.  Have fun!

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