Only a few days until my family arrives in London, and I have to say that my decorating/re-decorating has reached a slight fever pitch!
One area that I have been DELIGHTED to finally have tackled is the area at the top of the stairs. It was a big blank space and now there is color, texture, and art, and best of all it was FREE! See that big, touchable weaving on the right? It is made entirely of fabric scraps from my stash, t shirt yarn (which I’ll show you how to make below) and woven on the back of an art piece that had been hanging in my living room. I love these kinds of “use what you’ve got” projects, particularly when they turn out so well!
Also, I’m sharing the tutorial for this T Shirt Yarn Heart Weaving today over on The Sewing Rabbit if you want all of the details of my slight obsession with weaving. 🙂
First, gather your supplies.
A note about the optional but helpful items:
The long stick will be used as a shed. (If you have a shed already, great! But I’m trying to show you how to do this all without having to run to the store for anything new
.) This can be a long knitting needle, dowel rod, (clean) paint stirrer…you get the idea . A shed is woven through your warp and stays in the loom as you are weaving. It saves you time and effort because each time that you want to weave that particular up/down pattern, you simply raise the shed slightly and run your fabric yarn underneath it.
The fabric tuner (or a loop turner) is a sewing tool used to turn a narrow strip of fabric inside out, like a spaghetti strap. BUT in weaving it is perfect for grabbing the end of your fabric strip, securing it in the little hook closure, and pulling the strip easily back through the warp. Paired with the shed it makes the weaving go much more quickly.
I’ll show you both of these in action below. They are so great together.
First up, make t-shirt yarn for your loom’s warp, which is the vertical strings that you will be the base of your weaving.
If you have old t-shirts that you want to upcycle these make perfect t-shirt yarn as well. Cut your fabric in horizontal strips, about 1/2″ to 3/4″ wide and pull them until they stretch into long skinny cords. Don’t worry about needing one long continuous string, the glue gun can easily and discreetly attach the ends together so that you can continue weaving with several shorter strands.
Next, get/make a loom. I have an adjustable loom but even in the largest setting it was smaller than what I was looking for, so I took a took a long canvas frame that was hanging in our living room, flipped it to the back and hammered nails 1/2″ apart along the top edges, and used it as my loom. Even with slightly crooked nails it worked perfectly.
Take the end of your t-shirt yarn, knot the end around the top of the first nail, wind it down around the bottom nail, and continue on this up and down pattern until your loom is full. Make another small knot at the end of your t-shirt yarn and slip it over one of the nails on the end. You have just made your warp!
Be aware that because this is a stretchy t-shirt yarn, once you remove it from the loom it will shrink up in length. If you want to keep the length make sure that there is a bit of slack in your warp and that it is not pulled too tightly.
Now it’s time to make the fabric strips that you will be weaving.
This is a perfect time to use your scraps! Pull out your basket(s?) of scraps, salvages, and any fabric that looked really pretty in the store/online but didn’t work out. (My warp is made entirely out of an inexpensive but horrible feeling polyester knit. So glad to finally put it to some use!!)
Go through your scraps and look for anything that is roughly as wide as your loom or longer. You don’t need a really long continuous piece (I’ll show you why in a minute.) TIPS:
-Look for fabric in varying textures: knits, wovens, linens, sweater knit, french terry, etc.
-Be sure to grab any fabric that has different looks on each sides (like terry or a double-sided fabric would be perfect.)
-This is also a good time to go through your clothes for up cycling-100% cotton t shirts make the best fabric yarn.
Now it’s time to cut. Get your rotary cutter and mat and cut each piece to your desired width. I cut my wovens about 3/8″ and my knits 1/2″ because I knew they would shrink as I pulled them taut.
Now is the moment of excitement, time to weave!!
Pick a fabric and start weaving about an inch from the base.
If you have the shed stick in your warp, you can simply slide the fabric turner through the up/down pattern that you have just created with the shed, hook the end on the edge of your first strip of fabric, and carefully pull it through to the other side.
When you reach the end you simply wrap the fabric around the outer edge of the warp and go back again the other direction, alternating the up/down pattern that you used on the previous line.
Now the beautiful thing about using fabric scraps for this weaving is that you can pair them with a tiny dab from a glue gun and it makes for lots of ease and happiness. As I went along, whenever I wanted to change colors or my fabric was about to run out, I used a tiny dab of hot glue to join my old fabric strip to my new fabric strip, and then just kept on weaving. No loose tails hanging off of the back, no knots, no problems.
Whenever I reached the end of a row, I used my comb to carefully push the fabric strip up against the previous row and then carried on with my weaving.
I just loved making this. It was easy, relaxing to work on, and it came together so quickly!
When I reached the end of my weaving, I slide a branch through the top and bottom loops of my weaving, making sure that each loop encircled the branch.
Then I carefully slide each loop off each nail until they were all on the branch, tied some string on the outer edges of the top branch, and hung it up.
I decided that I didn’t like the branch as much as a dowel rod for this project so I switched it out afterwards. But I would recommend having a few choices on hand before you remove it from the frame, because transferring it from the branch to the dowel rod was not my favorite thing. But this hanging is.
It’s such a happy little grouping.
Great at the top of the stairs, right?
Now go check out the T-Shirt Yarn Heart Weaving on The Sewing Rabbit
. It’s my first DIY there and my second ever post, and I love it!!