On the Facebook group I belong to, someone asked a question about using bulky yarns on the pin loom. I happened to be the first person to see the post, so I answered as best I could. Up till then I had little experience using different types of twisted matter on the Weave-it.

Weaving with ribbon was sufficiently difficult that I never tried it again. While the sample on the right is technically made with size 4 yarns, the off-white cotton was bulkier, in size if not weight, than the others.

Though the square is lovely, Weave-it-ing with ribbon yarn was sufficiently difficult that I never tried it again. The sample on the right is made with four different worsted weight yarns, but the off-white cotton was bulkier than the others.

I was lacking experience! So I decided to get some.

I have a tendency to get hampered by rules and habits. As a neophyte Weave-it-er, I tried a bunch of different yarns. But I was in learning mode and some of the yarns were hard to use. As soon as I identified the easy-to-use brands I stuck with, and stocked up on, them. Now, after a year’s experience, I’m ready to face new challenges. Bulky yarns are a good place to start.

I’m used to size 4 yarns, don’t own any size 7, but I have a few 5s and 6s.

A few materials in different weights

A few materials in different weights

I decided to use half bulky weight yarn and half lighter weight. I made three samples, each one warped in a different configuration. (They’re all green yarns because I have a particular purpose in mind for them.)

Three samples

Three samples

For the first one I warped layers one and three in the bulky yarn and two and four in worsted weight (4). It was difficult to weave because the bulky yarn was easy to split with the needle; maybe I should have used the bulky yarn instead of the worsted on the last layer. I also thought I should have warped layers one and two with one yarn, layers three and four with the other because it was hard to distinguish the individual vertical strands once all the yarn was piled up.

Sample one: one size 4 and one size 5 yarn

Sample one: one size 4 and one size 5 yarn

This square took a while to weave–not very long–but it was more labor intensive than plain weave usually is.

Finished square one

Finished square one. A lot of the pretty texture of the bulky yarn is lost.

The second square was even more challenging!

Square two

Square two

Without thinking about the make-up of the yarn I was using, I warped the loom: layers one and three very loosely with cotton crochet thread (Bernat Handicrafter, size 5–different sizing system) and layers two and four with the bulky yarn. I figured the thread would be easy to see, but soon discovered that the bulky yarn displaced the threads so extremely that it might have been better to have alternated thin and bulky in the vertical strands.

My least-foresightful decision was using the bulky yarn to weave instead of the cotton. The bulky yarn had thick areas between thin lengths. The bunchies made it difficult to pull the yarn through the needle (I had to use my fattest one), and the thicker needle was harder to pull through the small spaces between the pins. Furthermore, I had a long tail to drag through the first half of the rows because the yarn wouldn’t readily pull through the needle and I didn’t want to yank it. The bumpy yarn did not slip easily through the vertical thread strands.

The bigger the eye, the thicker the needle

The bigger the eye, the thicker the needle; the bigger the yarn-bunch, the less inclined it is to go through the eye.

Despite inconvenience, this square wasn’t much more difficult to weave than the first one, and it turned out well.

Looks kind of like a piece of camo cloth. Has very interesting texture and is very soft.

Looks like a piece of camo cloth, has interesting texture, and is very soft.

The third square was the easiest to weave (it’s still underway–I have to sleep some time!). This one was warped: layers one and two bulky, layers three and four cotton. Here I had the best of all worlds: alternating vertical strands, easy to pull-through weaving thread, thinner needle. This is the warping method I recommend when using bulky yarns.

Square three

Square three


More to come!


Update, 24 Jan 2016: After weaving several squares with the lumpy yarn, and several more with a #6-size yarn, I’ve come up with the warping-and-weaving method that works best (for me).

Layer 1: Chunky or bulky yarn Layers 2 & 3: thin yarn Layer 4: Chunky or bulky yarn

Layer 1: Chunky or bulky yarn
Layers 2 & 3: thin yarn
Layer 4: Chunky or bulky yarn

Even though it’s more difficult to pull the bulkier yarn through the warp, it’s easier to weave the needle through only one bulky yarn layer. If there are two layers of bulky yarn in the warp, the needle pierces and tends to shred them–you don’t get a clean pass through the yarn strands. Putting the thin strands on top makes them easier to see and find with the needle than if they’re under the bulky stuff.

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