The other day when I was tidying up the store, I came across a surprisingly large amount of yarn scraps and ends lying around collecting dust from the mill. Refusing to throw them out, I set them aside in a little pile, noticing that all of the colors actually matched very well. I decided I needed to put these scraps to good artistic use, so I took them home and spent the day free-style weaving them into a wall hanging.
I was delighted at how simple, inexpensive, and satisfying this project was. Not to mention, it was a great way to use up random yarn scraps (which I know everyone has!!)
So if you are looking for something crafty to do on a rainy day, or a fun group activity, give this little project a try. I've put together a full tutorial and materials list you need to make your own! Keep reading below :)
To Get Started:
Step 1: Prepare the Warp
To get started, I prepared my materials by laying them out on a table (or floor) and mapping out which colors and textures I thought looked good together. You don't have to stick to this plan, but it's good to have an idea of where you'd like your design to go. I tried to separate the thicker materials with thinner ones to keep the weaving from getting too bulky.
Once you have a rough plan of your design, you can begin the "warping" process, which will untimately look like this:
The first step is to separate the inner ring from your embroidery hoop. Set aside the outer ring and tie your 5 yd. warping yarn onto the inner ring with a tight, secure knot.
Once the knot is secure, bring your yarn to the opposite side of the ring, pull it taught, and loop once around rim.
Bring the yarn across the ring again and loop around rim about an inch to the right of your starting knot. Then cross the yarn across the ring and loop again, one inch to the right of the first loop you made. Always make sure to pull the yarn as tight as you can to create a tight warp.
A star shape will start to form as you continue to cross the yarn and loop around the opposite rims, always moving an inch to the right as you go. If the middle of your star isn't perfectly centered, you can either adjust the strings to make it even, or leave it asymmetrical for an artsy effect. (Mine ended up a little off, but I decided I liked the uneven look.)
Once you've made your way around the ring and back to the starting knot, secure your yarn with another knot on the rim and trim the yarn. Place the outer ring back onto the hoop and tighten to keep the yarn from moving.
This will leave you with a base to weave your yarn scraps into.
Step 2: The Weaving Begins!
I know right now your warp might seem a little unorganized and intimidating, but once you start weaving, the strands will become more defined and the piece will start to come together.
Start by choosing the first yarn scrap that you want to use and make sure it is secure in the middle of the star either with a knot or a twist. Begin to weave the yarn, alternating under and over every strand. Since the strands aren't crossing perfectly, it might be a little difficult at first, but try to get under and over every other strand. This over/under technique is what creates a fabric.
When you get back to where you began the round, it's time to start a new round, this time weaving under all the "over" stitches of the last round and over all the "under" stitches. At this point you will start to see the strands become more defined. You can continue with the same yarn for as long as you like, alternating your "unders" and "overs" every round, until you want to switch to a new yarn. To switch yarns, cut the one you're using and either tie a new yarn onto it or leave a long tail to tuck in later.
As you weave, you want to make sure you're pushing your stitches in toward the center to eliminate gaps in the fabric. For this you can use a knitting needle, your finger, or any other small pointy object you have lying around.
Continue weaving and working your way outward from the center. Again the materials you use are entirely up to you. I like to alternate different weighted yarns to create texture. The brown yarn above is our super chunky core-spun yarn and its awesome for adding bulk and texture.
The more texture you add, the more you're wall hanging will pop and stand out. You can use fun yarns like boucle, brushed mohair, thick and thin, or fun fur to play around with different looks.
Step 3: Get Creative!
It's totally up to you how much you'd like to experiment with your weaving. As long as you follow the basic weaving techniques, you will end up with something beautiful. So if you are comfortable weaving stripes, then continue on that way. If you'd like to experiment, feel free to try out new things! The photos below show some of the patterns I tested on my wall hanging.
I started straying away from the basic stripes and began constructing a section with roving. Weaving sections is very easy, you just start a new round and weave as normal, but instead of doing a whole round, you pick a point where you want to turn your work and start going back the way you came, making sure to do the opposite "under" "over" pattern than the last row.
Adding an extra section can change the shape of the work and also give it some asymmetry. Tying roving ends around a couple of the strands and trimming them to make little bows (above left photo) is another simple way to add flair to your work.
You can also play around with different colors to change the look of your weaving. I wanted to keep my wall hanging pretty light so I used mostly white, light gray, and soft pink yarns, but contrasted those colors with pops of darker tones to add some dimension.
At this point, I got a little ambitious and tried some knotting. I'm not even sure what kind of knots these would classify as, but they actually made some cool little pockets to weave yellow roving into. You don't have to know what you're doing to make interesting designs. Just try experimenting and if something doesn't look good, take it out and try again!
Step 4: Finishing Your Work
There's no "right" place to end your work. If you're like me and like the way the strands look peeking out, then you can finish before you get to the edge. However, it's completely up to you where you'd like to stop and tie off.
[ Design Idea: If you decide to leave some empty space between your work and the rim, try weaving bird feathers or dried herbs into the strands for a more natural look ]
To finish your work, cut off the yarn you're working with and tie a secure knot onto a strand, leaving a long enough tail to weave into the back of the work. Find any tails and loose ends that you may have left while you were working, and weave them into the fabric making sure they don't show through on the front of the work.
After all tails are tucked in, take a final look at your work to see if there are any adjustments that need to be made.
Once you're happy with the way the wall hanging looks, just tie a little string of yarn onto the rim or adjustment screw of the embroidery hook and you're ready to hang your artwork or give it to someone as a gift!
Thank you for crafting with me! Hopefully this will inspire you to use up all of those pesky yarn scraps you have at home. If you decide to make one of these wall hangings, be sure to send us pictures on our Facebook page or by email so we can see and share them! Also if you have any questions or need help with any aspect of this project, please ask and we will get right back to you!
Thanks again and enjoy your week! Stay tuned next Thursday for more updates and ideas from The Yarn Barn! As always ~keep crafting~