I am often asked by yarn enthusiasts where I got started weaving, and what resources I recommend for someone looking to get started in weaving. Since these questions are typically asked via Instagram or other social media, I am a bit limited in the amount I am able to type up. So, I've decided to put together this little blog post with links and things to help the curious weaver get started with this excitingly addicting craft.
Note that all of this information is for weaving done on a frame/lap loom, typically used for wall hangings (but can also make smaller things such as bags and wallets or fabrics to include in other pieces). This is the most inexpensive way to start weaving, and my favorite form of weaving (for now, I'd like to get a rigid heddle or floor loom eventually so I can make longer fabrics like scarves and things, but for now I'll stick with wall hangings). I hope you enjoy this collection of my favorite weaving resources, and feel free to comment below should you know any more to share!
Getting Started: Looms
The first thing you'll need to begin weaving is a loom!
1. Wood Creek Looms - Based in California, Wood Creek Looms is a small father and daughter business that sells handmade looms. This is the shop I got my very first loom. I purchased the large size, but they have many sizes to choose from, in many beautiful finishes. They also give you some beginner tools in their loom kits as well, you can browse their shop to see the different kits they have.
2. The Unusual Pear - For my friends in the land down under, this shop may be a bit closer to home so you won't have to deal with international shipping. Rainie Williams runs this online weaving shop in Newcastle, Australia and sells many different sizes of beautiful bamboo weaving looms. She also recently started selling ROUND looms as well, which I'd like to try soon. Pretty much her whole shop is on my Etsy wishlist. I have yet to purchase anything yet, but I have heard stellar reviews and have seen so many beautiful wall hangings via Instagram made on her looms.
3. DIY Frame Loom - While there are many handmade and commercial looms out there, if you don't want to put up a large cost up front and are handy with a hammer (or know someone who can help) then this tutorial is one of many great instructional guides out there to help you make your own loom to get started
Running a natural fiber artisan yarn shop, I may be a bit biased, but I prefer to work with wool, mohair, and other animal fibers in my weavings. Of course, acrylic, nylon and other synthetic fibers can be come in beautiful colors and are less expensive, so if that's all your budget allows, don't let anyone tell you that you can't make beautiful art with these yarns.
My personal favorite yarns to use are handspun and hand-dyed yarns. You get such a unique look with these yarns. I like to put together Weaver's Yarn Packs in my Etsy shop, which are little packs of hand-dyed and handspun yarns I make myself that allow you to sample many yarns without breaking the bank buying full-size skeins of everything. With weaving wall hangings, yarns are often used in smaller bits so you may not need a whole skein of yarn for a piece. My yarn packs allow you to add to your stash so you can try different colors and textures in your work. I do not typically color coordinate them however, and don't make them with the intention for them all to be used in the same piece (though you are free to do that if you please!). It is up to you to choose the combinations of yarn you'd like to use in your work, and my yarn packs help add options to what you have to work with.
You may also see people use wool "roving" (combed top) in their work as well. Looking at the photo of my weaving above, you can see the roving as the big, textured bits that look like a cloud. This material is so fun to work with and can produce some crazy unique weavings. A quick search on Etsy for "hand-dyed roving" (or "undyed roving", if you prefer the neutral tones) will yield you endless possibilities of one of a kind roving to use in your art. There are so many wonderfully talented dyers on Etsy, it is a fantastic place to shop for roving. I have also seen shops that sell theirs in smaller increments such as by the ounce (most indie dyers sell them in 4-oz braids) so you can choose lots of different colors!
You can use yarn for your warp as well ("warp" is the vertical thread/yarn which you will weave into) however my favorite thing to use as a warp for my wall hangings is cotton thread. Regular crochet cotton thread found in yarn and hobby stores will work just fine! You can buy this in cones and spools. I also use lace-weight yarn sometimes as well, just make sure it has a high ply count (at least three plies) as this is more sturdy and will hold up better to tension.
1. DIY Woven Wall Hanging - This blog post is the one that started it all for me. I found this through Pinterest when trying to figure out what those "yarn art thingies hanging on walls" were, and inspired me to give weaving a go. This blog post nails down the very basics of weaving in step by step format so you can create your very first wall hanging. Super helpful and informative!
2. The Weaving Loom - This is my favorite blog for all things weaving! Kate Tedesco is the weaver behind this blog, and she's super sweet and helpful with any questions you may have. Her weaving photos leave me hypnotized, and every single post she writes is SO informative. You are guaranteed to learn something by visiting her blog. Definitely add this page to your browser bookmarks and check by often, she is consistently coming out with new, wonderful content!
3. Tapestry Weaving: A Comprehensive Study Guide - This is a very informative book that I have in my personal fiber arts library (my book shelf is starting to overflow!) and I found it very helpful in learning the basics of weaving and it also dives into more intermediate and advanced techniques. This book focuses more on tapestry weaving, which is typically made with yarns of the same weight and is more time-intensive than textured wall hanging as it is usually more intricate and forms a picture which requires careful planning and patience. This book also contains a tutorial for making a nailed frame loom.
4. Wild Color - Because I see so many weavers interested in natural dyes and dyeing their own yarn, I find it only natural I add my absolute favorite natural dyeing book to the list. This book is like a little encyclopedia of natural dye plants, and gives SO much information. Each plant has its own section dedicated to it, with information such as locations the plant grows (some plants you may be able to find in your own back yard! and others are fairly easy to find online to purchase, such as madder root and indigo). It also gives tips for dyeing each plant, how it will react with different fibers, color swatches to show how different mordants will affect the color, and a very informative intro with the history of natural dyes and everything you need to know on how to use them. Definitely recommend this book to those looking into dyeing their own fibers!
5. The Weaving Kind - On Instagram, monthly weaving challenges to help expand your weaving. Great community to connect with other weavers and inspire each other.
I hope you found this post to be helpful. I will probably continue to add more to this as I find more wonderful resources. Feel free to suggest your favorites in the comments below, or if you have any more questions feel free to ask :)
Serene Fiber Arts
Yarn shop- serenefiberarts.etsy.com
Weaving shop- amandajfrench.etsy.com
Amanda J. French
Fiber artist from Louisville, KY. Professionally, I spend my days spinning one of a kind yarns from wool and recycled fibers, and weaving with them. Other hobbies include; yoga, fitness, painting, studying languages, reading, and knitting.