It’s Never too Early to Start Holiday Weaving
All right, weavers—it’s officially autumn, which means the “holiday season” will soon be upon us. There will be dinner and parties (and dinner parties) celebrating Thanksgiving, Winter Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. If you’re like me, this means it’s time to start planning your holiday weaving.
I love to give handwoven scarves, towels, and other special items to friends and family. With the exception of last year, when I was very pregnant, I’ve woven gifts every holiday season since I started weaving, and in that time I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks.
1. Don’t weave everything “custom.”
When I first started, I wanted to weave the perfect items for every person. I’d pick just the right draft, palette, and yarn. Designing is one of my favorite parts of weaving, but I soon learned that this path led to madness. Ten custom projects every year just isn’t feasible, so instead I choose 1 or 2 people to receive a special gift. I get to have fun designing something to be “just so” without feeling like I need to do a rush job.
2. Weave lots of projects on one warp.
My go-to holiday gift projects are towels. They’re fun and easy to weave, they make excellent host gifts wrapped around a bottle of wine or in a basket of baked goodies, and you can weave a ton at once. My modus operandi in these cases is to put on a long warp, big enough to weave at least 8 towels, so I can get all my holiday towel weaving done in one go. I use different wefts and change the tie-ups and treadling to make each towel different. If you have an 8-shaft loom and need a starting point, Dorothy’s Dozen Towels are the perfect project; one warp will give you 12 beautiful towels, and because it’s twill, you can play around with the treadling to your heart’s content.
3. Rigid-heddle looms are perfect for weaving gifts with extra-special yarns.
In the past I’ve praised the rigid-heddle loom as the loom of choice for last-minute gifts, but it’s also a great loom for using extra special yarns in the warp and weft. While you’ll lose up to a yard of yarn to loom waste on a floor loom, with the rigid-heddle loom you’ll end up with much less on your studio floor—especially if you plan some of it into the project as fringe. Rigid-heddle looms are perfect for yarns with color variegation and fashion yarns, too. Check out the scarves in the 2017 issue of Easy Weaving with Little Looms for some great ideas—the Fortunata Major Scarf is a great example of special yarns used to weave something extra-wonderful with very little waste.
4. Pin looms are perfect for plushies.
If you want to weave something cute and cuddly, look to the pin loom! Believe it or not, flat squares can be used to create dragons, sheep, and many other wonderful 3-dimensional creations. The best part is you don’t need to cut any of your weaving; just fold and sew it together in creative ways. Need some guidance? Check out Pin Loom Weaving in New Dimensions, and learn from Deb Essen!
5. It’s never too early to start planning your holiday weaving.
If you’re reading this when it’s first published at the end of September, you might say to yourself, “I don’t need to worry yet. I have months—months, I say!—before I have to have anything finished.” Let me give you the same advice that people give me about being a mom: Treasure every moment, because the days are slow but the months are fast. Before you know it, you’ll need that first host gift, and you’ll feel so much better if it’s woven and ready to go.
So there you have it: 5 tips to help you with your holiday weaving. I hope these help you get started, and if you weave something wonderful, I’d love to see it! Send your holiday photos to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line Holiday Weaving, and you might see your photos in an upcoming blog post or newsletter!
Happy (Holiday) Weaving!
Start your holiday weaving today!