Hints &Tips for Circle Weaving Part 1

Here are a few hints & tips to make your circle weaving even more fun and successful. I hope you enjoy!

Why not use the beginning and end threads from setting up the loom to get started weaving the centre. – Simple but neat and effective.

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Weave in loose ends as you go…..When you come to the end of a particular thread or you want to finish/or start a new  colour, you can weave in the loose ends as you go. Just push your needle and thread towards the centre of the circle for about 1cm and then towards the outer edge of the circle. Carefully trim the loose end. This should trap the loose ends nicely within the woven piece and without the usual knots in the back of the work.  For an even neater finish, you can do this step after you have taken the weaving off the frame, sewing the loose ends on the back of the work instead.

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2/2 Twill Weaving…..Normally, the circle weaving is done in ‘plain weave’ or ‘tabby’ – which means over and under alternate threads. But you can also weave over 2 threads and then under 2 threads as you go round and round. This is called a ’twill’ and it gives a fun spiral effect – kind of like the pattern in the centre of a sunflower.

On a Tiny loom, you can weave a twill almost until the outer edge. On a Mini loom, you can go to about 1/3 or 1/2 way out from the centre before it all gets too loose and ‘floaty’. So, to give a nice finish, you have to change to the usual over and under each thread as you head towards the outer edge of the circle

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Have fun and Save Time with Self Stripping Yarn – Why not try specially dyed yarns (such as printed, dip-dyed, space-dyed and colour change sock yarns) These give ‘strippey’ effects without the hassle of changing threads every five minutes. Most of these yarns also have some sort of colour repeat so you can get some really interesting effects.

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Colour Chasing…..You can also have a go at weaving with two weft yarn colours at the same time. This is where one thread follows the other, resulting in a radiating stripe effect.  First yarn A goes over, under, over, under for a few cm, then yarn B will follow but weave under, the over, under, over – so that the weaving interlacing and sequence remain intact.

However, this sequence only works if you split the double thread that you see as you weave around – (normally, you treat this double thread as if it was a single – but in this case, you need to split it – see photos)

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Choosing a warp colour….Contrasting or subtle blend? This is purely objective and a personal choice of course. I usually like to hide my warp colour at the edge of a circle, just because I think it gives a neater effect, so for the last few rounds of weaving I choose a weft colour that is similar to the warp colour that I set up with. So if I set up a blue warp to start with, I tend to use blueish weft to finish weaving with – see the middle piece in the photo below. The larger bowl on the right has a neutral warp and a yellowish last weft.

In contrast, the bowl on the left hand side, uses totally different colours (deep pink for the warp and yellow for the last weft). This results in a stitch type mark around the outer edge of the circle; which can look cute but definitely pulls your attention.

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Use your embroidery skills, or learn some!….I’ve not great at embroidery but I still remember some basic stitches from school. Why not play around with French knots, back stitch, chain stitch and what ever else you have in your sewing dictionary?  This photo is not a great example, I’m sure you can do better 🙂

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Play around with thick and thin…..To make yarn ‘bowls’ I use a crochet or 4 ply cotton to set up the loom with. This is slightly thicker  – although it’s a bit trickier to work with as its not stretchy – but results in a firmer fabric which holds its bowl shape well (although the centre of the circle isn’t as neat or flat as when you use a Lace weight merino to set up with.)

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I hope these notes are helpful to you. Let me know what else you get up to and I’ll take a few more photos to add to this post.

I’ve got ideas about sparkly threads, metal wire, novelty yarns (I did get hold of some glow-in-the-dark yearn recently!) beads, buttons and sequins. And lastly, what happens when you don’t weave all the way round and round but maybe back and forth in sections?

….so please watch this space – or follow this little blog…..

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