Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tutorial: Finger Weaving, Beginner's Diagonal Weave

I was wandering around the internet the other night, and came across various pages that mentioned finger weaving. It is a method of weaving/braiding that doesn't need a loom, which intrigued me. I wanted to make a belt for a costume I am putting together, so I decided to give it a try. I used the instructions here: , and the video here: to get me going, and then just played it by ear from there. I'm not sure if what I did is the 'right' way to do this, but it worked. I have a book or two on order that should give me some more pointers.

So, here's what I did:

 I figured out how long I wanted to make my belt, and measured threads 4x that long. I'm using some super bulky 'Cozy Wool' yarn to learn on, and measured 4 light and 4 dark threads. I lined up the ends, and folded the yarn in half to find the middle point, then looped that middle point around a handy desk drawer handle with a lark's head knot. Then I tied a stick to the handle, and wrapped the yarn around the stick, alternating colors.

 Then I separated the colors out into upper and lower threads. The color of the right most thread is the lower threads. The space in between the colors is the 'shed', where the active weaving yarn goes through.
Here's the start of the first repeat: I held the yarn in my left hand, with my index finger separating the two colors into a shed. I picked up the right most thread with my right hand.
 The right most thread went through the shed, and out the left side. I'm holding the yarn in my right hand now, again with my index finger in the shed. My left hand is pulling the weft (the active weaving yarn) all the way through and out the other side. This yarn gets parked up separately to the left for a moment while I change the shed and...and...Huh. The weaving takes two hands. The camera takes a hand. Can I take pictures with my feet? Heh. Nope. Hold on...

 Ah ha! I knew I had teenagers for a reason. I wove a bit while my daughter got down here, then handed her the camera. Ok, back up a little bit. I'm going to take it from the beginning of the repeat again. I've picked up the right most thread in my right hand, while holding the shed open with my left.
 The weaving thread goes through the shed, and out the other side, while my right hand is holding the bundle of warp threads.
 Now, I need to change the shed. I'm going to transfer the warp yarn in order from my right hand to my left hand. The threads that were on the bottom go on the top, and the threads that were on top go to the bottom. My index fingers are keeping the opening for the shed.
 Like this.
 Keep working my way across, making sure to take each thread in order.
 Once I get the shed changed, I separate out the two colors and tug gently to tighten up the previous stitch.
 Then I hold the bundle in my right hand again, and tug gently on that last weft thread. This tightens everything back into place and keeps the edges even.
 The previous weft thread gets added to the bundle in my hand, becoming a warp thread again.
We're back to the beginning. I pick up the right most warp thread...
 And turn it into a weft thread, pulling it through the shed. At this point, I sometimes use my fingers to comb out the un-woven threads that are hanging there, to clean out any tangles.

 Now, you're back to changing the shed. The sequence is: weave the right most thread through the shed to the left side, comb out the tangles in the dangling warp threads, change the shed, and tighten things up.

 When I needed to stop, I separated out the top and the bottom groups of yarn, and chained them up crochet style. Each bundle got looped over the hanging stick, and the active weft thread got draped over separately. That made it easier to find my place when I went back at it.
Here's my finished belt. Not bad for a beginning piece!! I just knotted the ends to make fringe to finish it off.


  1. I have not finger woven for a long time. I was just talking with a woa=man at scholl abouyt it not long ago. It's a great thing to do when the power goes out!

    Have a wonderful Sunday.

    I arrived here via your post on Blogging Buddies thread.


  2. How neat! I remember doing something similar to that back in high school. I remember it being time consuming but I really loved the piece that came out of it.

    And now you have a really cute belt!

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Neat - now you have a portable version of your craft that you might be able to do at craft fairs to generate more interest, huh?

  4. Wonderful tutorial!! It's so interesting to see how this is done.