Beginning to Weave

This week, we’re going to begin weaving our tapestry/bead cuff bracelet! I have some basic instructions (picture from a previous weave-along) with an additional video that we made that goes over warping, weaving a header, beginning to weave and adding beads to your weaving!

Weaving a Header:

(Note, before you do this, if you do NOT have a bottom spring kit, you need to weave one thread through, using the shedding device, and tie that thread onto each side bar. This will act to prevent your weaving from slipping down the loom.)

A header is woven before you start your piece to provide a strong base that will eventually be folded over during the finishing process. Weave your header with the same C-Lon cord (or other warp material) that you used to warp your loom. It should be between 1/3 and 1/2 of an inch of weaving. 

Once the shedding device is put on the loom, just engage the shedding device (the shedding device raises half the warps) and place your weft between those warps. (When you are doing this, make sure your weft ends face the back of the piece, this can be accomplished either by wrapping your end around so it faces back or by starting your weft in the middle of the piece.) Then, change the shed by moving the shedding device into the other position (and therefore raising the other half of the warps) and weave through again.

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. 

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

Picture your final product: 
Because these cuffs seem to look awesome no matter what, we often weave them with no solid plan. But, 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 weft material you want to use as well as what colors. 

Beginning to Weave:

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 different silks woven together make an interesting pattern.

Adding 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). 

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. 



2 thoughts on “Beginning to Weave

  1. I have been longing for a Mirrix loom since I saw your demo on Beads and Baubles I believe. I absolutely love the look of hand weaving. I am fairly new to bead weaving so the idea of combining beads and fibers is most exciting. Thanks for this complex lesson with lots of pictures and info. Very enticing indeed!

  2. Katherine- Thank you! This is such a fun project to do and great for learning the basics of weaving. Please feel free to contact me directly ( if you have any questions!


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