Warp: the yarn or other type of string or cord that is stretched over a loom, typically the vertical strings on a loom. Weft: the yarn or other type of string or cord that is woven back and forth, typically horizontally across the warp.
As time went by, and as I looked at the woven cloths that made up all the shirts and pants and rugs and linens and blankets and curtains that I see every day, I became interested in weaving some cloth myself to understand it a bit more.
There are weaving experts out there and I advise you to seek them out; here is my novice experience in starting to weave. The purpose of this page is to inspire people to try weaving something and to encourage those folks to learn from experts; my goal is not for this to be a resource for expert knowledge on the topic of weaving....because it is not. Weave away people! It is easy, and fun, and endlessly challenging if you want it to be.
I made a really big loom and a really little loom; they are both fun! I will show the construction of the looms below along with details on a small weaving project below.
A loom is a device upon which one set ups fibers in rows, into which are woven other fibers, in order to make a woven surface.
Small 3D Printed Loom:
Here is my very simple yet study, basic loom. I string up the warp and then use a long needle to weave the weft across the warp strings.
You could buy a little loom such as this, or make one out of wood or cardboard. I designed mine on Fusion 360 and 3D printed it. This 3D printed loom was printed in PLA on my Prusa i3 MK3S with 50% infill. There are 5 EPI, or "ends-per-inch" on this loom; which indicates the spacing of the notches, which corroesponds to how many warp strands you will have per inch. The little green bars raise the warp up above the loom-frame which makes it easier to weave the weft through the warp in my opinion.
Here are the CAD files (.stl) if you want to print this loom:
Weaving a Wool Coaster on the Mini Loom:
A common mistake that I made on earlier projects, was to weave to tightly around the outer edges (selvedge) which results in the woven cloth necking in and getting narrower and narrower as you weave. Be careful not to over tighten the weft when you loop around the outer edges of your weaving, and also leave a "hill" like this in the weft before you beat it down.
There are many ways to finish off the warp strings that extend from the top and bottom. You could braid three together and leave them long, you could tie them all and leave long tassles, you could stitch the ends into the weaving. I tied square knots and trimmed the ends short. Here is a photo of square knots tied using two warps per knot.
Here I am starting to stitch a loose end back into the weaving. Keep the loose end within the bar of same color. Also do your best to keep the loose end on the bottom face of the weaving so that it can't be seen from the other side (top of the weaving), make sure all the tails come out on the back side of the weaving.
Other Woven Coaster Ideas!
Building an Extra Large Tapestry Loom! 55" Wide x 65" Tall
These look wonderful when all the warp is on the loom and all the heddle bars are all strung up. Here are some photo's of the loom I built. This is not a detailed instruction, but some photo's that may inspire you to try something similar.
Here is the loom with the warp installed. You will see a round rod towards the bottom of the loom. The warp wraps around that rod, and as I weave, I can pull that rod up and pull the woven fabric down around the bottom of the loom, which will expose new, unwoven warp to weave into, in order to make a longer piece of fabric as I weave.
With the warp installed on the loom, I took a long length of strong cotton string and threaded the heddle bars to the warp. If you look closely, you can see that the upper bar grabs the 2nd warp from the left, and then every other warp thereafter. The lower bar grabs every other warp that is not grabbed by the upper bar. When I pull a bar forward, every other warp is pulled forward allow me to quickly pass the weft (on the shuttle) through the resulting gap in the warps. When weaving you pull one bar, pass the shuttle, beat down the weft, then put that bar back and lift the other bar, pass the shuttle the other way, and so on.