I probably don’t need to tell you that weaving is one of those crafts that’s been having a moment in the spotlight recently. Woven wall hangings are everywhere! Aside from a woven loop potholder I made as a kid (remember those? I think I had a kit like this one), I’d never tried weaving before. I don’t need any wall-hangings, but when I recently found a wooden stool in need of a makeover, I decided to weave it a round seat cover.
To start, I consulted a couple of tutorials (this one and this one), and started weaving a in a circle. Well, that skips a couple of steps. First I made myself a cardboard circle weaving loom, warped it, and then I started weaving. And I got pretty far–I was almost done when I decided I wasn’t happy with it. I posted this photo on my Instagram of my progress:
It was too plain, without any colors aside from the temporary rainbows, and I also didn’t like how far apart the segments (stitches?) became towards the outside edge. So I took it apart and started over, not without some agonizing over all of that wasted work.
This time, I added three more threads between each of the original warp threads (those are the thin white threads I wove the thicker yarn around). You can see that there’s one near the end of the needle that is two threads thick. That was an accident, but it was very useful for allowing me to see when I’d completed a circle. So that’s my first tip for weaving a circle, mark your starting point somehow. Even a knitting stitch marker or little extra piece of colored thread on the outside edge would do the trick.
When I started over, I used the same yarn, but twisted it with some thinner yarn for color. Later in the piece I used other colors for the main thread, and mixed in additional yarns. Another tip: When you switch colors, don’t knot the yarns together, just leave tails of each one, and secure them on the back when you’re finished.
I did a soumak stitch for most of this piece. Instead of just going over and under alternating stitches, you wrap the yarn around the stitches. In the photo above I was doing it around two stitches, and later in the piece, when the stitches got larger, I switched to one. It takes a lot longer than normal weaving, and while I liked that it completely covered up the warp, if I was doing this over again I’d have done more of it with a normal over-under weave.
When I got to the edges of the circle, I flipped it over and clipped two stitches at the time near the center.
Then I tied those two stitches together near the edge, with a square knot.
This is what it looked like after I’d gone all the way around the circle.
On the back side, I used a tapestry needle to weave the loose ends of the yarn towards the center.
When everything was tidied up, I clipped the threads.
At this point I also tucked away the ends of yarn where I’d switched colors. This is what the back side looks like:
Even though it was “done,” I decided the center looked too plain, so I threaded the needle with the pink accent thread, and wove it through this section. It would also be possible to add fun accents like beads or sequins at this point. So just because you’re done with the actual weaving part, it doesn’t mean you can’t add further embellishments.
This weaving was a fun experiment. The weaving itself was kind of relaxing, and good to do while watching tv. (I watched the last episode of Downton Abbey, and listened to podcasts.) I learned a few weaving tricks along the way, and now I have a fun little round seat cover to liven up this stool.
I’m not into the wood of this stool, so I’m thinking of painting it. Gray chalk paint, maybe? I’ve never used chalk paint, so it’ll be another experiment.
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