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  • Writer's pictureEmma and Gillian

Which loom is best to learn to weave on? - Part 1

Want to have a go at learning to weave but don't know where to start with weaving? There are lots of small and economic weaving loom kits available to purchase so starting to weave couldn't be simpler. With details on a range of different looms and images of woven textiles this blog aims to show you what can be created on each type of loom. This blog also answers common questions asked by new weavers so helping you to start on your own creative journey. Part 2 of this blog will come later and will detail larger looms.

What is the simplest type of loom?

small square frame loom with a pink and purple weave with skeins of brightly coloured british wool alongside

The simplest and cheapest loom is the frame loom. A weaving loom kit can be purchased for around £25 which includes the loom, yarn, needle, comb and instructions. Made from a wooden frame which holds the warp threads under tension the weft is woven with the needle going up and over the adjacent warp threads. Instructions in our kits detail how to weave a tabby, houndstooth and twill design. The looms are portable so are perfect for weaving anywhere.

What type of yarn can you weave with?

bright skeins of yarn and woven pieces on a tabbyandtweed bookmark and square frame loom

Our kits include predominantly British double knit wool but you don't have to use wool. Any double knit yarn including cotton, bamboo or even linen can be woven on these looms.

All our frame looms have a sett of 9epi (9 ends per inch). This is the number of warp threads per inch. A sett of of 9epi is a perfect sett to achieve a balanced weave with double knit yarn. (see below).

What is a balanced weave?

balanced weave woven fabric woven with white, dark grey and orange thread

A balanced weave is shown here and is one where there are the same number of warp threads as there are weft threads in any one area squared. Balanced weaving needs the sett of the loom to be perfect for the yarn being used. 9epi is an ideal sett for a double knit yarn.

This balanced weaving allows for both the warp and the weft threads to be visible which enables a wide range of designs and patterns to be woven.

Can you weave different designs on a small frame loom?

Absolutely yes. There are lots of ways that a frame loom can be used creatively. The images below show the use of textures, colour and weave effects and a point twill design. Once someone has learnt the basics of the weaving process there are lots of designs and patterns that can be woven.

Can different textures be woven on a small frame loom?

a textured weave on a square frame loom with blue and orange and yellow yarns

Yes, a small loom is great for experimenting with different stitches, textures and yarn. We have written a blog on this which can be seen by clicking here.

This blog discusses a number of different ways that texture, beads, ribbon and different fibres can be woven into a weave to create a really interesting weave as shown here.

Can the weave be removed from the frame and what do you do with it?

Yes it can. A bookmark loom as the name suggests weaves a bookmark and the square looms weave a square of fabric which can be made into a small wall hanging, used as a mending patch, coaster or even framed.

Can a square loom be used by a weaver to sample colours and design?

woven square weaving frame with a blue, teal and yellow weave laying on a larger piece of hand woven fabric

Yes, they can. As weavers ourselves we will often use a square loom to trial designs and colours. Warping up a larger loom uses a lot of yarn. It is important to ensure before starting that we are confident that the weave is going to be successful (in our eyes). Here you can see that this small square loom weave was woven before weaving the larger piece of fabric on a floor loom. This woven square was woven with fine 2 ply yarn so a double thread was warped with each warp thread then woven independently at a sett of 18epi.

Are there any learn to weave gift boxes available?

learn to weave gift box with bright skeins of yarn and a square and bookmark weaving loom

Looking to gift yourself or someone you know a 'learn to weave beginners kit'? We have created these beautiful gift box weaving kits.

The kits contain skeins of bright British wool, a bookmark loom, square loom, comb and needle. Along with the instructions they are perfect to help someone to learn to weave.

Belt Weaving Looms

The simplest belt weaving loom uses just a small rigid heddle and a shuttle. It is sometimes called a back strap weaving loom. The warp threads need to be secured at a distance from the weaver, either round a chair leg, door knob or even tree. This allows the weaver to create the tension on the warp which is required for successful weaving. The woven braids can be used to make belts, decorative braids, made into bag handles, guitar straps.....

Circular Weaving Looms

circular weaving loom woven with teal, green and orange yarn and fibres

Circular weaving looms are designed to allow a weaver to create a decorative wall hanging. The looms in this instance are used only once. The warp is threaded across the loom with the weaver then being able to allow their creativity to flow with different yarns and fibres. This piece shown has been woven with a range of yarns and fibres in complimentary colours to create a striking piece of art.

We hope this blog has given you an insight into how to start weaving on a small frame loom. Do email us if you have any questions as we are always happy to advise.

Interested in learning to weave? We run a range of workshops including small frame workshops and also scarf weaving workshops at a number of locations in the UK. Our workshop page has all the details found by clicking the link here.

If you are interested in keeping up to date with our weaving work then do sign up to receive our newsletter by clicking the link here.

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