Freeform, SAORI-Inspired Weaving on the Cricket Loom


If you are an avid fiber crafter, there’s a good chance that you’ve taken notice of weaving and the incredible surge in popularity this craft has been experiencing. Perhaps you’ve even dipped a toe in the water, having purchased a small rigid heddle loom for yourself before you order that special floor loom. Soon, you think, you’ll be freeform weaving Saori-style, just like the pros you see on Instagram.

Well, here’s a little known fact: Saori-style, freeform weaving can be done on any kind of loom, and The Cricket Loom is the perfect vehicle for delving into all of your own freeform and Saori-based weaving experiments.

What is Saori?
This free-style form of weaving, which originated in Japan, is all about exhibiting one’s true self through expressive, no-rules weaving. Saori, which means a process to uncover the hidden power of creativity, was founded by Misao Jo, who discovered through a missed warp thread that there is unique human value in a non-machine-like fabric. Saori is based on the Japanese aesthetic of Wabi-Sabi, or the acceptance of imperfection. Whatever is woven is perfect as it is: broken and repaired warp threads, lumpy selvedges, whatever … These irregularities represent the uniqueness of human-made woven cloth as compared to a “perfectly” woven cloth. Imperfections, on all levels, are to be embraced. Most of all, Saori encourages the inclusion of anyone who wishes to weave.

As a new weaver myself, exploring free-style weaving using my 15-inch Cricket rigid heddle loom has allowed me to learn by doing, without fearing results which may be somehow “wrong.”
When I first posted the photos of my orange scarf on my various social media platforms, I received dozens of questions from other Cricket owners asking for specifics on how I came to create this exact scarf. Here’s the thing: It cannot be reproduced; it is one of a kind, created from 100 percent handspun yarns at a specific point in time. However, after speaking with the nice folks at Schacht Spindle Company, we decided that a “Freeform Cricket Loom Scarf” was in order to help owners of rigid heddle looms learn to feel more comfortable with their own weaving.

orange scarf saori debbi held schacht
Orange Scarf by Debbie Held

Selecting yarn and heddle size
While I weave exclusively with my own handspun yarns, freeform weaving can and should be accomplished with almost any commercial yarn you have on hand. You may even mix yarn weights together if your heddle/reed is spaced accordingly to support the size of your yarn, though for a first project I would recommend dramatic differences in yarn size be left for weft (weaving side to side) and not for your warp.

Both the 10-and 15-inch Crickets come with an 8-dent heddle, but this recipe works equally well with the 10-dent (which has more slots/holes per inch and yields a slightly lighter weight fabric) and of course with the variable dent reed.

Building a color palette
For assured visual success, create a color palette. Select a main color (MC) from one favorite skein of fingering–DK-weight yarn, and then add to your color scheme from there.

What you’ll need for this project:
● 1 (3.5 oz) skein of fingering-DK-weight yarn in your main color (MC); tonal, semi-solid or solid being ideal.
● 1–2 skeins (3.5 oz total, so partial skeins are fine) of coordinating colored (CC) yarns, featuring a darker or lighter version of your MC plus at least one more additional color; color repeats are ideal, e.g. speckles, space-dyed, even self-patterning repeats.
● Several yards of one color pop (CP) yarn, something that stands out against your other yarns/colors.
● Bits and pieces of yarn from stash with some “extra textural personality” (think: novelty yarn, ribbon yarn, eyelash, etc. You know you still have some…) in MC, CC and/or CP. You’ll only need a few yards of each.

Not so great with color, you say? Fear not! Here are some easy ways to feel more confident in your color-gathering results:
● Trust your yarn stash and the dyers who helped you to cultivate it. Base your choices off of what you already love.
● Think of a simple theme and go with the colors it makes you think of (blues in winter; reds and oranges in fall; greys on a rainy day; etc.).
● Look at an online color wheel for added assistance.
● Try going monochromatic, using varying shades/hues of your MC and letting yarns with texture do all the work.
● If you’d rather weave with two colors, weave with two colors. It’s your weaving!

Warping the loom

If you’re new to warping a rigid heddle loom, this 3-minute video from Liz Gipson is remarkably concise and clear. I have a 15-inch Cricket, and I like my scarves warped at around 10–12 inches wide, so I tie on 1.5–2.5 inches from one side and simply work across my apron bar until I’m the same distance away from the other side. (If you’re using a 10-inch Cricket or another, narrower rigid heddle loom, go ahead and warp the entire width, unless you want a narrower scarf.) I clamp my warping peg to a bar stool and set it at 90–95 inches away from my working table, measuring from the back of the loom.

If you are comfortable with warping, tie on a second color—any from your palette—off-center, toward one side of the warp. Just eyeball it. Warp one or two slots with this second color, then tie it off and return to using your MC.

While you should have more than enough yarn for this particular project, remember that with freeform weaving there are no “mistakes”—not as one would normally consider them. Make do. You have plenty of yarn in your color collection.

Freeform Weaving

Finally, the best part: weaving.
Weave freely, inspired by your yarn selection, your mood, the weather. Try not to be too stringent about yarn placement nor about order of use, especially. Vary the order in which you weave your colors and stagger the number or rows or inches you weave with each. Every here and again, vary the yarn size (if such a choice is among your yarn selection), texture, and so on. Experiment to your heart’s content. For added zing, leave a few ends dangling when you are switching yarns, then come back and add beads to some of them (or just leave them plain) during finishing. I like to hemstitch the beginning and end of my weaving. When you can’t weave any further, remove your weaving from the loom. Finish it by soaking in a tepid bath with wool-safe wash, roll it in a towel to remove excess water, and then lay or hang to dry. Don’t be surprised to see shrinkage of approximately 10 percent. Trim your fringe using sharp scissors. (I like my fringe about 3 inches long.)

(Please note: the texture in my scarves is made up mainly from the inclusion of dyed sheep locks. I just wove them right into my fabric.)

All photos and weaving by Debbie Held.

There is simply no better way to learn any new skill than by learning through doing. As a newer weaver and an insatiable spinner, I have found my 15-inch Cricket loom to be the jelly to my handspinning’s peanut butter: delicious apart, but even more perfect together.






To learn more about SAORI weaving visit:

Debbie Held

Debbie Held is an Atlanta-based freelance writer who is fixated on handspinning and wool. She may be reached through her website, She is doodler01 on both Ravelry and Instagram (where she now posts her own weaving photos).

Try Something New: progressing from a rigid heddle loom to a shaft loom

For the past 10 years, I’ve been weaving on the Flip or Cricket Loom, exploring and writing about rigid heddle weaving. Now I’m yearning to get back to working with shafts (also called harnesses) to study weave structures again.
If you are currently weaving on a rigid heddle loom, the difference between a rigid heddle loom and a shaft loom is that you have more pattern possibilities. On a rigid heddle loom, you create patterns with either a pick-up stick or by using finger-controlled weaves (You can check out my book, The Weaver’s Idea Book, to see the vast possibilities that the rigid heddle loom has to offer.) On a shaft loom you have shafts, or harnesses, that hold heddles. To thread the loom, you thread the reed that determines the sett (number of warp ends per inch) and then separately thread the heddles. The pattern is determined by the order in which you thread the heddles on the shafts. For example, you might thread the first thread in a heddle on shaft 1, the next thread in a heddle on shaft 2, and so on. Different than a rigid heddle loom where you can change the pattern by changing the pick-up stick, once you have the pattern threaded on a shaft loom, you can’t change it. What you can do, though, is change how you weave the pattern.
On a shaft loom, once you have the pattern threaded, you have the option of how you are going to lift the shafts. Let’s say that on a 4-shaft loom, you have threaded the shafts in what’s called a straight draw: 1,2,3,4; 1,2,3,4; repeat. To weave this you might lift shafts 1-2 together, 2- 3 together, then 3-4, then 1-4. This would weave what’s called a 2-2 twill. But you could change this pattern by changing the combination of shafts that are lifted. For example you could lift 1-2-3, 2-3-4, 3-4-1, 4-1-2. This is also a twill pattern, but it is called a 3-1 twill.
What I’ve given you is a very broad overview. To delve deeper, I recommend Deborah Chandler’s Learning to Weave. Working through this book is just like taking a class with this encouraging and knowledgeable teacher. Deborah really understands the different weave structures and is able to explain how to weave, for example, summer & winter, overshot, or Bronson lace (if these names intrigue you then you are on the way to exploring shaft loom weaving).
Up to now I’ve referred to just “shaft loom”. A shaft loom could be a table loom or a floor loom. A table loom is what it sounds like, a loom that sits on a table with levers for lifting the shafts. Table looms are wonderful for learning about weave structure because it is easy to change the pattern by using different levers. Examples of Schacht floor looms are the Wolf Pup, Baby Wolf, Mighty Wolf, and Standard Floor Looms. Floor looms are handy because they have treadles, or pedals, which you push with your feet to move the shafts, leaving your hands free to throw the shuttle and beat in the weft. All these looms come with 4 or 8 shafts. Essentially the more shafts, the more pattern possibilities (see book resources in the accompanying article).
On my journey back to shaft loom weaving, I decided I’d start exploring 8-shaft twill, threading up an 8-shaft table loom for a set of luncheon napkins, weaving a different weft sequence with each napkin. The yarn I chose was one I’ve wanted to use for a long time. It is a beautiful unmercerized 8/2 cotton from Mayan Hands that is commercially spun in Guatemala and hand-dyed with natural dyes by the Mayan Hands cooperative and available kit form from Cotton Clouds. To try out the colors, I threaded up broad stripes and wove the weft colors in the same way, creating a plaid. I love how the colors play against each other. This kit is sold as a kitchen towel yarn kit—but you don’t have to use the yarn this way!

progressing from rigid heddle to shaft loom

Here’s how I threaded up my loom in a straight draw: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. I also put a floating selvedge on each edge, which is a warp thread at each selvedge (in this case the floating selvedges are doubled) threaded through the reed but not a heddle, thus floating midway in the shed. When you enter the shed you go over the floating selvedge. When you exit the shed you go under the floating selvedge. After a while it becomes an automatic motion that you don’t even notice. A floating selvedge is a good idea when you are weaving a structure where the edge thread is not caught every other row.
Here are the details:
Loom15″ 8-shaft Schacht Table Loom
Yarn: 8/2 unmercerized cotton from Mayan Hands, in 4 colors.
Color order: 34 blue, 32 white, 32 orange, 32 gold, 32 orange, 32 white, 34 blue.
EPI: 20 ends per inch (2 ends sleyed together in a 10-dent reed)
Width in reed: 11 3/8”
PPI: 20 for a balanced weave
Below is the chart, called a draft, that tells you how to thread, lift, and weave

In blue box across the top is the threading. This tells you that you are going to thread the first thread on shaft 1, the second on shaft 2, and so on. You repeat this for as many times as needed. In this case you will repeat the threading 28 times (don’t forget that the first 2 threads and that last two threads will not be threaded in a heddle).
The purple square is what’s called the tie-up. This tells you which shafts you will operate with each row of weaving. On a floor loom each column represents a treadle to which the shafts are tied, creating the lift pattern. On a table loom, as I’ve done here, you will pull down the necessary levers in each column. In this example, the first row of weaving, you will pull down levers 1,2,3 and 5. On the next row, you’ll pull down 2,3,4 and 6, and so on.

Finally the red vertical column represents the treadling, or the order in which the shafts are lifted. In this first example, I’ve repeatedly woven 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8—which makes a straight twill. You can see that the weaving makes a diagonal line in one direction.

8-shaft twill

For the next sample, you can see what happens when I changed the tie-up. The threading and the treadling are the same. I’ve only changed the tie-up box–a super easy thing to do on a table loom. 

This is just the beginning of my pattern explorations. I hope you will be inspired to try something new in 2017.

Jane Patrick

Jane Patrick is Creative Director of Schacht Spindle Company. She is an author, lecturer, and teacher. You can find her class: Creative Weaving Techniques on the Rigid Heddle Loom, on Craftsy.

10 Tips on Weaving Transparencies on a Rigid Heddle Loom



Handwoven transparencies are related to tapestries in that you can weave intricate pictorial designs with both techniques. Transparencies are lighter weight, with inlaid patterning on a sheer plain weave background. Two wefts are required: a background weft which weaves selvedge to selvedge and a pattern weft that weaves the pattern or design. The background is open while the pattern areas dense. Transparencies are at their best when hung in a sunny window where they can catch the light much like stained glass.

This article focuses on weaving a transparency on a Flip or Cricket loom. I wanted to share these tips because someone recently told me that you can’t weave transparencies on a rigid heddle loom. In my experience it is quite possible on the Schacht Flip and Cricket Looms. Here are some of my discoveries I’ve made through the years.

Transparency in progress.

  1. Be sure to wind the warp very evenly on your warping board. This will help achieve even tension.
  2. Use poster board for the packing paper (regular poster board that you would find at a hobby store—about the weight of card stock); this will help achieve a firmer surface with an inelastic linen warp.
  3. Beam onto the back beam very tightly, stopping and pulling small sections across the warp with every few rotations of the beam.
  4. Both the Flip and Cricket looms are great for holding the shed open as you do the inlay.
  5. I use 16/2 linen set at 12 epi for the warp and 16/2 or 20/2 linen for the background weft. For inlay yarns, I use three strands of 20/2 Mora wool or 20/2 Epic wool wound together into small butterflies. This way, I can mix colors similar in value to get just the shade/hue I want.
  6. Double the outside selvedge threads.
  7. One of the problems when weaving with linen, which has little give, is that the slot threads are a bit slack when in an up-shed or down-shed. To correct this, I use what I call a tension stick. On the Flip Loom, I use the Schacht Wolf apron bars for this. They are about ¾” thick, and I like them to be about 2-3” wider than my warp width. I insert this in the shed and turn it on edge at the back (behind the heddle) of the loom, as shown in the photo below. While weaving, I turn the stick on its edge for a nice tight warp (this tightens the slot threads that are usually slack whenever the heddle is up or down). When you need to advance the woven fabric and release the ratchet dogs, simply turn the stick to its thinner side, laying it flat. Then remember to turn the stick back again when you are ready to weave. On the Cricket Loom, I use a Cricket stick shuttle for the tension stick and place it in a different location than I use on the Flip. I insert a Cricket stick shuttle into the shed behind the reed, then loosen the warp a whole lot in order to slide the stick shuttle around the back beam where it rests between the back beam and warp beam. As with the Flip, turn the stick on edge to tighten the slot threads.
  8. When weaving a transparency, I use a cartoon on the underside of the warp. I find I need to get up really close to be able to see down through the warp to my cartoon below. If I’m using a Flip Trap, I can’t get close enough when weaving transparency, so I tie some small plastic baskets on the two sides to hold my shuttle.
  9. You may find that after weaving a few inches, the selvedge threads tend to loosen (especially if there is draw-in). To give these threads a little extra tension at the back of the loom, I tie a piece of carpet warp or strong string around the doubled selvedge warps and hang a weight on them (see photo above).
  10. Weave with the warp as tight as possible while still being able to raise the heddle to the upper position. To tighten the warp adequately, place the heddle in the neutral position and be sure that the tension stick is in the flat position. After tightening the warp, check to see if you can still raise the heddle to the upper position. If you can’t, back the tension off one notch until you can raise the heddle. While weaving, the stick should be turned on edge which makes the slot threads tighter.

With these tips, you can weave beautiful linen transparencies with pleasure.

Over view of Butterfly transparency

Lynette Glass

About 12 years ago Lynette Glass started weaving after her husband constructed a small frame loom following instructions in a library book. She didn't finish the first project on it, finding the process too slow. Still wanting to weave, she found a used Schacht rigid heddle loom which she propped on the edge of her dining room table and wove a set of placemats. She was hooked on weaving and soon graduated to a Schacht floor loom. She then discovered Doramay Keasbey's book, Sheer Delight - Handwoven Transparencies, and from this found her passion for weaving transparencies. Lynette Glass teaches in her studio, The Weaver’s Cottage, in Amity, Arkansas.

3 Handmade Gift Wrapping Ideas

The holidays are right around the corner, and when you’ve spent so much time and effort making your handmade gifts, it would be a shame not to have the same handmade touch for the packaging.

In this post, we share three ways to add hand-crafted wrapping to your special gift.

Sugar Pines Band, woven by Jane Patrick


Adapted from Belt No 12, Sugar Pines in Card Weaving or Tablet Weaving by Russell E. Groff. Look for a collection of designs by weaver Russell E. Groff in an upcoming book from Schiffer Publishing.

Equipment: 25 Schacht Cardweaving Cards, Schacht Belt Shuttle, Schacht Inkle Loom.

Yarns: 5/2 Pearl Cotton. 125 yd #152 Pistachio, 175 yd #91 Flaxon, 15 yd #12 Red, and 30 yd #99 Dark Sienna.

Warping: We wove this project on an inkle loom, winding 4 threads, one card at a time, following the pattern diagram. (We warped all of the pegs on our Schacht Inkle Loom.)

Threading: All of the cards are right-threaded. That is, all of the four threads can be seen on the right side. For this project, the printed side of the card is facing to the right.


Sugar Pines Threading Graph PDF

Weaving: Wind a Schacht Belt Shuttle with 5/2 Pearl Cotton in #152 Pistachio. Make sure that the A-D (red) side is on top and then weave 4 quarter turns towards you, 4 quarter turns away from you. Repeat for the length of the belt.


Zoom Loom Bow

This project is a quick and easy way to create a small bow for a package.


Equipment: Schacht Zoom Loom

Yarn: Any sport weight yarn.

Weaving: First, weave a square on your Zoom Loom. Before taking the square off the loom, weave your ends into the square, leaving the long tail coming from approximately the top center of the square.

Remove the square from the loom, and with your 6″ weaving needle, weave the long tail through the center of the square as shown.

Gently pull this piece of yarn while gathering the square into a bow shape. Gently wrap the leftover yarn around the center of the bow and tie it into a knot. Then with another piece of yarn, attach the bow to your package.

Handspun “Twine”


Show off your spinning prowess by using your drop spindle to spin some home-made twine to tie up your packages!


We hope you enjoy these ideas for your special gifts this holiday season!


Schacht Spindle

Schacht Spindle Company has been producing hand-crafted weaving and spinning equipment in Boulder, CO since 1969. We are committed to producing the tools for the crafts we love.

Three Easy Woven Brooklyn Tweed Projects Perfect for This Fall


Earlier this year, We e-mailed the team at Brooklyn Tweed to see if they wanted to participate in one of our collaborations for 2016. I was thrilled when I heard that Jared Flood, Founder and Creative Director of Brooklyn Tweed, wanted to see what we could do. Not only were they game for a collaboration, they mentioned that they were releasing a new yarn in the fall that would be ideal for weaving.

Be still my beating heart.

I have been following Brooklyn Tweed since before they carried yarn, when they were primarily a knitting pattern powerhouse, so this opportunity was one I could not pass up. After talking to the team here at Schacht, and the team at Brooklyn Tweed, we decided to do a 3-piece woven collection focusing on their new yarn, Arbor. This series includes a zoom loom hat, a modern poncho, and a lovely fringed pillow. These projects are primarily made out of Arbor, but two of them also utilize Quarry, Brooklyn Tweed’s chunky weight yarn.

Before planning anything, we played around on the Zoom Loom weaving swatches with all of Brooklyn Tweed’s main yarn lines, Loft, Shelter, Quarry, and now Arbor. All of these yarns (except for Quarry) wove up easily on the Zoom Loom, and never was I concerned about the lofty-spun yarns separating. I did find a work-around for Quarry on the Zoom Loom which will be featured in a how-to on weaving bulky yarns on the Zoom Loom in the future.


Zoom Loom Plaid Redux Hat – Benjamin Krudwig



Difficulty Level: Easy

Equipment: Schacht Zoom Loom, weaving needle.

Yarn: Arbor from Brooklyn Tweed – DK weight in Alizarin – 1 skein 145 yards per skein

Quarry from Brooklyn Tweed – Bulky Weight in Moonstone – 20 yards (200 yards per skein)

Weaving: Weave 17 squares with Alizarin. While each square is still on the loom, weave 4 supplementary rows in a contrasting yarn, Quarry (bulky weight) in color Moonstone. Weave these accents randomly so there is little repetition from square to square, windowpane fashion. I call this pattern “Plaid Redux”. Use caution when pulling the bulky Quarry yarn through the woven fabric.

Assembly: Create two strips of 8 squares. Sew the ends of each strip together to create two loops of 8 squares. Offset these two loops by half a square and sew the loops together (see diagram below).

Take the final square and sew each side to every other square along the top of the upper loop (see diagram below). There will be 4 squares on the upper loop that won’t be attached to the crown square, take some excess yarn and weave through the top edge, then cinch it tight to close the holes. Stitch the holes shut if necessary.


Finishing: heavily full the hat until felted; stop when you reach a good fit for your head.

Optional: AFTER felting the hat, create a large pompom out of Quarry and sew it to the top using a length of Arbor.


Pale Blue Fringed Pillow – Jane Patrick



Difficulty Level: Easy

Equipment: Schacht 15” Cricket Loom Kit, 1 15” stick shuttle.

Warp Yarn: Arbor from Brooklyn Tweed DK weight in Treehouse, 2 skeins, 145 yards per skein.

Weft Yarn: Arbor from Brooklyn Tweed DK weight, 1 skein each of Dorado and Rainier, 145 yards, per skein.

Warp length: 56” which includes take-up and 18” loom waste.

Width in reed: 15”

E.P.I.: 8

Total warp ends: 118

Total yardage needed: 185 yards

PPI: 8 (1 skein is perfect for this project, if you beat more than 8 ppi or weave longer, you’ll need another skein of Dorado.

Weaving: Use Dorado for the plain weave. Use Rainier doubled for the ghiordes knots. Weave 1” of plain weave. Tie the first row of ghiordes knots. It is important to begin at the correct place, as this first row of knots sets up the remainder of the rows. Using the key, make a row of knots following pattern A, weave 4 rows of plain weave, and then make a row of knots following pattern B. Weave 4 rows of plain weave and repeat.


Key to ghiordes knots rows.


Note: Alternate rows A and B checking to be sure that the rows of knots alternate and line up. Working right to left, work in this way: count over 9 warps and then tie two ghiordes knots (each ghiordes knot is tied over 2 warps, so 2 knots require 4 warp ends [XXXX] on the diagram), skip 12 warp threads and tie another set of knots, and so on.

Measure weaving off tension until the pattern is square. Weave the backing in plain weave for 20”.

Finishing: Remove the fabric from the loom and secure the ends. Wash by hand in hot water with mild agitation. If the fabric is not fulled sufficiently, place in hot dryer for a few minutes, watching carefully. Lay flat to dry and then steam press.

Assembly: Zigzag and straight stitch between all cutting lines. Cut three pieces: the front leaving a ½” seam allowance at either end, cut the two pieces for the back which includes a flap closing–1 piece 8” long and another piece 9” long.

Sew a 1” hem in the longest piece and then attach the hook side of a 2” piece of a hook side of Velcro (the Velcro will stick to the wool fabric) and sew this to the hem on the wrong side. Turn under 1/2″ along the long edge of the other back piece and stitch.

Place the pillow front (fringe) side up (I used lengths of masking tape and temporarily taped the fringe to the inside to make sure it would not interfere with stitching). Place the back pillow piece with the Velcro facing up on top of the pillow front, and finally, overlap the short back flap piece on top of the Velcro piece. Sew around all sides. Press and turn right sides out.

Fill with your own pillow form or make your own with fiberfill and scrap fabric and insert in to your pillow. Enjoy!


Windowpane Poncho – Denise Renee Grace


Difficulty Level: Easy

Equipment: 20” Flip loom with an 8-dent reed, tapestry needle for sewing.

Warp yarn: Arbor from Brooklyn Tweed DK weight in “Cobbler” 2.8 skeins, 145 yards per skein – 408 yards total.

Weft Yarn: Arbor from Brooklyn Tweed DK weight in “Cobbler” 1.2 skeins, 145 yards per skein – 174 yards total.

Quarry from Brooklyn Tweed Bulky weight in “Sulphur” 1 skein, 200 yards per skein

Warp length: 92” which includes take-up and loom waste.

Width in reed: 20”

EPI: 8

Total warp ends: 160

PPI: 6-8, this may need adjusting since you are using two weights of yarn.

Weaving: Hemstitch at the beginning.


Weave plain weave through out. Weave Arbor for 1″ then, alternate between Arbor and Quarry every other pick. Be sure to weave a balanced plain weave so the picks of Quarry look square. Weave to the end of your warp, ending with 1″ of Arbor like in the beginning. Hemstitch at the end.

Assembly: Lay length of fabric down in a straight line. Bring one end down to a point. Bring the other end to a point overlapping the other end. With a 10 yard length of arbor, sew a square with a whip stitch where these points overlap.

Finishing: Hand wash, dry flat. Once dry, put in the dryer on medium heat for about 10 minutes until sufficiently fulled, checking often.

We hope you enjoy these fun and versatile projects. We hope you will be inspired to try these great projects and would love to see them. Be sure to tag your social media posts #schachtspindle, and #weavingwithbt so we can see them and share them!

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Jane Patrick

Jane Patrick is Creative Director of Schacht Spindle Company. She is an author, lecturer, and teacher. You can find her class: Creative Weaving Techniques on the Rigid Heddle Loom, on Craftsy.

Converting a Knitting Pattern into a Weaving Pattern – Part 2



The challenge that I set up for myself was to convert a knit kimono sweater pattern to a woven one. Since knit fabrics and woven fabrics do not share the same drape and elasticity, this proved challenging. In part 1, I covered some information about sett and sampling, the specifications for weaving the body of the garment, as well as basics of the sweater’s construction. In part 2 we move on to weaving the bands and finishing the garment.

The bands require 2 warps.

Equipment: 10”-wide Cricket rigid heddle loom, 10-dent reed, 2 stick shuttles

Yarn: 250 yards Classic Elite Classic Silk, 2 skeins and 433 yards Habu Stainless Silk, 2 cones

Sampling notes: I used a 10-dent reed for my sampling. For my first sample, I alternated Classic Silk and Habu Wool Crepe in the warp and tried various wefts. My favorite part of this sample was the section with Habu Stainless Silk weft(photo: Sample 1). For the next sample warp, I tried a combination of Classic Silk and Stainless Silk, trying out different sequences of each. The second sample gave me what I was looking for (photo: sample 2). However, in my excitement to see the result, I failed to measure my sample before washing it. Therefore, the exact amount of shrinkage wasn’t possible to determine. This was an unfortunate mistake, but I guessed that it was around 10%.

While trying on the sweater assembled thus far, I looked in the mirror to figure out how long I wanted the sleeves and how wide the collar band should be. I then held a tape measure to the bottom edge of the kimono to determine where I would like it to hit my hips. (Hint, always aim for above or below the widest part of your hips.)

From my calculations, I found that two warps would be needed, one for the sleeves and collar and the other for the bottom band. For the first warp, I simply measured the circumference of the sleeves (18” on mine), then measured for the collar band, being sure to include the length of the bottom band (60” on mine).  So the math on my first warp looks like this;

collar band 60″

shrinkage 6″

sleeve  #1 18″

shrinkage 1 3/4″

sleeve #2 18″

shrinkage 1 3/4″

loom waste 20″

between pieces 2″ x 2 = 4″

Total: 129.5″ rounded up to 130″

Threading: 6 threads Classic Silk, 6 threads Stainless Silk, (4 threads Classic Silk, 6 threads Stainless Silk, repeat this sequence 7 times) End with 6 threads Classic Silk.

Total number of warp ends (epi): 88

Warp #2

Loom 10″ Cricket Loom with a 10-dent reed

Because the second warp would be just the bottom band, it would be much simpler. I needed it to be 40″ long, so I added 10% shrinkage (4″) plus 20″ loom waste. Rarely do I include take-up (the distance the warp has to travel over and under the weft) into my calculations. This is mainly because I work with fairly fine yarns and the 20″ of loom waste provides enough leeway to cover the take-up.

Warp length: 64″

Threading: 6 threads Classic Silk, 6 threads Stainless Silk, (4 threads Classic Silk, 6 threads Stainless Silk, repeat this sequence 3 times). End with 6 threads Classic Silk.

Total warp ends: 48

Time to get warped. The warping and the weaving was very straight forward, it looked like clear sailing. Until….while finishing the sleeves and the collar band I wound the last of the stainless silk onto my stick shuttle. Yep. Thought all my calculations were spot on, until I realized I was calculating using all the yardage I started with and did not take into account what I used for my samples. YARN EMERGENCY!  As luck would have it, the Habu Stainless Silk in Brick Red was no longer available from their website. Ugh. Thank goodness for the Internet.  A shop in Ohio had the yarn I needed, but couldn’t offer express shipping. Double Ugh, I said, “”YARN EMERGENCY”. Shelley from Knitterly in Petaluma, CA put on her cape and saved my day. Understanding that there are yarn emergencies, she went straight to the post office for me and my yarn arrived just as I was finishing the first band. Crisis averted, I finished the bands and washed them. What a happy surprise when I measured the pieces and the shrinkage was exactly ten percent!

I attached the bands using my sewing machine, binding the exposed edges with a 1 1/2” nylon tricot. Starting with the sleeves, I sewed right side to right side together at the very edge of the hemstitching. Laying the right side of the fabric to the right side of the tricot, I ran a stitch in 1/4″ from the edge.

Then I folded the tricot with its wrong side to the fabric’s right side and sewed a stitch in the ditch on the right side of the fabric to catch the tricot on the back. I did this on all the bands, then I folded the bound edge down to the wrong side of the main fabric and used a hemstitch to sew the tricot binding to the main fabric. The bands were then attached by overlapping the bands on top of the main fabric and sewing two straight lines of stitching. (This keeps the bands flat to the main fabric and reduces the bulk.) Voila, a woven kimono sweater.

Hindsight is always 20/20, and in the middle of this project I felt discouraged, like I had failed to prove my point that weaving is faster than knitting. Then, realizing that if I had had a pattern that someone had edited, sampled and tested, this would have been a very fast and straightforward weaving project. The total time for warping and weaving off all of the pieces for this project was around 9 hours–much faster than if I had knit this piece. I also realize that I gained several nuggets of wisdom. In addition, the enjoyment that I will get from having made this kimono myself and the experience I gained from making it helps me in future projects. No one can take knowledge away from you…or my sweater from me!

Stephanie Flynn-Sokolov

Stephanie Flynn Sokolov trained in accessory design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She teaches classes in weaving and spinning around the U.S. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Weaving with Speckled Yarn – Western Sky Knits Collaboration



We’ve all been there; standing at a fiber show and staring at a wall of hand-dyed skeins of luxury yarn. They call to you, but your pocketbook screams in terror hoping that you don’t pull down enough for a sweater, and sighs a relief when you only pull down two skeins. A stunning speckled skein (so hot right now) and a semi-solid contrast skein.

It’s now been a few months, the yarn has languished in your stash waiting for the perfect project, but you don’t know what to do with it. The knitting patterns don’t sing to you, and crochet uses too much yarn, so what do you do?

Weave with it!

This scenario happened to me at Yarn Fest this year. I was in the Western Sky Knits booth and I couldn’t help myself when the Nightfall colorway leaped into my hands, and then I HAD to get a second contrasting skein.

A few months have gone by, and I couldn’t sit there and stare at my yarn any longer, I needed to do something with it, so I decided to swatch up some woven samples on my Zoom Loom, curious as to what would happen when I wove up the speckled yarn.


I fell in love with how the colors interacted with each other, and how they interacted with themselves. Wanting to have each of the samples represented in the finished piece, I decided to divide my warp in half with each color, and then weave blocks of color.




What you need:

2 skeins of yarn, one speckled, one solid or semi-solid.

I used Western Sky Knits Magnolia Sock

180 yards of Nightfall

190 yards of Peppered

10″ Cricket Loom

10-Dent Reed

Optional: Zoom Loom

Fabric folds

Warping: Direct warping method

Warp length: 92″ (234 cm)

Warp width: 8″ in 10-dent reed. 40 ends of Peppered, 40 ends of Nightfall.

Hemstitch at the beginning and the end.

Weave 40 pick sections of each color, alternating as you weave. End with the same color as you started with.

Remove the fabric from the loom and fringe twist the ends. I took 4 sections of 2 threads and twisted them together, which creates a robust, round fringe.

Optional: Weave two squares on the Zoom Loom with the speckled yarn and sew them onto the scarf approximately 14″ on either side of the center point. Tack down the edges leaving the ends open running weft-wise.sewing layout

This project is iconic of how I like to design my woven projects. If you want to learn more about designing, and weaving with stash yarn, I will be teaching a course called Design on the Fly this October, at the Sea Ranch Resort in the Outer Banks of North Carolina hosted by Island Fiberworks. If you’d like more information, we have set up a Facebook group with more details for people who are interested. Space is limited, so act soon if you’d like to join me this Fall!

Western Sky Knits started as a small online shop in 2007 and has grown into a hand-dyed yarn company. Based out of a studio on a ranch in Montana, each skein is hand dyed using various techniques such as kettle dyeing and hand painting. With many bases to choose from and stunning unique colors, there is surely a skein for you!

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Block-Patterned Americana Pillow on the Wolf Pup

fabric in progress

As we head to Convergence 2016 in Milwaukee, we have been getting our show looms warped up and woven! We’ll be bringing some gorgeous fabrics with an Americana theme featured on our Baby Wolf, Wolf Pup, and Standard Floor Loom. Look for our posts to come for our other Convergence fabric designs, along with the drafts and color palettes over the next few weeks.

This week, we have a gorgeous fabric for home decor! We chose a small block design, Johann Schleelein’s No. 171, in Marguerite Davison’s Handweavers Pattern Book (page 121), and used off white, navy blue and an orang-y red for an old-timey fabric that looks both traditional and current at the same time. We think it would make a terrific fabric for an accent pillow. We’ve provided the fabric details but not the specifics for making the pillow.

All of our looms have been designed, warped and woven by our shipping clerk, Betty Paepke–so wonderful to have weavers on staff! And such good ones at that.

Revised Tie up
* Floating Selvedge


Fabric details

Loom: Schacht Wolf Pup LT, warping board, 3 11″ boat shuttles

Warp yarn: Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport Weight Wool Yarn in N915 – Aran and 1335 – Fog Blue

Pattern weft yarn: Cascade 220 in 9567 – Smoke Blue, 9465B – Burnt Orange, and 8393 – Navy.

Tabby weft yarn: Nature Spun Sport Weight in N915 – Aran.

Warp width: 16 3/4″

Number of warp ends: 205 (*includes floating selvedges), 189 ends of Aran and 16 ends of Fog Blue.

Warp length: 2 2/3 yards for a finished pillow about 15″ square.

Threading: Repeat threading 5 times (block A and B), ending with the balance (block A). Thread Fog Blue where indicated in draft. Allow for a floating selvedge at both sides.

EPI: 12

PPI: 13

Weaving: Weave as close to square as possible, alternating pattern picks with tabby rows. You will need 3-4 shuttles, one for each pattern color and one for the tabby weft. Alternately, if you don’t have 4 shuttles, you can just wind separate 4″ bobbins for each color and change them in your shuttle with each color change.

Finishing: Remove the fabric from the loom and repair any mistakes. Hand wash in warm water, rinse in cool water and lay flat to dry. If more fulling is needed, wet the fabric and place in a warm dryer for a few minutes watching carefully until finished to the desired hand. Lay flat to dry and steam press.






Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Creative Weaving Techniques on the Rigid Heddle Loom


Many of you may know Jane Patrick as our Creative Director here at Schacht, or as one of the friendly voices on our sales team when you call in. With many years of weaving knowledge and instruction under her belt, Jane has produced 4 books, 2 DVDs, and now brings her expertise to the Craftsy stage.

In her advanced beginner level class, Creative Weaving Techniques on the Rigid Heddle Loom, Jane explores techniques beyond the basics and into a world of creative fabric design. For those of you who want to increase your skill level or want to learn something new on your Schacht Flip or Cricket rigid heddle looms, this is the class for you!

Use the link above for $10.00 off of the course!

Check out the promotional video to see if this class is right for you!.


Craftsy’s Description of the Class
“Design the beautiful fabrics you want on your rigid heddle loom! Learn how to create colorwork, openwork, rich textures, wider fabrics and more.

Turn your fabric dreams into woven realities with longtime weaving instructor Jane Patrick! During class, Jane will teach you versatile methods that open up new design possibilities for weaving on a rigid heddle loom. You’ll start with skills for stripes, open-weave fabrics and brilliant textures. Then, go beyond the grid to create curves and more, as Jane guides you through working with deflection, pulled threads and differential shrinkage. Want to take the fuss out of working with finer yarns? You’ll discover techniques for working with two heddles at a finer sett. Plus, you’ll end class with fun double-weaving techniques you can use for more complex, layered fabrics that look different on either side.”


Reviews of the class:

“… There is lots to recommend [in] this video in terms of tips and techniques. Jane is an expert in the area, and there are lots of tips she covers that are not in other videos, and which will improve even basic weaving. …”  -Cynthia

“It was a very comprehensive and detailed lesson. I enjoyed it very much! Thank you ever so much!” -Anna

“Very good instructor, clear instructions – great video. Enjoyed her class immensely.” -Sharla

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Converting a Knitting Pattern to a Weaving Pattern – Part 1

Equipment: Schacht Rigid Heddle Loom (Flip or Cricket) 15” or wider, 10-dent rigid heddle reed, darning needle.

Materials: 7 Skeins Classic Silk Color # 6979 (50% cotton, 30% silk, 20% nylon, 135 yards per 50g)

Trim: Habu Wool Crepe, color C3004 (100% Merino wool, 747 yard per 28g or 1oz)

Matching sewing thread for assembly.

Weaving is so fast. At least that is what I tell new weavers (and myself) when it comes to committing to a project. Why would I knit it when I could weave it in less than half the time? Now is the time for me to put the money where the loom is.

Recently, I unearthed a knitting pattern for a kimono purchased years ago with the intended yarn, Classic Silk, in a bag ready to go. Looking at the pattern it occurred to me why I had never cast on: too much knitting. But, after looking at the pattern and realizing that all the pieces were rectangles, it struck me that this was the perfect knitting project to convert to weaving. The first big question was whether I would have enough yarn. Since the pattern and the yarn had been purchased years ago, the likelihood of finding the same dye lot was bleak. In order to determine the amount of yarn I would need I first needed to sample. After doing a yarn wrapping (16 wpi), I determined that I would first try a 10-dent reed. The fabric that I was aiming for was something soft and supple, but firm with a little give. This was my reasoning for starting with the 10-dent reed instead of an 8-dent which would be the usual starting point with a 16 wpi yield (16 wraps per inch divided by 2 = 8). I thought that if I sampled different beats in plain weave, hopefully I would hit my mark on the first try.

Warping the loom with 36″ warp length, 5” wide gave me enough length to sample 4 variations. First, I beat the weft densely at 17 picks per inch (ppi) using the same yarn as the warp. After just a little weaving, I knew it was too firm. Next, I tried 10 ppi, then 8 ppi and finally, I tried a favorite yarn, Habu wool crepe. This very fine, over-twisted yarn beat in at 25 ppi. After washing and drying the sample, the 8 ppi was my favorite, followed by the Habu wool crepe.

This is often how I arrive at my setts and beat samples. If you keep records of your samples, you may find one that didn’t make the cut for this project but would be a great start for a different project later on.


A kimono garment shape is a great place to start if you are fearful of cutting into your handwoven fabric. When converting a knitting pattern to weaving, you first need to convert each pattern piece in your size to the correct finished dimensions as indicated on your pattern.

Now you need to think (yikes, sometimes it hurts). Plan your woven pieces to take into account take-up, draw-in, and shrinkage in both the warp and weft, easy if you made a sample. For example, if you know your sample shrank 11.5% in length, you will need to weave your piece 11.5% longer than the finished piece before washing. The same holds true for the width. Making all these little calculations allowed me to weave the back (in two pieces), the right front, left front and both sleeves on only two warps.

The first warp was 118″ long and 10″ wide (total 100 warp ends). I wove two pieces each at 22 1/4″ long and two pieces each 25 1/2″ long with only 20″ allowed for take-up and loom waste (so you’ll need to economize when you tie on your warp and weave as far as you can on the loom). The second warp was 66″ long and 13 1/4″ wide (total 132 warp ends) with 15″ for take up and loom waste. My finished pieces measured as follows: sleeves–9″ x 20″, fronts–9″ x 23″ and two back pieces–12″ x 23″.


When weaving multiple pieces on the same warp, the space in-between the pieces needs to be taken into account and prepared for finishing the raw ends.

Schacht 2016 Convert a Sweater Pattern End Finishing Photo 3

Hint: Reduce bulk by using a very fine yarn or thread at the beginning and end of each piece with hemstitching. This is very helpful when sewing together the shoulder seams and underneath the sleeves.

Once all your pieces are woven, wash and dry them the same way you did your sample.

Now, assemble your pieces as your pattern dictates. Like a traditional kimono, there is a trim that runs up the front to become the neckband and trim on the bottom of the sleeves. I’ll cover weaving the trim–red in the diagram–and finishing next month in part 2.

I sewed the back center seam first. I used a flat sewing stitch.


Next, I used a back stitch to sew the right and left fronts to the back at the shoulder seams starting at the outside edge leaving a neck opening.

Schacht 2016 Convert a Sweater Pattern Shoulder Back stitch

To attach the sleeves, find the midpoint and pin it to the shoulder seam and sew using the same flat stitch used for butting the back pieces together. Now you will have one continuous piece that looks like the Kimono Layout. Use the flat stitch again to sew the seam from the armpit to the bottom right and left. The last seam will be the backstitch from the armpit to the cuff of the sleeve. Now you will have a t-shirt looking cardigan. This technique for converting a pattern works best with square or rectangular pieces. Although you can convert any knitting pattern to weaving, remember that woven fabric doesn’t stretch the same as a knit, and you may need to change the ease or even go up a size in the pattern. Right now I am not sure if it is faster than knitting, only time and the next installment will tell.  Until then….

In Converting a Sweater Pattern Part 2, I will cover weaving and attaching the band along with embellishments.

Stephanie Flynn-Sokolov

Stephanie Flynn Sokolov trained in accessory design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. She teaches classes in weaving and spinning around the U.S. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

Road Trip Weaving

Road trips are in! So, take to the highway with these favorite books for summer learning, weaving and felting.

The Schacht Zoom Loom can slip into backpack or carry-on for weaving on the go. Two terrific books: 100 Pin Loom Squares by Florencia Campos Correa. More than just squares, this inspirational title with the Zoom Loom on the cover (!) includes color and weave patterns, novelty yarns, and projects that are hip and inspirational. Pin Loom Weaving by Margaret Stump. If you want a lot of cute patterns for making animals, quilts, or even a Barn House Tote, Pin Loom Weaving will take you there. Warping and weaving instructions are included along with clear step-by-step project details.


Pack your inkle loom in the back seat of your Rambler, along with the Weaver’s Inkle Pattern Directory by Anne Dixon. You’ll never be without patterns with over 400 of them included between the covers. Also, pack some of our Schacht Card Weaving Cards (we love everything about them) and weave away with these on your inkle loom using the classic book, Card Weaving by Candice Crockett for instruction and inspiration.

We have a few copies left of Time to Weave by Jane Patrick which will give you lots of ideas to use objects you find along the way to create a woven memento of your time on the road. Lots of great ideas for kids, too.

Combine felting with weaving, or just create cute felted critters. All you need to do is to pack some colorful fiber, your felting needles and pad, and take along the fun Making Felted Friends by Sue Pearl. You’ll find that once you get started, it’s hard to stop.


Happy trails and we’d love to see your projects made along the road, no matter where your travels take you. Happy summer! Your Schacht team.

Jane Patrick

Jane Patrick is Creative Director of Schacht Spindle Company. She is an author, lecturer, and teacher. You can find her class: Creative Weaving Techniques on the Rigid Heddle Loom, on Craftsy.

Three Easy Weaving Projects for the 20″ Flip Loom – Mountain Meadow Wools Collaboration

For this month’s yarn collaboration, we worked with Mountain Meadow Yarns. Their rustic, American grown and milled yarn paired perfectly with the Schacht Flip Loom. All three of the following projects can be made with the 20″ model of Flip. The rise of small looms continues, and you can create stunning woven pieces in very little time, with nothing more than plain weave and some stunning yarn. If you make any of these projects or other woven projects with Mountain Meadow Yarns, tag them on Instagram with the hashtag #MountainMeadowWeaves.

Houndstooth Pillow

Houndstooth Piullow

Equipment: 20″ Flip Loom with a 5-dent reed

Yarn: 2 skeins of Sheridan in Medium Grey (102 yards per skein) and 2 skeins of Sheridan in Geranium (102 yards per skein)

Other Notions: 16″ pillow form

Warp: 2 yards long, 18″ wide in reed

Warping: Using the direct, peg warping method, alternate colors in each slot while warping. That is, sley all of the Grey yarns first, threading a slot, skipping a slot and so on. After all of the Grey yarns are threaded, fill in the empty slots with Geranium. Wind the warp onto the back beam and then thread the adjacent holes. Your color order will be 2 Grey, 2 Geranium, repeat.

Weaving: Alternate 2 ends of Grey and 2 ends of Geranium, repeat, just as you did in the warp. Weave a balanced weave which means that you will see a square space (not a rectangle space or lack of space) between the intersection of the warp and weft threads. This will ensure that the houndstooth pattern will be balanced warp-wise and weft-wise.

Finishing: To secure the weft for washing, knot the warp yarns in groups of 4 on both ends of the weaving. Wash in hot water with soap, rinse  in cool water with a 1/2 cup of vinegar, and then rinse in clean water for 15 minute each. Put the fabric in the dryer with a few towels on medium heat for 15 minutes, checking frequently. Lay flat to dry.

To make the pillow: Wrap the fabric around the 16”x16” square pillow form. To measure, start with a knotted end and place it in the middle of the pillow. Then wrap the fabric all the way around the pillow form, past the knotted end and to the edge of the pillow form (like an envelope). Mark this end at the edge of the pillow and sew a couple of zigzag lines across at this point. (You can also serge this line.) Turn over the zigzag end and hand sew a 1/2″ hem. Lay the fabric flat with the right wide up (hem down) and fold it in an envelope with the knotted side first and the right side of the hem meeting the edge of the pillow. Single crochet or stitch up the sides and turn right side out.


Forest Wrap

green wrap


Equipment: 20″ Flip with a 5-dent reed.

Yarn: Laramie, 1 skein of Forest variegated and 1 skein- of Grass semi solid.

Warp: 130″ of Forest variegated, 20″ wide.

Warping: Using the direct peg warping method, sley some slots and leave others open in a random manner in this way: s2 o3 s1 o2 s2 o3 s1 o1 s1 o2 s2 o3 s1 o1 s1 o2 s2 o3 s2 o2 s1 o1 s1 o2 s2 o2 s1 o2 s2. Note: s= sley, o=open, as in s2= sley two slots, o3=leave 3 slots unthreaded, and so on.

This has been rotated to the warp is vertical and the weft is horizontal.

Weaving: Using Grass weave 8 picks of balanced weave, then leave one inch open or unwoven (you can use a thin cardboard as a spacer across the warp if you find that helpful, removing it after the next 8 picks are woven). Alternate in this manner for the entire length of the warp.

Finishing: Remove from the loom and secure the ends by tying the warp threads in groups of 4. Wash the fabric in the washing machine with detergent on warm with on a short cycle, checking often so as to not over full. Place the fabric in the dryer with a bath towel for 30 minutes on medium heat, checking the fabric every 5 minutes or so. Tighten any loose knots and cut off the excess warp near the knot.


Salmon Scarf

salmon scarf


Equipment: 20” Flip with an 8-dent reed

Yarn: Salem, 2 skeins of scarlet.

Warp: 103″ long, 18 1/2″ wide.

Warping: Using the direct peg warping method, thread the first 2 slots then thereafter skip every other slot in the reed with ending with 2 threaded slots on the other edge.

Weaving: Weave in loosely in plain weave at about 6 picks per inch.

salmon swatch

Finishing: Remove the fabric from the loom and secure the ends by tying groups of 4 warp threads. Wash the fabric on a warm, short cycle with detergent, checking the fabric often. Place the fabric in the dryer with a towel and dry on medium for about 30 minutes, checking often.

Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Summer and Winter – Melissa Ludden Hankens


A long time ago, in a lifetime that seems far, far away, I took a beginning 4-shaft weaving class at Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins in Boulder, Colorado. I was smitten with weaving from day one, but even more so after the summer & winter lesson. It appealed to me aesthetically, and the resulting cloth was durable and reversible with no long weft floats.

Some seem to feel the origin of the weave is uncertain. Marguerite Porter Davison suggests that its origin is Finland, with many fine coverlet examples later found in Pennsylvania Dutch country here in the U.S. Origin aside, the cloth, being reversible, is traditionally woven on a light warp with a dark pattern thread used in the weft. The resulting cloth has a distinctly light side and a distinctly dark side—the light side meant for the summer months and the dark side for the winter. That said, to achieve this using two blocks, the number of blocks available to you if you are using a 4-shaft loom, you will need to weave a larger volume of one block than the other to create the color differences from one side to the other. You will see that not all of my samples achieve this.

Let’s focus on weaving summer & winter on a 4-shaft loom. To weave traditional summer & winter, you will need two shuttles and two colors of yarn – a blue pattern yarn and a white warp/tabby are traditional, but certainly not a requirement. I would suggest choosing one light and one dark color when starting out, as this will enable you to more clearly see the contrast.


The pattern yarn is typically double the thickness of the warp/tabby yarn. I used 10/2 pearl cotton in color Safari (pale tan) for the warp and tabby, and my primary pattern yarn was 5/2 pearl cotton in color Quarry (dark blue). I also experimented with some bright blue Harrisville Highland as well as a bulky white cotton yarn for the pattern picks. There is so much opportunity for experimentation here!

Summer & winter consists of 4-thread units, called blocks. You can repeat a unit as many times as you want in either warp or weft. On a 4-shaft loom, you can have 2 blocks. Block A is threaded 1-3-2-3 and Block B is threaded 1-4-2-4. I used shafts one and two for the plain weave threads and shafts three (Block A) and four (Block B) for the pattern threads.

A quick way to design your threading sequence for summer & winter is to use a profile draft. A profile draft is like the Cliff Notes version of your threading. I’ve sketched out a 16 thread pattern and it’s equivalent profile draft, so you can see how this approach can save you time and take up less space. You can note this on graph paper or as letters.

Block A = 1,3,2,1

Block A

Block B = 1,4,2,4

Block B

A threading pattern looks like this: 1-3-2-3-1-3-2-3-1-4-2-4-1-4-2-4, or in graph form:

Threding Draft

A profile draft expressed in letters looks like this: A-A-B-B, or in graph form:

Profile for Threading Draft


Weaving summer & winter

Every other pick is a tabby (plain weave) pick woven with the fine weft yarn, and every other pick is a pattern pick woven with the heavy weft yarn. You build up blocks by repeatedly weaving Block A or Block B. Since very other pick is tabby, your pattern threads are frequently secured, and long floats are not possible. This makes a very stable fabric.

Let’s look at the profile draft for this sampler. First, here is the profile draft expressed in letters:

A-B-A-A-A-B-A-B-B-B-B-B-B-B-B-A-A-A-A-A-B-B-B-A-B Repeat in reverse starting with B.

Here is the profile draft expressed on graph paper:

hanging draft

The profile draft above, tells you to thread your loom as follows: 1 unit of Block A (1-3-2-3), 1 unit of Block B (1-4-2-4), 3 units of Block A (1-3-2-3-1-3-2-3-1-3-2-3). 1 unit of Block B (1-4-2-4), 1 unit of Block A (1-3-2-3), and so on.

You will need six treadles for the tie-up, or four levers/treadles if you have a table loom or direct tie-up loom. I organize the treadles on my Baby Wolf with the tabby treadles tied up on the left and the pattern treadles tied up on the right so my left foot treadles Tabby A and Tabby B and my right foot treadles Pattern A1, Pattern A2, Pattern B1, and Pattern B2 (see photo). With every other pick being a tabby pick, this setup enables you to treadle left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot.


The treadles are tied up as follows:

Tabby A: 1-2 (this means tie shafts 1 & 2 up to this treadle and so on)

Tabby B: 3-4

Pattern A1: 1-3

Pattern A2: 2-3

Pattern B1: 1-4

Pattern B2: 2-4

Now treadle tromp as writ (or the order in which the loom has been threaded). Here is how that treadling breaks down by block using the tie-ups I just listed:

Block A is treadled: Tabby A, Pattern A1, Tabby, B, Pattern A2

Block B is treadled: Tabby A, Pattern B1, Tabby B, Pattern B2

So, following the profile draft above, you would treadle as follows:

Tabby A, Pattern A1, Tabby B, Pattern A2

Tabby A, Pattern B1, Tabby B, Pattern B2

Tabby A, Pattern A1, Tabby B, Pattern A2

Tabby A, Pattern A1, Tabby B, Pattern A2

Tabby A, Pattern A1, Tabby B, Pattern A2

Tabby A, Pattern B1, Tabby B, Pattern B2

Tabby A, Pattern A1, Tabby B, Pattern A2

Etc. and repeat.


On to the sampler!

Loom: Baby Wolf

Warp and tabby weft: 10/2 pearl cotton in color Safari (light tan)

Pattern weft: 5/2 pearl cotton in Quarry (dark blue) (I also experimented with Harrisville Highland and a bulky cotton mystery yarn from my stash. The sky’s the limit!)

Sett: 20 ends per inch

Number of ends: 200 (50 blocks x 4 threads per block)

Warp length: 3 yd (or less). I warped 3 yards of fabric so that I could create the sampler and then have enough warp left over to weave a narrow runner for a small table in my house (though I ended using it for a hanging–see photo at the beginning of the article). If you are just weaving the sampler, you will need about a yard of warp for the sampler plus loom waste.

The sampler has seven different experiments that explore various treadling sequences and the use of different materials in the pattern weft:

  1. Tromp as writ – weave the entire threading sequence.
  2. Each block woven in a separate color, woven trompe as writ. I used the 5/2 Quarry blue for Pattern A and 5/2 wine tone purple for Pattern B. Again, same treadling sequence as in variation 1.
  3. Still using the blue and purple for blocks A and B, I changed my treadling to A-B-A-B-A-B, repeated. You can see that this creates an even distribution of light and dark areas, contrary to the spirit of summer & winter. I think it appears more as texture than distinct blocks.
  4. Using Harrisville Highland in Peacock Blue for the pattern weft, my treadling sequence was A-A-A-B-B-B repeated. This is a bolder design and I just love the texture!
  5. Now, let’s extend the blocks. Use your original colors. For block A, instead of weaving Tabby A, Pattern A1, Tabby B, Pattern A2, try using each pattern treadle twice in a row by weaving Tabby A, Pattern A1, Tabby B, Pattern A1, Tabby A, Pattern A2, Tabby B, Pattern A2. Make the same change for Block B and weave trompe as writ.
  6. Another change in Pattern: Weave A-A-A-A-A-B-B-B-B-B and repeat.
  7. Here I swapped out the 5/2 pattern weft for a bulky cotton yarn from my stash. I love that you can add texture and a bit of volume this way.


Feel free to experiment. What happens if you skip the tabby picks? Use the tabby weft for one of the pattern blocks and something completely different for the other? There are so many possibilities here!

If you would like to read more about summer & winter and check out some other pattern options, here is a list of books to get you started.

Happy Weaving!

Deborah Chandler, “Learning to Weave” pp. 184-190

Marguerite Porter Davison, “A Handweaver’s Pattern Book” pp. 187-194

Anne Dixon, “The Handweaver’s Pattern Directory” pp. 136 -145

Mary Black, “The Key to Weaving” pp. 311-336

Follow Melissa’s weaving adventures on Instagram.  @mlhankens • Instagram photos and videos


Melissa Ludden Hankens

You can find Melissa designing weaving projects for the Schacht newsletter and teaching at the Creative Warehouse in Needham, Massachusetts. Website - Twitter - Melentine (@Melentine) Instagram - melentine on Instagram

How to Spin and Weave Thick and Thin Yarn – Gherkin’s Bucket Collaboration

project picture

When Krysten from Gherkin’s Bucket showed me the new colorway she dyed up for this collaboration, I was floored! The stunning blues, greens, greys, and browns are a perfect way to celebrate the coming of spring. When I started planning this project, I knew I wanted to spin a thick and thin single, then ply it with one of Krysten’s lovely laceweight yarns. I would then pair this new art yarn with the laceweight in a woven project. (Note: Gherkin’s Bucket will have a limited number of kits available in her shop that come with the fiber and the lace yarn.)


yarn and fiber

What you’ll need:

For spinning:

4 ounces of fiber, I used Gherkin’s Bucket “Downward Peacock” in her Double Merino/Silk base.

~100 yards of laceweight yarn in a complementary color, I used Gherkin’s Bucket Merino Silk Lace in “Royale”.

Spinning Wheel or Spindle, I used the Schacht Sidekick.

Optional: Bulky Flyer Plyer Package – Using the bulky flyer for this project will help prevent your really thick sections from snagging on the metal hooks of the flyer.


For Weaving

15″ Cricket Loom

15″ Variable Dent Reed, 4 – 12 dent sections and 2 – 5 dent sections.

70 yards of bulky art yarn.

500-600 yards of lace-weight, I used Gherkin’s Bucket Merino Silk Lace in “Royale”.

Irish tention
Sidekick in Irish Tension


First, I wanted to set myself up for success with spinning a thick and thin yarn, and I knew there was more to it than pretending that I was a beginner. I decided to watch Maggie Casey’s video Big and Lofty Yarns, as that kind of spinning technique would be necessary for the “thick” portions of the yarn. She recommended a wheel that was bobbin-led, or in other terms, a wheel that can be put into Irish tension. What this means, is that you place the drive band on the bobbin, and the brake (tension) band on the whorl. This increases the take up of yarn onto your bobbin significantly, allowing you to get bulky, low-twist yarn onto your bobbin quickly. You want to avoid overspun “ropy” yarn when spinning bulky.

After my wheel was set up properly, I moved onto fiber prep. I decided to split my braid into fourths so I could better control the thick portions of the singles yarn. I didn’t want to feed too much fiber on at a time. By reducing the amount of fiber in my hands, I reduced my risk of feeding too much fiber.

Since I knew that the lace yarn was plied Z, I spun the singles in S, to ply with the lace in Z. I didn’t want to remove any twist from the lace.

art yarn

I noticed right away how strong the uptake was on my singles, and needed to be careful not to let go of my fiber for risk of it getting yanked out of my hands. Though I didn’t want to let go of the fiber, I also made sure not to have a death-grip either. I got into a rhythm pretty quickly with a draft of thick and a few drafts of thin. I wasn’t much more methodical than that, as I wanted a more organic look to the thick and thin yarn.

Once all of my singles were spun, I wound a couple hundred yards of the laceweight yarn onto a bobbin and started plying. My finished yarn ended up being slightly over-plied because I added extra twist into the laceweight as I plied.

I soaked the yarn to finish as normal, then thwacked it to set the twist. This ensured that I would be able to put the yarn in my warp without any issues associated with crimpy yarn.




One of the beauties of the Variable Dent Reed, is its ability to hold more than one thickness of yarn in the same warp, without affecting the ideal sett for one or more of the yarns you choose to use. This project utilizes the far ends of the spectrum by using the largest and the smallest yarn I could fit through the reed sections.

Using a 15″ Variable Dent Reed at the full width, layout your reed with the 2.5″ reed sections in the following order 12, 5, 12, 5, 12, 12

With your warping peg 2.5 yards away from the back apron bar, direct warp with the lace-weight yarn in the 12-dent sections and the bulky weight in the 5-dent sections.

Weave with the lace-weight yarn, keeping maintaining a 12 ppi (picks per inch). Every few inches insert two picks of the chunky handspun yarn to create a fun texture.

Finish with a braided fringe using as much of the “waste” yarn as possible.

Wash, and lay flat or hang to dry, then cut the tips of the braids to 1″

By using this set-up, I was able to use every precious yard of my art yarn and still get a decently sized scarf by supplementing the rest of the warp with the plentiful amounts of lace yarn. This scarf ends up being extremely lightweight, airy, and visually interesting; making it ideal for spring and summer wearing. Try this technique with your own art yarns and share it with us on our social media platforms!


Gherkin’s Bucket, created in 2008 by Krysten (a.k.a. “Gherkin”), specializes in high-quality hand-dyed yarn and fiber, handspun yarns, and patterns for knit and crochet. Currently Krysten is enjoying her freshly-built dye studio, which is enabling her to create even larger quantities to supply eager crafters everywhere! Find Gherkin’s Bucket online at and in local yarn stores in Arizona.

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Blue with Copper Accents Pillow – John Mullarkey


Blue with Copper Accents Pillow

Designed by John Mullarkey

Skill level: Intermediate

Number of squares: 55

Size: 18” x 18”

Yarn: Miss Babs Yowza worsted weight wool in color, Blue Ridge, 1 8 oz skein. Trendsetter Ambrosia, in Rust, 1 Skein.

Notions: 18”x18” pillow form. Optional: 2” strip of Velcro.

Weaving: Weave 10 squares with Ambrosia or some other fun novelty yarn.  Weave 45 squares using Yowza.


Note about Ambrosia: It’s hard to believe that the fuzzy squares and the mattte/shiny squares are from the same skein, but they are. It’s like three yarns in one: a wool section, a fun fur section, and a metallic section. Have fun mixing and matching the sections to create accent squares.

Finishing and Assembly: Single crochet the squares together using Yowza following the pattern below. Gently wash by hand in cool water and lay flat to dry. The ridge from the single crochet will be on the wrong side of the fabric. Using Ambrosia, with wrong sides together, single crochet around the entire pillow. If desired, add a Velcro closure to the flap.


John Mullarkey

John Mullarkey has been tablet (card) weaving for over a decade. He teaches workshops at conferences and events around the country. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri. To learn more:

If My Old Favorite Jeans Were a Scarf – Anzula Luxury Fibers Collaboration


As it turns out, this is now my very favorite go-to scarf! It’s the perfect blend – being both casual and decadent – and oh so cozy! The fringe treatment adds a subtle element – not unlike the frayed edges of your favorite well-worn jeans.


What you need

Schacht Cricket loom

Cricket 8-dent rigid heddle reed

2-15” pick-up sticks

1 stick shuttle

1 Schacht Incredible Rope Machine



Warp: Anzula Cricket (80% Superwash Merino/10% cashmere/10% nylon; +/- 250 yds) in Denim, approx. 238 yds

Warp length: 107”, allows for 12” of fringe, take-up and loom waste.

Warp Ends: 80

Width in reed: 10”

EPI: 8


Weft: Anzula Cricket (80% Superwash Merino/10% cashmere/10% nylon; +/- 250yds) in Denim, approx. 190 yds

PPI: 8


Ropes: Anzula Dreamy (75% Superwash Merino/15% cashmere/10% nylon; +/- 385 yds) in Denim, approx. ­­­­150 yds.

Using the Dreamy, make 5-6 strand ropes prior to warping, Set the distance at 4 ½ yds from rope machine to separator. Do not use the Cricket yarn for the ropes or they will be too thick for the slots in the reed.



Using the direct warping method and the Anzula Cricket yarn, measure 80 ends. Then add the ropes in the 8th, 16th, 28th, 44th, and 72nd slots tying them individually to the back apron bar. Continue warping the loom and when moving ends in the reed be sure to keep all of the ropes in a slots along with one of the ends of Cricket yarn.

Begin the piece with hemstitching (see The Weaver’s Idea Book by Jane Patrick for instructions).

The balance of the piece is primarily plain weave with random pick-up areas of the ropes. The warps are woven as warp floats. I varied the way in which I picked them up, some float areas incorporate all rope ends, in other areas I might pick up just one or two ropes and allow these to float on top.

For rope warp pick-up, use a Cricket pick-up stick behind the heddle and pick up all of the ropes but not the additional end in these slots. This will isolate the rope warps and make them easy to pick up as you are weaving. Use the second pick-up stick to select random rope warp floats.

The warp pick-up weaving sequence is:

Row 1: up and pick-up stick

Row 2: down

Repeat for the desired length of the warp float.

Alternate solid plain weave with random pick-up as desired. End the weaving with hemstitching.

rope details


Remove from the loom and trim the single ends of the fringe to approximately 6””. Keep the ropes longer than the other ends for now and secure each rope with a knot. Hand wash in warm water and roll in a towel to remove excess water. Put in a dryer and full to the desired hand, being sure to check the progress, approximately every 5 minutes. Lay flat for the remainder of the drying time.

The single end fringe will be fuzzy at the ends. Trim these evenly across keeping some of the frizzy part. Adjust the ropes to be the same length as the rest of the fringe, by securing them with a knot and trimming.

Finished length with fringe: 64”

Finished fringe length: approximately 4 ½”

Finished width: 8”

fringe detail


Anzula started with a passion. Owner Sabrina Famellos sold her crafty goods at shows all along the California coast. When she couldn’t find a steady supply of dyed goods that were up to her standards, she started doing the dyeing herself. In 2008, this became her fulltime focus. Since then, her one-woman operation has grown into a team of eleven, an assemblage of women and men with backgrounds as diverse as Anzula’s 100+ colorways. Anzula’s broad range of colors includes everything from earthy to neon, pastels to jewel tones. Sabrina’s precision in the dye room produces consistent hand dyed results. Anzula starts with yarns that are chosen for their heirloom quality, focusing on luxurious fibers such as cashmere, camel, silk, linen, alpaca, yak, and milk protein. The North American mill that supplies the undyed yarn sources the materials and spins

Judy Pagels

Judy Pagels comes to Schacht from a varied background in printing, graphic design, and flower arranging. Hired initially as our shipping manager, Judy shortly afterwards was promoted to sales and service manager where she is in charge of new accounts, as well as sales and service. Judy is first a knitter, but also weaves and spins—always with a keen eye to great design.

Tapestry Weaving – The Long and the Short of It

We’ve all seen them on Pinterest, and they seem to be cropping up in all of the home decor magazines this spring. Some people saw these (made these!) the first time they came around in the early 1970’s. (fyi: I was not one of them.)

The trend I am talking about is free-form woven wall hangings that have dramatic texture, and tend to be monochromatic. I felt the need to experience this trend and try it out for myself, so I grabbed my Schacht School Loom, warped it up, and started weaving.

hanging tapestries
Traditional tapestry on the left, textured tapestry on the right.


I suppose I should back up. Between getting out my School Loom and weaving, I went through a pretty involved thought process when it came down to subject matter, style, and plan of attack.

At first I was only going to do a textured “throwback” wall hanging, then realized I didn’t know much about traditional tapestry weaving. Best, I thought, to learn more about traditional tapestry weaving before embarking upon the textural adventure.

After watching a few tutorials online, and doing some reading on-line, I was ready to start.

I decided to create two tapestries; one using traditional techniques, and one using the heavily-textured style.

I had three rules:

  1. Each tapestry would be done free-form without a cartoon.
  2. Each tapestry would be woven using my handspun yarn only (except for the warp.)
  3. Each tapestry would be of the same subject matter and color scheme.

A soft guideline was that I would try as many techniques as I wanted and not worry too much about being perfect. For this project I had one end-goal in mind: learn something new.

I chose an inspiration photo so I could start with at least a little direction. This helped guide my color choices and subject matter.

inspiration picture
Sky and clouds above Waneka Lake, behind my house.

Besides a warped School Loom, I needed yarn. I dove into my handspun stash and pulled out some leftovers that  happened to be in a soft blue color scheme. To this I added white and a dark red accent yarn.


These yarns were also used in the textured tapestry, but were transformed after I did the traditional tapestry, which I will explain later. I felt it was important to use yarns of similar fiber type, so besides some silk and some tencel blends, all of my yarn was wool of some breed or another.

Starting with traditional tapestry techniques in mind, I quickly sketched a basic picture, so that I could generally place certain elements. I started by laying some “ground” with my brown alpaca yarn. This allowed me to understand the necessity of bubbling to keep my weaving from drawing in.

I then moved to the sky where I tried two different ways of blending colors. The first technique was alternating a few picks of the first color, with one pick of the next color, and then changing the number of picks I did of each color. Later I learned this was a somewhat modified hatching technique. The second technique was to blend two colors together by using them together hold the first color and the second color together for a few picks. From far away, the second technique is much more subtle, while the first technique looks more stylistic and intentional.

For the clouds, I used two different techniques of changing colors in the middle of a warp, or using two colors in the same pick. The first technique I tried was meet and separate, which means you clasp the two colors of yarn around each other when they meet, and then when you change sheds, they separate to opposite sides of the tapestry again. The second technique involved bring the yarns to the same space between warp threads, change sheds and reverse directions. This is known as slit tapestry technique and causes a small gap in the tapestry. Overly long slits are often sewn closed on the back of the loom after weaving.

I was pretty diligent about “bubbling” my warp threads as I was weaving to help keep the sides from pulling in. That being said I still had about 3/4″ of draw in on each side of my tapestry when I finished. I will do further research on various methods of keeping my tapestry from shrinking (temples, tensioned threads, etc.) Practice will probably help, too.

As I wove, I placed clouds intuitively, trying for a balanced look. It felt a bit like painting with yarn, which made me feel immediately hooked on this style of weaving.

traditional tapestry

After I cut my little tapestry off the loom, I made 3/4″ hems on the top and bottom. This also created the pocket for my dowel to go through. Before placing the dowel, I fulled the tapestry pretty vigorously by hand and then laid it flat to dry. I fulled the bottom half a bit more than the top to aid in making the edges more parallel and to lessen some of the draw-in disparity from the bottom to top (this was my first tapestry!).

To increase the scale of my yarn for my free-form hanging,I made ropes using the Incredible Rope Machine out of my handspun yarn left over from my first project. I also pulled out some wool roving from my stash that coordinated. Click here to watch a 3 minute time-lapse of me weaving this wall hanging.

textured tapestry warped

For this wall hanging, I decided to put a spacer in the bottom to allow for a tie fringe afterwards. I grabbed one of the ropes and started weaving. I started placing things wherever I wanted to, without too much thought, just instinct.

I tried a few different tapestry techniques after laying a few sections down in plain-weave. I used the soumak knot technique in a couple of lines going across the warp using a cable-plied yarn, and in a small section where I used a small sliver of roving.

Soumak in top left roving and bottom right roving section.

To make the white cloud, I used a 10-11″ chunk of roving and wove them in two layers. I placed the first layer, then untucked some “bubbles” of roving, then wove the second layer and repeated the “bubble” technique. For the rain cloud, I first took a few 8″ sections of my light blue yarn and added 3 sets of ghiordes knots next to each other, then I took two colors of roving together and worked as for the first cloud.


At the very top of the tapestry, I took my third to last pick of rope, and pulled out five loops of rope which I used as hanging loops for my wall hanging. I finished with two picks in plain weave. I needle wove some slivers of roving here and there to fill some gaps that made themselves known after removing the hanging from the loom. Overall, the warping/weaving took just over an hour.

textured tapestry

Because I feared felting the clouds if I washed my hanging, I decided to try a self-styled wet finish. I spritzed the back of the hanging with water until it was pretty damp all over. I then lightly blocked the piece on some paper towel until dry.

If I am to be honest, I was very hesitant to try to either of these techniques, but I am now addicted to how fun it was! I come from a family full of artists, and tapestry weaving really allowed me to express myself artistically and in a more free-form manner than some other weaving I have done. I wholeheartedly recommend picking up a School Loom and trying your hand at tapestry weaving.

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

7 Ways to Weave With Textured Yarns

Art yarn, whether you spin it yourself or purchase it readymade, is a catalyst for creative woven fabrics.

Art yarn spinning techniques are so much fun to do and make such beautiful and unique yarns. What follows often, though, is the question, “what do I do with it?” Due to the stitch structure of knitting and crochet, the irregular gauge that art yarns tend to produce uneven results. Weaving, however, is the perfect technique to turn textured yarn into interesting, fun fabric. For those who don’t spin, but would like to experiment with weaving textured yarn, I also experimented with some commercially-available yarn in my explorations to good effect (I’ve cited the companies below).

Using art yarn in the weft is an obvious choice because you can use just about anything in the weft, but it can also be exquisite used in the warp, as well as in both warp and weft.

I like using rigid heddle looms for my art yarn projects because there is less loom waste, as well as less abrasion than on a floor loom. You can also get away with using less warp tension on a rigid heddle loom.

I wove plain weave on my Cricket or Flip loom for all of the fabrics shown here, except for one twill weave structure, which I wove on my Wolf Pup LT. The variable dent reed is another great tool to consider when working with irregular or art yarns.

I think most of us have our go-to projects that we like to create. Mine happens to be bags. I have found that art yarn makes superb bags, but it can also be used for other items, such as pillows, scarves, vests, or even a table runner for modern centerpiece.


Thick and Thin Used in Warp

Turmeric thick and thin

Thick and thin is one of my favorite spinning techniques and probably the easiest of the art yarns to spin. I love showcasing the yarn by putting it in the warp and crossing it with a thin weft. Sometimes, I even use sewing thread in the weft if the warp yarn has a lot of color movement, allowing the warp be the star of the piece. I can see this fabric used vertically for a vest or coat. To see if your yarn is suitable for warp, check that it will fit through the slots and holes in your heddle and give it a strength test. To do this, pull on a length of yarn, if it comes a part with a snapping sound, it should be strong enough. If the yarn pulls apart noiselessly, you might question its warp worthiness.


Warp: Hand spun merino top spun thick and thin in both singles, then plied for a 2-ply yarn (7 wraps per inch), dyed with eucalyptus and turmeric.

Weft: 8/2 unmercerized cotton in grey.

Weave: Plain weave, 5-dent reed with 5 picks per inch, woven into a skinny scarf.


Art Yarn in Warp and Weft (Plaid Color Effect)

Bright plaid

Lively hand-dyed, hand-spun yarn wove up to be a beautifully bright and unconventional plaid. Using art yarn in the warp and weft, made a thick, fluffy fabric, perfect for bag making. Surprisingly, the fabric is soft enough that it could even be a cowl. The color, texture, pattern, and sparkle create movement and true joy for the eyes. For this project, I did not pull the locks of mohair out while weaving, so there are only small bubbles of it here and there. Two similar colorways and fibers, created by the same maker, give the fabric a cohesive feel.

Warp: Spinning Wheel Studio Thread, plied yarn using a large single of hand-dyed merino top, mulberry silk, sari silk thread, mohair locks, and firestar plied with a thin metallic thread (5 wraps per inch).

Weft: Spinning Wheel Studio corespun single hand-dyed merino top, mohair locks, firestar, angelina, mulberry silk, and sari thread (7 wraps per inch).

Weave: Plain weave, 5-dent reed with 5 picks per inch, fabric to be used for an envelope satchel or cowl.


 Locks and Sari Silk for a Textured Surface

Locks and sari silk

Tail spun yarn makes for a pleasingly tactile yarn. I pulled the locks out while I wove so they would float on the surface of the fabric. This would make such a fun little clutch purse.

Warp: Frabjous Fibers Recycled Silk Yarn-handspun by women’s cooperatives from silk weaving mill waste (8 wraps per inch).

Weft: Fancy Fibers tail spun locks.

Weave: Plain weave, 5-dent reed with 3 picks per inch, could be made into a purse or an accent pillow.


Silk extravaganza: Art Yarn in the Weft

Silk extravaganza

Continuing with more silk, I felt I could enhance the texture of silk further by alternating recycled silk yarn with sari ribbon, alternating every other one in the weft with a cotton warp. This fabric has an amazing hand without compromising any structural integrity.

Warp: cotton carpet warp in navy.

Weft: Frabjous Fibers Recycled Silk Yarn in “sea,” Frabjous Fibers Sari Ribbon in “teal” and “emerald.” These colors are hand-picked from silk weaving-mill waste and the silk fibers of similar color are spun together into one yarn, while the ribbon is sewn into yarn.

Weave: Plain weave, 10-dent reed with about 6 picks per inch. Since the fabric is so pliable and durable, it could be used for many things.


Maximum Weft Texture

Bubble gum

This is probably one of my favorite fabric results of my art yarn explorations. It really shows off the yarn with maximum texture. The color, texture, and a hint of sparkle make this bag fabric irresistible.

Warp: Knit Collage Maharani Silk in “firework.”

Weft: Knit Collage Pixie Dust in “azalea bloom.” Knit Collage yarn is hand spun by women in India.

Weave: Plain weave, 8-dent reed with varying picks per inch (due to thick and thin nature of the yarn).


Manipulating a Commercial Yarn

Flower power

Although I love plain weave, mostly because I am truly interested in color and texture, I wanted to try at least one twill sample. Yarn with inserted objects works well with twill due to its longer weft floats. I manipulated the flowers as I wove by lifting them up to the surface of the fabric. I beat this fairly firmly because I wanted it to be a rather large tote bag, which required a rather stiff and sturdy fabric.

Warp: Knit Collage Maharani Silk in “key lime pie.”

Weft: Knit Collage Gypsy Garden in “emerald forest.”

Weave: 4-shaft point twill, 8-dent reed with about 6 picks per inch.


Weft Emphasis Fabric

Bright coils

One of the most impressive samples that came from this study was the use of  my handspun coil-spun yarn. This, more than most art yarns, would be difficult to crochet or knit, but it wove up like a dream. Using a 20/2 cotton in the warp, it disappeared and all that was left were the scrumptious coils.

Warp:  20/2 mercerized cotton in a bright orange color.

Weft: Spinning Wheel Studio Hand-dyed Falkland Wool Top super coiled.

Weave: Plain weave, 10-dent reed with about 5 picks per inch. This will become a lovely spindle bag.


Through this exercise, I (re)learned that it is important to try new things, to have fun and play with yarns on the fringe. I would advise starting with art yarn in the weft and using smaller, smooth yarns in the warp. There are no hard and fast rules about sett when it comes to art yarn, so intuition and bravery are key to adventures with textured yarns.​ I hope that this has inspired you to try out your own art yarn in weaving, as well as to try some of those novelties that you love but don’t know how to use.


Denise Renee Grace

Denise Renee Grace first learned to weave as a student at Bethel College. She later moved to Boulder and worked in a re-purposed product company where Barry Schacht discovered her and hired her to work in our sales and service department. Denise’s first love is spinning and she is especially fond of working with natural fibers on all four of her Schacht Wheels. When it comes to weaving, tabby tickles her. In charge of customer care, Denise spends her days here helping people—something she does so well.

Party of Five Scarf – SweetGeorgia Yarns Collaboration


SweetGeorgia’s stunning, warm colors and soft fibers make this scarf a perfect companion on the coldest of days, yet it is light enough for more temperate weather. It is woven on a 4-shaft Wolf Pup LT in a balanced twill pattern which allows the colors to blend beautifully.

Designed by Judy Pagels

Equipment: Schacht Wolf Pup LT, 12-dent reed, 1-9” mini boat shuttle, warping board.

Yarn: SweetGeorgia Party of Five (Set of 5 mini skeins) in Wildfire and CashSilk Lace in Coral Rose.

Weaving: Structure: 2/2  straight twill

twill detail

Warp: SweetGeorgia Party of Five (Tough Love Sock) 5 mini-skein yarn set (80% Superwash Merino/20% nylon; each skein 105 yds) in Wildfire, 525 yds. 1 set needed.

Warp length: ­­­122”, allows for 12” of fringe, take-up, and loom waste. 100 ends total, 20 ends of each color. Width in reed: 8 5/8”

Weft: SweetGeorgia CashSilk Lace (55% silk/45% cashmere, 400 yds/50 g) in Coral Rose. 1 skein needed.

EPI: 12

PPI: 10

Warping: Using a warping board, measure 20 ends of each of the Party of Five in the sequence of Saffron, Dutch, Pumpkin, Cayenne, and Cherry, for a total of 100 ends. A floating selvedge (included in the total warp ends) used at either selvedge.

Weaving: Begin the piece with hemstitching (see The Weaver’s Idea Book by Jane Patrick for instructions). Use CashSilk and weave a 2/2 twill for 74”. The weave structure will look too open and may be a bit distorted when advancing the warp. This will be corrected in the finishing. End the weaving with hemstitching.

scarf detail

Finishing: Remove from the loom and trim the fringe ends to approximately 5 ½” to 6”. Twist the fringe in groups of 6 ends and secure with a knot.

Adjust any of the irregular weft threads with your fingers as needed. Hand wash with rubber gloves in very hot soapy water agitating vigorously for several minutes. Then give the scarf a plunge in very cold water. Repeat this process one more time and roll in a towel to remove excess water. Put in a dryer and full as desired, being sure to check the progress – approximately every 5 to 10 minutes. Lay flat for the remainder of the drying time.

Finished length with fringe: 67”

Finished fringe length: approximately 3 ½”

Finished width: 6 3/4”

SweetGeorgia began as a simple desire to share and enjoy colour. Creating stunningly saturated and vibrant colors on our favorite exquisite and luxurious natural fiber yarns is the basis of what we do.

Founded in 2005 by Felicia Lo, SweetGeorgia Yarns is an artisan hand-dyed yarn company based in Vancouver, Canada. SweetGeorgia started off as a teeny-tiny venture on Etsy with three humble skeins of hand-painted sock yarn. Since that time, through an authentic and deep shared passion for fiber arts and crafts, SweetGeorgia has grown from a solo operation to a 16-member crew of dedicated artisans and craftspeople who dye, package, and ship yarns to shops, knitters, and makers worldwide. We aim to bring light and comfort to people’s lives through color and craft.


Judy Pagels

Judy Pagels comes to Schacht from a varied background in printing, graphic design, and flower arranging. Hired initially as our shipping manager, Judy shortly afterwards was promoted to sales and service manager where she is in charge of new accounts, as well as sales and service. Judy is first a knitter, but also weaves and spins—always with a keen eye to great design.

From Fiber to Finished Object – Lesson Time

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno live about 30 minutes from each other and spend a lot of spinning time together, trading ideas and cheering each other on. Recently, the two have found weaving sneaking into their thoughts more and more. “Wouldn’t it be fun,” they said, “to do a project where we spin our yarn and weave it and see what happens?” “Yes!” they said, “that sounds like an awesome plan.” We thought so, too. Through the end of the year, they will post on the Schacht Spindle blog, telling you about their journey weaving with handspun on a rigid heddle loom.


Finally! The skirt, she is finished.

Since we last talked, I sent my sewn-together skirt from Michigan to Maine to the expert dyeing fingers of Amy King, owner of Spunky Eclectic. We chatted about color and what I would like and, to everyone’s surprise, I chose neither pink nor orange. Instead, it was chocolate brown. I do love chocolate.

I actually sent the skirt just when the six main pieces were assembled, before lining or hemming I was interested in how the fabric would hold up with raw edges and another dip and wring before completing the project. If I saw any changes in the fabric after dyeing, I would know that my finishing would have been incomplete and the fulling should have been longer. I was thrilled, though, that the fabric held together with a minimum of fraying. It also held its shape extremely well, no sagging or stretching. Everything was fine!

So here she is:


Dyed and Finished Skirt

This was a great project that was filled with a lot of discoveries, and some things that were harder than I thought they would be.

Here’s what I learned:

  1. Making skirts takes a ton of yarn – but it hasn’t stopped me from making more.
  2. Finished handwoven fabric, specifically wool, stands up to some tough processes, like dyeing.
  3. Weaving fine yarns on a rigid heddle loom takes some time.
  4. Rigid heddle fabric is just as beautiful, durable, and drapey as fabric woven on a floor loom.

What I would do differently next time:

  1. I would wind my warp chains with fewer ends in each. (Remember I couldn’t do direct warping because my warp was 6 yards long.)
  2. I would realize that rigid heddle weaving is a bit slower than on a floor loom and be less frustrated with the time it took. (I think in the end it was about twice as long on the rigid heddle if we compare the same yardage.)

Overall, I have been encouraged to continue weaving cloth with fine yarns for clothing, and I have a bunch of new ideas. If you want to follow along with my progress on these new ideas you can check me out on my personal website at


Today it’s time for the big reveal!

When last we checked in, I had cut and edge-stitched my fabric and did some preliminary hand stitching to hold it all together.

Since then I’ve embroidered more and thought about what my next project will be!

I embroidered some swoopy bits on the edges in chain stitch. I like how the work with the stitching that holds the piece together.

Chain Stitch Swoops

I listened the Woolful podcast interview with Tif Fussell (Dottie Angel) and was inspired to add one of her signature embroidered wooly tattoos to my piece.

wooly tattoo

I still may add more stitching to it. I consider everything I stitch on to be a work in progress pretty much forever. It’s really easy to stitch on hand woven cloth.

But I like how the stitching looks right now, too.

all the stitching

I’ve worn my wrap a lot – it’s cozy and handsfree, adjusting-wise, once I get it on.

Here’s how it looks with the twist in the front and in the back, I like it equally both ways.


What I learned from this project:

  • I can cut handwoven fabric and not die; it is as easy as everyone says.
  • Handspun yarn is amazing handwoven; my BFL woven is soft, light, and fluid.
  • I really like rigid heddle weaving and want to do more; it’s so straight-forward and the math is pretty easy.

What I’ll do differently next time:

  • Sample. I threw caution to the wind this time, but next time I’m going to sample. I’ll make sure that I have enough fiber to do at least 2 or 3 samples before diving into the project.
  • Neater edges. The edges really bug me. I’ll probably hem the fabric or use rows of zig zag stitch close together
  • More embroidery, though I’ll probably add more to this one still.

What I’m curious about now:

  • How to sample efficiently, so I get the info I need and don’t spend all of my weaving time or hand dyed fiber on the sampling.
  • Using different- sized and textured yarns in weaving.
  • Color in weaving, particularly using variegated hand-dyed fiber. My stash is overrun with it.
  • Making more of these type of wraps, but maybe something that resembles a jacket too.

I want to say a huge thank you to Schacht for letting Beth and I play on their blog. To Benjamin for being so enthusiastic and dream to work with. To Jane for saying yes to the idea and always being such a champion of creative hand weaving.

And to Beth for never letting me sit with the covers over my head for too long when I was chicken to do something.

Beth Smith

Jillian Moreno

Weaving a Lace Sampler – Melissa Hankens

As I started researching lace weaves, I quickly came to the realization that this topic is far too vast to be covered in a single article. As Jane covers hand-manipulated weaves so well in her book, The Weaver’s Idea Book, I decided to focus on loom-controlled lace weaves on my Schacht floor loom for this sampler, more specifically on Bronson lace, Swedish lace, and huck.

The sampler consists of three columns of threadings typical for each weave structure, divided by warp color in the sampler and a white space in the drawdown for clarity. There are various tie-up and treadling sequences that best highlight each weave structure. The top section of treadlings and the right column apply to Bronson lace. The middle column and middle section of the treadling sequences apply to Swedish lace. The left column and bottom section of treadling sequences are for huck. Each section of treadling sequences appropriate for the given weave structure is separated by a white line in the drawdown, and various options within each group are separated by green lines.

If you would like to follow along with a draft, a PDF is available here.


Bronson Lace

Let’s look at Bronson Lace (the right section of warp threads), also referred to as Lace Bronson and Atwater-Bronson Lace. This sampler assumes you are using a four-shaft loom. When looking at Bronson Lace threadings, it is immediately apparent that half of the threads, every other one, are threaded on a single shaft, usually the front one. The other threads are the pattern block threads and are threaded on shafts two, three and four. Plain weave would be treadled 1, 2-3-4, repeat. We learn from Ms. Atwater that you must repeat your pattern blocks more than once to create lace-like open areas, and for the best result, linen or fine worsted yarns should be used. I highly recommend this article by Mary Meigs Atwater for some historical background on this weave structure. It reminded me of the telephone game!

Anne Dixon provides further insight into Bronson Lace in her book, The Handweaver’s Pattern Directory, noting that the pattern blocks consist of an even number of ends, six and four are demonstrated in the sampler. Floats can be created in both the warp and the weft.

Bronson Lace Sample


Swedish Lace

Up next is Swedish Lace, at the center of the sampler. On a four-shaft loom, two pattern blocks are possible with this weave structure, and each block consists of an odd number of threads. Every other pick or row in the pattern block is a plain weave pick. If you picture a five-thread pattern block, picks one, three and five will float, and picks two and four are plain weave. The end result is that the three floating picks snuggle right up to each other when washed with the plain weave picks providing stability.

Marguerite Porter Davison, in A Handweaver’s Pattern Book, provides some useful tips and threadings. In particular, some of her threadings group threads in a single dent and/or leave adjacent dents open to enhance the lace effect. Additionally, she reminds us not to beat our threads too hard. Changing your shed before beating your pick into place can offer additional resistance if you find this challenging.



Huck Lace

The final loom-controlled lace weave structure we’ll experiment with is huck, short for Huckaback. This is found in the left hand column of the sampler. Not surprisingly, you have two pattern blocks available for your four-shaft loom. They begin and end on the same shaft and consist of an odd number of threads. Typically each block consists of five threads, but three or seven are also an option. As with the first two weave structures, both warp and weft floats are possible.

As I began to weave, I quickly noticed that my tension needed to be notched up in order to provide enough resistance for an easy, even beat. The goal is to be gentle when beating your weft into place. I also found that it was easy to end up with a fell line that was uneven when the pattern combined larger areas of plain weave surrounded by more open lacey areas – something to keep in mind when weaving a length of cloth with this combination. You may be tempted to beat with more force, but be sure to pay attention to your plain weave areas to keep them balanced (even exposure of warp and weft).


A couple of other notes. I used 3/2 pearl cotton for this sampler. I was thrilled with the way the fabric transformed in the washing machine and dryer. I tossed this in with a regular load of wash – no delicate handling of the material. It was also interesting to see how tie-up and treadling sequences appropriate for one weave structure worked for another. There were wins and losses, as you can see in the photos.

Weave the sampler, or choose a section that looks appealing to try on its own. Experiment with treadling sequences and tie-up options. Consider this drawdown a starting point for your own lace explorations. Personally, I’m going to bust out some hemp yarn and make a few towels using the first twelve threads in the Bronson column with the first tie-up and treadling sequence in the huck section. Mix and match!

More lace weave projects (loom and finger-controlled) can be found on the Schacht website by following these links:

Petal Pink Shawl – Spanish Lace

Snow Shawl – Swedish Lace

Lightweight Lace Shawl – Pick-up on a rigid heddle

Summer Curtains in Hemp – Doubled warp and weft threads in plain weave

Café Curtains – Pick-up on a rigid heddle

Melissa Ludden Hankens

You can find Melissa designing weaving projects for the Schacht newsletter and teaching at the Creative Warehouse in Needham, Massachusetts. Website - Twitter - Melentine (@Melentine) Instagram - melentine on Instagram

Winter Nights Wrap – Miss Babs Yarns Collaboration

poncho shawl

For this project, I was inspired by the icy blues seen in the deep mid-winter season around dusk and twilight. Cold clear nights with freshly fallen snow makes you want to curl up in something warm and cozy. This wrap is that “something warm and cozy”. A sock yarn with a high twist adds loftiness and squish to the woven fabric. These traits, coupled with the highly textured weave structure, traps air easily, keeping you warm during the coldest of days. Also, being made from 100% superwash merino wool, this will last the wearer many winters to come.

It’s no secret that gradient sets have been popular this last year in the yarn industry, so I wanted to play with them as well. When I was planning this project I fell head over heels in love with the Perseus gradient set from Miss Babs – Hand Dyed Yarns & Fibers. The Perseus set consists of 6 mini skeins of yarn in a gradient of marine blue. Each colorway is named after either a constellation or a star within the constellation. Dark Perseus, Perseus, Mirphak, Algol, Miram, and Atik.

Persus Gradient Set
From Left to Right: Dark Perseus, Perseus, Mirphak, Algol, Miram, Atik.

When I received the yarn and saw the colors together, I knew that I wanted to make a gradient color gamp. While plain weave allows for great color mixing, I didn’t think it would provide the movement I was seeking. Knowing that I wanted to play with pattern in this project I pulled out my 8-shaft Baby Wolf and started planning.

Here’s what you’re going to need to make this project:

Equipment: 4.5 yard warping board or other warping tool, 4-shaft Baby Wolf Loom with a weaving width of at least 22″.

Optional: Fringe twister

Yarn: Two sets of the Perseus Gradient set in her Yummy 2-ply Toes base, 1,596 yards total – 266 yards of each of the 6 colors.

To better understand the pattern, I have labeled the colors below.

A – Dark Perseus

B – Persus

C – Mirphak

D – Algol

E – Miram

F – Atik

Gradient warp on loom

Warp: 3 yards long, 264 ends total warp ends plus 2 additional ends for a floating selvedge on each side (Total warp ends: 266).

The warp sequence is 22 ends of each color in this order – A, B, C, D, E, F, F, E, D, C, B, A

22″ in reed, 17.25″ finished width.

The darkest portions of the gradient are on the selvedge edges, with the lightest portions being in the center of the warp.


draft for winter wrap

For a complete draft in PDF format, click here.

Threading: point twill.

Sett: 12 epi

Weaving: Start by weaving 12 picks of plain weave (at 12 ppi) in the darkest color. Then begin following the treadling pattern, weaving about 18 ppi. Weave 32 picks of each color to square each color block. Follow the same color as was used in the warp. Weave the total sequence a total 3 times. End by weaving 12 picks of plain weave as in the beginning.



Due to the large scale of this project, I left as long as fringe as possible (plus, I couldn’t bear wasting any material).

Twist or braid fringe. Wash and lay flat to dry.


This wrap is a versatile addition to your accessory collection. Here are a few easy ways to wear your new wrap!

Miss Babs comes from a family of entrepreneurs and artists and started in business while in her twenties. In 2003, she started Miss Babs which morphed into Miss Babs Hand-Dyed Yarns & Fibers in 2005 when she found that placing color on yarn and fiber was her core focus. Since 2005, Miss Babs has seen growth from 1 to 13 employees, and much success in the show and festival circuit. A new fiber club is geared towards the armchair traveler, featuring designs from popular knitwear designers such as Martina Behm, Romi Hill, and Franklin Habit. You can find Miss Babs online here:


Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Projects Abound

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno live about 30 minutes from each other and spend a lot of spinning time together, trading ideas and cheering each other on. Recently, the two have found weaving sneaking into their thoughts more and more. “Wouldn’t it be fun,” they said, “to do a project where we spin our yarn and weave it and see what happens?” “Yes!” they said, “that sounds like an awesome plan.” We thought so, too. Through the end of the year, they will post on the Schacht Spindle blog, telling you about their journey weaving with handspun on a rigid heddle loom.


The fabric is off the loom; finished and trimmed, but there is still some work to do to make a skirt.

I made a pattern for a six-gore skirt. I chose six gores because I used a 15″-wide loom. I knew the fabric would shrink and estimated that the finished fabric would be about 13 inches wide. This may seem opposite of what may have been the safe way of proceeding: finishing the fabric and then making the pattern. However, since I had made a sample and finished it before, I had enough information to continue weaving my yardage.

I only needed one pattern piece because all six gores would be identical for this skirt. I took that piece, beginning at one end of the fabric, pinned it down and traced it with tailor’s chalk. I traced every gore before cutting just to make sure that everything would fit. Luckily I still had about 12 inches left of excess fabric!

columbia skirt rh cut

Once everything was cut, I went to the sewing machine and sewed each piece together, remembering to leave an adequate opening on one side of the skirt for the zipper.

Columbia skirt sewing

Before I added the zipper I tried the skirt on my own body and then I put it on the dress form and let it sit there overnight. This would allow the fabric to move around if it wanted to.

Next I cut and sewed the lining in the same way I sewed the body of the skirt. I wanted to line it for several reasons. First, most high-quality clothing is lined, and since I had spun, woven, and sewed this myself I am considering it couture! In addition, I decided to not have a waist band for this project. Adding a lining would allow that top edge to be finished.

columbia skirt no lining

And finally comes the zipper and the hem.

columbia skirt zipper

You might think this skirt is finished now but it isn’t. Even though I love to spin and weave with white, I really like color in my wardrobe. The plan is to send this skirt to Amy King, the owner of Spunky Eclectic, in Maine. She will put her expert dyeing hands to work to make this skirt extra special.

I’m not showing you the fully finished skirt yet, so stay tuned for the beautiful modeling of this project.



Wow-wee I am almost done!

What I did for this round wasn’t time consuming or even a big deal, if you’re Beth, but it scared the snot out of me. Scissors + handwoven cloth = the heebie-jeebies. I also sewed my cloth with a machine.

I am a big baby when it comes to cutting and sewing handwoven cloth. I don’t even like to trim my fringe.

To make my mobius wrap I have to finish my ends and sew them together somehow. I had a few choices to think about while I finished my edges.

1 sewing

I knew I wasn’t going to get perfectly smooth and even ends without a serger, so I let that little glimmer of perfectionism go right away. I sewed one line of stitches last time on my dying Singer. I got paranoid that that single line of sewing wasn’t going to hold, so I added two more lines of stitching on each side, close to the first line.

2 lines

Yes, I sew really crookedly, which is one of the reasons I don’t quilt or make my own clothes. The other is that I can’t cut a straight line to save my life. You’ll see in a second. I sewed my lines and then I had to trim my cloth close to the stitches: the cutting part. I put my cloth in the brightest light I could find and checked at least three times that it wasn’t doubled over in any spots, then cut.

3 cutting

I cut the fabric on both ends as close to the sewn lines as I could without cutting through them. Success! They are not entirely straight lines, but still success.

4 cut edges

Then came the decorative stitching. I wasn’t worried about this as much, but since I was using my weft yarn, I knew the stitch I chose had to be simple, because the yarn is pretty big. I did some thinking and looking through books and decided that I wanted to use an insertion stitch .

Insertion stitches are used to hold two edges of cloth together, sometimes with a space between them. I tried five different stitches before going back to the plainest one. The yarn was too big for anything fancy, because instead of fancy I was getting clumpy. I used a stitch called Twisted Insertion Stitch by Mary Thomas and Twisted Faggoting Stitch by Elizabeth Glasier Foster in Embroidery and Design in the New Stitchery (1926).

5 books

Again I used a lot of light and a wooden lap desk to separate the layers of cloth.  I twisted my fabric, so it would be a mobius when stitched together and stitched it, pulled it out, stitched it, messed with the spacing and tension, and called it done.

6 stitching done

I think it came out good, but not great. I love the twisted side, but the stitched side needs more.

7 twist

I want more stitching, more embellishing. I’m going back to my embroidery books to make a plan for what to add.

One of the great things about working with variegated yarn is having so many colors to choose from when I use it for embroidery.

8 yarn

This is what I have left and I know I can really add to the wrap with just a bit of stitching here and there. Next time you can see it my embellishing and see me wearing my wrap.

Part Six

Part Eight

Beth Smith

Jillian Moreno

Reversible Tufted Cowl – Blue Sky Alpacas Collaboration

Thrummed Cowl

For our December yarn company collaboration, we worked with Blue Sky Alpacas for a very special and luxurious scarf woven on our 15″ Cricket Loom. Since Blue Sky Alpacas offers both yarns and fiber, I decided to use both in a project. For this fashionable cowl, I took my inspiration from a traditional knitting technique called thrumming. This is often used in the making of mittens where thrums or lengths of wool are inserted into the knitting to create tufts of wool inside the mitten. This creates a lofty and warm fabric.

Here’s what you’ll need for the project:


15″ Cricket Loom

8-dent rigid heddle reed

15″ stick shuttle

Optional: 15″ pick-up stick


2 skeins of Melange in the Peppercorn Colorway – 220 yards total

1 skein of Metalico in the Platinum Colorway – 147 yards total

1 bag of Handspin fiber

Note: You won’t use the whole bag for this project, so you can save it for future projects.

EPI: 8

PPI: 8

Width in Reed: 12″

Warp Length: 7 feet (2.3 yards)

Total warp ends: 96

Warping: Use the direct warping method.

Weaving: Hemstitch at the beginning and end. Using Metalico, weave 8 picks. Then, beginning about 1″ in from the side, choose two warp threads and create a ghiordes knot with a small chunk of fiber about 1/4″ thick and 6″ long. Here is a great tutorial on ghiordes knots; it starts about halfway down the page. Evenly space the knots across the warp 4 more times.

Thrummed ghiordes knot

Weave 8 more picks of Metalico, and place fiber tufts in the spaces between where the last tufts were placed. You can see this pattern best in the picture of the back side of the fabric. Note the offset polka dots. I found it helpful to take small sticky notes and mark where my tufts would go, however, as you weave it becomes more apparent in the finished fabric as to where the tufts go.

Repeat this process along the length of your warp.

As you advance your fabric around your fabric beam, it may help to put a warp separator paper in to help mitigate tension issues caused by the bumps of fiber.

Finishing: Fold the fabric in half tuft-side out, then take a group of 8 warp threads from each end of the fabric, bundle and tie them together in an overhand knot. Repeat this all the way across.

Soak and gently agitate the finished cowl in hot water. Be careful not to agitate too much, as the tufts are slightly delicate at this stage. Note: you want to full the fiber, not felt it. Lay flat to dry.

There are many styling options with this project, here are just a few!

About Blue Sky Alpacas

Founded in 1997, Blue Sky Alpacas is located near Minneapolis, Minnesota. The company started with a small herd of alpacas and has evolved into an industry leader in design, that sources the finest fibers to create a multitude of luxury yarns that are sold to fiber speciality retail locations worldwide.

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Finishing the Cloth

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno live about 30 minutes from each other and spend a lot of spinning time together, trading ideas and cheering each other on. Recently, the two have found weaving sneaking into their thoughts more and more. “Wouldn’t it be fun,” they said, “to do a project where we spin our yarn and weave it and see what happens?” “Yes!” they said, “that sounds like an awesome plan.” We thought so, too. Through the end of the year, they will post on the Schacht Spindle blog, telling you about their journey weaving with handspun on a rigid heddle loom.


This week I took my cloth off the loom and finished it.

I learned something that I knew in my head but had to experience for myself. Weaving on a rigid heddle loom takes a bit of time if you are making a lot of yardage with fine yarn; the floor loom is much faster. Probably 3 times faster. That includes winding, threading, and weaving. This whole weaving took me about 5 weeks total – not including the spinning, which was about a week for the full 4,000 yards. That includes several days where I wove for more than 6 hours in a day. So if you are thinking about doing a project like this, plan on a good 3 months of focus from start to finish. However, the rigid heddle loom is a fine alternative to a floor loom if you don’t have the space or budget for one. My selvedges are pretty even, the tension was good and the fabric turned out beautifully.

After I came to the end – that’s where the warp won’t advance anymore and you can no longer get the shuttle through the shed – I cut the fabric off and took it to the sewing machine so I could zig zag the edges so the threads wouldn’t ravel in the washer.

schacht drying (5)

After the sewing the ends of the fabric, I went back to my comfy chair to sew in any ends that needed to be secured or fix any holes that occurred due to fixing broken threads. Only 3 threads broke throughout the weaving. During weaving, I fixed these with a knot tied to the broken thread and the end of the new yarn wrapped around a t-pin. Broken threads used to terrify me, but I’m getting pretty good at them now. With the fabric off the loom, I used a sharp darning needle and just wove in the ends for about an inch. I let the ends hang there until after the fabric was finished. At this point I trimmed all the threads even with the fabric surface.

schacht drying (2)

Off I went to the (top-loading) washing machine. I filled it with HOT water and a tiny bit of soap. For this type of fabric, I like to use Soak wash because the fabric doesn’t require rinsing–and because its easy. I let the fabric soak for at least 15 minutes and then I turned on the agitation for 5 minutes. I then checked the fabric, making sure that the fabric was cohesive. Everything looked good so I spun it out in the washer. I then placed the fabric in the dryer, this time for 10 minutes.

schacht drying (4)

I removed the still-damp fabric from the dryer and then I used the iron and pressed it under a cloth on the highest setting. This takes out any wrinkles or bends. You don’t want the wrinkles to dry into it or, according to Sara Lamb, you are stuck with them forever.

schacht drying (3)

After pressing, I hung the yardage over a hanger and let it dry the rest of the way.

schacht drying (1)

Next I’m going to chop it all up and make it be a skirt. Keep watching!


I finished my cloth this week. It really shouldn’t have taken as long as it did, but I kept squeezing in other projects. To finish I set myself up in front of the TV and watched selected episodes from the first season of Outlander. I may have dreamed about weaving a tartan. I may have thought about other, less weaverly things too.

I was grateful to have discovered the arcing style of laying in weft early in my practice weaving. Every time I noticed my selvedge edges pulling in, I added more arc to my weft and they smoothed right out.

The first thing I noticed when I pulled my cloth off of the loom…well, right after swinging the cloth over my head and doing a little victory dance… is that I miss a lot of threads when I weave.

1 float

I took a peek into Liz Gipson’s Weaving Made Easy and found an easy fix. Using some matching weft yarn and for a couple of inches in either direction follow the path of the weft thread with the skip, right next to it and work the correct under or over at the mistake spot.

2 needle fix

I did some corrections above and some below the thread with the mistake and it didn’t seem to make a difference which side I did the correction on. I could see the double threads, but it really did help the skipped thread recede.

3 fixing threads 1

Because I’m going to sew the end of my cloth together to make a mobius, I stitched a straight line close to both ends using my sewing machine. I was going to use a zig-zag stitch, but my machine had other ideas and just sewed straight while overheating. It was $20 at a garage sale about six years ago, I’m glad it made it through these last two stitched lines! Maybe Santa will bring me a new sewing machine.

4 stitched line

After stitching my edges, I finished my cloth. That’s a simple sentence but it created such anxiety in my little maker heart. I spun the yarn and wove this cloth, and I was fully aware I could totally screw it up in the finishing. Should I finish it in the sink or in the washing machine? I had an idea that I wanted to finish it in the sink with a hot water soak. I wanted the threads to pull in just a little, for the most drape, and I thought that a machine even on a delicate cycle would do more than that.

I did an experiment first. I took my practice weaving, which I wove using superwash merino yarn, and ran it through the washer on delicate and low dry in the dryer. I am not a huge fan of superwash yarn. I think it feels limp and not quite right, like the life has been stripped out of it. My woven cloth came out fine — not too stiff and really fluffy.

5 sw cloth

The fringe I tied at the ends was another story. Remember the groundhog that lives under my deck? My fringe looked like he had special Outlander-inspired frolicking times with my fringe.

6 fringe sw

Because the yarn was superwash the ends came completely untwisted and frayed. My original idea to do a soft finish to my handspun cloth was cemented.

I soaked my cloth in tap-hot water with a drop of SOAK Wash for 30 minutes. I rolled it in a towel and hung it near my fireplace to dry. Now I can’t quit petting it. It’s drapey and Blue Faced Leicester silky. The warp and weft pulled in just slightly and the yarns plumped. The result is spectacular, better than I had hoped.

7 finished cloth

The play of the color is another thing that worked beyond my plan, which was to throw it at the wall and see what sticks. The two colorways I chose worked really well together. The warp was mostly red with some orange and the weft ran between a sage green, orange and dark blue-green. I really like that I can see the color changes in the weft. I can already feel a bunch of color experiments gathering in my brain.

8 cloth color

The cloth I made also passed my favorite test: the one where I leave it sitting on my dining room table and see how many people touch it and comment. A lot of people touched this one. Even my mostly wool-allergic husband touched it. Other people stroked it, squished it, flung it around their neck, and generally cooed over it.

I can’t wait to put this shawl together. There will be hand stitching and maybe even some embroidery, but that’s for next time!

Part Five

Part Seven

Beth Smith

Jillian Moreno

Winter Berry Shrug

Winter Berry Shrug

We partnered with Skacel to create this stunning piece which is featured in their Magalog, volume 8. Our Winter Berry Shrug is woven in a subtle plaid using five lovely shades of HiKoo Sueno in the warp. For weft we alternated HiKoo Sueno and Tiara for just a hint a sparkle.

This was a true collaboration of all of our local talent. Sara Goldenberg, Jane’s co-author of Simple Woven Garments, designed the fabric. We engaged our shipping clerk, spinner and weaver, Betty Paepke, to weave the fabric on a 25” Flip Loom. Jane adapted the original shrug pattern from Simple Woven Garments by adding a pick-up pattern to the cuffs and tapering the sleeves. Judy Pagels, our shipping manager and one of our resident knitters, created the perfect cuffs that add a layered look to the piece. You can find the instructions at:

Check out all of Skacel’s dreamy yarns at

Jane Patrick

Jane Patrick is Creative Director of Schacht Spindle Company. She is an author, lecturer, and teacher. You can find her class: Creative Weaving Techniques on the Rigid Heddle Loom, on Craftsy.

Dispatches from the Loom

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno live about 30 minutes from each other and spend a lot of spinning time together, trading ideas and cheering each other on. Recently, the two have found weaving sneaking into their thoughts more and more. “Wouldn’t it be fun,” they said, “to do a project where we spin our yarn and weave it and see what happens?” “Yes!” they said, “that sounds like an awesome plan.” We thought so, too. Through the end of the year, they will post on the Schacht Spindle blog, telling you about their journey weaving with handspun on a rigid heddle loom.


I’m deep in the weaving of the yardage. Deep. I’m only about 1/3 of the way through, but the fabric is beautiful. Beautiful enough that I am encouraged to continue on. I am in no way saying that everybody will want to weave 6 yards of white fabric. If that sounds like too much for you, please add color. But I have a long and delightful relationship with white.

Fabric on the front beam

I’ve learned a lot, too. 

First, I’ve learned that with a sticky yarn, tighter tension is better. This yarn is sticky because it is woolen spun, so there are lots of little bits that stick out. That means when the sheds are changing, the warp yarns get stuck on each other. Tight tension allows the threads to move past each other more easily.

You might be saying, “But Beth, you talked in the last post about how the threads have lower twist in the singles and the ply! How can you tighten the tension so much?” Well, let me tell you. You can. Think about a piece of paper. You can rip one piece very easily. If, however, you take a stack of 200 pages you can’t rip it. Works the same way with yarn. The tension is distributed over the whole warp width and so even though I can easily break one thread with my hands, I can tighten the tension with no breakage.

Second, I learned the benefit of advancing the warp more often. The main reason for this is that on the rigid heddle loom, one set of threads stays stationary and one is moved up and down. The ones moving up and down are being stretched. As you weave more and more and don’t advance, those threads are getting stretched even more because a shorter length of yarn has to go into the up and down shed. To avoid stretching them excessively I advance every 2 inches or so.

Third, the Schacht Flip is superior to other rigid heddles with the double heddle option. Because the second heddle spot is built in, everything is in the proper position when you change sheds. Because the rear heddle sits a bit higher than the front heddle, everything is in line. With another brand that I used, the open shed isn’t as clean in front of the reed as it is with the Schacht. Any messiness is behind, as you can see from the photo.

Open shed on Flip loom

Of course with this much yardage to weave I need to spend a lot of time doing it. And there can be issues with that since it is less portable than say, knitting a sock. Regardless, I’ve been making it work. In October I had a 2-week trip and it just went along with me. This would not be possible with my floor loom, so a rigid heddle loom, especially one that folds like the Flip is a great for traveling.

Loom in the car

When I’m home, I just make sure I do some weaving every day. It takes me about an hour to weave 6 inches, so I need to keep at it.

One more tip: Make sure to give your yarn a bit of an angle with each throw of the shuttle. The weft yarn will be longer than the warp width when you go to beat it in, but because of the up-and-down movement around each warp thread, you need that extra length.

Diagonal weft

And just so you know…I’m doing an even weave for this fabric. I have 20 ends per inch and so I am matching that with 20 picks per inch. What I’ve decided is that I would want to try this fabric again with the warp sett even closer and see what would happen if I weave a warp faced fabric. I have a tendency to start asking questions during a project that lead to even more experiments. I’ll keep you updated with the results.



Finally it’s time to weave! Well, after I get the loom warped.

I’m really glad I did a test weave before I tackled this main project. I learned quite a bit, just getting something on and off the loom without being worried about the outcome.

I wound all of my yarn into cakes before warping, I knew I didn’t want to warp from yarn on a swift. It was too tangly when I tried that with my scarf.

While I wound my yarn I remeasured the wpi on all three yarns and got 9 pretty consistently, a little big for a 8 epi sett.  As I wound, I pondered my wrap-to-be, I really wanted it drapey and I read on a few weaving blogs that for plain weave, your sett should be ½ (ish) of wpi, so I decided to change my sett from 8 epi to 5 epi.

I know, I live on the wild side.

Even Beat


I redid my warp and weft math. I knew I had enough, that my yarn totals would be less going with a smaller sett, but I wanted to see it in black and white. My new totals are 163 yards for warp (down from 261) and 140 yards for weft (down from 224). I kept everything else the same: finished size of 12”x 60”, 12” for loom waste, 10% for take up and 10% for draw in; I just changed the sett from 8 to 5.

That my wrap will use less yarn made me happier from a color standpoint. I have three yarns, one primarily red, one primarily orange and one dark purple. Using less yardage overall means I won’t have to dip so heavily into the dark purple yarn that will dampen the rest of the colors.

Three skeins of yarn

I used the direct method of warping, the same as my practice weaving. I did remember to turn my loom the right way this time! I like warping this way; it’s quick and easy. It does take up space, but I took the dining room table hostage for an evening.  Threading 5 epi is fantastically quick and I ended up making my wrap a little wider than I originally planned; I threaded 14” instead of 12”. This is exactly why I need to think in terms of “ish” — I like to change my plans on the go.

warp set up

When I started weaving I remembered what I learned about placement of weft yarn and selvedges. For me, my selvedges stay more even if I place my yarn in an arc rather than a diagonal. I’m not sure why, but the difference in my practice piece was dramatic so I made sure to do it this way.

placing weft

I am really happy that I can cart my Cricket around from room to room; I worked at the dining room table, on my lap and using the stand. I have extra love for weaving on the stand because the height of the loom is close to the height of the orifice on my Matchless, so my favorite spinning chair is perfect to use for weaving too.

Stand height

Ready for my hot tip and my lemonade-from-lemons moment? I realized that weaving 5 weft threads to the inch was trickier than I thought because of the need for more precise spacing and the need to pay attention. However, I cut my index finger to the bone this week in the kitchen (don’t ask, it was monumentally stupid) – an injury that required 7 stitches and a fat band aid. To help myself maintain my weft spacing, I marked 5 evenly spaced lines over an inch on my band aid and used it to check my warp threads. Perfectly lazy/genius, my favorite type of trick!

making lemons into lemonade

Part Four

Part Six

Beth Smith

Jillian Moreno

Density Plaid Wrap – Voolenvine Yarns Collaboration



I was thrilled When I had the chance to work with Kristin Lehrer from Voolenvine Yarns on a project! I have been following Kristin for some time through her video podcast on YouTube. I have admired the beauty of her hand-dyed yarns in each episode. She specializes in variegated colors, each a different recipe. Working with variegated yarns can be a challenge as one might encounter unexpected patterning, such as pooling of colors. However, when used in weaving, the effects of variegated yarns can produce stunning results where the yarn does all the work. In general, I find the color effects of variegated yarns vary from skein to skein, and depend largely on the length of the color repeats and the amount of color contrast. Kristin’s colorways always astound me, rich colors, subtle colors, all of them inspired.

Enjoy the Silence
Photo courtesy of Kristin Lehrer of Voolenvine Yarns

I fell in love with “Enjoy the Silence” due to the high contrast between the dark purples and pale cream, accented with flecks of intense colors throughout. I used two skeins of Alpaca Halo base, a 60/20/20 Superwash Merino, Superfine Alpaca, and Nylon blend.

Since variegated yarns tend to have a lot to say just on their own, I didn’t think it was necessary to add other weave structure patterning. Therefore, I chose a simple variation on a plain weave for my wrap.

Tools: This project can be woven on the Schacht 15″ Cricket Loom (or any of our other looms with a weaving width of at least 15″), 8-dent reed, 2 stick shuttles.

Yarn for warp and weft: 2 – 437 yard skeins of variegated fingering weight yarn – total 874 yards with some yarn left over. I used Alpaca Halo base in Enjoy the Silence from Voolenvine Yarns

Warping: I used the direct warping method with the peg approximately 7 feet away from the back apron bar, use the following threading pattern across 15″. Warping note: following the chart below, working right to left, thread 1 pass per slot 8 times (you will have two threads per slot), then thread 2 passes per slot (for a total of 4 threads per slot). After you wind the warp onto the back beam, you will then thread the holes. Again, following the chart below, you will take one thread out of the slot and thread it in the adjacent hole (repeat 8 times). Then, you will take 2 threads out of the slot and thread them in the adjacent hole (repeat 4 times), and so on. In this way you’ll have some areas that have single ends in the slots and holes and other areas where there are two ends in the slots and holes for a differential density.

threading draft

Wind one stick shuttle with a single strand of yarn, then another shuttle with two strands of yarn. Weave in the same pattern as the warp, in a balanced plain weave. Carry your yarns up the side of your weaving, catching the loose yarn with your working yarn. Weave the length of your warp until you can’t weave any further.

Detail of woven fabric

This creates a pattern I call a “density plaid” because instead of differing colors in a square grid, it uses different densities of yarn. This technique can also be called crammed and spaced.

The shorter repeats of color in this yarn create a beautiful mottled effect, almost tweed like. Yarns with longer color repeats weave up into more distinct patterns looking very much like plaids.

Finishing: Tie overhand knots in groups of 8 warp threads. Soak and lightly full in hot water. Trim the fringe to 2″.

Fringe detail

Finished size: 13″ wide X 5.5′ long (including 2 inches of fringe on each end)

This project is meant to be a small wrap, or an oversized scarf. Here are a few ways to style your Density Plaid Wrap!

Benjamin Krudwig

Benjamin has a double degree in biology and photography (he also spins, weaves, knits and crochets)--so he's a great mix of data and creativity--all wonderful traits as a member of our sales team. You'll often hear his friendly voice on the phone and you've probably noticed his name pop up in many places: Ravelry, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube. Ben is our digital media manager—the main reason you've seen more activity from us in social media.

Spinning to Weave

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno live about 30 minutes from each other and spend a lot of spinning time together, trading ideas and cheering each other on. Recently, the two have found weaving sneaking into their thoughts more and more. “Wouldn’t it be fun,” they said, “to do a project where we spin our yarn and weave it and see what happens?” “Yes!” they said, “that sounds like an awesome plan.” We thought so, too. Through the end of the year, they will post on the Schacht Spindle blog, telling you about their journey weaving with handspun on a rigid heddle loom.

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno


Now that you’ve seen the sampling I did, how about some detail about the yarn? It’s important to sample your yarns and even make samples of different yarn that you make in order to be sure that it’s going to work. By work, I mean is it making the fabric you want? Does it drape well if drape is what you want? Does it stand up to abrasion if hard wearing is what you want? Is it soft enough if soft is what you want? Sampling is the key. Taking your newly woven fabric all the way to a finished fabric is important because that sample, right as it comes off the loom is not the finished fabric.

Columbia Yarn


But I’m getting off the real topic of this post…

For this project I was really interested in whether the yarn would have to be spun in any special way for weaving. So many times I’ve read that it’s important to add extra twist when spinning yarn for warp. But then Sara Lamb came right out and told me that that’s a bunch of hooey. So, who was right: the whole entire internet? Or Sara Lamb, who actually spins for weaving all the time?

So, I decided to spin a low twist woolen yarn. I know! Low twist AND woolen. Let’s look at the yarn.

The plied yarn ended up to be about 18 wraps per inch with about 5 twists per inch. That is very low twist for this particular wool though the yarn is balanced.

Sample yarn from Beth

Check out how the yarn blooms. The photo below is of my sample card that I made at the very beginning of my spinning. It allows me to compare the singles I’m making with the singles on the card to make sure I’m staying pretty consistent over the entire project. I also add plied yarns to the card so that when it is time to ply, I have a sample of fresh yarn plied back on itself. That way I can use the ply twist as a reference.

Sample card for Columbia yarn

The great thing about all of this experimenting was that I found out that Sara Lamb is right. But she already knew that. Once I put this low twist woolen spun (supported long draw) yarn on the loom, it all worked out.


When I spin yarn for a particular project I always walk myself through the “Big 5” – the 5 things that affect my finished yarn: fiber, preparation, draft, ply, and finish. Each one of these elements of building a yarn influences how a yarn looks and behaves when it’s finished and used.

Most of my spinning-for-a-project experience comes from knitting, but a lot of that thinking translates well to weaving too. The project I am making is a mobius wrap. I want it to be warm, have some drape, and be woven from a worsted-size yarn.

Here’s how my brain worked through the Big 5 for this:

Woolgatherings fiber

Fiber – I chose wool for warmth and, in particular, BFL for its durability and drape. Plus, it’s an easy quick spin for me.

Preparation – I’m using top because that’s what was available in the colors I liked. I also like how colors look more saturated on top.

Draft – Woolen draft for this project to add air to the top and the BFL, and at a wpi that will finish to a worsted weight 2-ply.

Ply – 2-plied to balance, and maybe a little under. 2-ply is better than a single for durability and to mix up the colors. A little underplied for lightness and drape.  In the photo below, my ply-back sample is on the right and my plied sample is on the left.

Ply back and ply sample

Finish – I whacked my yarns to bring up loft and fuzz and to make them as plump as they wanted to be. The yarn on the top is unfinished and the bottom yarn is soaked in hot water and whacked enough to scare the neighbors.

Before and After finishing the 2-ply yarn

Here are my yarn stats:

Red yarn: 159 yards

Orange yarn: 179 yards

Green yarn: 178 yards

Finished WPI 8-10

485 yards total needed (261 yards warp, 224 yards weft)

I have 516 yards, so I’m good!

Finished yarns

I also want my project to be colorful. That’s a branch of thinking I keep separate from the Big 5, because it’s so big  and varied on its own! For this project I’m using three different variegated tops, all dyed by the same dyer, Woolgatherings. They are variegated but not dyed in any particular repeating pattern, and the three have some color commonality. I do not have a plan for how I’ll use the colors; I’ll figure it out as I warp. Maybe that is a mistake, but I’m pleading blissful ignorance on this first project.

So now on to warping and weaving. All of my calculations are based on a sett of 8 epi, but now I’m considering using 5. I want drape, and I know that the fibers of the BFL will hold nicely even at a sett of 5. Or I could use a sett of 8 and beat it lighter. What will I do? That’s for the next blog post!

Update: I have finished weaving my remembering-to-weave scarf. I can’t bring myself to throw it in the washer yet, but I will. I was so happy with how it all got easier once I quit thinking so hard about it, and quit trying to make rigid heddle weaving like floor loom weaving. Here a quick prefinishing photo:

Woven Scarf sample

Part Three

Part Five

Beth Smith

Jillian Moreno

The Weaver and the Groundhog

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno live about 30 minutes from each other and spend a lot of spinning time together, trading ideas and cheering each other on. Recently, the two have found weaving sneaking into their thoughts more and more. “Wouldn’t it be fun,” they said, “to do a project where we spin our yarn and weave it and see what happens?” “Yes!” they said, “that sounds like an awesome plan.” We thought so, too. Through the end of the year, they will post on the Schacht Spindle blog, telling you about their journey weaving with handspun on a rigid heddle loom.

Beth Smith and Jillian Moreno


This week is all about sampling on the loom. I know. It sounds hard, and frankly it’s what kept me from weaving anything more serious than a scarf for years. But, I have had knitting projects that were a disaster because I didn’t knit a swatch. And I tell my students how important it is to sample for the yarn they are spinning–all the way through a finished fabric–to make sure the yarn is going to work for its intended purpose. Heck, I wrote a whole book about sampling! It’s called The Spinner’s Book of Fleece. So, I decided that I would stop being a baby and learn how to sample on a loom.

It is true that when you are sampling for weaving it will take a bit more yarn than a knitted or crocheted swatch. And yes, if you are spinning for weaving, the yarn feels that much more precious. However, I’d rather spin a few extra hundred yards and know that my fabric will work, than spin a thousand yards or more that never see the light of day because the fabric failured.

So, I started with what I know. I know that generally, if you want a balanced plain weave, you take the wraps per inch (wpi) and divide by two to get the ends per inch (epi). My yarn had about 18 wpi, so according to this formula, I would sett it at 9 epi. The thing is, I want to make a skirt, and I had made a few samples a couple of years ago when I started to think about this project. I made three samples at that time. One sample was sett at 10 epi, one at 12 epi and one at 15 epi. None of the samples were right. None of them were woven tightly enough to make a skirt that was going to be stretched and twisted and sat on.

First skirt samples

Since I knew all of that, I decided to sett this sample at 20 epi and see how things worked out. I was worried that the fabric might be too stiff, but I went ahead. I could always make more yarn and try again. So I put a yard of warp on the loom and I made a sample the full 15″ on my Flip Loom. I wanted to be able to see how the fabric would drape, so a large sample was important. (Remember that all of the rules about sett are just guidelines.) It’s sort of like the gauge that is listed on a yarn ball. You can do whatever is best for your project.

Twenty epi on a rigid heddle loom requires two 10-dent heddles and some fancy warping that you can find in The Weaver’s Idea Book by Jane Patrick. It took me a little bit to figure it out but once I had threaded the first inch I was on a roll.

Since I was weaving a plain weave fabric, both heddles were moved to the same position each time I needed to change the shed. (There are some weave structures, like twill, where you move the heddles independently of each other.)

columbia rigid heddle weaving

After I wove the fabric with about the same number of picks per inch as I had ends per inch, I removed the fabric from the loom and zigzagged along the cut edges so the fabric wouldn’t ravel. I finished the fabric according to the finishing instructions in Spin to Weave by Sara Lamb. First, I threw the sample in very hot water in the washing machine and let it soak for 20 minutes. Then, I turned the machine on and let it agitate for 5 minutes. I began checking the sample every minute until the fabric seemed to be sufficiently fulled. I wasn’t going for felted fabric, but I did want the yarns to settle in together. After a full ten minutes of agitation, I was happy with the fabric. I spun the water out in the machine and then threw it in the dryer. I know! It’s wool! But I did it anyway because Sara said so. I left it in there for about 10 minutes. At this point it wasn’t completely dry but it was fluffed up. I then pressed fabric with a press cloth. I know! I put a hot iron on wool. I didn’t move the iron back and forth, rather I would put it down in a spot then lifted it up, and the put it at the next spot. This took away any wrinkles and dried the fabric more. I laid it flat until it was completely dry.

Columbia rigid heddle fabric

At this point I made my decision that I was happy with the fabric and I would stick with 20 epi for the actual skirt weaving.

Since I was happy, it was time to finish spinning the rest of the yarn I would need. We’ll talk about that next time.


This week for me was all about remembering how to weave. I’ve spun my warp yarns for my mobius and thought about just jumping in and warping the loom with those, but I had a tickly feeling that my weaving skills were more than a bit rusty.

In the end, I decided to do a dry run with commercial yarn and boy am I glad I did.

I grabbed two skeins of DK superwash merino from Fiberstory that I’ve been hoarding. The darker (Milo) would be used for the warp and the reddish (October), I would use for weft. I’ll do a scarf, I thought, it’ll be quick, I thought. Snort.

Fiberstory yarn

First came the warping of the Cricket. I was too lazy to wind my yarn into a cake so I warped off of a skein winder. It was a lovely fall day and I worked on my back deck. It was breezy, lovely to stand around in, but not so great when the breeze constantly wraps your yarn around the swift, stopping it dead. There was grumbling and words not fit for this blog.

Warping off a swift

I finished warping the loom and wound my yarn around the, back beam, wait, no, I wound it onto the front beam! I warped my loom backwards! Holy cats, I looked at all of the pictures, I even had extra tea, my brain should have been working better! More words were muttered, but I wound my warp through to the back beam and re-tied the loom the right way.

Warped Backwards

If I had been using my handspun for this I would have been sweating buckets. This is my first ever handspun-for-warp project, so I’m feeling a little precious about my warp-to-be yarn.

Handspun warp

I finished threading the loom with no problems and then started weaving. I decided to use the leftover Milo color for thin stripes in the weft between the thicker stripes of October, just to see how the colors played out with a matching and a contrasting variegated yarn. I wove some in the afternoon and some at night while I watched TV. (Quantico, if you must know. Don’t judge.) It went well, at least until I looked at it in the morning.

My loom looked like the groundhog that lives under my deck snuck in and did my weaving. My edges were ragged, both too loose and too tight. I had threads I didn’t catch, so there are floats on top. The saddest part was I was looking right at my weaving while I worked because I was focused on the spacing of the weft threads.

Weaving woes

I went to my books and read about selvedges. When I wove before I always angled my warp threads in a big diagonal, but now I tried putting them in as more of an arc.

I watched both my weft spacing and my selvedges, looking at the bigger weaving picture. I also had that sad talk with myself, “Woman, you are 52 years old, you cannot weave a dark warp with dark weft in a dark room. You need extra light”. Sad, but true.

6 better selvedge

It all smoothed out with light and patience and few tricks from the weaving books. I’m running away this weekend for cabin and movie time with a bunch of other crafty women. I’ll be finishing this scarf up and putting on my precious handspun warp. We’ll see what mischief happens this time. Maybe the groundhog is a better weaver?



Part Two

Part Four

Beth Smith

Jillian Moreno