Weaving with Handspun on a Zoom Loom
By Deb Gerish
You'll see your handspun stash in a whole light when you weave with it—especially with Zoom Loom weaving! Each square requires only 8 yards of yarn and maybe 15 minutes of your time. Maximize yardage of your precious yarn and get to know it on a deeper level. Make the most of your Zoom Loom with these tips and tricks.
What You'll Need
Materials and Equipment
Variations (planned or not) in your yarn have no place to hide. Thin spots, slubs, the bumps from Navajo plying, tails that get woven in—they're all on display in the finished square.
Size and stretch matter! The thinner the yarn, the more open the square.
Unstretchy yarns don't always stay put on the Zoom Loom. You may need rubber bands to hold them in place as you weave.
Laceweight yarns can be woven doubled. Yarns of fingering to DK weight work well for squares. With worsted weight, it’s more difficult to weave all the rows. I wouldn't even try using anything heavier.
Consider the finish, both of yarns and of the square itself. The yarn goes around close-set pins as you warp and weave.
Handspun can drift apart at weak joins or spots of low twist.
Tails of slippery yarns can work their way out of place. If your yarn will felt, consider deliberately shrinking squares to hold everything securely.
Smooth yarns with high twist and/or a hard finish (singles or plied) work better than fuzzy or softly spun yarns. If you do use softly spun yarn, take extra care not to split the yarn with the loom pins or the weaving needle. Singles made with combination drafting, even with a hard finish, can split easily.
If you reuse handspun from a knitted or crocheted swatch, wash or steam out the yarn before weaving! It’s harder to get even tension with kinky yarn.
Color will play out differently than you might think. You may notice an interesting effect with color “blips” in weaving. Optical blending will come into play for the colors that sit next to each other—you may think you have woven a square with blue and yellow, only to see that it looks green from a distance.
Zoom Loom squares make fast samples.
I love to spin mini-skeins when I’m planning larger projects or trying out new techniques. Now, in addition to knitting a swatch, I’ll also weave a quick square to evaluate strength, durability, twist, etc.
My weaving projects also benefit from multi-step sampling. Just one square lets me see how colors play out and how the woven fabric drapes. If I’m happy, I can weave a bigger sample on a rigid heddle or floor loom and take it all the way through finishing. If I’m not happy, it’s only 8 yards of handspun.
The Zoom Loom has become an essential sampling tool for me, because just a small investment of time and yarn provides so much information.
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