If you are looking for a simple weaving project to start weaving on a frame loom, then try weaving a scarf. The main challenge of weaving a scarf is keeping a consistent straight edge, which also means starting with strong tension.
Now, even if you are not a beginner, you can make weaving a scarf challenging by experimenting with color, texture or length. If it is your first time designing your own scarf then here are a few things to consider before dressing the loom.
Here are a few answers to the questions you might have about weaving a scarf on a frame loom:
How do I design a scarf?
Experimentation is the best way to approach any new project. Trial and error are the most common forms of it. Just choose a few colors, yarn and dimensions and get to it!
Technically speaking though, you can weave a scarf on any type of loom. The decision maker though is the length of the loom. In this tutorial, I use a frame loom that is 74 cm long. Depending on the desired design, the longer the frame loom you use, the fewer sections you have to weave.
However, you may have a shorter frame loom, which in this case more smaller sections will be woven and attached together.
Design : Texture, Color or Yarn?
If you are still wondering where to start in designing your scarf, choose one design aspect to work on in this project. For example, you might want to focus on texture in this piece, so you decide to work solely with rya knots. The next project you weave, you can experiment with color.
What are the best scarf dimensions to weave?
Start by taking one of your favorite scarves and measuring it. Measure how long and wide it is. Then you can use these dimensions for weaving a scarf. But, if you are looking for exact measurements, then you should measure the length of your neck for the width (perhaps 4-5 inches) and then a desired length (perhaps minimum 2 feet to as long as you like).
Some things to keep in mind are the material and patterns that were used to create the scarf. Using bulky patterns can create stiffer fabric, therefore a stiffer scarf that is not so flexible. So, it is important to choose yarn and a pattern that are suitable for the scarf to fit your desired design and aesthetic.
What is the best yarn to weave a scarf?
Yarn for a scarf depends on preference, but the key thing is to weave with yarn that is comfortable to the touch. If you plan on wearing this scarf, you (or the wearer) should feel good in it! Usually after weaving the scarf, you should wash the cloth in cold water and let it dry. After a good rinse, yarn (especially natural yarns) has time to breath and dry- often softening up more than before.
100% Acrylic yarns are suitable for this project and are usually at a more affordable price point, however they are not always so comfortable to wear.You can often find affordable soft wool/acrylic blends which could be a middle ground of comfort and affordability.
It is easy to go over the top and spend too much on materials for the scarf (or any woven project at that!). Although I prefer softer natural yarn to weave for a scarf ( which I used in this tutorial), they tend to be more expensive.I recommend weaving with materials that are comfortable on your skin and for your pockets- you can always upgrade as your skills develop.
In this blog post, Types of Yarn you can learn further information about yarn types and what to consider before weaving a project with each.
What texture or pattern can I use to weave a scarf?
Something to keep in mind while weaving a scarf is that it is two-sided. Therefore, what you weave on one side will appear on the other side. So, when adding new yarn throughout the piece, later the yarn ends will have to be sent back into the weaving.
If you are set on weaving a pattern that is visible only on one side of the scarf, then you might consider adding a fabric panel on the other side to cover knots, etc.
In this tutorial, I use many loops, which you can find the tutorial here on how to make them: Pile Weave: Patterns for Beginners. The advantage of weaving loops, is that it creates visual interest with texture and movement. However, the disadvantage is the visibility of the knots on the back of the weaving. If you are not bothered by these knots or by wearing a scarf in one direction, then experiment and see what designs suit your vision.
What colors can I use to weave a scarf?
Weaving Color : A guide to Creating a Color Palette is an introduction to color theory and gives suggestions for creating a color palette in a project. Here are a few things to also consider when choosing the colors for a project.
Weft and Warp
The relationship between the warp colors and weft colors vary when weaving a warp-facing and weft-faced weave. Contrasting colors can create visual interest and while weaving with cohesive colors can create a more tidy appearance. Experiment and let me know which your enjoy creating!
Experiment with a color palette
I recommend weaving within a certain color palette to have a consistent design. Pick a few colors to weave with and plan a design.
Color gradation is a great way to simply add visual interest with color. Weaving from one color to the next is not only interesting but it adds motion and depth to the scarf. Read the full color gradation tutorial here.
Weaving a Scarf Instructions
This tutorial was created in two parts. First, the main neck section was woven. After analyzing the material and form created by the texture, I decided to weave two extension pieces that would be woven onto the main section. Here are the instructions to weaving a scarf:
1. Calculate the scarf dimensions.
How long is your scarf going to be? Do you want a long or short scarf? How wide is it going to be? Will it cover your face or rest gently on your neck?
The measurements of your neck can be used as a guide to weave a scarf that suits your body.
The frame loom used in this tutorial has a length of 74 cm (or roughly 29 inches), which created a scarf that comfortably went around my neck, but it could not cover more than that. (This prompted me to create two more sections later.)
If you need to, weave the scarf in separate sections. I am a big believer in making with what you got. So, do what fits best for you and your loom (whatever size it may be).
If you really want a really long loom, you could create a board loom. Simply, take a board, nail a few nails on both ends and weave on that.
You should also consider warp waste. As a general rule of thumb, I usually leave 1 to 2 inches of the warp left on both ends of the warp to secure the yarn ends. This leaves a comfortable length of yarn to finish the weaving.
If you want to use the remaining warp as fringe for the ends of the scarf, you can also calculate those measurements.
2. Dress the loom.
Dress the loom to the desired width. Depending on the yarns used in the scarf, once the scarf comes off the loom and is washed, there may be some shrinkage. Therefore increasing the width by 1 inch could keep the desired width.
Securing the warp tension
Use warp yarn that is not too stretchy, so that you can keep the yarn taut. The warp of this project is a strand of mohair and a cotton blend yarn. The combination of these two yarns secured the strength of the warp. However, as it was woven I realized that I did not make the taut enough. The cotton blend yarn was a bit elastic, and I did not want to pull it too much, therefore the outer ends of the scarf were often a bit loose.
If the yarn is not strong enough to hold the tension, do not use it as warp.
Weaving side by side
If you know that the length of the loom will not be enough weave the entire scarf, you can weave the scarf in sections. If your loom is wide enough, you can weave the pieces side by side- which can make it easier to copy the designs and pattern from one side to the other.
3. Secure the first row of yarn with twining and one inch of plain weave.
It is important to create a secure weaving base at the beginning (and end) of the scarf. A row of twining will secure the ends on both ends and some plain weave will insure that the weft design stays in place.
4. Weave the desired design with yarn.
In this project, I have alternated between weaving loops and plain weave to develop a consistent pattern and design on my scarf. Still unsure which patterns to use? You can find beginner pattern tutorials on this blog post, Loom Weaving Tutorial: 6 Weaving Patterns for Beginners.
If you are new to weaving, I suggest weaving with one or two different pattern techniques and/or colors. In sections experiment using each technique or color.
5. Secure the final row with twining or the hemstitch.
Just as the beginning, weave an inch of plain weave and end the weaving with a row of twining. You can use the hemstitch as well.
6. Remove weaving from the loom.
Now that the ends are secured, the warp can be cut off of the loom. Starting from the center warp yarns to the outer yarns, cut the yarn in sections. This will help keep the tension of the yarns until it is completely off the loom.
7. Gather and tie up warp ends.
Once the warp is off of the loom, it is time to secure the remaining ends.
After releasing the ends from the loom, gather them in bundles of 4-8 yarn ends. You still want the yarn to remain secured, therefore I would not make the yarn bundles much larger than that. Tie the ends into a knot at the end of the weft. Tie the knots as close to the base as possible.
You can also finish the ends of the scarf with a clean edge. Taking 1 to 2 ends of warp, use a tapestry needle to send the warp ends into the weft. Cut off any excess yarn ends that come out of the weaving.
8. Clean up any loose yarn ends.
With a tapestry needle, send in the weft yarns back into the weft. Cut off any excess yarn ends that come out of the weaving.
To secure the knots in place, on the back of the weaving glue has been added to the knots. Now, this is not the best solution, especially if the scarf will be washed later.
Honestly, I am still trying to figure out what will be the best way to keep the knots in place. Once I figure out the best method, I will post it. But the best way that I think to protect the back of the scarf is to clean up the back and sew a panel along the entire back section.
9. Assessing your scarf – keep it or lengthen it
If you are happy with the results and length of the scarf, move on to step 10.
So, the weaving is off of the loom and you have realized that it is not as long as you would like. Repeat steps 2-7, then by either hand sewing or using a sewing machine, attach the ends together.
10. Wear your scarf- you better work!
It is time to enjoy your hard work! Every time this scarf is worn, it will be a memory of all the hard work that you did!
If you are like me, as soon as the weaving comes off the loom, you want to hang it up or wear it immediately. But, you can lightly wash the scarf in cold water, flat dry it and then use it as you like!
There is nothing like wearing or using something you made yourself. Whether this scarf is something you wear everyday or a gift for a loved one, it’s a wearable piece of art that will be enjoyed.
I encourage you to weave using colors, materials and techniques that push your creativity.
Thank you so much for visiting my website!