The Beaded Purse: Beginning to Weave

Once you get going weaving this purse you won’t want to stop.  I hope you have survived the warping of this piece whether using or not using the shedding device.  For me, it’s easy, but I’ve done it more than once!  You will find that it will also become easy for you.  It’s like any learning curve of any importance in life:  you don’t really learn until you’ve experienced at least some failure.  Which means I must have learned a lot in my life!

Okay, so you are beyond warping the loom.  Congratulations to you.  Give yourself a huge pat on your back and get ready for the fun stuff.

We now have two starting points.

Starting point one is what follows for those of you who are using the shedding device but are not using a bottom spring kit.  You folks have to weave in two threads to isolate your warp pairs before weaving in (actually, sewing in) your first row.  The rest of you can skip this point.  Who are the rest of you?  Those of you who are weaving not using the shedding device or have a bottom spring kit.  If you have a bottom spring kit you don’t have to weave in these two threads because the kit will separate your threads for you.

See this cute little diagram.

It is a diagram of the two rows of thread you need to weave around your pairs of warp threads.  Cut a thread from your spool of warp that is twice the width of your loom plus six inches or so.  Thread the thread into a needle.  Use the needle to weave over and above warp  pairs until you reach the other side of the weaving.  Wrap around the side bar of your loom and weave under the warps you wove over and over the warps you’ve woven under.  Again, you are isolating warp pairs.  You  need to check to the spring above to make sure you are actually isolating the warp pairs because the warps can get crossed at the bottom of your loom and look like a pair when in fact it’s stolen a thread from its neighbor and given up its mate.  Once you’ve woven the second thread, tie it to the other end around the other loom side bar.  You are now ready to join the rest of us in sewing in our first row.

Cut a piece of warp thread (which you will use for your thread for stringing your beads from now on) about four feet long, or whatever length of thread you are comfortable using.  I like to make it as long as I can because then I don’t have to replace it as frequently.  But too long can tangle.

String up 42 black beads.  Place the strung beads behind and in between either the single warp threads if you are not using your shedding device and the paired warp threads if you are.  Sew through the from to the beads.  You will continue using this method of attaching your beads if you are NOT using the shedding device.  I guess you can call this the traditional method of weaving beads.  If you are using the shedding device, this first row was woven in this manner in order to form a base for your weaving (the shedding device will not work without this base and also, when you take the piece off the loom, without this base your piece will fall apart).

Again, if you aren’t using the shedding device, continue attaching subsequent rows of beads in the manner of this first row.  You have been provided a large bead pattern with your kit.  Just follow the pattern.  You can also follow here as we weave along, but we will be using the shedding device.

Make a “shed” by turning your shedding device in either direction with the handle and hooking the handle behind the side bar of the loom.  String 42 black beads and insert your needle in between the raised and lowered threads.  Do this a couple inches above the place where the two sets of threads connect.  This is called the fell line.  Make sure your beads are in-between the raised set of threads.  Use your fingers to manipulate your beads so that they fall into place.  Then pull down so that the beads get caught in the V that is created where the two sets of warp threads intersect.  Again, this is called the fell line.

Row three of all black beads follows.

We are starting the checkerboard pattern.

Ending a old thread and starting a new one.  Once your thread has gotten too short, sew it back through  subsequent row.  Pull to front of weaving, wrap around a warp thread, pull needle through loop and make a knot.  Continue sewing through the row of beads.  You can do another knot if you feel your first one has not secured it enough.  Cut end after you’ve sewn through a final section of beads.  

Begin a new thread in the same manner but backwards.  Sew through a few of the beads in the last row of beads you have woven. Pull thread to front, make a loop around a warp thread (or pair of warp threads if using shedding device), sew through loop to make a knot and continue sewing through beads until you get to the starting point of the next row.  

I like to weave sections of beads at a time when I get to the pattern part when using the shedding device.  (You cannot do this when not using the shedding device).This is because I tend to make mistakes and it’s easier if I only weave half of the beads at a time to identify and fix those mistakes.  Also, it’s easier to set in a shorter length of beads.  To do this, string up, let’s say, about half the beads required for a row.  Pull your needle all the way to the other side of the weaving.  Push the beads down.  Make a loop where the beads end.

String up the rest of the beads.  Use the loop as if it were the end of the thread to jiggle your beads into place.  Slide the beads down.  Pull on end of thread to get rid of loop.

There you go.  Perfect!

More . . .

You are welcome to weave as much as you want.  I know  won’t be able to resist weaving more this week.  I will try not to finish the whole thing.

Chloe was very interested in what I was doing but refuses to learn to do anything but eat the bead thread.


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