Weaving with handspun

There are a lot of variables in weaving with any particular yarn. And some of those start with the loom you’re using. There are tricks to make almost all yarns work for you but so that this isn’t a full feature giant length class, I’m going to stick with Rigid Heddle looms for this video.

With the average Rigid Heddle loom there is a beater which is also the heddle and some companies have heddles that might be more abrasive then others. The good part of these looms though is that you are working on a short area that’s getting the abrading and you are the “weight” in the beater. You can work it more softly if you need to.

So let’s just jump right into using the handspun on your loom and finding the right yarn and the right heddle.  First take your yarn and gather your WPI information.  Yes. WPI again! That’s why this series began with a WPI guide.

Let’s say your WPI for a yarn was 20. Divide that in half and that’s 10. For a balanced weave you would want a 10 dent.

Let’s say your WPI was 22. That gives you 11 when divided in half and that’s in between the 10 and the 12 dent heddle. Ok. It doesn’t need to be exact. So what are you going for? Do you want a loose more drapey fabric? Or tighter? For looser, go with the 10. For tighter, go with 12.

I’d like to note that even with this information you can go with a heddle that isn’t balanced. If you want airy holes in your fabric, you want to go with a fatter heddle. If you want a really solid (maybe even stiff) fabric then you want the smaller heddle. If I’m weaving for a bag or a tote, I use the smaller heddles for a stiffer fabric and conversely if I want an airy flowy scarf, I use the fatter one.

But is the yarn good enough?
Will it fall apart?
Give it a little tug, not a hard one like you would to break yarn when you’re done with a project, just a little tug. Does it just melt away in your hands? If it does. Stop right there. It’s not suitable for a warp and maybe you can add more twist to it or just use it for the weft. If it survived a little tug, feed it through the dent of your heddle and rub it back and forth a few 10-20 times. Does it fall apart or does it hold up. You’re probably putting a little more stress on it doing this then your loom will so if it survived that, then it’s good to go.

Finally you can just calculate yardages and what you need and get your project started like a wild person throwing caution to the wind. Or, you can swatch. Yes, you can swatch on the looms and I have another post and video planned for that because it’s long. Most of these short lessons/videos/blogposts are longer classes that I’m chopping up. It is how I make a living but I want to spread the information a little wider. So I started doing videos and asking for Patrons who are finding the work helpful to help keep me going supplying this information to you all. I am working on a weaving project that isn’t up on Patreon yet. It’s coming, so stay tuned.

The companion video:

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