Saori weaving is a fun and unique technique that focuses on being creative in the weft of your weaving. The technique is free-form, and lots of fun, as well as being a surprisingly quick technique to make completely unique fiber art. I discussed the technique and some history of saori weaving in an earlier article which you can find here.
I prefer a rigid heddle loom for saori weaving for several reasons. First, a rigid heddle loom makes a plain weave, leaving your weft creativity to shine clearing in the finished garment. Secondly, a rigid heddle loom is easier and faster to warp when compared to other types of looms.
For this warping demonstration, I am using an Ashford Knitters Loom, however the same warping technique can be used with any rigid heddle loom (provided the warp is not too long). This technique makes a warp that is just long enough for a nice scarf, warp width can vary to your own preference.
For this scarf, I am doing a six inch wide warp at 6.5 ends per inch. So a total of 40 ends, with a length of approximately six feet. A six foot length will give you roughly five feet of weaving, and four inches of fringe on each side of the scarf.
To Warp a Rigid Heddle Loom:
For warping, I secure the loom to the edge of a suitable length table and secure the warping peg on the other end of the table. I am using a table that splits, so I am able to have a length that is longer than the table is normally. You can use a plastic table, or a series of tables to give a long enough warp length.
After determining the mid-point of the heddle, I count the correct distance on either side – ten slots. After tying one end of my yarn to the back warp-beam I am ready to begin.
Take a loop of yarn through the first slot (ignore the holes in the heddle for now), and down to the warping peg. Place the loop over the warping peg and return. Bring the yarn around the warping stick, to secure it, and take another loop through the next slot on the heddle. Repeat 20 times and tie off your warp thread.
You now have 20 double loops of yarn running from your back warp beam to the front warping peg.
Tie a short length of string a few inches below the loop that is still on the warp peg. You may need an extra pair of hands here. Lift the loop off the warp peg, and begin winding the warp onto the back warp beam of your rigid heddle loom.
Place paper in between the layers of threads to enable you to have an even tension across your warp. Since you need to hold tension on the loop of threads, as well as place the papers and roll the warp onto the beam, an extra person can be very helpful.
Threading The Heddle:
Once your warp is rolled on, and the tied loops are within about 6 inches of the heddle, you can stop. Take a pair of scissors, and slid them into the loops. Cut the threads and place your loom in position for threading the heddle.
Now, take the top thread in each slot, and thread it into the hold to the left (or right) of the slot it was initially in. Once you are done, tug on your warp to make sure it is has a balanced tension. You can adjust the back beam if the threads are not long enough.
Now, tie onto the front beam of your loom. Tie it with a square knot, that won’t slip, and make sure the warp is evening tight.
To start weaving, weave some panty-hose or scrap fabric over the first two or three inches, until the warp threads are evenly spaced. Now, grab your normal yarn and let’s have some Saori weaving fun!
For Saori weaving, I prefer warping with a plain neutral colored warp. However, if you desire to you can warp in stripes, or with a stripe on the side. To vary your warp to have stripes, simply tie off the initial warp yarn and tie on a new yarn to form the stripe. A stripe should be at least 4 threads wide. Once your stripe is as wide as you want it, you can tie off that yarn and resume your original yarn, or a new yarn.
If you are going to be working with brightly colored yarn for your saori weaving, I would recommend using a light neutral color for the warp. However, you could always reverse it and use bright colors on the warp and use light and neutral or natural tones for the weft.
Saori weaving is meant to be an expression of your creativity. So, don’t be afraid to have fun, mix colors together, try different techniques, and generally have lots of fun with your weaving.
Back To You:
Have you ever used an Ashford Knitter’s Loom, or a Rigid Heddle loom? What do you think of this warping technique?
Leave a comment. I enjoy hearing from you!