The lure of backstrap weaving

I’m learning backstrap weaving and loving it. I started learning in 2009 with the help of a great Weavezine article and the good folks on weavolution, but Real Life intervened and I had to put my sticks aside in 2010. I picked them up earlier this year. Two of my main resources are the Ravelry Backstrap Weaving group and Laverne Waddington’s excellent blog. Someday I hope to take a class, but for now, it’s great fun to explore this technique at home. In a future post, I’ll share the books I use as references for weaving.

The photo above shows my current piece, a warp-emphasis piece that may become part of a bag eventually. The stripes are in the cotton yarn. Just off-screen is the loom bar attached to my backstrap and the twining I did to try to space out the warps.  A lot of the yarn in my stash is not ideal for firm warp-faced weaving, but I’m trying to use what I’ve got either by respinning yarn to make it sturdier or by using it at a wider sett. My first pieces (Ravelry link) were nothing to write home about, but neither were my first knitting and spinning projects.

I’ve made a few things on rigid heddle looms and briefly owned a tapestry loom. Despite finding those looms used at good prices and enjoying working on them, I didn’t keep them. All I wanted to work on was backstrap weaving. I like handling the yarns and slowing down to focus. I like that the complexity of designs depends on how much I learn, not what equipment I own. I like that for $20, I picked up enough sticks to make a loom with lots of spare sticks left over. I like that my loom takes up almost no space (I roll it up, stick it in a large canvas bag, cover it with a towel so the cats won’t notice it, and hide it under the edge of my bed).

A new friend recently mentioned her floor loom, and I eagerly said, “I’m learning to backstrap weave, and you can do it with almost no equipment!” In reply, she mused that a tree would be useful. My bedframe serves as a good place to tie up, and I weave sitting on the floor on a comfy pillow while the winter sun streams in the windows.

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