If you have a bottom spring kit, as I do here, start weaving your header. If you don’t have a bottom spring kit, cut a thread three times the width of your loom. Engage the shedding device, weave it to the threaded bar, wrap it around the threaded bar, change the she and weave it back to the other threaded rod. Tie the two ends tightly around the threaded bar. This will serve as a base for starting your weaving. Make sure the two threads make a straight line. Arrange the warps so that they are evening spaced at ten ends per inch. Then begin weaving a header.
Two weave a header: cut a manageable length of warp thread and weave it back and forth for about a third of an inch. This header will be folded over to the back of your weaving when you finish your piece. Be mindful to not pull too tightly at the sides of your weaving but also to not leave loops at the edges. Beat it down with a tapestry beater or, if you don’t own one a kitchen fork.
End your header about six warps in and begin a weft of just silk where the header ends. Remember, you always want your ends hanging to the back of the piece. You will begin new threads when old ones end, if possible. The back will not show. It will be lined in silk. So it can be a complete mess.
Thread a beading needle with beading thread. Tie a knot so that it forms a loop. Loop the silk weft into the loop and load your beads onto the needle. They will easily slide onto the silk weft. Place the strung beads into the shed (the space between the raised and lowered warps) and push them down into the V. Pull tightly on the silk weft so that there is no loop at the end and it is wrapped snugly against the opposite warp thread. The beads are hard so they will prevent your from pulling in at the edges. In fact, if you warp was at all uneven, the beads will even everything out nicely.
Warp the silk around the warp thread to keep that last bead in place. Change the shed and weave the silk weft to the other side. Weave until your run out of weft and then begin a new color where the original weft ended. Weave that color for two passes. You are now ready to add a second and third color.
You will be inserting these two additional wefts in opposite directions. The second weft (the salmon colored weft in my example) will head toward the existing turquoise weft. The sage weft will be headed away from the turqoise weft. By doing this, your wefts can cross into each other’s territory and still be in the correct shed. This is a kind of difficult concept to understand before you’ve played with it. So now that we’ve got our silk wefts in place, let’s play with them.
Weave the sage weft into the salmon wefts territory but don’t go past the tail of the salmon weft. Weave the salmon weft back to meet the sage weft, wrapping around a common warp. Weave the turqoise weft back to the right. In this case, I’ve wrapped it around the next door warp but could have wrapped it around a common warp.
Keep playing with this method for a while. I will show you pictures of each row I weave. As I mentioned, you can either wrap around common warps or not. For this technique it makes little difference although one does have a natural tendency to wrap around common warps.
You have just learned how to:
Weave several wefts in opposite directions.
Create shapes (note the salmon shape you’ve created).
To end the three wefts, first weave the right ones toward each other and end them by sticking their ends to the back of the weaving. Then weave the left weft to the left warp. Weave it until it is used up and then replace it with an entirely new color. I used the color we began with. Weave a few passes and then thread with beads and weave a row of beads.
Weave the silk weft until it runs out. Add another silk weft and weave a couple of rows.
Add some railroad yarn to the silk and weave the two at the same time. This will add both texture and some great color to your piece.
End the silk/railroad combination weft and replace with two different colors of silk also to be woven at the same time.
Next we are going to weave sections of diagonal shapes. End the double silk weft by wrapping around the outside warp so it hangs to the back of the piece.
My piece is 40 warps so I will make each shape 10 warps wide. The best way to guide yourself through this is to stick markers in the warp so you can see where you will begin and end a shape. You are going to be weaving these four single silk wefts in the same direction.
Start like this: The four wefts begin and end where the markers are.
Weave the right weft to the left first. Weave the next three wefts in order to the left.
Next, weave the left weft to the right but weave over one more warp. Do the same for the other three wefts. The goal is to create a diagnol shapes by weaving over one warp when you go to the left and reducing by one warp when you weave to the right.
Follow the pictures. Your left shape is gong to get bigger and bigger whereas your right shape is going to shrink.
At some point you can remove the guide threads as they won't be necessary.
To end the left weft wrap around the end warp so it is hanging to the back.
Insert a new silk weft.
Weave it for a few passes.
Add a second weft to the existing weft that is longer.
Weave until you run out of the first silk. Replace with a new silk weft to add to the existing weft.
Weave until you run out of one of the silk threads and replace with railroad yarn.
End the railroad yarn and replace with silk weft.
Weave a couple of rows of silk weft.
You can continue to play with adding and replacing wefts. I will be teaching additional techniques but they can be anywhere on this piece. What we have just woven will actually be the flap of your piece. Or you can wait until next week and weave along with me.