Peg Looms - Getting started
"Be prepared to play" - this is what I always say to customers on the stand at a show. Weaving is a totally absorbing and fun activity. To begin with, play and experiment, get used to the feel of the yarn and how you and it interact. Weaving tension is something which may require some work. Tighter tension and the weave will be perhaps narrower and denser than you hoped once off the loom. Too loose a tension and the final result may be too open and floppy. Try the same weave with the same yarn on the different peg rows to see how the spacing effects the weave. It's the spacing makes all the difference, NOT the size of the pegs as some might have you believe.
Technical: First check the fit of the pegs in the holes. No need to force them in as they need to free enough to pull out easily when you slide the weave down the warp. Different timbers have different characteristics and some will grip the pegs tighter than others to begin with. With use both pegs and holes will adjust. Initially a little wax polish applied to the bottom tip of the peg and then the peg rotated in the hole may help. Much better to allow a snug fit to develop naturally than have oversized holes and sloppy pegs.
Terms: Warp refers to the up and down threads on which the weave is created on a peg loom or any other loom. Weft refers to the side to side weaving strands. The warp may be a strong cotton as shown in the picture or of the same material you're using to weave with.
Warping the pegs: This can be done in 2 ways.
1: Thread a single strand of the warp through each peg in turn and back down to the other end of the warp. The length of the warp is dictated by the length of the piece you will be making. Make the warp up to as much as twice the length of the finished piece for tying off and finishing later.
2: Fold the warp in half and pass the loop through the peg. Then pass the loop over the top of the peg and pull the loose ends down to tighten up the loop. This method works really well if you are going to insert beads into the weave as the warp can be taken off the peg, a bead threaded on and then the peg re-attached.
Insert the pegs into the peg loom base. Use multiples of 3 as this makes it easier to tie off. Tie off the dangling warp ends loosely - these will have to be undone and re-tied when finishing off the weave. Having an odd number of pegs also provides a true centre to the weave which is helpful when creating some patterns.
Starting the weave: Take the wool or other material to be woven and tie it with a half hitch knot to the outermost peg on the peg loom (left or right depending on which you find easiest) simply to secure it.
Leave a few inched of wool as a tail strand to secure and weave in later. Now start weaving in and out of each peg from one end of the row of pegs to the other. At the end of each row make sure the woven thread is pushed down to the bottom of the peg and give it a little tug simply to eliminate any slack in the weave. Go around the last peg and back again tensioning the weave every time the last peg is reached.
To change colours: Try and avoid knotting 2 together as the knot may be seen in the finished weave. Better leave a long tail (6" or longer) on the previous strand and start the new one the same way.
A half hitch can be used to secure either the old or new thread ensuring the end of the other thread is also secured through the knot. Alternatively cross the ends over together (leaving long tails one in front and one behind) and carry on weaving. After a couple of rows give the loose tails a little tug simply to re-tension that part of the weave.
Continue weaving up the pegs to about 2/3rds their height. Now there is a good even weave on the pegs and enough exposed peg to grip. You can finish the last row before lifting the pegs either at the end of the weave or in the middle. I prefer to finish in the middle as it's obvious which side of the peg you'll be starting the new section on.
Take hold of the first peg and pull upwards with a slight rotation if still a little firm. Try and avoid rocking the peg backwards and forwards too much as it could a) enlarge the hole too much and b) eventually snap the peg.
In lifting the peg, it has now drawn the 1st strand of the warp upwards into the weave. Replace each peg in turn back in the board. Repeat this process for all pegs. The weave is now in front of the peg loom with the wool you are working with all set to carry on.
If there's some slack warp between the top of the weaving and the bottom of the pegs hold the weave with one hand, and the end of the warp with the other, and tug the warp. This will take up any slack in the warp and keep the weave tighter at the joints when finished. Do this for all the warp strands.
If you finished the last row at the end, it's worth doing a quick check before setting off weaving again just to see if the last peg was woven on the back or the front side. Setting off again on the same side as the last row may leave a noticeable line across the weave. It's not detrimental, and can sometimes be used to good effect. However in a large area of the same colour it will look inconsistent unless the intention is to repeat it as part of a pattern.
When you have completed the weave, lift all the pegs from the board so you have as much warp at the top of the piece as below. Cut or unhook the warp from the pegs. The warp will now be in strands of 2. At the bottom of the piece, you can either tie the first two strands to the second two, or the first two to one of the second two, the remaining second strand to one of the third ones and so on till tying off is complete. Tie off right at the bottom of the woven piece leaving the long strands still showing.
With a long needle or "strand threader" (we make these to) thread thread each strand back up inside the weave. Leave the strands long and poking out of the weave for the moment. When all strands are threaded up this way, give each group a little tug so the tying off knot at the bottom is "just" drawn into the weave. Then trim off all the loose ends which are still showing so they can then disappear back into the weave.
Before doing the top edge, lay out the weave to make sure it looks tight and even. It will probably look out of square, this isn't a problem and can be sorted out later. If the weave looks a little loose, just hold the top strands and slide the weave down a little bit. This can be done uniformly by laying the strands "between" the pegs on the loom with the weave touching the front of the pegs, and giving them a little tug. When satisfied with the look of the weave, tie off and hide the strands as above.
The top and bottom of the weave can now tidied up by adding tassels, a crochet border or stitching over with the same or different wool as used in the weave.
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Pin Looms - Getting started
Warping up the hexagonal loom.
This can be done at least 5 different ways with our new design which offers much greater flexibility and more options than any other hexagonal pin loom on the market today.
All pins are set at 10mm centre to centre, however the geometry of the loom changes this as I’ll show as we progress. Instructions for left and right are interchangeable depending on your weaving style.
Warp 1 - approximately 8.6mm
For this we’ll just warp right across the loom so you can see what happens.
Hold the loom with a point (apex) to the top and bottom and the double rows of pins to the sides as we won’t be using these yet.
On the left side at the top of the vertical row, tie on your warp with a simple slipknot.
From there (on the inside of the pins), take the warp down and round (anticlockwise) the bottom pin in that row.
From there take the yarn back up to the 1st pin on the diagonal row (the one next to where you started).
Continue up and down across the frame till fully warped up. You'd normally tie off on the last pin and cut away the ball but as this is only a sample warp, just sit back and have a look at the warp. Due to the geometry of the loom, this has given you an even 8.6mm warp right across the loom. When ready, lift the warp from the loom ready to move on to creating an even 5mm warp.
Warp 2- 5mm
Rotate the frame so the double pin rows are top and bottom. Tie on to the extreme left pin where the 2 diagonals meet in the middle of that edge.
Now just warp up and down as before. For the moment, ignore the extra (outer) row of pins top and bottom. See how the warp spacing changes as soon as you start weaving across the top and bottom rows. For the exercise carry on warping right across the frame. You now have a frame warped at 5mm on the sides and 10mm in the middle. It may be a design feature you could use to effect in a future project.
However for this exercise let's undo the warp right back to the start of the top row. Now we bring in the extra rows of pins and weave up and down using every available pin. Now you have the 5mm warp. So fine you may even consider using Lace Weight yarns on this setting but do continue to play with light and heavy yarns to fully explore your weaving options. For now, just have a good look at it and see how the tension on the fully warped loom feels. Once we start weaving across the warp, the overall weave tension will increase. Better to be on a lower tension at this point. Also if the tension in the finished weave is high, then the weave when lifted from the loom will contract more than if woven with a lower tension.
While the weave when on the loom may / can look very open, once lifted from the loom, the tension will take over, the weave relax and the spaces close.
Warp 3 - 10mm
Maintain the same frame orientation. Start at the same point
So how to achieve a 10mm warp right across the frame. We’ve already learned that by ignoring the outer top and bottom pins the middle of the weave will produce a 10mm warp. But what of the sides? Dead easy, simply warp up every other pin as you go up and down on the diagonals. Just warp up the entire frame again to get the feel of it.
Note that in order to keep the warp even I've warped to the same side of the pin top and bottom. Had I gone left at the top and right at the bottom then the alignment of the warp would be 2.5mm out top to bottom. In reality it would make little difference to the weave once lifted from the loom as it would naturally adjust evening out out irregularities. Use whichever technique you find easiest.
Sit back, have a good look at it, maybe set a few warps left right while leaving others to the left or right sides and see the difference. Hopefully you didn't make the mistake I now see in the picture above. Undo.
Warp 4 - 15mm
Now this is a bit of a fiddle but should yield good results very quickly with chunky yarn.
Similar to the 10mm warp a bit trickier. While it misses out more pins and uses all pin rows, some pins will require warping anti clockwise to allow the warp to follow through evenly spaced. As above, ideally try and keep the warp to the same side of the pins top and bottom.
Warp 5 is lower down the page as it's basically repeating Warp 1 above but woven differently.
Applying the weft - weaving accross the warp
This is reasonably straightforward in that the quickest technique is a type of continuous weave whereby the weft is drawn from one side to the other, alternating over / under the weft and hooking on the the first available pin on the opposite side.
I use a crochet hook, others may use a large eyed needle of fingers.
Hooking the weft. I usually twist the hook slightly to a) be sure of grabbing the weft properly and b) to avoid accidentally hooking the warp as the yarn is drawn through
Have a look at the next picture before going too far with this !
It's that geometry in action again. See how while we have a nice even vertical warp the sides change from 5 to 10mm and back again.
Solution, miss out a pin again
Now we have a nice even weave.
The alternative is to use a single strand of yarn over and under the warp and back and forwards. Weaving this way will require you to measure up the yarn first. Actually that's pretty simple. Just tie on to a pin as you did for setting up the warp on the 5 or 10mm above and go pin to pin over the warp till you reach the last available pin. Add a little extra length, and take it off. This is the length of the weft you require for a full singe colour weave.
This can be done at any point with warp and or weft. Start off with colour 1 till you want to change. Leave it attached to the ball then lead in your new colour once across the loom leaving behind a few inches to tie on to the previous colour. When you've put in the first full weft of the new colour, go back and tie up the end of the old and the start of the new colours. This way the join fall on the outside edge of the weave right on a pin.
Warp 5 - Diagonal bias weave
Essentially set up the warp as for a 5 or 10mm weave.
Now start to lay in the weft - diagonally
Quick, easy and dynamic.
!!!!!! This weave may not behave as you expect. It may produce a lozenge shape so be the length you anticipate, but much narrower.
A nice alternative design feature to be used in home decor or wearable textile design.
Lifting the weave
Because this isn't a locked in weave you will need to pick up and secure the edges.
Technique 1 is to use a casting off stitch as you would with knitting. This produces a nice edge but by its nature but to my way of looking at it ads more tension and may result in additional shrinkage or distortion the weave when lifted.
My preferred edge finish is to run a "pick up" yarn right around the edge. This is a single strand picking up every loop on the pins just so they can't retreat into the weave on lifting. Use a large eyed needle or similar to do this. Provides a softer edge and ultimately less shrinkage on lifting.
There will be more information and pictures to follow. For now, I'm out of time and going on holiday tomorrow.
Warp 5 - diagonal, bias weave
For this example I've simple repeated