Negative Space Woven Wall Hanging

Simple Negative Space Weaving Have you wanted to try weaving but you're not down with sitting in front of a loom for hours because you've already burned through Gilmore Girls on Netflix? I have just the weaving project for you! I've been experimenting with negative space weaving lately and love the way the vertical pattern of the warp and color of the surface behind the weaving become part of the design when left alone. Negative space can be an important part of any design, but it also means less time filling in your wall hanging. When you combine that with a chunky yarn or a thick jersey cotton, you're looking at a highly textural project that only took you an hour to finish. High fives all around.

Negative spaces that create a strong designIf you're interested in learning to weave and are actually looking forward to the therapeutic process of sitting in front of a loom for as long as it takes and can't wait to start experimenting with colors and shapes, you might want to start with my weaving basics post. In most of my posts I use a Lap Loom Model A, but you can always make your own loom from either a sturdy piece of cardboard with notches cut into the top and bottom or a plank of wood with nails nailed into opposite ends.

-cotton yarn for warp
-chunky yarn or jersey yarn (shown)
-cut copper pipe or wooden dowel
-tapestry needle with large eye

Add your fringeStep One: After warping your loom as shown in the supplies image, cut enough strips of jersey yarn for a full fringe. I cut each strip to be about 20" long and cut 30 of them so that I could add two strips to each bottom loop. To get more details for how to attach your fringe, check steps 3-8 of my weaving basics post.

IMG_5289Step Two: Thread your tapestry needle with your jersey yarn and start your first row about 1/4 of the way in from one side and from under your warp. Weave over and under each row until you get to the edge. Make sure to leave a 4" tail under your weave to keep it from unraveling and to be able to tuck it under later. Once you have your first row done, gently press it down towards your fringe with your fingers. For more details on getting your rows to be evenly spaced without an hourglass problem halfway through, see steps 9-10 in this weaving post.

Weave a few rowsStep Three: Weave about four rows to add some weight to the bottom of your weaving before starting your pattern. This will add some necessary structure and keep your weaving from collapsing in on itself from the weight of the jersey yarn. For your fifth row, weave in three warp strands and then turn back. This will create the bottom corner of your triangle. 

Create your shape as you weave one sideStep Four: Continue to weave an extra warp strand towards the center with each row heading that direction so that you get the shape above. Be sure to count your strands so that you know where the center warp strand is. I had an odd number of warp rows so I wrapped around the 15th row on my first side which only left 14 rows on the other side. As long as you're consistent up one side and then back down the other, it won't matter if things are perfectly centered.

Once you get to that center row and back, start over your next row only three strands in just like you did to get the corner of that first triangle. Continue to add an extra warp row every time you weave towards the center until you get to the center row again. Remember to gently push each row down as you go. When you run out of yarn, be sure to leave enough of a tail for it to be stitched in and start where you left off with another strip. For a more detailed explanation see steps 13-15 in my weaving basics post.

Weave back down the other sideStep Five: Once you get to the top of your third triangle, weave a row all the way across to the opposite side and then start weaving back down. You'll fill in the leftover space at the top once you're done with the space below. When you weave back towards the center, turn back after the last open warp row as shown. You'll do a weft interlock when you meet the other two tops of the triangles but you don't necessarily need to on the top one since you have a solid row above it to help join it together.

Continue weaving in a mirror image of what your opposite side looks like until you get to your bottom triangle point and then weave towards the center again. You're weaving down your warp instead of up, so your rows might shift, but you can adjust them easily as you go by pressing them back up to make them even with the opposite side.

Interlock weaving at the top of your trianglesStep Six: Once you get to the next long row that will form the top of your triangle, weave it through the loop made from the opposite side. You don't want to weave around any of the warp, only the weft or jersey yarn, and then gently continue weaving back in the manner you have been. This is a weft interlock stitch and I used it to help join the tops of the triangles together. Since this yarn is so much chunkier, it stands out a bit more, but it would make a cleaner line if you were to use smaller yarn.  

Do this same weft interlock at the top of your bottom triangle and then finish up with the same amount of rows as the opposite side. Leave a tail on the back side of your warp when you're done. Return to the top of your weaving and add another three woven rows to the top in the same color yarn and leave another tail where you finish. 

Stitch your ends down through a few loopsStep Seven: Flip your loom over and stitch your tails in by threading them through your tapestry needle and then stitching them straight down through the back of two or three of your loops as shown. This will keep things from getting bulky on the back side and will lock your yarn in so it's less likely to unravel. Then trim the excess off. If you're really feeling lazy, you can also just double knot ends together and trim the excess. It's not as tidy, but it still works in my book.

Unhook your warpStep Eight: Adjust your rows so that everything looks symmetrical. If you have about 1/2" of space between your top row of weaving and the pegs, you can easily unhook your warp, one peg at a time, and loop your copper pipe or dowel rod through. Follow along with the over and under pattern as you go to help lock in that top row of weaving. 

If you don't have much space at the top, you can just unhook your warp from each peg and stitch your dowel rod or copper pipe on with another length of cotton yarn. 

This chunky woven wall hanging is a great way to add texture to your wallsDon't pull too tightly as you unhook your weaving or things could start to get lopsided and shift. Once I had my copper pipe in place, I strung more cotton yarn through it and then knotted the ends to make a hanger. The knotted ends got pulled inside the copper pipe for a cleaner look than knotting the ends and slipping them over the two ends of the pipe.

Negative space triangle wall hangingThis type of woven wall hanging is big on texture and bulk but creates a fun design when hung on a contrasting colored wall. It's a great learning project because it doesn't take too long and isn't very complicated, so you can work out your kinks as you go. 

Negative space wall hanging tutorial on www.abeautifulmessThe dark color and simple pattern fit well with the more masculine vibe we have going on in this corner of our house as opposed to all of the pink and citron going on in the rest of my weavings that are currently displayed in my studio. My husband said it's his favorite so far!

For even more weaving projects and inspiration, check out my new book, DIY Woven Art. It's full of step-by-step photos designed to walk you through your very first woven wall hanging to finishing your own rug!-Rachel

Credits//Author and Photography: Rachel Denbow. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

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