I guess it’s funny to define what roving is now, after writing so many weaving technique posts on it, but incase there are people new to weaving and fiber reading this it might be helpful to take a step back and explain what roving is.
Roving is the step right before fiber is spun into yarn. To make roving the fibers are collected in a raw form, from an animal such as a sheep or from a plant like cotton. The fibers are then cleaned and combed out on a carding machine until the fibers web and are laying nicely together in the same direction.
There maybe additional steps in the process, such as dying of the fiber, but what you’re left with after the fibers are carded is a fluffy long and narrow bundle of fiber that is ready for spinning.
I don’t know much about spinning (if you want to know more about it, my friend Amanda has a really great post on the process here), but I do know how beautiful roving looks woven up!
Also I do have some tips for when you’re weaving with roving. First, remember that roving is fibers that are slightly webbed together. It makes for a strong bundle, but individual fibers will pull up easily. It is even possible to pull it apart by hand, so it’s important to handle the roving carefully. I like to weave with my roving first, so that I can lift up my warp threads and pass the roving between them with little disturbance to the fibers as possible.
Second, the bulk of the roving that makes it so fun to work with also makes it hard when finishing the end pieces. When I finish my roving end pieces, I like to tuck them in the warp strings in the back of my weaves. I’ve found that tucking the roving in behind some warp threads is the best way to secure them without causing an issue in the front of the the weave.
And to better show how I weave with roving, I have my different techniques in these posts listed below. But before I go on, I have so far only used wool roving when weaving. As I mentioned there are many different types of fibers that are made into roving and these techniques listed below can be applied to all, so don’t feel like you can only work with wool.
How to Plain Weave Roving – The plain weave is the basic over/under technique. It’s easy to do this with roving and creates fluffy bumps in your weave.
How to Weave a Braided Roving – This is where we soumak weave two rows of roving in order to create a braided design. This has to be my favorite technique.
How to Texture Weave Roving – Here I am plain weaving my roving, but also manipulating it to create an interesting texture instead of uniformed bumps. This type of roving weaving reminds me of clouds.
Twinning Roving – Also a really beautiful technique for roving, this is the process of taking two pieces of wool roving and weaving them around warp threads so that they create a lovely twist.
How to Weave Roving in Diagonal Rows – I made these rows by accident while trying to do something else with my roving, but they looked so nice together. All the roving bumps were in the same direction and slightly staggered, it made a really nice pattern and I had to share the process.
How to Weave a Fishtail Braided Roving – I like to call this a fishtail braid because our braids are staggered much like a fishes scales, where in my normal woven braid the braids meet on the same warp thread. The process between these two braids are similar, except there is a little more planning for the fishtail braiding.
How to Taper your Woven Roving – alright, this might actually be my favorite technique. Thanks to roving being so flexible, it’s really easy to manipulate so that the roving tapers down as you weave. The finished look is really pretty.
Do you like to weave with roving also? Is there a technique that you use that I haven’t listed above? I’m always interested in learning new ways to weave.
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