When we were visiting the gallery the other day, we learned they were offering a free weaving class hosted by Minnesota artist/instructor Becka Rahn. To my chagrin, I've never really been excited about weaving. I tend to pursue crafts that are not only creative and beautiful, but have a practical aspect as well. Weaving, to me, meant wall-hangings, and, well, I just don't need a wall-hanging. But, we've enjoyed getting out lately and this was a free class for the family, so I thought, what the heck, let's go ;) Well, we had so much fun and Becka showed us such an easy technique that I must say I'm now a convert. I still don't need a wall-hanging, but I've discovered there are many other practical uses for weaving, i.e. rugs, place mats, coasters, etc. I thought I'd share with you the technique we were taught. This is appropriate for any beginner (there was even a 3 1/2 year old at the class).
yarn, as many colors as desired
styrofoam tray (like a meat tray)
something to use as a shuttle (a popsicle stick, a bone tool, etc.)
large plastic needle
1. Tape one end of yarn to the backside of the tray at the bottom corner as shown.
2. Wrap the yarn around the tray, back to front, until the whole tray is wrapped. Try to make the wraps equally spaced apart and finish with an even number of wraps. In this photo, I've wrapped around 8 times.
3. Turn the tray over to the front. The parallel lines you've just created is the warp. Now, cut some yarn about the length of your arm. You can use a new color or keep it the same. Tape one end of the yarn to your "shuttle". In the class, we used popsicle sticks, but at home I used one of our clay sculpting tools.
4. You're ready to start! Place the shuttle over or under (doesn't matter which) the first yarn and continue going over/under pulling the yarn through. Leave a nice sized tail.
5. If the shuttle finished by going over the last yarn, then go under the same yarn when you return and vice versa.
6. The yarn being woven through the warp is the weft. When you've used your length of yarn, cut, leave a tail, and tape on a new piece of yarn. Anytime you want to change colors, use the same technique. Again, if the shuttle finished by going over the last yarn, then start the new yarn by going under. If you finished under, then start by going over.
7. Here, I'm changing yarn colors. I'm using a bone tool as a shuttle and instead of taping the yarn, I'm just tying it through the hole.
8. I'm finished with the weaving part.
9. Turn the tray over and cut the thread through the center and un-tape the ends to release your weaving.
10. Now, you're ready to tie up all those loose ends!
11. Knot off the warp ends (the ones on the top and bottom) by tying in pairs.
12. The knot-tails can then be threaded through the weaving using your plastic needle. Don't do this step if you want to leave the threads for fringe.
12. Next, thread your plastic needle with a tail from the side and thread it through the length of the weaving. Continue until all tails are nicely tucked in.
13. All done!
Now, to give it a practical purpose, how about a nice cup of tea using your new woven coaster ;)