Weaving coloured wool

The versatility of woven wool

Traditional weaving produces a length of fabric which can be used as it is, for example as a scarf, or which can be cut for sewing in a variety of different ways. It is also possible to weave rugs using a peg or foot loom.

Warp thread

The warp is the length of the material and goes on a loom, which can just be a piece of card or a very complicated machine. The warp needs to be tightly spun using a semi worsted or worsted technique, and should not be fluffy. The best fleece is a Longwool, for example a Wensleydale or Leicester Longwool, but a shorter stapled fleece can be used if very tightly and evenly spun.

Weft thread

The weft is then woven over and under the warp threads. This can be a simple ‘tabby’ weave, over one, under one, or aninvolved pattern using a complicated loom. Any yarn can be used and even, sometimes, unspun fleece, depending on the cloth and effect wanted.

Patterns and designs

In cloth both the warp and the weft are visible. Pattern is achieved by varying the colours of the warp and weft to produce plaids or stripes. More complicated designs can be produced by tapestry weaving. This involves completely covered the warp with the weft. Rugs, wall hangings and true tapestries are produced like this. For rugs it is usual to use hardwearing and/or lustrous wool using a string type warp. Fine rugs can be made from other wool. This, again, depends on the effect you want.

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