Recently I found a loom in perfectly good condition on the side of the road. It was out for the bin. Judging by everything else they’d set out on the path, they were clearing out the attic or the bedroom of a now-grown child.
When I was 8 or 9 I had a loom just like this one. It came in a glossy blue box one Christmas and I loved it. I made a bag and a mini scarf for a teddy bear. It should have been for me really but I didn’t have the patience to make it long enough. I am one for quick wins, mostly.
Anyway, I couldn’t bear to see the loom dumped so I brought it home for the boys. Somehow – I have no idea how, honestly – it made its way into my wool basket and now I have a wall hanging. A mini one. A quick win. But still, a wall hanging of my own creation.
They are all over Pinterest and Instagram lately, aren’t they? You can’t avoid them. Soon after I began my own one, The Simple Things magazine newletter arrived in my inbox with instructions for a project – a weekend wall hanging. Great minds think alike, eh? I decided not to read the instructions but just follow my instinct with the materials I had to hand. A #clearoutandcraft if you will, along the lines of my #clearoutandeat series (By the way, there’s a giveaway this month, so check it out here if you like).
My wall hanging is a nod to Ireland, using shades of green, grey and white, the colours of the Irish landscape. The highlight, for me, is the real sheep’s wool I’ve woven into the piece. I snatched it from a barbed wire fence on our last holiday to Mayo to show the boys while we were out for a walk. It had been knocking round the house since the summer and I am really pleased with where it has ended up now. A wee piece of the West of Ireland in our home.
To make your own wall hanging you’ll need:
A loom (a wooden picture frame would work well either)
Wool, yarn, ribbon in various colours and textures for the weft*
Strong wool, not to thick but not too fine, in the colour of your choice for the warp**
*The weft is the yarn going horizontally. **The warp is the yarn going vertically
How I made my wall hanging:
I’ll preface this by stating that I am not a weaver. I read an instruction manual for children almost thirty years ago and pottered about a bit with a very simple loom.That is the height of my knowledge.
I began by laying down the warp with dark grey wool. I wound the wool round the loom from top to bottom, catching it in the grooves at either end to create tight, straight lines.
Then I chose a thick, dark green wool for the weft, weaving it in between the warp lines, under and over, under and over. My loom I had as a child had shuttles to wind the weft wool round and push through from one side of the loom to the other. This time I used a weaving needle to help me.
After several lines, for a change of shade and texture, I wove in a length of bright green ribbon. I bought this ribbon in Sostrene Grene in Copenhagen where I was visiting a friend back in 2007!
Following that I changed back to the green wool for a few more rows and added a length of green velvet ribbon.This I wove in in a different style, using every 4th warp line. Next came a couple of rows of the dark grey wool I used for the warp, followed by four lines of a thin, white yarn.
For a change in texture again I added a length of extra chunky, grey, felted wool. Being so thick, it gives depth too. I came back to green again before having the idea to add the sheep’s wool. There was enought of the real wool to add a row at the top of the wall hanging too. I am sure the pros don’t go about things this way, but it worked for me.
To finish off the weaving, I added a few more rows of green and then six green knots to make tassles out of the remainder of the warp.
After removing the wall hanging from the loom, I hung it on a wooden rod. I’m watching out for a nice branch to complete the country landscape look I’ve tried to create.
Have you fallen for woven wall hangings too? Would you give it a go at home?