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.
Weaving by hand on a small loom that can be held in one's hand is such a peaceful, therapeutic, creative endeavor. I encourage you to try it. Small hand looms can be made cheaply , or bought.
On this page I will show the steps I used to make the Hudson Bay Company themed coasters in the photo below, and then I will show photos of other woven coaster ideas at the bottom.
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.
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.
Native American Themed Wool Coaster
This coaster was my first attempt at tapestry style weaving where you weave multiple colors in a row in order to make a design. For this coaster I want longer tassles left over at the, as seen in the photo below, so I wrapped the warp all the way around the back of the loom each time as I strung the warp into the notches at the top and bottom of the loom.
Plaid Style Weaving
Here is a coaster idea with three different colors of warp strings. I will use single warp strings for this project and each time I weave the weft across I will use a doubled up yarn strand. This will result in a "warp facing weave" in which the warp strings will be visible.
Thicker sevedge (selvedge is the out warp strands that make up the right and left edge of the piece) and twice the warp strands, make this piece 10 EPI (ends per inch, or 10 warp strings per inch, vs the spacing of the notches in the loom which are at 5EPI).
I warped the loom this time with unmercerized cotton. I noticed many woven pieces that have more strands at the selvedge, so I wrapped 5 strands in every notch for the right and left selvedges. Then for the rest of the warp strands, I put two strands in each notch. Then I wove in two twining stitches at the bottom of the loom and two twining stitches at the top to spread out the warps that were wrapped in the notches.