8 Essential weaving tools every beginner should have to hand
Perhaps you’ve just started weaving, or have always wanted to try, but feel confused by the amount of tools available when you google what you need; there’s a lot out there! To help you out, we’ve used our experience and knowledge to pull together a run-down of the essential tools you’ll need to get started. Some, you’ll already have in your home, others you’ll need to buy, but let’s keep things simple so you can focus on being creative.
1. A loom
A loom provides you with the framework for your weave. It is threaded with warp so that you can weave through different colours and types of ‘filling’, such as yarn.
We struggled to find a small weaving loom that would make weaving simple for everyone, so we designed our own with you in mind! Easy to construct and great for beginners, our Pop-Up Loom gives you the space to make a woven piece up to 25cm x 25cm, enough to enable you to get to grips with weaving, but without the giant commitment a bigger loom demands. It’s also very light weight so you can weave comfortably on your lap and is small enough to store easily.
Warp is the thread which run up and down your loom. We have found that the best fibre for warp thread is cotton; it's soft and pliable, yet sturdy and strong with no stretch. The warp can be any colour you choose! As you practise, try experimenting with different colours to see the interesting effects they can have. We offer the option to adda 50g ball of white or black cotton warp with our Pop-Up Loom.
Weft is the yarns, wools, roving, fabric scraps, ribbon etc that you use to weave through the warp, left and right and right to left, to create your woven finish. You can be as creative as you like with your weft; try ripping up old t-shirts or jeans and experiment with different textures! Our Weaving Kits contain both weft and warp, as well as a tapestry needle, and are the perfect place to start your weaving journey.
A shuttle is used to hold your working length of weft whilst you’re weaving bigger sections (for smaller or detailed areas, you can also use a tapestry needle). You can wrap plenty of weft around your shuttle using a Figure of Eight method so that the weft sits on the sides of your shuttle enabling it to easily fit through your warp threads.
5. A Comb
Each time you complete a line of weaving, use a comb to push and beat down your weft so that it fits snuggly against the previous line. This will prevent you getting gaps in your weaving (unless you are intentionally leaving a gap!). Our Pop-Up Loom comes with a comb and two shuttles, so you are ready to go.
6. Tapestry Needle
Use a tapestry needle, which is straight with a large eye and blunt tip, to weave your weft through your loom. The large eye of the needle allows you to use a wide range of yarns with different ‘weights’ or thicknesses and is perfect for smaller, more detailed sections of your weaving. Our Weaving Kits also include a tapestry needle to get you started.
7. Shed Stick (or a smooth-edged ruler, piece of card or dowel)
A shed stick is useful in several ways.
Firstly, a shed stick can be woven along the bottom of your loom before starting a weaving to create a good foundation onto which you can push down your weaving stitches. It also helps to keep the weaving nice and straight. A piece of card is perfect for this purpose.
Secondly, a shed stick can be woven into the warp, turned on its side, and is doing so, make space for your roving or yarn to easily be woven through the Warp without getting tangled up.
TIP: Make sure you use a shed stick which is wider than your warp so that it provides even support, end to end.
8. Pair of Scissors
Regular kitchen or craft scissors are perfect for cutting yarn, roving or fabric and embroidery scissors are ideal for finer thread or detailed areas.
In summary, to start weaving you will need;
- Pop-Up- Loom plus your own stash of warp, cotton weft and needles OR
- A Weaving Kit - Warp thread, Weft yarns and roving wool, Tapestry Needle, Shuttles and a Comb plus detailed instructions and pattern.
- A Shed Stick (Length of card, dowel or round-edge ruler).
- Pair of Scissors.
- To hang your finished weaving – A length of dowel (we have some here!), wood, copper piping or similar.
There are countless other tools on the market but if you start with these basics, you can build your confidence and experiment as you go. If you create any woven makes, do share it with us using #hawthornhandmade or tagging us on Instagram @hawthornhandmade
Founder & Creative Director, Hawthorn Handmade