How to Add Fabric to Weaving

hello hydrangea add fabric weaving tutorial1

If you've been following me for a while, you know how much I love to add extra Embellishments to my work. They are usually vintage/found beads, trim or stones from around the world. I love that they add to the story of my pieces, beyond my own designs.

Adding fabric is definitely an an unconventional embellishment to tapestries... but that's what I love about it. It's raw and unexpected! It may not fit with everyone's style, but I wanted to share for the people who are curious and have been asking me questions. Tutorials are one of my favorite ways to spread the weaving fever!

hello hydrangea add fabric weaving tutorial

The first step is to cut your fabric into the shape that you want it to be on your tapestry. This requires preparing the length of your tapestry to be the same as your fabric swatch while warping, if it needs to work into your design.

hello hydrangea add fabric weaving tutorial

Once your fabric is cut, use it as a template to weave the same shape on your loom. Yes, this backing will get covered up... yes it is required to do even though your hard work will get cover d up (remind yourself that it's for the sake of quality!)... and yes, use a color/material of yarn that you don't mind getting rid of. It won't be seen after all!

hello hydrangea add fabric weaving tutorial

Now finish most, if not the rest, of your tapestry. I've found that it's easier to add the fabric after all of your rows are in place instead of trying to work around the attached fabric.

hello hydrangea add fabric weaving tutorial

When you are ready to add your fabric lay it on top of the woven backing. I prefer to attach it around the edges using a blanket stitch. You can use thread/yarn that is the same color as the fabric for minimal contrast. Tie a knot onto a warp string to hold the stitch in place and tuck the tail. Guide your needle up through the back of the tapestry, about 1/2" from the edge of the fabric. Before pulling the thread tight, guide your needle back through the loop that is created before pushing it up through the back of the tapestry again. 

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Continue along the entire perimeter of the fabric. If you run out of thread, use the weavers knot to add more and tuck the tails. If you get to a corner, complete the stitch as normal... it will work just fine.

hello hydrangea add fabric weaving tutorial

If you attempt this technique please tag me and use #welcometoweaving! Want to learn more? Check out my complete video weaving courses for beginners or intermediate level weavers below! This is a fairly advanced method because you need to know all of the basics of tapestry weaving such as warping, tabby weave, making shapes, twining curves and any other techniques to finish your tapestry.  If you want to learn how to weave so that your tapestries are well-made and easier to finish you can find all of my tricks and tips in any of my classes!

Weaving How To: Warping Low vs. High Density

how to warp a weaving loom

I think that it is essential for a loom to be versatile enough that you can execute any design you imagine. That is why my husband and I designed and built my looms so that you can adjust the length and tension of the warp, as well as making it wide enough to accommodate small projects along with big ideas. But, another nifty trick is changing the density of your warp strings. 

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A low density warp

is perfect for beginners and quick projects with large yarn. Imagine you are working on a soumac weave with large caterpillars of roving crawling across. Having a low density warp is perfect to keep your knots wide and fluffy. 

A high density warp

is my personal favorite because it allows you to create more shapes, namely curves. The more options you have for your weft to stair-step up, the smoother the sides of your shapes appear. High density warp is essential for creating details and although it takes more time, it will result in a tighter weave.

 Let me show you how to easily create both types of warp. First, there are two ways to tie on warp. You can either double knot it quickly around one notch or more securely around the whole frame. Either way works fine!

First, low density warp is achieved by looping your warp around every other notch. That means that even though each slit will have a warp string either exiting or entering, only every other notch will have a loop from your warp wrapped around it.

Now, high density warp is achieved by looping your warp around every notch. That means that though each slit will have two warp strings, one entering and one exiting, and every other notch will have a loop from your warp wrapped around it.

It's that easy! Want to get really adventurous? Try a weave with both types of warp in it... I'm not sure how it would work, tension-wise, but it would be fun to experiment!

How To: Low Immersion Hand Dying

I love weaving with yarn that has a handmade touch. Whether it's spun or dyed, it makes my weaves stand out!

Fiberhuis.com

reached out to ask if I would be interested in trying out their reactive dye kit and I was quick to jump on it. They include everything you need to try out different dying methods, but the best part is their easy to understand handbook. It explains everything so clearly. The easiest way to dye fibers like cotton and silk so that the color lasts is to use fiber reactive dye. Let me show you how much fun I had!

Shop their kit HERE

The first step is to soak the fiber in warm water with detergent. Fiberhuis even includes a great detergent in their kit. This cleans the yarn thoroughly so that the color can stick. Even though it may look clean, the water was a nasty yellow by the end. It made me want to wash all of my yarn!

I chose to try the low immersion method (this creates a variegated, speckled effect.) After the yarn was cleaned and rinsed I scrunched it up and stuffed it into a container so that there were no empty spaces between pieces. I poured 3 cups in the container with the fiber, just so that it filled up to where the yarn ended. There should be some pieces of yarn actually sticking out of the water. I mixed up the dye and poured it in stripes across the top of the yarn and let it sit. If you want, you could pour some other colors in the spaces that didn't get dyed for a rainbow effect.

My yarn was scrunched pretty tight so I had to use a paintbrush to poke some of the dye below the top layer. The longer you let the dye sit, the darker it gets. If you want to add another layer of depth mix up some soda ash in water and pour that in a few spots over the dye. This is supposed to darken the color.

I didn't take any photos of rinsing the yarn and hanging it to dry, but Fiberhuis made it so easy to experiment with hand dying. I got a pretty pale indigo color that I can't wait to weave with, and it happened in about an afternoon. If I had added more dye or let it sit longer the color would have darkened, but I ended up loving the hue and the variegation in color. Fiberhuis includes instructions for many more dying techniques - I can't wait to try them all! Thanks Brittany, for a pretty cool kit. Now I'm on the search for more things to dye, pronto!