An interesting question came up on the Facebook Pin Loom Weaving Support Group in response to yesterday’s post about using cotton yarn on the pin loom. Is there a way to add a little bulk, so as not to have a too-open weave, and still make weaving with cotton easier?

We also had a request for a demo using two colors and plain weave on the Zoom Loom. As many of you know, I don’t like the Zoom Loom—that extra wide frame (inner and outer edges) gets in my way and cramps my weaving style. So at great personal sacrifice of comfort (hee hee) I will demonstrate on the Zoom Loom:

  • How to use two different thicknesses of cotton
  • How to use two colors of yarn
  • How to use two different warping set-ups

Keep your packing fork handy because you’re going to NEED it!

DEMO #1: Worsted Weight Cotton (L1-3), DK Weight Cotton Blend (L4)

I used hand-dyed Sugar ‘n Cream 100% cotton yarn for the first three warping layers, and should have used 100% cotton in a lightweight yarn, but my color choices were limited; I didn’t want to use white. Instead I used DK weight Cascade Sunseeker Shade “Boy Blue” (Acrylic/cotton blend—apparently no longer available).

Notice the difference in yarn thickness

Layer 1 (L1)

Layer 3 (on top of L1-2)—note that L2 can be tighter than the warp layers

I tied the yarn for L4 onto the 1-2 edge of the loom, wrapped 5 times, cut, and began weaving. I quickly noticed how absolutely necessary it is to pack each L2 row as snugly as possible against the preceding L4 row.

Note: the L2 and L4 rows must be tightly packed together

It became increasingly difficult to get the needle to exit the row in its proper place.

Keeping the needle on a straight horizontal was a painful challenge!

It was really stressful on my hands to finish this square.

Row 16—needle is gasping for air…

It’s a pretty square, but not worth the effort, in my opinion.


DEMO #2: DK Weight Cotton Blend (L1 & L3), Worsted Weight Cotton (L2 & L4)

I used Cascade Yarns Sarasota (cotton blend) “Saffron” for L1 and L3, Peaches & Cream (worsted weight 100% cotton) color # 02165 for L2 and L4.It’s a bit tricky (but not difficult) warping in the 1&3/2&4 set-up.

Warp L1 as usual, keep yarn attached and set aside

Attach second yarn to 3-4 edge of loom and warp L2 backward starting at Cr3, down to Cr2

Pick up first yarn again at Cr2, wrap ONE PIN ONLY and warp L3 backward from Cr2 up to Cr3. Cut yarn and attach to loom (or leave hanging) in your preferred method. This demo will show that I bring the L3 tail down along the outside of the 1-3 pins into the notch, and will work in that end as I weave.

Here’s a close-up of the paths the yarns take at Cr2. L1 to L3 wraps one pin; L2 to L4 wraps one pin.

Take the second yarn at Cr2, wrap five times around the pins, cut, begin weaving. See above photo for the path the yarn takes to begin L4.

R1 with needle in place

Because Sarasota is a pleasantly stretchy yarn, this square was a dream compared to the previous semi-nightmare. I highly recommend this combination of yarns.

Weaving is a breeze!

Finished square

I could do one more demo (or at least a trial) of thin and thick 100% cotton yarn. I suspect the Demo #2 method will work the best.

Or . . . I’ll leave that adventure to you!

2 Thoughts on “Using Cotton Yarn (continued)

  1. Anita on 4 March 2018 at 11:18 AM said:

    Do you have a video on hand dying the cotton yarn? I have never done it before and really liked the look of what you have.

    • Sue Burton on 4 March 2018 at 12:19 PM said:

      Hi Anita,

      I don’t have much experience with cotton dyeing. I dyed the yarn in the first sample over a year ago under the supervision of a friend who knows ALL. It’s not difficult to do, but you have to know the steps. You prepare the yarn (tied it into hanks), soak the yarn in a (potash?) solution for a while (about 30 minutes?)–I don’t know the formula of the solution and I think that’s the main trick. My friend mixed up all the dyes too. Then you apply the dye (protect your surfaces), wrap it up in plastic and let it sit overnight. Then you rinse it and rinse it and rinse it till you think you’ve exhausted your city’s water supply for the year (that was really tough because I hate wasting water!). Not difficult, but it helps to know what you’re doing–and to have a friend who has all the equipment.

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