It’s Just Yarn—Jump into Weaving

As many times as you tell beginning weavers that it’s just yarn, most still worry about the whole warping the loom thing. Case in point: At Yarn Fest 2017, I demonstrated direct warping on a rigid-heddle loom 3 times. I demonstrated the process and then invited people to come up and try it themselves because I firmly believe that muscle memory is the key to remembering physical techniques. One woman came to all 3 sessions, and although I did my best to entice her, she wouldn’t try it. At Yarn Fest 2018, I happened to run into her again, and once we figured out how we knew each other, I asked if she had warped her loom yet. Her reply, “No, I’m still not ready.”

It made me wonder what makes someone hesitant to jump into weaving. She made the initial commitment of buying a loom, and since she is a spinner, she must have some yarn, and I’m willing to bet she probably also has a stash of commercially spun yarn. There are lots of book and video resources available. So what was stopping her? Was it the fear of wasting yarn, or was it more than that?

Jump into Weaving

Three weavers from the Syracuse Weavers Guild used thread from the Tintes Naturales Frienship Towels Kit to weave towels of their own design. Photo credit: George Boe

Sometimes we build up an idea of perfection in our heads and think that anything less will be failure. Experienced weavers will tell you that they have had many projects come out differently than they had planned. I’m personally thrilled that my first sampler is rotting away in a landfill in Connecticut, but that didn’t stop me from warping a loom again and weaving a set of placemats. Okay, so those went to the local thrift shop, and the chenille scarves that followed them didn’t work out so well either, but I kept on, each time learning more about warping my loom and weaving until I finally was able to weave projects I was proud of.

Jump into Weaving

Placemats I wove this year that aren’t going to the thrift store. Photo credit: George Boe

Warping a loom is never a waste of yarn or time, but it isn’t simple. Start with the goal of learning to warp correctly and let go of the dream of the perfect project. Ask a friend for help, read books and watch videos. Put on short warps so that you have to warp often. I guarantee you will soon “get” the warping process, and that will allow you to move toward weaving projects you can be proud of. You just have to jump in.

Weave well,

New to weaving? We have all sorts of books and videos to help you learn warping and all sorts of other weaving techniques.


  1. Anonymous at 9:22 am August 10, 2018

    Couldn’t agree more. Even though my first and main loom (I’ve since added 2 smaller looms) is a 32″ Rigid Heddle loom, every time I warp it (as time consuming as it may seem) I learn something new. I use double heddles and make dish towels by children think work better than convention dish towels, and the baby blankets are so much fun to design and weave……Sometimes, when things don’t go exactly as planned the surprise is they often come out better than what I originally planned. So just go for it!

  2. Anonymous at 12:45 pm August 10, 2018

    My first project was a Moro scarf which I beat too tight so it is kinda stiff. I have not tried anything else yet as am waiting for 10 dent heddles to arrive to make dish towels. But still unsure what size cotton yarn to use.

  3. Annec C at 3:34 am August 12, 2018

    I’ve learned more from the warps that have gone wrong than from the ones that were fine … just a shame about the wefts. I love my table runner but there are bumps caused by not leaving enough bubble … I now have a row of large decorative candles along the runner and it looks great. My 28 inch rigid heddle loom is about to change to a double heddle so there will be yet more hilarity as I experiment with warping that. Learn to laugh … warping and wefting are fun lol.

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