Now that you've learned the basics of weaving and have experimented with a few ways to customize your wall hangings to make them even more special, I'd like to encourage you to think even further outside the box! Let's go bigger!
I made this giant wall hanging to fill a larger space in our house but knew that even with a dowel or single copper rod, it might not have enough of a presence. That's when I decided my hanger could turn into part of the design of this wall hanging, and two more copper pipes later, I had something I was really excited about.
-Corrugated cardboard box for your loom.
-Cotton yarn for the warp (the base of your weaving that is wrapped vertically around your cardboard box).
-Yarn for your weft. This can be any size, thickness, or color you prefer. All of mine was purchased at Jo-Ann, as they had the best selection of large craft stores, but if you have a local yarn shop in your area, I suggest checking them out for special colors and natural fibers.
-Three copper pipe lengths measuring about 1/4" x 2'. I found mine at Lowe's, but you can check most major hardware stores. These are quite soft, so be sure to handle them gently as you transport them home and cut them.
-Tapestry needle. It should have a blunt end and an eye large enough to fit standard yarn through.
-Copper pipe cutter. These are inexpensive and sold in the plumbing section near the pipes.
-Shuttle (not shown). Since we're making a custom loom, you can always use a paint stirrer or yardstick instead of a standard shuttle.
When you're making a custom-sized wall hanging, you may have to make your own loom. I have a large loom made from 2x 4s that I nailed together and then added two rows of nails to stored in my garage, but it was much too tall for a wall hanging, so I improvised and went the cardboard box route. It's not quite as sturdy as a wooden frame, but it gets the job done.
Step One: Find a box that fits the height you want and then wrap it as wide as you'd like. I taped my cotton warp yarn to the back on the left side and then carefully wrapped it around and around all the way across to the right. Be sure to space your warp rows out evenly about 1/3" or 1/2" apart.
Step Two: You can see the back side looks much like the front. I tied off the other end with a knot because a certain child disappeared with my tape. You can do either. You might get a slight bend in your cardboard if you're using one with folds. I suggest finding one that doesn't have folds, but if that's all you've got, just be sure your warp is evenly taut across the full width of your loom.
Step Three: Since I was going to be adding an angled fringe at the bottom of my weaving, I decided to start upside down. I wove my thick yarn all the way across, going over and under and then coming back in the other direction. Again, I always pulled up at an angle to create a triangle shape, then gently pushed the yarn down with my fingers. This is what keeps your weaving from pulling in too tight. For a refresher, see steps nine and ten from my second weaving tutorial.
Step Four: After weaving four rows of white, I decided to create a large triangle, starting with the base. I counted about nine rows in and started across until I came to nine rows in from the other side. Then I went back in the other direction.
Step Six: As we learned in the second tutorial, I created my triangle shape first and then went back and filled in the sides.
Step Eight: Pull up from the bottom to create a little bridge.
Step Ten: Gently pull taut and slide to the bottom of your warp so that it rests against the weaving.
Step Twelve: Repeat all the way up one side of your triangle and then up the other side. I flipped each knot towards me as I went, to see the next row easier. Using this thickness of yarn plus three strands per rya knot made for a full fringe. To get a more minimal look, use two strands or a thinner yarn.
Step Thirteen: I needed to fill in my shape almost as wide as I'd originally started. I just added more of the same thick, roving-type yarn from where I left off but then decreased one row at a time on the outer edge as I increased one row at a time, moving up the triangle. I would've done two rows at a time had I been using a yarn in the same thickness as the black triangle, but this roving style is as thick as two strands of the black.
Step Fourteen: I continued to fill in all the way to the top, and then instead of making a triangle point, I went back down the other side. These two steps wouldn't have been necessary had I not started with so much extra white weaving on each side, but it also created a different shape and helped secure my shape.
Step Sixteen: You can see where I gently knotted every two strands together. This keeps your weaving from falling out. Go a few at a time until you've knotted both the top and the bottoms all the way across. You may have three strands left at the end. Go ahead and tie them into one knot.
Step Seventeen: I used one full length of copper pipe because it was the perfect length for my weaving to hang on. The other two I cut a bit shorter to form a triangle. I measured in about 5" from the end of two of the copper pipes and placed my pipe cutter over that spot.
Step Eighteen: Gently tighten the pipe cutter and roll your pipe twice. This creates a small cut. Then tighten a bit more and roll your pipe twice again. Repeat until you've cut through your thin pipe. Be careful not to pinch too tightly, or your pipe will bend. Save your cut ends for another weaving!
Step Nineteen: Using the same cotton yarn or twine, thread the three pieces of copper together to form a triangle shape, and tie a knot. Trim the ends of your yarn and tuck the knot part into one of the ends so that it's not visible. This copper triangle will be the structural base that you'll attach your weaving to.
Step Twenty: Tuck the ends of the top of your weaving back behind just like in the last steps of my first weaving tutorial. Then stitch your weaving to the wide base of your copper triangle just like in the last two tutorials.
Hang it up and trim the ends of your rya knots to get a clean angle that mimics the lines of the black triangle. I chose to also trim the thin warp rows straight across at the bottom so that it created another layer of texture.
I love the extra element added using a copper triangle in place of a dowel rod and more yarn and the way it fills out this wall space so well. What other ways have you experimented with to make your weavings extra special?
I hope these three weaving tutorials have given you enough of the urge to start (and hopefully finish) something you're excited about! I've loved getting tagged in photos of finished weavings on Instagram and seeing so many take up their looms and discover their new favorite hobby! I also want to always encourage makers picking up a new hobby to take inspiration from other artists as you start out but to always be working to develop your own style, especially if you're hoping to offer your goods to the masses for payment. Keep working towards something authentic and it'll show up! -Rachel
Credits // Author and Photography: Rachel Denbow. Edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.