We know that weaving can be confusing. It relies heavily on terms
that are unfamiliar to many non-weavers. Let's try to clear up some
of the confusion. You may also want to take our
Q: How much yarn does it take
to make a product?
A: We estimate the following amounts based on averages sizes.
Scarves 5-6 ounces each
Wraps 12-13 ounces each
Throws 26-30 ounces each
Q: What is warp?
A: Warp is the term used to refer to the individual threads
that are held in place vertically on the loom. The number of warp
threads (called "ends") combined with the number of ends per
inch will determine how wide the weaving project will be.
Tip: Placing the warp on the loom (setting up) is generally
the most time consuming part of a production weaving run. For
maximum cost efficiency, you will want to get as many units out of one
warp set up as possible. Try to choose as many patterns from the
same set up group as possible.
Q: What is weft?
A: Weft is the term used for the thread that is worked horizontally
through the warp threads. Each pass of the weft through the warp is
called a "pick" or row.
Q: What is the difference
between weaving and knitting?
A: Weaving is worked on a loom. It is comprised of a
series of individual threads (called warp threads) that are kept
vertically under tension by the loom. The weaver then places
horizontal rows of "weft" threads through the warp to make the
cloth. The warp and the weft are always perpendicular to each
other. Knitting is worked on a set of two pointed sticks (knitting
needles). A single thread is worked in loops to make a row.
Subsequent rows are built on the previous row to make the cloth, still
using the same single thread.
Q: How many units will fit on the loom?
A: This is often a trick question. Many non-weavers have
the inaccurate vision of several scarves strung "across" the width of a
loom, being woven all at the same time. While this is a valid
technique in industry, most handweavers use the "end to end" technique
instead. The warp is only as wide as the finished product
would be, but is long enough to make the total number of units desired.
When the warp is completely woven, it is removed from the loom and the
individual units are cut apart, creating the fringe at the ends. To
correctly visualize the loom setup, think of a roll of wrapping paper.
The bulk of the warp is stored on a beam, similar to the cardboard roll
that wrapping paper is stored on. The number of units that will fit
on the loom varies with the thickness of the yarn, just as thicker
wrapping paper will "build up" on the roll faster than thin wrapping paper
will. Generally, we can fit 25 yards of sport weight yarn on the
loom, which is usually somewhere around 15 scarves.
Q: What is WPI?
A: WPI stands for 'wraps per inch'. It is the number of
times a single strand of yarn can be wrapped around a ruler to fill one
inch of length with each wrap of the yarn just touching the one beside
it. WPI is very useful to define the thickness of a yarn, also known
as it's weight.
Q: What is EPI?
A: EPI stands for 'ends per inch'. It is the number of
warp ends per inch in a warp. EPI is determined by WPI and by the
weight of the desired cloth. A heavier cloth thickness would require
more EPI than a lighter weight cloth.
Q: What is involved in
"loom set up"?
A: Loom set up is the process of getting the warp onto the loom
and ready to be woven. This process includes 1) calculating the
number of warp ends needed for the desired width, 2) calculating the
number of yards of warp needed to complete the total number of units
desired, 3) "winding" or measuring the warp and the correct
number of ends, 4) threading the warp thru the heddles and the reed, 5)
attaching the warp to the loom under even tension throughout the
width, 6) "programming the loom" or "tying the harnesses to
the treadles" to establish the appropriate pattern.
Tip: This process is generally the most time consuming
portion of a production weaving run. For maximum cost efficiency,
you will want to get as many units from each set up as possible. Try
to choose as many patterns from the same setup group as possible.
Q: What is a unit woven?
A: A unit refers to the actual end product. One unit could
be one scarf, one wrap, one throw, etc. Weaving one unit refers to
weaving the portion of the warp that meets the length requirements for the
Tip: For maximum cost efficiency, you want to include as many
units in each production run as possible.
Q: What is a weaving
A: A weaving production run refers to the number of units that
can be woven from a single warp/loom set up. For example, you order
12 scarves with various patterns, but all from the same set up group (see
patterns page). We set the loom up once and run your entire
production run. You are charged one set up fee (which is based on
epi times the width of your run), plus 12 unit fees for scarves. On
the other hand, if you order 12 scarves with patterns from each of 3
different set up groups (see patterns page),
we will need to make 3 separate production runs (one for each set up
group). You will be charged for 3 set up fees, plus 12 unit fees.
Tip: Make your set up fees count! Stick to patterns
from one set up group for at least 6-12 units.
Q: Why can't I use my handspun
yarn for my warp?
A: Warp yarns are placed under a significant amount of tension
and stress during the weaving process. Most handspun yarns are
wonderfully lofty by design but tend to be more fragile than yarns spun at
a mill. They are generally problematic when used as warp threads and
do not hold up well to the stresses placed on them. To insure the
highest quality end product possible, we have chosen not to use handspun
yarns in our warps. However, we will gladly use your beautiful
handspun yarns in any weft you choose.
Each production run requires a certain amount of loom waste.
Loom waste is caused by two factors. First, each warp thread must be
tied to the loom at both ends. Up to 6 inches of extra warp is
required on each end for these knots. Second, there is a portion of
warp towards the end of each run that cannot be woven because the warp
cannot be advance past the rear loom harness. This length can be
anywhere from 12-24", depending on the run. We do our best to
keep loom waste to a minimum; but we do recommend adding one yard to each
warp end to allow for such waste.
The sides of a woven piece will generally pull inward during the
first few inches of weaving because the weft pulls slightly on the outer
warp threads as it is woven in place. Generally, we expect to see a
10% reduction in the width of the piece due to such draw in. This
means that if we place an 8 inch wide warp on the loom, the resulting
scarves will measure approximately 7" in width when they are
The length of a warp will be reduced in the finished piece by the
amount of each warp thread necessary to go under and over the weft
threads. In other words, a warp is flat when it is tensioned on the
loom. When the tension is released, the warp threads relax and shape
themselves around the weft threads. Generally, we expect to see a
10% reduction in the overall warp length due to take up.
The appearance of the patterns you choose will vary due to the weight
of the yarn and the combination of colors. Generally, dark and light
combinations will give much more definition to your pattern while solid
color or light on light combinations will mute the pattern but give a
textured effect. Heavier yarns will create larger patterns with
fewer pattern repeats than finer yarns.