Weaving Your Necklace

In this chapter we'll discuss the tools and supplies needed, how to string the warp on a working board, adding beads, weaving with a

Tools And Supplies

In anticipation of starting your necklace, gather together the following items:

Graph Paper: a quarter-inch grid.

Tracing Paper

Board: A 9" x 12" board or one large enough to extend at least one inch beyond all sides of the piece. Homosote board available at lumber yards, sometimes called bulletin board, insulation board or ceiling tile, is a good choice and it can be used several times. Foam core, available at art supply stores, should be used in two layers. It is not as strong as homosote board and it does not hold the pins as firmly. Wood is too dense to insert pins into easily.

Tape: If you use homosote board, cover the back and sides of it with two-inch masking tape or duct tape to prevent it from flaking. Also use masking tape to hold the pattern in place.

Straight Pins: Although regular pins will hold, they tend to bend easily. Super-plated, #17 or #20 gauge, 1-1/2" steel pins are recommended. They are available at office supply stores as bank pins. T-pins and push pins catch the thread when weaving and can be frustrating to work with.

needle and finishing techniques.

needle and finishing techniques.

Needle Weaving Techniques

Headpins: Headpins arc short wires on which beads arc strung. They look like blunt pins and can be bought wherever jewelry parts are sold.

Warp Thread: Warp threads form the structure of the piece and carry the beads which are strung onto them. 1 usually use an 18-gauge, three-ply, waxed linen carpet thread as my warp. I prefer it because it is heavy enough to support the beads, it gives structure to your piece and it is less likely to be split by the needle when you weave. (See Supplies section for sources.) Any color warp may be used because it is almost completely covered in the weaving process. For lighter pieces, however, it is desirable to use a I ight-color warp and for darker pieces a black or brown warp. 1 f your beads have small holes try using a lighter weight thread. Do not use monofilament line for the warp thread because it results in a very stiff piece that will not drape to fit the contour of the body.

Weft or Weaving Thread: No. 3 Perle Cotton is an ideal yarn to weave with. Other cotton threads designed for knitting will also work, as will pearl rayon, silk or synthetic thread of similar weight. Metallic threads of varying weights add sparkle and may be used alone or with other thread. (Photo 98.)

Scissors: A small needlework scissors

Needles: Use #18, #20 or #22 tapestry needles for weaving. These work best because their points are somewhat rounded and they are less likely to split the warp thread. Some people like to bend the tip of their needle slightly to make the weaving process easier. Many #20 needles can be bent without heating. I f you wish to do this, wear safety glasses or hold the pliers and your needle under a table when bending it, just in case the needle breaks. Hold the needle in your hand. Use your pliers to bend the tip of the needle about 1/4 inch from the end at an angle of about 30. Some needles need to have their temper removed in order to make them less brittle. To do this, hold the needle with your pliers and heat the needle until it is red hot. Plunge the red-hot needle into cold water to cool. Bend as described.

There may be tight places where it will be difficult to weave. A curved needle, about 1.5" from tip to tip, works well here. Curved needles with a tapestry point are rather difficult to find. However, curved upholstery needles are readily available. You may also be able to obtain surgical needles, which come in a variety of sizes. Dull the sharp points with a file or sand paper.

Needle-nosed pliers or a hemostat: (Optional) Needle-nosed pliers can be used to grab the needle in tight places and do what big lingers sometimes cannot. An alternative to the pliers is a hemostat, a medical tool similartoasmall forceps with fine-pointed ends and handles that lock into place. You may find them at drugstores, hospital supply outlets or ilea markets. Eyebrow tweezers, available at cosmetic counters, are another alternative.

A student inquired, "What is the meaning of the word, 'warp? ' "I discovered the original meaning from Old English is "to throw or cast. " What I originally considered a foolish question gave me a better understanding of the term.

- Helen Banes

Helen Banes
98. No. 3 Perle Cotton is the ideal weight for weaving. Other rayon, linen, silk, synthetic and metallic threads of similar weight may also be used.

Beater (Table Fork): To beat the weft threads (pack them tightly together), use a small, pronged dcvicc such as a table fork or a comb with teeth 1/4" apart. To begin with, any table fork will do. Later you may want to substitute a fancier fork or other implement. It will make weaving just that much more fun!

Beads: Beads of any material may be used, including glass, plastic, metal, bone, polymer clay, ceramic or shell. They must have a hole large enough to slide onto the warp thread and typically should be less than 1 /2" diameter in order to fit between the warp threads within the weaving. Somewhat larger beads can be used at the ends of warp threads, but plan to leave space around them so that they hang freely. You may also use buttons, bells, buckles, netsuke or ojime (antique carved Japanese miniature figures with holes), medallions, or any other perforated item.

Warp Endings: Warp threads which have beads at their very ends require some means of preventing the beads from coming off. Crimps (small circles of soft metal), heishi (tiny rings of metal or shell), shank buttons, charms, links from a chain, rings and many other items can be attached to the end of a warp.

Bead Threader: A six-inch piece of monofilament fishing line is convenient for stringing beads on the warp threads. A crochet hook (size 12 or 13) will also work if the bead holes are large enough.

Fray Prevention: For metallic threads that tend to fray, a light application of clear fingernail polish can be used to glue fibers together and prevent their fraying. Alternatively, there are commercial sewing aids such as "Fray Check" which also serve this purpose.

Stringing Your Warp Onto The Working Board

You've already chosen a pattern from the previous chapter or have drawn one yourself. Now it's time to get started. Take one step at a time and you'll soon be weaving. Tape your graph paper pattern to the board. Each column of squares on the graph paper will indicate where a pair of warp threads will be placed. If you have colored your pattern, you may wish to place a piece of tracing paper over it to protect your thread from color on the pattern paper rubbing off. (Photo 99)

Insert pins at the points marked earlier on your drawing. Pins should be placed at an oblique angle, about 30-45°, slanting them toward the top at the top of the piece and toward the bottom at the bottom of the piece (in other words, away from the design). (See figure 17.) Note that you'll have an uneven number of pins across the bottom and an even number of pins across the top. Check to be sure that the pins are placed correctly. Remember that pins across the top go between the graph paper lines and across the bottom, go on the lines.

End The Trail Graph Bead Patterns

99. Tape your pattern to the working board, if vour hoard has a ten-

*r dency to flake, then tape the edges and back of your working board, too.

99. Tape your pattern to the working board, if vour hoard has a ten-

*r dency to flake, then tape the edges and back of your working board, too.

Figure 17. Angle of pin placement

With the warp still on the spool, make a slip knot with a 1/4" loop in the end of the thread. It is important to leave this loop because you will weave into the loop later to secure the end of the warp. Leave a 3-4" tail. (See figure 18.)

Slip this loop onto the outermost pin on the left. Wrap back and forth around the pins going from top to bottom. The warp should be fairly tight so that there is a little tension on the thread, but still have some flexibility. ( See figure 20.)

When you have strung the warp around all the pins, make another slip knot and attach it to the last pin on the right side, again leaving a 1/4" loop and 3-4" tail and pull the thread taut. Clip the thread from the spool. (Photo 100.)

Neckedge: On necklaces with curved necklines, you may wish to make a smoother edge than the stair-stepped edge that will result from your normal weaving. To make this smooth edge, attach an extra thread to the innermost top pin with a slip knot, then string it through the tops of the warp pairs and attach it to the opposite top pin with a slip knot. Be sure to weave through these knots to secure them. (See Figure 19.)

Fiber Necklace Images
Figure 18. Slip knot
Pattern Helen Banes Necklace

Figure 19. Neckline Edge Options. Above: Stair neck edge. Below: Smooth neck edge.

100. Place a pin at each pin marker. Pins across the top should be slanted toward the top of the working board; pins across the bottom, should slam toward the bottom. Tie a slip knot at the end of the warp thread while it is still on the spool. Tie your warp to the outer most pin on the left with a slip knot, wrap the warp back and forth around the pins, going from top to bottom. When you reach the farthest pin on the right, tie your warp to it. You may have to move that m last pin slightly to maintain the proper tension after you have tied your warp to it.

Figure 19. Neckline Edge Options. Above: Stair neck edge. Below: Smooth neck edge.

Fiber Jewelry

Warp and Weft: The warp threads are strung onto the loom first, either horizontally or vertically. They form the skeleton or structure of your piece. The weft threads are woven over and under the warp, usually perpendicular to the warp. All of the warp will be covered with the weft threads.

Usually I work on several pieces at a time, alternating between a piece I have on my workboard and arranging beads for a possible necklace or bracelet. Being playful with loose beads relaxes my fingers and restores my ability to concentrate so that I can return to the fiber design with afresh approach.

- Helen Banes

Figure 20. Diagram showing the warp strung onto the loom with marks and numbers for pin placement.

Weaving Jewelry

ndicates pin placement

Adding Beads

The beads you use and how you arrange them can turn an ordinary necklace into a magnificent one. It's worth trying different arrangements before you settle on the one you know will be best for the necklace. It's easy to try different arrangements by holding your beads in place on headpins. (Photo 101.)

All beads are strung onto the warp threads before weaving; they are not sewn on later. Usually beads are strung on from the bottom, although you may string them on from the top also. To string the beads onto the warp, use either the monofilament line or a crochet hook as follows:

Wire And Fiber Jewerly
101. Arrange your beads on a wire or headpin to see how the various combinations will look. Take time to try manv different arrangements to find the one most pleasing to you.

1. Use the monofilament line if a crochet hook will not go through the hole in your beads. First remove the pin from the bottom of the pair of warp threads on which you intend to string the beads. (The bead closest to the top of the necklace goes on first.) Put the piece of monofilament line between the warp threads, then bring the two ends of the monofilament line together. Now pass both ends of the monofilament through the bead. Slide the bead from the monofilament line onto the warp threads. Add one bead at a time. (Photo 102.) When all the beads are on, remove the monofilament.

2. A second way to string the beads onto the warp is by using a crochet hook. After removing the pin from a pair of warp threads, slip the hook through the bead, hook the crochet hook onto the pair of warp threads and slip the bead from the hook onto the warp. (Photo 103.)

Replace the pin after all the beads are strung on that pair of warp threads. (Photo 104.)

If you have an unusual piece such as a buckle or a button, slide it onto the warp face down and keep the warp threads on top of it. You will be working on the back of your necklace. Weave completely across the back, covering the item with weaving so that it will stay in place. If the item is very tliick you may want to carve a depression in your board where the piece will be located so that the weaving will lie flat.

If you have not previously indicated bead placement on your pattern, now put a pencil mark on the pattern at the top and bottom of each column of beads so that you can move the beads out of the way when weaving. Reposition your beads as you are ready to weave them in.

I usually start weaving at the top of the piece so that I can add additional elements from the lower end. I simply remove the pin and slide the beads on or off the unwoven end of the warp.

Allow yourself the pleasure of being playful with assembling the beads on the warp. Moving and rearranging the beads to create interesting patterns is fun and can change the original plan. This can even be done as the weaving progresses.

- Helen Banes

Weaving Jewelry

Various Beads

Fiber Jewelry

Various;

Helen Banes

102. (top left) Stringing beads onto the warp using monofilament line: Remove the pin at the bottom of the pair of w arp threads on which you plan to string your beads. Pass one end of a short piece of monofilament line between the pair of warp threads and bring the two ends of the line together. Pass these two ends of line through the bead and slip the bead from the line to the warp.

103. (top right) Stringing beads onto the warp using a crochet hook: Remove the pin at the bottom of the pair of warp threads on which you plan to string your beads. Slip the bead onto a crochet hook, then catch the warp pair with the crochet hook and slip the bead from the hook to the warp.

104. Replace the pin after you have strung all the beads on that pair of warp threads.

Finishing The Ends Of The Warp Threads

Only warp pairs with beads on the ends require finishing; other warp pairs can simply be woven together. If you have beads at the end of your warp, you must leave sufficient warp for this finishing.

The ends of the warp thread pairs may simply be woven together without embellishment or you may add beads to resemble a fringe. Beads at the ends of warp threads can add movement to the necklace so consider this in your design. You need not finish the ends before you start weaving. You might want to change your bead arrangement later while you 're weaving. Once you're sure of your bead placement, go ahead and finish the ends.

Beaded Fringe Choker African

105. Attaching a crimp: Slip a crimp on the warp pair with monofilament line, as if it were a bead. Before removing the line, flatten the crimp around the warp by squeezing it with pliers. Note: Once a crimp has been flattened against the warp, it is very difficult to remove, so be sure of your bead placement before fastening the crimp.

Fiber Jewelry

Figure 21. Sales tag or lark's head knot

Here are some ways to keep beads from coming off the ends. You may think of others.

1. Perforated ornaments: Small flat beads such as African heishi beads (about 1/16" in diameter), shank buttons, washers, open coins or other flat pieces with holes in them can be attached to the bottom of warp threads to keep end beads from sliding off. When stringing the warp, you will need to allow extra length for the warp thread in order to attach the object. Usually this is a little more than double the length from the top of the object to its hole. (Figure 21.)

To attach these perforated ornaments, remove the pin at the bottom of a warp pair and slip the object onto the warp threads. Open the loop at the bottom, then slip the loop back over the object. (Some people refer to this as a "sales tag" knot, while weavers call it a 'Mark's head" knot.) Replace the pin.

2. Crimps: Crimps are tiny circles of soft gold or silver metal which can be flattened with a pliers. They are usually used when securing a clasp to a necklace. Slip one onto the end of a pair of warp threads, then carefully squeeze it with a pliers to flatten. This finish is suggested for more formal pieces and gives a little sparkle to the ends. (Photo 105.)

3. Knots of thread: Take a small piece of thread in a color that will work with the design, fold it in half, slip the folded end through the end of a warp pair and pass the ends of the thread through the loop to form a sales tag knot. Add a drop of white glue to the knot. When dry, clip off the ends. It will be secure. This method is suggested for more casual or folk-inspired pieces. If you are using a bead just above these knots, choose a bead with a small hole so that it will not slip off the finishing knot.

Figure 21. Sales tag or lark's head knot

105. Attaching a crimp: Slip a crimp on the warp pair with monofilament line, as if it were a bead. Before removing the line, flatten the crimp around the warp by squeezing it with pliers. Note: Once a crimp has been flattened against the warp, it is very difficult to remove, so be sure of your bead placement before fastening the crimp.

Lays Weave

106. Beginning to weave. Lay the tail of your weaving thread along the outermost warp at the top. Then weave over and under across the warp and back again. When you come to the tail of your weaving thread, go around it just as if it were a warp thread.

Weaving Willi A Needle

Now we're ready to begin weaving. This type of weaving is referred to as "weft-faced" weaving, meaning that the weaving or weft thread completely covers the warp.

Begin weaving at the uppermost part of your necklace so that beads can still be added at the lower edge or changed later, if necessary.

Thread your needle with about 24" of the weft or weaving thread you wish to use for that area. Lay the tail of your thread along the edge warp thread and weave around it as though it were part of the first warp thread. It is not necessary to make a knot. (Photo 106.)

When weaving, each warp thread is treated individually. Go under the first warp thread and over the second one of each pair and so on across the area to be filled. Now in the opposite direction go back over and under opposite your first line of weaving. That is, go under the warp you went over previously and over the warp you went under. (Figure 22.)

Weave somewhat loosely but, at the end of each row, use your fork to pack the thread tightly by beating it toward the pins at the top. Don't pull your weaving thread too tightly because it will distort the outer warp threads, and pull them toward the center. You are filling in space with thread and weaving a shape in color to match your pattern. (Photo 107.)

106. Beginning to weave. Lay the tail of your weaving thread along the outermost warp at the top. Then weave over and under across the warp and back again. When you come to the tail of your weaving thread, go around it just as if it were a warp thread.

Plain Weaving Weaving a Slit
Weaving Beads And Wool

Diagonal Color Changes Interlocking Weave Dovetailing

Figure 22. Weaving technique and various methods of making color changes

Diagonal Color Changes Interlocking Weave Dovetailing

Figure 22. Weaving technique and various methods of making color changes

If you find that you are weaving too tightly or too loosely, try this: after you have brought your thread across a row of weaving, position it at a diagonal away from the woven edge. Then, beginning at the angle you have formed, use your fork to pack the thread firmly into place. The diagonal line of thread, when it is brought into place, will be exactly the right length and will not distort your necklace.

When you come to the slip knot in the warp thread on either side of the piece, pass the weaving thread through the loop of the knot at least twice. Also weave the warp tail into the piece by covering it with weft threads.

Weaving A Shape

Your pattern will indicate what shapes to weave. To weave the shapes, begin at the top, follow your pattern and weave over and under as many warp threads as needed to fill in the area.

In weaving a symmetrical design. I use two threaded needles and work alternately on each side of the piece in order to keep track of the area of each color and make each area the same size and shape. This also provides a better view of the finished part compared to the total composition.

Fiber Jewelry

107. Continually pack your weaving thread toward the top pins. It must be closely packed to completely cover the warp.

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Responses

  • Sofia Rajam
    How to use thread to weave around necklace?
    6 years ago
  • anke
    Can you weave fibers on a bead loom?
    6 years ago
  • Veli-Pekka
    Can you use monofilament for bead weaving?
    2 years ago
  • Irene
    What is needle weaving jewelry?
    1 year ago
  • Raija
    How to end large fiber jewelry?
    12 months ago
  • katri rautakorpi
    How to weave a curved line on a loom?
    11 months ago
  • Ernesta
    How to weave necklaces?
    10 months ago
  • valente
    How to weave a locket?
    10 months ago

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