Weaving with Novelty Yarn

Recently I’ve been looking at a lot of rigid-heddle loom projects, because I’m working on the 2017 issue of Easy Weaving with Little Looms. The projects are really spectacular (although I admit to being completely biased). Vibrant colors, delightful textures—there’s just so much to love! So many of these projects are striking because rigid-heddle weavers have no fear of using novelty yarn. Maybe it’s because they use their looms for plain weave, where special pops of color, bits of shimmer, or a unique texture can take a project from blah to beautiful. Maybe it’s because many rigid-heddle weavers come from the world of knitting and they’re used to using these sorts of yarn. Either way, I think floor looms weavers could benefit from embracing novelty yarns in their own work.

Obviously, novelty yarns raise some questions for floor-loom weavers. How do we know what can be used in the warp and what should be weft? How do we set lumpy bumpy yarns? How can we make sure my novelty yarns are the star of the piece and don’t get overshadowed?

Novelty Yarn

Tom talks novelty yarns in his video Weaving with Novelty Yarns.

Fortunately there is help, and it comes in the form of Tom Knisely. Tom might not seem like the sort of gent who indulges in weaving with shimmering, lumpy-bumpy, variegated novelty yarns. I know I was surprised when I first found out! I knew Tom as a rug-weaver extraordinaire who shared my love for historic textiles. Then I saw his video Weaving with Novelty Yarns and was absolutely blown away by the ways he used these non-traditional yarns to create beautiful—and stable—fabrics on his floor loom.

If you’ve never thought about using novelty yarns before in your weaving, consider giving them a try! You might end up loving the way they can give your projects more textural interest, or how they make you think in new ways about color and structure. If you’re looking for ways to pump up your weaving, or simply want to use those gorgeous skeins of rayon boucle that came home with you from a fiber show, you’ll definitely want to check out Tom’s video.

Happy weaving!

Featured Image: Tom talks novelty yarns in his video Weaving with Novelty Yarns.

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  1. Gale R at 6:11 am March 5, 2018

    I just bought Tom’s video and learned so much! He is a wonderful teacher. Can you please tell me what type of loom he is weaving on? It looks so much easier than my 8-shaft countermarch. I am in the market for a new floor loom and his looks great. Thank you for any information!

    • Tamara Schmiege at 9:49 am March 5, 2018

      Hi, Gale! We are so glad that you like Tom’s video. He certainly is a great teacher. We think it might be a Schacht Might Wolf jack loom because of the slot on the side. You could email his school [email protected] to ask for more information on the loom.

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