We’re excited to announce our first School of SweetGeorgia handspun scraps, rigid heddle weave-along (WAL)! The official dates are November 1–30, 2023, and the weave-along itself will take place on the SweetGeorgia Yarns Discord channel. I’ll be there to offer my support and encouragement, and I’ll be weaving along, too! At the end of the month, we’ll gather on Zoom for an informal group show and tell.
This WAL is perfect for anyone who’s been curious about using their handspun in their weaving, but there are many more reasons to join in.
Why You Should Join in Our Handspun Scraps Weave-Along
- Use your handspun. Weaving, especially on a rigid heddle loom, is much faster from start to finish than knitting and crochet. You’ll be able to see your own handspun highlighted in a finished scarf or sewing cloth in as little as hours or days.
- Become a better spinner and weaver. It’s very simple: You need to use your handspun to understand its functionality. If you’ve been wanting to become more adept at weaving or have been thinking about acquiring a rigid heddle loom, this is an ideal opportunity to see for yourself that handspun and the rigid heddle loom truly are the perfect pairing.
- Expand your creativity by playing with colour and texture. The dynamics of the rigid heddle make this loom uniquely forgiving of variances in grist and yarn structure, meaning that you can successfully pair or group yarns that might not work well together otherwise.
- Feel ridiculously accomplished about yourself and your fibre-related pursuits. There’s no better feeling than putting your yarns to use and completing a project. One finished project tends to beget another, and so on.
- Experience camaraderie and inspiration while improving your skills. Group “alongs” tend to offer the right mix of accountability and support and can spark new ideas.
What exactly constitutes a “scrap,” and must all scraps be handspun?
Scraps are bits and bobs of yarn. These could be mini-skeins, odd lengths and weights of yarn that you can’t seem to part with but have found no use for, experimental scraps, etc. This is an informal virtual scrap-along/weave-along, meant to help you see your stash and put it to use in a new, freer way. We don’t want to get mired in rules as this goes against the heart of this activity. You may add commercial knitting or weaving yarn to your project(s) if you’d like, especially since these can help an otherwise disparate group of scraps look more harmonious. Do challenge yourself to utilize as much handspun in your project(s) as possible.
Supplies you’ll need for our handspun scrap-along/weave-along
- Rigid heddle loom: any make or width is fine. I’ll be using my 15” Schacht Cricket Loom.
- Reed of your choice: I adore my Schacht vari-dent because it makes every conceivable grouping of gauges and textures possible in my warp. However, you can still weave freely and creatively with your choice of single-dent reed, too. Broadly speaking, a 12-dent reed is meant for fine yarns, a 10-dent is ideal for sport weight, and an 8-dent reed is for worsted weight yarns. These are merely generalizations, though. So long as your yarns slide freely through the spaces, you can use whichever you have. The finer the dent, the tighter the weaving sett will be.
- An assortment of handspun scraps.
- Solid weaving or knitting yarn in complementary colours.
- Textural elements including a few locks, bits of combed top or roving, etc. (a little goes a long way.)
There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to this style of weaving, and true mistakes are few and far between. That said, learning by doing is one of the best ways to form a better understanding of any hands-on subject.
How much yarn will you need?
I love this yarn calculator from Liz Gipson. She writes so clearly. Don’t be intimidated. Just fill in the amounts and let the calculator do the work. You’ll have much less yarn waste on the rigid heddle loom than you would with a shaft loom—about ten or twelve inches. Depending on the gauge(s) of your handspun scraps, the dent size/reed you use, and the width of your cloth, you can make a scarf with less than 400 total yards of yarn.
In my next post before the WAL, I’ll go into more detail about grouping your handspun scraps for warp and weft. For now, be inspired by your own handspun, and start getting excited for our weave-along!
P.S. Here are some great rigid heddle loom topics to read up on, written by School of SweetGeorgia weaving instructor Amanda Wood.