I think the most frequent question coming from those just starting their weaving journey is about what tools do they need to weave. The best answer to this is it really depends on what makes you most comfortable and what you’re making. I know, it would be nicer if there were one simple answer for everyone, but I’ve found that sometimes a tool will really resonate with one person and not another. I posted on what’s in my weaving bag at all times here, but I also wanted to talk about other tools that I don’t necessarily use. I would love to hear from those of you with weaving experience. For this post, let’s imagine we’re sitting around a table, sipping your favorite drink and having a fun discussion. Alright, so let’s talk through some tool options and please leave your thoughts in the comments below on which tools work for you and which don’t.
So I’m always using my bent tapestry needle and my straight tapestry needle. I can’t weave without these two items, although if i’m weaving with really thick fiber like roving, then I will use my hands to weave the fiber through the warp threads. I like to think of the tapestry needle as the most basic item to weave with, but I’d be interested in hearing if anyone doesn’t use one of these.
Tapestry Beater/Weaving Fork
I use this tool when I’m weaving large areas. The tapestry beater is a really quick way to push your weft arches down the warp threads while giving your weave an even tension. I also like to use the tapestry beater when I’m making the pile weave, because it helps me push the weft threads down really tight and ensures my pile weave holds together. If you don’t have a tapestry beater tool, you can always use a fork or a comb. And when I’m weaving a small area (like a shape), I just use my fingers or tapestry needle to push the weft threads down. This tool, for me, is helpful but optional.
I bought some of these right away when I started weaving, which now makes me laugh. I don’t know why I felt I needed these right away. So, in my experience, I have found that I only really use bobbins if I’m weaving really intricate color changes over a large area. But to be honest, I feel like the bobbins just got in my way. I think I haven’t given bobbins an honest chance yet, because I know they are very helpful to some weavers and I can definitely see the benefit in using them. I would love to hear if you use them in the comments below.
For large weaves, this is so great! It saves a lot of time when you’re weaving one color across a large area. I have a shuttle stick that I use occasionally, but for me, I only really like to use it if I’m weaving a large area of the plain weave. If I’m trying to weave a texture or even a draft pattern then I feel like the shuttle becomes more of a burden.
Rotating Heddle or Shed Stick
I have never used a rotating heddle before, so I can’t really comment on them. I have used a shed stick, which has come in handy when I’m weaving across a large area. The benefit to the rotating heddle versus a shed stick is that you simply twist the heddle and open the opposite shed. Where as, my shed stick will only open the shed in the direction that I pass it between the warp threads. But one thing I like about using the shed stick is, I can completely take it out of my weave when I don’t find making a shed to be beneficial. Combining a heddle or shed stick with a shuttle speeds up your weaving a lot. If you use a rotating heddle regularly, I would love to hear about your experience with it. I feel like this would be only beneficial when weaving across the loom, and not so much when making shapes, but I could be wrong so I’d love to hear from those with experience.
So which tools do you use often, or which did you find you didn’t like to use? Thanks for sitting down with me.
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