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Blog
May 12

Weaving for the Birds

Designed and woven by Elizabeth A. Cote

Woven on the Flip loom

This outdoor banner was inspired by the nesting songbirds that visit my home. I had placed an outdoor banner on my front door and to my surprise, found that the birds were picking at the fibers as they gathered nesting materials. After researching safe nesting materials for a variety of birds, I designed and wove my first Weaving for the Birds and placed it on my front door. This weaving is perfect for a beginner weaver. The birds don’t mind if your selvedges are a bit wonky, or your PPI strays a bit. I used my Flip rigid heddle loom, and inserted fleece into the warp, created floats for feathers, and loops for feathers and locks. You can customize this outdoor banner by adding more inserted fleece, more loops or even more plain weave. The structure can be woven in any order, although I have found the birds like the fleece placed closer to the branch perches. This provides a place for them to sit while pulling out materials.
Place your finished weaving in a location that is a bit sheltered from the rain, or a sunny spot where the fleece will dry quickly after the rain. Similar to other outdoor textiles such as prayer flags, eventually the weaving will break down and the fibers will fly off to the wind.
To ensure the health of the birds, all nesting materials were chosen after consulting The Cornell Lab of Ornithology site.

Materials

Warp:

  • 1 – 8 oz cone 8/4 Mayville Cotton Carpet Warp (200 yds needed) I used black (larger weaving) and blue (smaller weaving).

Weft:

  • Larger Weaving: I used 300 yds of Textured handspun art yarn
  • Smaller Weaving: I used 1 skein (175 yards) of stashed Big Kureyon by Noro.

Added weaving materials:

  • 3 x 16″-18″ tree branches for perches (2 larger and heavier branches for the top and bottom, one smaller and lighter branch to be woven in)
  • undyed real feathers (thoroughly washed and dried)
  • clean undyed fleece: romney, alpaca, wensleydale locks
  • twigs
  • grasses

Equipment

  • rigid heddle loom with at least a 20″ weaving width – I used my 20” Flip loom.
  • 8 dent rigid heddle
  • 16″ stick shuttle
  • pick-up stick
  • 3-in-1 Magic Stick
  • Schacht Fringe Twister
  • knitting needle or chopstick
  • paper towel tube
  • Optional: crochet hook

Project Specs

  • Finished size: 12″ x 30″
  • Total Warp ends: 96 ends (or any multiple of 8 to narrow or widen)
  • Warp length: 60″
  • Width in reed: 12″
  • EPI: 8
  • PPI: 10 (beat with 3-in-1 magic stick)

Download the PDF for complete project instructions