Weaving for Knitters

Memphis is a haven for knitters.  For a small city, there are numerous opportunities for knitters to buy yarn, fiber, learn to knit, volunteer to knit, or just gossip and knit.  There are 4 yarn shops:  Yarn to GoYarniverseStash, and  Rainbow Fibres (which is technically in Germantown). Not to mention craft shops such as Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Hancock’s Fabrics, and the soon to open Jo-Ann Fabrics.  All these shops offer classes, and there are also local guilds offering knitting opportunities.  Memphis knitters also have quite a presence on Ravelry.  Then the volunteer opportunities to knit are endless.  Just to name a few:  MIFA lovecaps and The Mother Bear Project.

But surprisingly, one thing that Memphis knitters don’t seem to do a lot of is weave!  The beautiful knitting yarns that are offered locally can also be used to weave beautiful items such as scarves, shawls, jackets, skirts, and purses. And that seems to be a well kept secret here in Memphis. Here are some scarves that I wove with knitting yarns.

Handwoven scarf

Handwoven scarf

handwoven scarf

handwoven scarf

The blue scarf was woven with a weft of Lion Brand “Moonlight Mohair”, a blend of mohair/acrylic/cotton, and polyester metallic.  It is machine washable.  The pink scarf was woven with a weft of Paton’s “Lacette”, a blend of nylon, acrylic and mohair.  The warp for each of these scarves was a fine silk and wool blend weaving yarn.  Both of these scarves are available at my etsy shop, MemphisWeaver.

Okay, so what am I getting at?  Well, I will be teaching a weaving class using knitting yarns at the Memphis Botanic Garden. It will be held Saturday, February 7 and will last all day from 10 AM to 4 PM.  We will be weaving scarves, and so the name of the class is Weave a Scarf for your Valentine! Just think, you’ll be able to learn to weave, work with beautiful knitting yarns, and have a warm and lovely scarf to give to the one you love (or you can keep it for yourself!)

Here is the loom we will be using in class.

Schacht rigid heddle loom

Schacht rigid heddle loom

This is a 20 inch wide rigid heddle loom made by Schacht.  Students will learn how to “dress” the loom, that is how to set it up with a warp of smooth sportweight knitting yarn.  This we will thread through the holes and slots of the rigid heddle, wind it on the back beam and then tie onto  the front.  This will take about 2 to 2 1/2 hours.  Then we’ll have a lunch break, and I must add that the Botanic Garden’s cafe, Fratelli’s makes the most fabulous sandwiches and soup.  Or you can bring your own lunch too! The rest of the afternoon will be spent weaving the scarf,  cutting it off of the loom and knotting the fringes.

Here is a sampling of some of the yarns you can choose to weave with at the class.

Knitting yarn than can be used for weaving

Knitting yarn than can be used for weaving

Generally the smooth yarns are used in the warp, and the textured yarns are used in the weft, that is the yarn that is woven through the warp using a shuttle.  Knitters, please bring yarn from your stash that you would like to use for your project.  If you are a spinner, then, by all means, bring your handspun and we’ll see if it can work for either warp or weft.  I will have yarn available as well and will only charge $3 a ball.  It takes about 3 balls to weave a scarf measuring 7″ X 65″.

We will spend some time discussing looms as well, as there always are students in the beginning classes that fall in love with weaving, and need to go right out to purchase a loom.  A book that has some inspirational projects that use knitting yarns for weaving is the Ashford Book of Weaving for Knitters by Rowena Hart.

The Ashford Book of Weaving for Knitters

The Ashford Book of Weaving for Knitters

I will be bringing this book for students to look through as well as many other books with projects for the rigid heddle looms.

So knitters in Memphis and everywhere, put down your needles just for a few hours and pick up a shuttle instead.  If you love yarn and the feel of fiber, as all knitters do, then learning to weave on a rigid heddle loom is an easy and affordable way to get started.

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2 Responses

  1. I have recently brought my loom out of storage and set up my studio again but need someone to help me look at the loom decide if it needs any “tweaking” (its been moved around a few times) and help me set up my first warp in many years.

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