Handwoven Home: Learning Behind the Scenes
One of the things I love about working at Interweave: whenever I take on a new book project, I can take a deep dive into a craft with expert guidance. These days, I’m diving into rigid-heddle weaving. I’ve always been fascinated by looms and have used frame looms for simple projects such as those in Rachel Denbow’s DIY Woven Art. But rigid-heddle weaving intimidated me—until I started to work with author Liz Gipson on her new book, Handwoven Home: Techniques, Tips, and Projects for the Rigid-Heddle Loom.
When we shot photos in our Fort Collins office, I spent a few days in the studio with our photographer George Boe and Liz herself. Since Handwoven Home includes technique chapters as well as home décor projects, we wanted to shoot detailed step-by-step photos. And for me, personally, there was an added goal: learning as much as I could about rigid-heddle weaving.
Although I’d been working with Liz for some time on this book, our time together at the photo shoot really drove home some of her best advice for someone who had found rigid-heddle weaving a little scary. Grab a copy of the Handwoven Home eBook in the Interweave store for many other must-have tips!
Rigid-heddle weaving is yarn friendly! I can use my favorite knitting yarns when weaving on a rigid-heddle loom. Yes, it seems silly now, but I had it in my head that the yarns would be different (despite working with Liz on her yarn selections for the book). Liz taught me how to pick the right yarn for the finished project. Sportweight and DK yarns work well for curtain fabric or pillow covers that require sewing; worsted yarns create cozy throws and absorptive towels; bulky yarns make great woven rugs.
Always weave a header. As a novice, I thought I could start weaving right after I warped the loom. However, Liz taught me to weave a header with scrap yarn, which helps to spread out the warp evenly. After the project comes off the loom, you carefully remove this header, leaving extra-long warp threads for fringe or braid.
Double your width with doubleweave. You can double the width of the fabric on your loom with a weave structure called doubleweave. I thought this was only possible on 4- and 8-shaft looms, but Liz shows how to do it successfully on a rigid-heddle loom too. The step-by-step photos in Handwoven Home show exactly how to master this highly useful technique. I’m eager to give it a try: Liz shares a pattern for a beautiful doubleweave pillow that would look great in my living room.
Finishing touches are important. I had no idea there were so many ways you can finish your weaving once it’s off the loom! Again, my novice brain figured you cut the warp threads and hope for the best, but obviously that’s not the case. You can knot warp threads into beautiful fringe finishes. Liz shares complete instructions for staggered knots, staggered bound warp, staggered macramé square knots, 4-stranded flat braids, and a woven edge.
Armed with these tips from Handwoven Home, I feel much more confident as I sit at my new birthday present: a rigid-heddle loom. I’m having a hard time choosing which project to weave first, though. My dining room needs placemats; my kitchen could use dish towels; my living room needs throw pillows, and a krokbragd rug would be awesome in the master bath! What do you think? When you weave for the home, what’s your favorite type of project? Share in the comments below.
Editorial Director, Books
Featured Image: Behind the scenes, a trolley full of looms at the shoot for Handwoven Home.
Start weaving for your home today!