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Weaving: The Perfect Stash-Buster

Jul 20, 2009

A note from Kathleen: When I was little, my across-the-street neighbor was a fabulous weaver. She had a huge studio set up in her house and I used to spend hours watching her create the most beautiful tapestries, scarves, bedspreads, tablecloths, and runners--you name it, she could weave fabric for it. Though I haven't gotten into weaving until VERY recently (read on), that childhood fascination never completely faded. I was at the Madrona Fiber Arts festival in Tacoma, Washington a couple of years ago, and one of the vendors was featuring this little table-top loom. The speed at which the weaver produced about five inches of fabric was staggering; for weeks I had visions of Christmas gifts dancing in my head. I didn't buy the loom then, but I've been thinking about it off and on ever since I saw it. And then when I was in the office the other day, Handwoven magazine was going to press and I caught a glimpse of the projects. I couldn’t wait to get back home, go through my stash, and go to my local weaving store to look at looms. Oh, and I asked Liz Gipson, the managing editor of Handwoven, to get you busting your stashes too, and to inspire you along the way. So here's Liz!

Why should knitters care one bit about weaving? Knitters are "loopy" people not "over-under" people. You knitters use two sticks to make cloth; we weavers use this thing called a loom that has all kinds of moving parts. Knitting yarns come in playful balls; weaving yarns come on intimidating cones.

There is a reason that knitters might want to take notice of weaving--it's faster than knitting. I know, I know, you say, "but what about all those threads that have to go in all those different places?" It is true that dressing that loom does take some time. (Doesn't "dressing" provide a wonderful mental picture--I think I'll put on the cobalt top with the chocolate brown skirt. Another term you have probably heard is "warping the loom," yet it doesn't bring up the same cozy mental image. Anyway, I digress.)

The first few times you play dress-up-the-loom are just like learning to cast on or to purl for the first time: you feel like you're all thumbs. After the loom is dressed, though, the cloth grows row by row, not stitch by stitch! Plus, the big movements of weaving provide your body a break from the small movements of knitting.

Best of all for you knitters, though, is that you can also think of weaving as stash reduction. We all need some help with that, right? We owe it to our families to keep the yarn to just the spare room. (And weaving is absolutely not cheating on your stash!) Weaving provides a home for all of those lovely single balls of yarn you just had to have.

If all of this isn't enough to get you motivated to learn more about weaving, knitting and weaving can be used together to produce fabulous pieces, such as the Rigid Heddle Woven Ruffle Pillow. Here are two clips from season 1 of Knitting Daily TV: in the first one you can see the ruffle pillow being created as I show you how to weave on a rigid-heddle loom--one of the simplest, most knitter-friendly looms on the market.

In the second segment I demonstrate how to weave on a table loom, which offers all the advantages of a floor loom (and sometimes even more when it comes to treadling options) but takes up less space. Both looms are beginner-friendly options for new weavers.

For lots of tips and tricks about weaving, download the handy brochure "Get Weaving!," get your hands on the bestselling Learning to Weave (for floor loom weavers) or Weaving Made Easy or Hands On Rigid Heddle Weaving (for rigid heddle weavers), and go find yourself a teacher (there are tips on how to do this on learntoweave.com). And, all of the instructions for the weaving projects seen in Knitting Daily TV episode 105 are available on the Spinning and Weaving Association's website.

Have fun!Faith the goat

Liz Gipson
Managing Editor, Handwoven magazine

P.S. Goat update! Last fall I introduced Knitting Daily readers to my four cashmere-bearing goat friends, Bella, Faith, Diva, and Zeus. I've just sent nearly two pounds of cashmere off to the mill to be dehaired and cleaned. Diva for the most part has stopped tormenting Bella, and Zeus has developed an unrequited crush on Diva. Faith as usual carries on in her quiet unassuming way. You can read more of their adventures (and mine) in the back-page essay of the Fall 2009 issue of Spin-Off, coming soon to your local yarn shop and to shop.knittingdaily.com.

Liz Gipson is a spinner, weaver, and all-around fiberista. Her day job at Interweave is the Managing Editor of Handwoven and she's a co-host of Knitting Daily TV on public television, where she offers advice about fibers, yarn-making, dyeing, and yes, weaving.


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Comments

elizaduckie wrote
on Jul 23, 2009 1:51 PM

I am also tired of so much non-knitting content.

I thought perhaps you were going to combine knitting with weaving in a project, but I certainly didn't want a lesson on weaving. I can go elsewhere for that.

This is "KNITTING Daily"  isn't it????

Patr Kitchen wrote
on Jul 23, 2009 5:05 AM

Oh how I wish we had the resources you have in the States here in England.  There are very few yarn stores in this area - 2 within about 15 miles and they only sell Sirdar (one occasionally has odd balls of Rega).  I love reading all of the Knitting Daily newsletters - even the ads it makes me feel that there are other people who knit and sew and have a large stash of odds and ends.  I have aquired lots of bits and pieces from people who gave it a go and then decided it was not for them but they had bought loads of stuff on the internet (the last lot was 3 bags of 10 balls of wool - unopened and one that she had started to knit a jumper).  Don't complain - come to England and see how lucky you are.  

JaneG wrote
on Jul 23, 2009 4:36 AM

Actually, you CAN use just about any yarn out there for weaving, so it is a great stash buster.  Some yarns that you wouldn't consider knitting with ( what was I thinking yarns) work really well as a "highlight"  row in a woven piece.

LouiseA wrote
on Jul 22, 2009 7:11 PM

If I may add to my previous comment: I do realize that you have to pay the bills and that this means that you need to sell magazines. But I think you have a bit of a PR problem here. Knitting Daily started out with perky, pleasant Sandi, who we all loved, telling us about what she was knitting, and how she might change the pattern, and if she had to frog, and it was like chatting with a knitting buddy. Gradually, more and more sales pitches showed up, till it seems to me now that I can't remember the actual last knitting article I read here. (OK, just went through my email, the last knitting article was a bookmark.) You are not obliged to provide us a knitting newsletter for free, of course, but the comparison between then and now just- looks bad. At a certain point, it just becomes more spam. I am sure Kathleen is also lovely, but she hasn't actually had a chance to say much between the sales pitches. I guess my conclusion is, that if you want me to read your ads, there has to be something there that I actually want to read. I get enough spam.

As far as branching out into other crafts, I personally do not have the time or want to spend the money acquiring a loom, or a spinning wheel (why did God create yarn stores?). I don't even know how to crochet (although I am trying to learn.) I don't have any objection to the occasional mention of other fiber arts, but it is Knitting Daily. Otherwise change the name to Fiber Arts Daily. Then I can readjust my expectations.

And, as someone else pointed out, you are competing with Ravelry, which is an amazing resource.

samerarh wrote
on Jul 22, 2009 12:17 PM

I have to admit that since Sandy left, I have been disappointed in the Knitting Daily newsletters.  From what I have observed, it has been nothing but previews of magazines, books, non-knitting articles and DULL.  I am in debate about whether or not to continue getting the KD dribble into my inbox.  There is only so much time during the day that I can devote to mindless, uninteresting buy-this-now spam.  I get enough of those emails already!

HeatherS@3 wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 10:32 PM

I think that I, too, am in the minority, but I love doing lots of things.  I started out knitting, at the age of seven, and then, when the kids came along gravitated towards quilting.  I have now moved into the world of spinning, knitting and weaving, because I just love fibfres and am fascinated with the various mediums in which I can play with them.  Also, I disagree that knitting yarns can't be used for weaving, as they definately can, and I've got an Ashford Knitters' loom to prove it!  There's no reason why you can't use hand spun as well.  As for trying to sell magazines, I think a certain amount of that has to be necessary.  It must cost something to promote and produce this site, and I am very grateful that we have access to it.  I grew up in Canada, but now live in New Zealand, and really look forward to my "knitting daily" fix, and also enjoy when things occasionally veer off in another direction.  Thanks for being there.

Cheers, Heather in Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

JayelF wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 12:00 PM

Remember the days when we could opt out of magazine ad "issues" of Knitting Daily?  Then I guess the bread needed to be buttered and an announcement went out, telling us that Knitting Daily was "merged" with advertising emails.  Okay, reality of  the Web and running a publishing business.  But it DOES seem more and more that the ads (and now instructional content) are getting farther & farther afield from knitting.  Quilting?  Weaving?  Beading? (Gee I sometimes get identical emails from Knitting Daily and Beading Daily).  I'll let this go another couple weeks, but if I'm deleting more emails than I'm reading, I will unsubscribe.

Please bear in mind folks that you are competing with Ravelry, where we can home in on specific knitting and crochet information, patterns, instruction and discussion with razor-sharp precision 24 hrs a day.  Please give us a reason to stay subscribed!

LindaG@55 wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 11:36 AM

I started with knitting, but the shop I frequent is staffed by a weaver and her friends.  Because of what I learned through the Knitting Daily associated sites and articles, I have now taken up weaving and spinning.  Yeah, the yarns are different for weaving, but I now have a better idea of what I can do with each yarn, and I love experimenting.  I'm kinda grumpy about crochet articles, 'cause I don't don't enjoy crochet, so I understand why knitters don't care for the weaving, but it's easy to delete/ignore the stuff I don't want to read.  Thanks, Knitting Daily, for broadening my outlook.

RebeccaA wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 11:17 AM

I am wondering about the efficacy of weaving as a "stash buster."  If one needs to purchase cones, wouldn't that mean more additions to one's stash?  (I had once considered a knitting machine for the same reason and declined to purchase one for the same reason!  Besides, hand-knitting is so much more portable!)

In any event, I might like to try weaving someday - if only for creating some of the woven strips Nancy Bush showed in her book, "Folk Knitting in Estonia."  The loom you showed doesn't look overly intimidating.  

SusanR@88 wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 8:06 AM

Thank you for the weaving information!!!  I have been a spinner, knitter and weaver for 20 years!  All three crafts compliment each other.  I love the pillow with the knitted lace.  Beautiful.  I can see myself trying one with my fine handspun.   And I love the small loom....may be my next purchase!!

LaurieA wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 8:03 AM

Yes, we dyed-in-the-wool (groan) knitters definitely need our fix.  I've been knitting since I was 6, which is definitely a LONG time (50 yr. next year!) and my stash is large. I also have quilted, counted cross stitched, crocheted, wreathed, etc.  When I was 16, I found a loom in one of my HS art classes, and became seduced by the rhythm, the speed, and the history of it all.  Unfortunately, my wandering life style didn't work with a floor loom of any sort.  Three years ago I found a place sort of nearby and came into contact with an Ashford Rigid Heddle loom, and all the passion and memory took hold and I adopted the loom and a good how-to book (it had been a loooong time), and brought it home.  My then-30 year old daughter gave me a lecture about spending money I didn't have (she's older and poopier than me) but I didn't care--you're right, Liz, it gets in the blood.  Unfortunately (again) I stopped weaving for a time, but I'm starting it up again....I know my son will help me warp the darn thing (he enjoys it & I can't walk anymore) and we'll make a number of baby blankets for a crafts fair.  BTW, I found out that under no circumstances should I use mohair (I almost lost mine!) BUT other knitting yarns worked great for lots of projects.  Next on my list of things to do before I turn 30 (again)?  Spinning--even if it's on a hand spindle!

LaurieA wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 8:02 AM

Yes, we dyed-in-the-wool (groan) knitters definitely need our fix.  I've been knitting since I was 6, which is definitely a LONG time (50 yr. next year!) and my stash is large. I also have quilted, counted cross stitched, crocheted, wreathed, etc.  When I was 16, I found a loom in one of my HS art classes, and became seduced by the rhythm, the speed, and the history of it all.  Unfortunately, my wandering life style didn't work with a floor loom of any sort.  Three years ago I found a place sort of nearby and came into contact with an Ashford Rigid Heddle loom, and all the passion and memory took hold and I adopted the loom and a good how-to book (it had been a loooong time), and brought it home.  My then-30 year old daughter gave me a lecture about spending money I didn't have (she's older and poopier than me) but I didn't care--you're right, Liz, it gets in the blood.  Unfortunately (again) I stopped weaving for a time, but I'm starting it up again....I know my son will help me warp the darn thing (he enjoys it & I can't walk anymore) and we'll make a number of baby blankets for a crafts fair.  BTW, I found out that under no circumstances should I use mohair (I almost lost mine!) BUT other knitting yarns worked great for lots of projects.  Next on my list of things to do before I turn 30 (again)?  Spinning--even if it's on a hand spindle!

LaurieA wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 8:01 AM

Yes, we dyed-in-the-wool (groan) knitters definitely need our fix.  I've been knitting since I was 6, which is definitely a LONG time (50 yr. next year!) and my stash is large. I also have quilted, counted cross stitched, crocheted, wreathed, etc.  When I was 16, I found a loom in one of my HS art classes, and became seduced by the rhythm, the speed, and the history of it all.  Unfortunately, my wandering life style didn't work with a floor loom of any sort.  Three years ago I found a place sort of nearby and came into contact with an Ashford Rigid Heddle loom, and all the passion and memory took hold and I adopted the loom and a good how-to book (it had been a loooong time), and brought it home.  My then-30 year old daughter gave me a lecture about spending money I didn't have (she's older and poopier than me) but I didn't care--you're right, Liz, it gets in the blood.  Unfortunately (again) I stopped weaving for a time, but I'm starting it up again....I know my son will help me warp the darn thing (he enjoys it & I can't walk anymore) and we'll make a number of baby blankets for a crafts fair.  BTW, I found out that under no circumstances should I use mohair (I almost lost mine!) BUT other knitting yarns worked great for lots of projects.  Next on my list of things to do before I turn 30 (again)?  Spinning--even if it's on a hand spindle!

TommyS wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 7:32 AM

I do not think we are being mean by asking for the knitting. It's like asking for steak at a restaurant and getting one bite of steak and a lot of side items. I got on this site/newsletter for knitting content. I did not get on for other content. I ask that you please focus this site/newsletter to knitting.

LindsayL wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 7:10 AM

I would subscribe to Weaving Daily or the like if I wanted this information. While I appreciate learning a bit about other crafts, weaving is not a stash buster. It's an investment. Do you know how much a loom would cost me? Isn't half the point of stash busting to save money? Anyway, this newsletter is directed at knitters, not weavers. Now, back to the needles please. Thanks.

KarinB@15 wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 6:55 AM

I am probably in the minority here, but as a weaver, spinner, knitter and always-interested-in new-venues fiber artist, I like the variety.  This site is so full of knitting information, the mine can hardly be exhausted.  As for the advertising, without it, we probably wouldn't have all the wonderful free patterns.  By the way, the knitted border for the woven pillow is a nice one to tuck away for other projects. Thanks

persephony4 wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 6:50 AM

Unlike the rest of the consensus here I enjoyed seeing some of the other fiber arts that Interweave has a hand in. Seeing this post on weaving reminded me that my mother has a weaving loom, and hasn't used it in about 20 years. I sent her the link to this article and it has inspired her to take it out of the box again!

While I agree the "knitting" theme has been lacking lately, I have had my fill on knitting. But it is time to bring this back to a "knitting Daily" newsletter.

Thanks for the inspiration. Keep inspiring us to talk, knit and love fiber.

SarahG wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 6:32 AM

it was interesting to read and watch videos about weaving, but now i'm all discouraged because i really can't afford a weaving loom..

i agree with the majority of the comments: this is *knitting* daily, not knittingspinningweavingcrocheting daily. it's fun to read about other things occasionally, but i don't participate in any of those other crafts, and the reason is that i can't afford them. i'm 16, and i don't really have the financial ability to spend 200 dollars on a weaving loom. one of the reasons that i'm able to continue knitting is because it's an affordable obsession, and i'm sure i'm not the only one who is able to keep knitting just because it's affordable.

and along the lines of affordability, i agree with what Gauss said: "Let's go back to knitting, please. These posts have been reading more and more like ads instead of somewhat personal messages. Kathleen, do you knit? What are you knitting now? What are some cool techniques you've found recently? Please stop trying to sell us magazines or books all the time."

summary: more knitting, less of other stuff.

AngelaE wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 5:27 AM

Hi, I learned to weave one year ago and am the proud owner of an eight shaft 45" wide floor loom.  I am always first a knitter, but I have combined weaving with knitting.  Any you CAN weave with ANYTHING!  I have woven bags, felted them and have added knitted embellishments.  Also I have woven the back and front of a sweater then added on knitted sleeves and collar.  I have also woven a tapestry background and then added crewel embroidery to make a wall hanging.  You can combine all fiber crafts.  Mix and match.  The more you mix the more interesting the piece.  

Angela E.

JamieM@14 wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 5:13 AM

I have long been fascinated by weaving, have looked at table looms numerous times, but never took the plunge.  Thank you for the demonstration.   I love knitting, crocheting, cross stitch.  I'm hoping to move into weaving when I retire in a few years.   Variety is good.

marjen wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 4:48 AM

I love, love being exposed to all kinds of fiber arts.  Thanks for the great introduction to weaving.  The videos are well done and informative!!!!

Sue-anneM wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 3:16 AM

I love the variety. I enjoy all forms of fibre art. Please continue to offer all forms of related craft. Plus the free examples are much appreciated.

LizzyT wrote
on Jul 21, 2009 1:17 AM

Thank you for featuring weaving.  I have never considered this before, but after watching this I am very interested in giving it a try.  I love yarn and love using it in every possible way.

textilefiend wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 9:41 PM

I have recently acquired an Ashford Knitters Loom - I love the speed in which you can churn out scarves - expecialy with all the funky yarns around. It's a small rigid heddle loom, with the added benefit of portability. It has been know to travel with me to ...my quilting group!! My quilting friends are very patient with me as I explore other textiles.

JaneanE wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 7:47 PM

Give Kathleen a break, no wonder Sandi left.  The old newsletters, ALL of them advertised books, this is no different.  It's good for people that knit and do other fiber arts to know that there are other avenues of information out there and at our finger tips.

NastyH wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 7:33 PM

I'm so sorry you've decided to incorporate so many fiberarts into the knitting site.  You know what happens when your basket gets too full, don't you?  Look around; read the posts.  You're likely to lose a lot of faithful readers.  Don't get greedy.  It's ok to mention or suggest trying other fiberarts occasionally, but what's been happening.  Put the other fiberarts back in their own magazines and pick up your knitting needles.

Rhonda wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 6:06 PM

I am also a weaver, and this project appeals to two crafty sides of me.  It's nice to see a project that can incorporate another craft with the knitting and take me out of the One-Project-One-Craft box.

Elizabeth@63 wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 6:00 PM

I guess that I am in the minority here. I knit, spin, and weave, I also quilt, work in glass, and I have a full time job. I like "doing" it all.  I believe that all of the fibers go together. I appreciate a program that can address all areas of fiber yet still have a concentration of one aspect which in this case is knitting.  Thanks again for including weaving other fiber uses in your show and articles. BTW I have used knitting yarn for weaving and it works just great!!

BethS@56 wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 5:43 PM

Hey guys don't forget about the dropdowns there is a ton if information on them that is knitting specific.  I am a fiber arts teacher ,I welcome listenting to others teach, and I am appreciative of the connections that are being made to other forms of fiber arts.  The information always leads back to knitting. Let's keep an open mind

Carol Ann wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 5:17 PM

Where is Sandi and why are we not hearing from her?  I am of the same opinion that this site is getting more about selling magazines than anything else. The message has changed and many of us find it difficult to agree with this change..

Gauss wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 4:51 PM

Let's go back to knitting, please. These posts have been reading more and more like ads instead of somewhat personal messages. Kathleen, do you knit? What are you knitting now? What are some cool techniques you've found recently? Please stop trying to sell us magazines or books all the time.

sandee@8 wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 4:40 PM

I agree with the posts below - lovely to be exposed to other fiber crafts, but  i look forward to my daily knitting fix from Knitting Daily.

thank you for all of the wonderful patterns and information shared here - i look forward to receiving each and every email.

cbabin wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 4:26 PM

When I landed on this page today my first reaction was 'Good grief, now it's a weaving article'. In my search to leave a comment, I realized I was not the only person who is feeling that Knitting Daily is getting away from their initial purpose.

So, to that end, I also would like Knitting Daily to get back to featuring mostly knitting articles as it's the reason why I joined up and why I check back daily. I don't mind the occasional Fiber Arts article but I'm finding the percentage of them too high lately.

AnnR wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 3:57 PM

Why are you trying to sell so many magazines?  I would like Knitting Daily back, please.

Last week you showed us how to make a lacy bookmarker. I tried it, and it is a lot of fun to make it. Very tedious, though. I am planning on making several for gifts.

I was trying to listen to the video about weaving, but only bits and pieces came in.

What am I doing wrong?

LindaW@8 wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 3:52 PM

I'm not rejecting info on other fiber crafts, but I'm not completely welcoming of unlimited non-knitting content either.  I agree most with DDMitchell--it's nice every once in a while.  Like maybe 1% of the whole...lately it seems like 50%!  Thanks for the good job!

LindaW in Vegas

ddmitchell@2 wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 3:33 PM

I look forward to Knitting Daily in my email box.  Thank you for adding the weaving demos an ideas.   It is nice to look outside of our knitting box every once in awhile.  

LouiseA wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 3:26 PM

I agree with the comment: can we go back to Knitting Daily? I realize you have all these other magazines to sell, but I barely have time to knit. The thought of having to spin yarn fills me with despair, as does the expense of getting a loom and finding room for it.

CindyH@3 wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 3:24 PM

I have been enjoying the Knitting Daily e-mails in the past.  But I am sad to say over the last couple of months, well before Kathleen took over, it seems to have turned into a Fiber Daily, not a Knitting Daily.  I do enjoy doing other crafts, but I have other newsletters for that.  I would really like to see this turn back into a KNITTING daily newsletter.  

Cindy

M.M wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 3:23 PM

I welcome posts about other fiber crafts.  I realize you're in the business of selling magazines, books, etc. and that's the value added of this site.  I simply don't read or delete the ones I'm not interested in.  

Weaving seems like fun, but I really couldn't add on another hobby....guess it'll have to wait till I retire someday!!

THANKS for the info...some of us really do appreciate it.  I do work in the business world, but you probably don't have to be to understand marketing and promotion.  Glad you guys are still in business and can afford to provide the fiber community with an informative and FREE site such as this.

WendyH@37 wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 3:14 PM

Weaving just adds to the stash, you need to buy weaving yarns, lot's of yarn for weaving.

Wendy in NM

SRA wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 3:12 PM

Most knitting yarn is absolutely unsuitable for weaving..... saying that weaving is a knitting yarn stash buster is just plain silly.

Sharon

SaraB wrote
on Jul 20, 2009 3:05 PM

Can we go back to knitting on Knitting Daily? While I appreciate the occasional post on related crafts (spinning, weaving, crocheting), this is Knitting Daily, not FiberCrafts Daily.