Simple Loom, Unlimited Possibilities

  Small game tiles attached to the
scarf with rubber bands before wet
finishing create spots of texture. 

I absolutely love scarves, and over the last few years I’ve been trying to build a bit of a collection for myself. I have light cotton scarves for mild winter days when I want a buffer between my neck and wool coat. I have a silk scarf for chilly days that I can wear in the office all day and still look (at least in my mind) chic, and a thick cotton rugby-style scarf to keep me extra warm on the freezing days. I have scarves for show and scarves for warmth, but most of all, I have handwoven scarves.

As with all things handwoven, when you weave your own scarves you are in total control of color, quality of materials, and length. While I’ve woven a few scarves on my floor loom, my actual loom of choice for scarves is my rigid-heddle loom.

First, warping is a breeze. If I’m using direct warping, it takes me about 15 minutes start to finish, and even the most complicated of warps can be put on it less than an hour. This means I can start projects on a whim or after work on a weekday. Second, there’s very little loom waste so I can use wonderfully scrumptious luxury yarns usually reserved for knitters.

Lastly, the simplicity of the rigid-heddle loom makes it the perfect vehicle to create some truly creative pieces. Something about that little loom makes it easier to focus on color and texture, plus there are unlimited possibilities with pickup, felting, fulling, and dyeing. Each warp is filled with potential, and I can freely try out any “what-ifs” that might be lurking in the back of my mind without having to resley, change the tie-up, or keep track of treadling—it’s all incredibly freeing.

My current rigid-heddle weaving obsession is the new book Woven Scarves by Jane Patrick and Stephanie Flynn Sokolov. It’s filled with twenty-six unique handwoven scarf projects that can all be woven on a rigid-heddle loom. My copy of the book is already filled with sticky notes marking both projects to add to my list of “things to weave” and ideas to try out in my own designs.

As I write this post, the temperature is well below zero and I have about eight inches of snow in my backyard. I think it’s time to weave up a new scarf!


Christina Garton

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