One of the oldest skills humans have is weaving; creating cloth from threads – there is evidence that weaving cloth goes back to the end of the stone age, the neolithic period. It has continued to be important all through history, and only in this last hundred years, more or less, have we turned over the making of cloth to businesses. In the old days, weaving was always truly a cottage industry in the purest of terms. Not so today, and I find that disturbing and sad – to me, weaving is in need of a revival.
In stores and online, we can find an abundance of beautiful fabrics in every color, texture, design whether organic, like cotton or silk, or man-made fabrics like nylon, acetate or polyester made from chemicals and plastics. This vast array of available fabrics is what has cast the home weaving loom out of our consciousness, except for those talented weavers who keep the skill alive.
In the spirit of keeping weaving alive and well in our awareness of valuable skills, let’s look at weaving and how it is done:
What is Weaving?
The simplest way to describe what weaving is: Interlaced threads at right angles to each other made on a loom. To this simple definition you will need to know the weaving basics on the warp and the weft. The warp are the main threads that run longitudinally and held tightly through the weave and the weft are the threads that are run back and forth across and through the warp threads. That is the simple definition.
How to Weave on a Loom
First off, you have to get a loom. Looms come in all kinds of sizes and cost money… sometimes lots of money. It is possible to make a simple loom for a beginning project. I did mention that they were weaving back at the end of the stone age, didn’t I? So you know it’s not too difficult to set up a loom. I found this simple, homemade frame loom project that you can make very inexpensively.
Once you have your loom, tie off your warp thread to the loom closest to you, and wrap it under the piece straight across, under and back over to the first side, where it’s under and back over. Tightly space the warp threads. For detailed, step-by-step instructions on setting up the warp on a simple frame loom check this out. Once you tightly stretch, space, and tie off the end, begin weaving with the weft.
Here are simple instructions on weaving on the warp of a simple frame loom. It is easy enough to describe, so here goes. You’ll need a thin dowel, a object with tines like a large tooth comb, a shed stick, and thread for the weft.
- Cut a piece of weft thread at least four feet long.
- Take the dowel, and insert it into the warp threads from either side – just about where the threads cross in the middle of the weaving loom. Pull the dowel toward you to the side of the loom closest to you; this causes the warp threads to tighten, and gives an opening called a shed
- Pass the ball of thread through that shed gap and leave about four inches of thread sticking out on the side it first started through.
- The weft thread will slide down towards the dowel.