Spinninglizzy's Weblog

Falling down the slippery fibre slope

First Weavings, Baby Steps

This morning, I sat down to weave for the first time.   This was really fun for me because I didn’t have to do any warping preparation.  For seasoned weavers out there, this post will be tedious, but if you make it to the end of the post, I welcome any comments to help me improve!

You can definitely tell where the original weaving left off (at the 7″ mark) and I began.  It seemed so easy watching Betty Linn Davenport do it in her RH Loom video, but even following her tips for creating a clean, even selvedge, mine were still messy.   Then there was the matter of getting used to the beater.  The word “beater” is a bit misleading, because I didn’t have to beat at all, and even the gentle “beating” I’ve done is obviously too heavy-handed.  The picture may not be be the best, but the weft yarns definitely slants down on the edge nearest the tape measure.

I decided to re-tie the ends to help improve the weave.

The original tie-up in three bunches.

First bunch has been untied and re-tied.  Second bunch shown untied.  I like Betty Linn Davenport’s way of tying up with a bow; it was a pain undoing the knots used before.

Here are the three original tie-ups separated and re-tied into six.

The new tie-ups helped straighten the left side somewhat; I obviously have other problems to sort out, and I need to practise beating more gently.

What a pleasant start to my day!  I can’t wait to finish this practise piece and start my own project.  I thought I would use Lily Sugar ‘N Cream cotton to weave dishcloths as a first project.

On another note, I actually did some knitting today — first time in three months!  My son was invited to an ice-cream party to celebrate today’s being the last day of public school.  So, with all the children entertaining each other (and the other mothers knowing my eccentricities well by now), I got in some quality knit time.

I started this sock early this year, and this is still the first of the pair.  The pattern is from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch.  (I purchased it with a 50%-off coupon from Joann’s.)


18 June 2008 - Posted by | General, Weaving | , , , ,


  1. It looks to me like you are doing just great with the video. So much of this stuff is trial and error anyhow–getting the knowledge into your hands. You might see if your library has Betty Davenport’s book, if you find you need to do some troubleshooting. My library had it, and I checked it out a few months ago when I was trying to figure out and whether the old rigid heddle looms on ebay were decent equipment. Not only does she give a really good overview of the features of different kinds of RH looms, but the whole book is clearly written, with a lot of good pictures. So now I’ve read all about rigid heddle weaving, but I’m still waiting for my loom!

    Comment by Trapunto | 19 June 2008 | Reply

  2. I’ve been noticing the way I beat recently and it reminds me of the way I was taught to brake at traffic lights. Each beat starts gently, gets firmer as it gets closer to the fell, but then – just before hitting the fell – I ease off. It seems to work: the weft goes home without a thud, anyway. And don’t get too worried about your selvedges. It is one of those things that comes with practice. Gradually, almost without realising it, your weaver’s eye will learn how much weft you need to lay in the shed, and your weaver’s hand will do it for you.

    Comment by Cally | 20 June 2008 | Reply

  3. Silly me, I forgot to mention the thing I actually meant to say… The weft you’re using is very fine relative to the warp, which is always a bit tricky. I don’t know whether you have the option to resley at a closer sett but, if not, then try a thicker weft and see how you get on. Isn’t weaving fun?

    Comment by Cally | 20 June 2008 | Reply

  4. What lovely colors to work with. Trapunto and Cally are right, nothing beats experience. My best advice would be to have patience with yourself and give yourself permission to make mistakes. I’ve learned more from my mistakes than I have from getting it right the first time!

    You were right to re-tie the warp bundles. The trick is making sure that the tension is even across the warp. If it’s too loose on one side the weaving won’t be even across the fell line,

    Beat is funny. Sharon Alderman recommends several inches of weaving to figure out the best beat for a particular piece. However, I notice that if I leave my weaving and come back to
    it later, I have to re-adjust for beat!

    I agree with Cally, experiment! Weave a learning strip. If you’re more organized than I am you’ll keep a written record of the changes. Even so, my learning strips are contain valuable information for me.

    Forget the selvedges for now. They just take time to improve and I don’t think handwoven fabrics often have them perfect.

    OK, after all that I hope I don’t sound too bossy 🙂 The more you weave the better you’ll get. It just works that way.

    Comment by Leigh | 23 June 2008 | Reply

  5. Hey no idea what you are doing, but it looks freaking cool! Can you make a scarf like that? I saw someone weave a scarf out of Noro sock yarn.

    Comment by spacestitch | 28 June 2008 | Reply

  6. Liane, I also have no idea what I’m doing, LOL. Yes, weaving is great for scarves, and I already have plans to use up some commercial sock yarn that wasn’t plied as tightly as I would like. This first project will probably end up as a sash for K.

    Comment by SpinningLIzzy | 29 June 2008 | Reply

  7. How fun! Weaving is so fun, and learning to weave ought to be even more fun. Just experiemnt, R E L A X and enjoy yourself.

    Good job on retying and also making your bouts smaller (from 3 to 6). The smaller your bouts, the more even your tenson will be over all. One thing I constantly have to remind myself is to always grab my beater in the center. It’s easy to get in the habit of grabbing it more to one side or the other, and this can cause one side of your weaving to pack in harder.

    Here is one of my favorite links to give to new weavers — it has some superb FAQs with clear, concise answers:


    Remember: E N J O Y 🙂

    Weave on! 🙂

    Comment by Jane | 2 July 2008 | Reply

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