One of the things I love best about weaving (whether it's on a makeshift cardboard loom or a rigid heddle loom) is that you can get wonderful color effects and patterning simply by arranging the warp1 and weft2 colors and textures in different ways. Vary the texture, the thickness, and of course the colors, to get all different kinds of patterning.
If you're just starting out weaving and wondering what yarns would be good to use, keep a few things in mind:
- Pick yarns that have some "grip". For beginners, it can be harder to beat slick yarns to get an even number of picks3 per inch, which means that your work will be uneven. Because of this, it's best to stick to fibers like (non-superwash) wool and (non-mercerized) cotton in the beginning. Then as you get comfortable, you can try yarns with different textures and find what works for you--we've even tried Fun Fur on a Cricket loom!
- Vary your yarn thickness. In our Woven His & Hers Scarves with One Warp (shown above), worsted-weight LB Collection Organic Wool serves as the warp, while fingering LB 1878 serves as the weft. As you can see from the photos, this allows the warp strands to stand out, since they're thicker, making prominent vertical stripes.
- Contrast your yarn texture. In our Woven Pixelated Scarf pattern, we pair straight, smooth Lion Cotton with brushed, fuzzy Jiffy to give the scarf an overall fuzziness. We used Lion Cotton for the warp, since a straight, smooth yarn is easiest to warp through your loom's rigid heddle.
- Know your heddle's size. Heddles in rigid heddle loom come with different spacing to accommodate different thicknesses of yarn. The looms we carry all come with 8-dent4 or 7.5 dent heddles, which are ideal for category 4 (medium or worsted weight) yarn. The higher the dent number, the thinner the yarn it's ideal for (e.g. 12-dent is good for category 1 lace-weight yarn). Like knitting or crocheting with larger or smaller needles/hooks to get different effects, you can use a heddle meant for thicker or thinner yarns to get different effects; however, for a tight, even weave, you'll want to pair your yarn with the right heddle.
Want more information on weaving for the first time? Check out this earlier blog post.
1. Warp: the strands of yarn wrapped onto the loom
2. Weft: the strands of yarn you weave through the warp
3. Picks: the number of weft strands
4. Dent: the spaces per inch in your reed, used as a size designation; used to determine sett (number of warps per inch)