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Weave-Along: Week Two

This week we will work on beginning weaving your cuff and adding beads to your weaving. There are many different tapestry techniques you can use when weaving a cuff, but if you are a beginner you may want to just begin with straight lines. One of the difficult things about weaving tapestry is that there is a tendency to “pull in”, which means you pull your edges in too tight making the edges (or “selvages”) of the piece not straight. This piece makes keeping your selvages straight easy, both because it is thin and because the rows of beads help space the piece. 



On a more personal note, my soon-to-be mother-in-law (on August 6th!) is visiting from Ukraine. She wanted to learn to weave so I am having her (under my supervision… although this mostly means me hanging over her with my camera) make her own tapestry/bead cuff bracelet on my warped loom. The pictures following are of her work. This is the first time she’s touched a loom and she barely needs any instructions… which is good since we can only communicate in Greek (Alex, my fiance, and I met in Greece where he was living, his mom was living and I was living) and I’ve never taught anyone in another language before. 


If you haven’t woven tapestry before, do some research:


http://www.americantapestryalliance.org/
http://www.tapestrywine.blogspot.com/
http://www.canadiantapestrynetwork.com/


Picture your final product: 
Because these cuffs seem to look awesome no matter what, we often weave them with no solid plan. But, some of you may want to decide what you will weave before you begin. You may want to decide on some basic design elements before you begin. For example, do you want to put in beads in regular increments or randomly? Do you want to have stripes? What types of tapestry techniques so you want to use? 


Choose your colors (and your materials):
If you have a tapestry/bead cuff bracelet kit purchased from us, you have a variety of hand-dyed silk and other yarns to choose from when making your cuff. Before you begin weaving, take a look at what colors you have available and try to decide what ones you want to use. If you do not have a kit purchased from us, decide on what types of yarn you want to use as well as what colors. 





Begin weaving:
The concept of tapestry weaving in this format is very simple. You engage the shedding device (just like you did when weaving your header) and weave through. We recommend starting your weft threads in the middle of the piece instead of on the edges so your ends are all facing the back (if you don’t, make sure to wrap the ends around so they do face the back). 


Weave through once, change the position of the shedding device and then weave through again. Continue doing this. You can mix colors (two silks together make a gorgeous pattern), mix different types of yarn (the silk and novelty railroad yarn look great together) or just stick with solid stripes. We will discuss different tapestry techniques you can use next week. 


Two silks mixed together make a neat pattern
Beginning to weave


Add beads: 
Using beads is what makes the tapestry/bead cuff bracelet unique. The beads are actually woven into the cuff on whatever you are using for weft. 


The first step to doing this is to take a piece of beading thread (as you know, we use C-Lon thread) and tie a loop of it onto a needle. You will then put your weft thread (let’s say you having been weaving with yellow silk, you will put that piece of silk through the loop you made with the beading thread and then put 14 size 8.0 beads on the needle, moving them over the loop and onto the silk (or whatever your weft thread is, make sure it is thin enough to put the beads on it). 


Thread tied in a loop threaded through a needle.
The beads on the yellow silk

Next, (making sure you remembered to change sheds) place the beads on the silk between the spaces in the warp threads. They should fit exactly (this is why it is important to have the ten dent spring… spacing matters a lot when you are using beads in tapestry). Then, continue weaving with the same thread. 

Beads inserted!
Weaving along! 
Keep experimenting mixing fibers and adding beads. Next week we will discuss different tapestry techniques you can use in your cuff!




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