Classes,  Crafts

Circular weaving

A second month of introducing a new technique to the residential care home classes. I like to bring some variety into my sessions there so the the residents get to use different colours and textures and weaving seemed an excellent opportunity to do so.

This will hopefully be the first of a few classes around the technique, starting off will simple weaving and then introducing more varied materials; different yarn types, ribbons & beads.

I started weaving at home after my daughter got a loom kit one Christmas and visit to a local Community Heritage Day. Her kit was simple but had the usual problem of the warp threads being too far apart leading to either the fabric being too loose or pulled out of shape in the centre.

However, it showed an alternative way of using it where the warp threads were positioned radiating out from the centre.

I could see how this would give a much firmer fabric and so decided to give it a go.

The first attempt was a simple over 1, under 1 weave using grey & red. I like the checkerboard effect in the centre. There is an even number of warp threads so at the start of each round I had to go over 2 to make sure the wave pattern alternated.

I got a little more adventurous with the second. Firstly I made sure there was an odd number of warp threads so I wouldn’t have to tinker with the weave to get it to fall right. Then I mixed two colours of yarn at the same time, firstly blue & turquoise, then red & orange. And finally I altered the weave pattern with the red & orange being over 2, under 2 and the purple of the next band over 2, under 1.

These weaves can be removed from the loom and tied off. As each warp thread was 2 strands of yarn, I was able to tie them to their neighbour to the left & right to give a firm edge.

My budget wouldn’t stretch far enough to get specialised circular looms for each of the residents plus I thought they might be set up for finer work than some could handle. I decided to get embroidery hoops as an alternative. The double hoop with screw could be used to ensure the warp threads didn’t move.

If I hadn’t already packed my glue gun away for the impending house move I probably would have used it for extra security but the hoops worked better than I expected.

That was one of my first, with 7 warp threads. This was increased to 11, the gaps between were still big enough for residents to thread the warp threads through. I only used single thickness yarn for the warp as these were not planned to be removed from the hoop. It would act as a frame for the finished piece.

I got a selection of coloured yarn (from The Wool Haven naturally) We decided on King Cole Big Value DK. I only needed 1 ball of each colour, a little goes along way with weaving.

The colours chosen were: Orange, Royal, Red, fuchsia,White, Turquoise, Grey, Violet, Platinum and Yellow

It’s always a bit unnerving taking a totally new type of project into the class, especially as last month’s had such a mixed response. This month’s groups were not overly active, although I put some of that down to the warm weather, but they didn’t hate it. Many were happy to watch the demonstration and join in the conversation side of the group. (Crafting is always more than just about the actually doing)

I always hope the classes inspire the residents to try out new things and to play with the materials and it’s great wen you can see them bounce ideas off each other. In the second week of classes someone referred to weaving round sticks, I did that a few years ago when my daughter was in her local Woodcraft Folk group so I knew what she meant and so we tried it out on a circular loom to see how it looked. It gave a distinct texture on both sides, quite effective.

As I said at the start of this post, if we do this again next year I will introduce different yarn types, ribbons & beads to make it more interesting now they have the basics. . I did however get at least one enthusiastic participant per session, so here’s a bit smaller than usual gallery.