If you’re getting interested in weaving, you’re standing at the threshold of an intricate and rewarding craft for your hobby. It’s one of the most technical crafting skills you can work on, so it’s well worth taking some time to research and understand all the elements, tools and skills you’ll have to marshall to bring together a successful project.
If we’re going to understand the role of cotton in weaving, first of all we have to look at what weaving is.
What is weaving?
Weaving is a craft in which two different yarns or threads are interlaced at right angles to create a new fabric. You might imagine weaving as being done in front of a large wooden loom, straight out of the industrial revolution, but in truth, weaving happens on the large and small scale: you can do some weaving by hand, with no special equipment except yarn and the ability to knot, and some with a small loom that simply holds the horizontal yarn taut while you work at it.
More industrial scale weaving uses mechanised looms. This makes the fabrics that clothe many of us, but very quickly weaving together strands of cotton (or other materials) to make large sheets of fine cotton fabric that can be cut and sewn into garments.
When you’re weaving you need a fixed series of vertical threads (the warp), through which you weave horizontal strands of yarn (the weft) to create patterns, designs and, ultimately a complete fabric.
Weaving with cotton
It’s beyond most home crafters to weave with the fine strands of cotton yarn that make up clothing material – without an industrial sized loom it takes too long to produce results of any size! Fortunately, it’s not something many home crafters would want to do: it’s exacting work that doesn’t give you much scope for the creativity of self-expression.
What you can do at home is smaller scale weaving using heavier weight yarn and different materials to create projects that take shape more quickly, and easier to work with. Weaving cotton yarn is thicker and makes a good warp for many projects. You can buy it in standard weights and colours, so you can quickly build up a big library of yarn to act as a foundation for many different projects. Your weft could also be cotton yarn, but you could also use other materials like wool! This adds other challenges (like washing the resulting project safely) but adding strips of wool to a cotton weave (or vice versa) can create some fascinating results!
Weaving with MakeBox+Co
If you choose one of MakeBox’s weaving projects, then you will feel confident that the box you receive will contain everything you need for a successful first weaving project: a loom and needle, all the materials to create and decorate your fabric, and most importantly, clear instructions that will introduce you to craft of weaving and take you from the preparations before step one, to finishing and displaying your completed project after you’ve woven it.