Sunday, 5 June 2011

Circular Cardboard Loom Weaving - Project 1 - Coaster

Materials: Cardboard, Scissors, Ruler, Pencil, Pair of Compasses, Under 100 grammes (UK) grams (US) Yarn, Darning Needle

Terms: Warp: the vertical thread going lengthwise down the loom;  Weft: the horizontal thread that is woven across the warp.

Conversion of inches to mm and cm is approximate.

Your piece of cardboard should be about the thickness of the backing from a small sturdy writing or drawing pad.

Put the pencil in the open pair of compasses and measure 2.5 inches (6.35cm) for the 5 inch (12.5cm) diameter of your circular loom. Draw the circle on the cardboard. 

Measure another circle, this time measure 2.25 inches (6.35cm) and draw a second circle inside the first circle, being just 1/4 inch (6mm) below the top of the outer circle. Cut out the outer circle.  This is your loom. Make a small hole in the middle of the loom where the point of the pair of compasses was - you could push the pont through the cardboard and then widen it a tiny bit with the scissors. 

The hole needs to be wide enough for the point of your darning needle to pass through repeatedly but it should be no bigger than approximately 1/16th inch (1.5mm). 

Cut slits round the entire circumference of the loom, one slit at each mark.
Draw a little joining line from the top of the outer circle down to the inner circle. Let this be your first mark. Draw another joining line 1/4 inch (6mm) from your first mark. Continue in this manner until you have marked the entire circumference of the loom at 1/4 inch (6mm) intervals. Ensure that you have an odd number of marks. If necessary squeeze in an extra mark somewhere in the circumference by moving a few marks back a little.

Warp your loom: Thread the needle with the yarn colour of your choice.  Do not make the thread so long that it is cumbersome - you can join the wool when necessary with a small knot pulled tight.
Pass the threaded needle through the centre hole and up over the top edge of the loom and wedge the yarn between the first and the second cut slit and then take the yarn down the back as far as the centre hole.  Bring the needle and yarn up through the centre hole and back up to the second cut slit.  Pass the yarn through the second cut slit, over the top edge of the loom once more and back up through the centre hole.  Continue in this manner until the entire loom is threaded with the warp thread.

Begin Weaving:
Thread your darning needle with your first chosen colour for the weft. Start at any point and weave your thread over and under the warp threads alternately.

Continue in this manner, going round and round until you have reached the top of the outer circle as far as you can weave.  Ensure that you do not pull the weft too tight as you weave or you may pull your work out of shape or 'buckle' it.

Adding Yarn or Changing Weft Colour:
When you come to the end of a strand of yarn thread up your next strand in the darning needle but start weaving at a point several stitches back from where your last thread ran out. Be sure to put the needle in the same weave position i.e. for a few stitches you will have a double strand in the over and also the under thread positions.  You will find that as you continue to weave past the point where the previous thread ran out that your weave is still in the correct sequence.

When you have woven the loom as far as the thread can be taken - right up to the top of the warp - you will be ready to turn the loom over and weave the back of the loom in exacly the same manner as the first side.

Once both sides are woven you will see there is still a gap between the last warp threads of each side and the top of the cardboard.
The cardboard loom is going to remain inside the weaving giving strength and stability to the coaster.

Weave The Edging:
First you need to bring a thread (the same colour that you have chosen for your edging) up through the top slit, round the back of the tab and and back through the next slit. Continue in this manner round the entire circumference of the loom until every other tab has a thread running across it showing as you face the loom.

Repeat the process for the second round, but this time bringing the threads round the tabs that were previously missed as you face the loom, so that at the end of the round you will now have every tab with a thread round it.

It makes a good finish to use hemming stitches over the final rounds.
Do another round on top of the first and see the results below.

Insert the needle in the last row of the final weave stitch.  The needle should be pointing up as the work faces you.  Take the thread underneath the strand that you have just added round the tab. Bring the thread up and over the top edge of the loom.

Now take the thread down under the tab thread on the other side of the loom.
Catch up the top thread of the last row of the final weave stitch on the reverse side of the loom and return the needle up through the next tab thread to the right.  You will see that you have created a new little warp thread that runs up over the centre of the tab. Continue in this manner working round the entire loom until every tab has a little vertical warp thread over it.

The next step is to fill the gap with weaving where the cardboard shows through.  To do this weave across the new little warp thread that you have just created. Do as many rounds as is required to fill the gap and then turn the work over and the same on the reverse side.

Working on the front, place the needle under the last couple or rows of weaving with the needle pointing up and bring the yarn up from underneath and then over and down the weaving so that a selvedge is worked. 

Do another row over the top of the first row and then turn the work over and do the same on the reverse side of the work.

Finally, turn the coaster on its side and weave a row at the outer edge. If necessary, close the gap, if there is one, by working a hemming stitch over it. A second row of hemming stitching may be done if required. Ensure there are no gaps with the cardboard showing through - you can always run in a few more weave stitches where required to close gaps in the work.

Run in all remaining ends.

Use it every day!!

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