I'm back with another easy afternoon project that lets you play with those weaving skills and leaves you with a soft statement necklace that is perfect for layering over your basics or adding to an already busy ensemble. It uses cotton yarn in contrasting colors for a bold pattern that adds a ton of texture and interest but is also one of the coziest accessories you can wear—a great fall staple!
This fiber art necklace is made using plain weave and a simple soumak stitch, so it's a great project for beginning weavers and can be finished in the time it takes to finish a movie. An ideal candidate for late night crafting when you need something repetitive that isn't going to require all of your concentration. If you don't already have a dedicated loom, this is a great option. It's your gateway weaving project!
-10 yards of cotton yarn in ecru (off-white) or your preferred color
-8 yards of cotton yarn in black or your preferred color
-one 3" tapestry needle or weaving needle
-one 6" x 24" cut of foam board to use as your loom
Step One: Wrap your foam board with your base color (off-white) twenty-eight times so that your cotton yarn wraps neatly and doesn't overlap. Then tie the two ends in a double knot and trim your ends so that there is only 1/4" left. This will leave one strand that overlaps across all of your yarn. You've just created your warp rows on the front and the back of this foam board. We'll be weaving on both sides since this is going to be an infinity necklace.
Step Two: Cut a 6' length of yarn in your contrasting color (black), and thread your needle so that it has about an 8" tail. Start near your knot on your off-white rows. Weave your needle over the first two warp rows, under the second two warp rows, over the next two, and so forth. We want a high contrast on this pattern, so we'll be letting that off-white warp show through, two rows at a time. It also keeps your woven section from bulging out at the sides because the weft cotton and the warp cotton are giving each other a little room to breathe.
Step Three: Pull your black cotton yarn through so that you are just under the knot on your off-white yarn because you want to weave over the knot to cover it. You want to leave a 14" tail of black yarn so that you can weave it in later, so don't pull it through too far. After you've woven your first weft row (black yarn), go back in the other direction with your needle so that you are weaving through the opposite of the first weft row. If you went over on the first row, you go under on the second row, and so forth. This is what locks your weft row in and creates a pattern.
As always, create an arch as you pull your weft row through and then bat it down in the center first so that you have a little slack and don't pull too tightly in at the sides as you weave. Continue weaving until you have about forty weft rows or at least 24" of yarn left over. Flip your foam board so that the place you started is at the top.
Step Four: We're going to secure your weaving with a row of soumak. This will also create a nice line to frame out your woven section. I wove an extra row of warp in mine so I have to wrap around the outer three rows but you should only have two. Wrap your yarn all the way around those outer two warp rows (again mine shows three but it should be two).
Step Five: Stitch down through the little loop you made when you wrapped around those outer warp rows. This is basically tying a knot. We haven't started the soumak yet; this just secures the outer row a bit more.
Step Seven: This is the start of your soumak stitch. Wrap your needle all the way over and around the next two warp rows and then stitch underneath your black weft as you pull it through. Side note: I used to just continue wrapping around each warp row (or set) without stitching under until a student in one of my weaving workshops showed me how she had always done it. I love finding out all of the variations weaving stitches allow!
Step Eight: This shows how you've looped around those two warp rows and stitched under the start of your loop. Pull this down so that it's snug against your last weft row of black and then wrap around the next two warp rows.
Step Ten: You should have about 10"-12" of yarn leftover. Stitch up through weft rows (black) on the edge of your woven section, five or so at a time. It's tricky to pull your needle through all of them at once.
Step Twelve: Thread the tail from the end you started on and wrap around the two outer warp rows and then stitch underneath the loop at the top as shown. This is the same as steps 7-9. Continue wrapping around each warp row until you get to the other side. Then repeat steps 10-11 to stitch your other tail in. Trim your end so that it's almost flush and tucked in. You're finished with one of the two woven sections!
Step Thirteen: You can see here how the rows of soumak and stitching the tail ends up the sides helps frame out the weaving. Flip your foam board over to the other side and repeat the entire process. You want to make sure the distance between the two woven sections is roughly 7" for it to hang in the correct spot. Gently pull your necklace off of your foam board and try it on!
Need more weaving inspiration? Flip through the weaving archives for some simple tutorials for woven wall hangings to get you started. Ready for even more? You can find my new book, DIY Woven Art, on Amazon or other major bookstores. It's full of beautifully styled photos, but it's also the best resource for frame loom weaving on the market!
What colors would you make your woven necklace in? Easy neutrals or bold seasonal colors? Try using linen instead of cotton for a more elegant statement piece and then show us what you come up with! –Rachel