PlanetJune Craft Blog

Latest news and updates from June

Adventures in Weaving

Aside from crochet, my other craft interests wax and wane – you may have noticed that I love to try new crafts and learn new skills! A few months ago, Kim Werker tweeted that IKEA now sells an inexpensive weaving loom, and a plan started to form in my mind: a way to experiment with a completely new-to-me craft, and use up some of my excessive yarn stash at the same time…

Getting Started

The IKEA Lustigt loom costs only $20 and is marketed for kids, but all you need to get started in weaving is a sturdy frame with something at the top and bottom to loop the warp threads around, and the IKEA loom is just as good as any other frame loom.

So, one trip to IKEA later, I was ready to start learning how this weaving thing works. I checked out all the (five) weaving books from my local library and got reading. If you’re as new to weaving as I was a couple of weeks ago, here’s the 5-second primer:

  • To weave, you first set up a series of vertical threads, called the warp threads.
  • Then you pass another thread (the weft) over and under alternate warp threads, going back and forth across the warps in rows, so the fabric starts to build up.

I’ve decided I’m most interested in the traditional style of tapestry weaving (where the warp threads are completely covered by the weft). It takes longer, but makes a sturdy fabric and it’s perfect for drawing pictures with yarn – the weaving equivalent of punchneedle embroidery!

Tapestry Weaving Sampler

I found the book ‘Tapestry Weaving’ by Kristen Glasbrook had the best instructions and most techniques from my borrowed collection. Her included sampler pattern looked like a good way to get started and learn lots quickly, so I followed the instructions and got started…

tapestry weaving in progress

Excuse the colours, they were the nicest trio from the cheapest worsted acrylics in my stash. This is only a practice piece, so it doesn’t need to look pretty!

And here’s the end result:

tapestry weaving sampler

It’s a bit wonky, but I think it’s pretty good for my first attempt at weaving, and now I know which techniques I like the look of (the dots near the bottom and the outlining at the top are my favourites) and which I don’t (I’m not a fan of the distorted weft, second from the top). And I now know I definitely won’t be using this type of yarn for my real tapestry projects – I don’t like the look of it at all.

Things I learnt:

  • The IKEA loom is incredibly easy to set up and very sturdy. The wooden bars that cover the pins at the top and bottom probably aren’t necessary, but I found they stopped me getting my weft yarn caught in the hooks, so they are quite useful.
  • The warp thread IKEA provides with the loom is pretty weak. Save yourself some heartache and use a decent cotton instead! I’m using size 10 crochet thread and it seems to work fine.
  • Tapestry weaving produces a lot of ends! (Here’s a pic of the back of my sampler after weaving in all the green and pink and some of the grey…)

back of tapestry weaving sampler

What’s Next?

I’m really excited by the possibilities here! Now I understand the basics of tapestry weaving, I’m going to try designing something I actually like the look of – I want to try weaving simple animal pictures instead of abstracts.

I have no idea how that’ll go, but I’m looking forward to experimenting, and I’ll report back here so you can accompany me on this weaving journey!

Have you ever tried weaving, or has this post intrigued you? Do let me know in the comments below 🙂

9 Comments »

  1. MJ said

    I’ve been wanting to try weaving for a couple years now, but the cost was prohibitive. With your find of the IKEA loom, I may give it a go.
    I love your sampler, and I also like the outline look, but not the distorted weave.
    I’m looking forward to your adventures in weaving!

    • June said

      Ooh, you should try it, MJ! The loom is really all you need (provided you have some thread and yarn). I’d also recommend a weaving needle or two – they’re much longer than yarn needles so you can weave more at once before stopping to pull the yarn through. These Susan Bates weaving needles are the ones I like 🙂

      • MJ said

        Thanks for the needle recommendation. I can’t wait to get started!

  2. MotherOwl (Charlotte) said

    It looks like you’ve had fun and learned a lot. It’s not nearly as wonky as my first try ? Happy weaving – it’s addictive.

    • June said

      Thank you! Yes, I feel like I’ve learnt so much already that I can take forward into my own designs 🙂

  3. David Grindel said

    Looking good, June. You’re a fast learner. I can’t wait for your first weave pattern design! It will be great. Probably a Mona Lisa in threads ! Thanks much.

    • June said

      Thanks, David! Haha, no, I’m definitely not trying for a Mona Lisa – I’m aiming to translate the simple look of my PlanetJune style into weaving. We’ll have to wait and see how well that works out 😀

  4. Ellen Preston said

    Hi June, Your weaving looks really great, well done.
    Like you I like the look of weaving and will try one day. My blind Aunt use to do weaving and I still have a couple of place mats she did years ago.
    Enjoy your blogs and look forward to reading what you make.
    Ellen

    • June said

      Thank you, Ellen! I can’t imagine weaving blind, although it is a very tactile craft. I’m glad you’re thinking of trying weaving too – maybe my posts will encourage you to go for it sooner rather than later 😉

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    June Gilbank

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