DIY Woven Art – Book Review and Excerpt

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Excerpted from DIY Woven Art Copyright © 2016 by Rachel Denbow, published by Interweave, an imprint of F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Photos courtesy of Rachel Denbow and Janae Hardy.


Title: DIY Woven Art: Inspiration and Instruction for Handmade Wall Hangings, Rugs, Pillows, and More!
Author: Rachel Denbow
Published by: Interweave, an imprint of F+W Media, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-63250-431-9
Format: Paperback, 176 pages
Published: August 24, 2016
Price: $22.99


DIY Woven Art by Rachel Denbow, published by Interweave, contains 15 gorgeous and vibrant woven projects that you can create on your own with yarn and a loom! Rachel Denbow goes into great detail about the weaving process, what types of fibers to use, and even how to create your own looms. She also discusses how to design your own projects. 

I always have partial skeins of yarn that I don’t know what to do with and I absolutely love the idea of turning that leftover yarn into something as beautiful as a wall hanging. I also love that you can create your own loom from materials that you may already have in your home.

Here is a list of the projects you will find in DIY Woven Art:

  • I Want Candy Wall Hanging p34
  • Both Ways Wall Hanging p44
  • Opal Wall Hanging p56
  • Group Hug Wall Hanging p64
  • Band Wife Wall Hanging p72
  • The Stars at Night Wall Hanging p78
  • Poesy Wall Hanging p90
  • Triple Scoop Wall Hanging p100
  • Flighty Wall Hanging p108
  • Milkmaid Braid Wall Hanging p114
  • Take Me Somewhere Clutch 124
  • Indigo Dreams Table Runner p134
  • Fringe Benefits Pillow Sham p140
  • Last Summer Statement Wall Hanging p148
  • Positive Vibes Rug p160

Here are a few of my favorite projects from the book:

I love the techniques described in this book. I love that you can use inexpensive or stashed yarn to create gorgeous pieces of art. You can create projects with various colors and textures, and create something to match your style. With all of the information that Rachel provides on how to create your own loom, I am tempted to make one of my own. She describes how to create simple looms like a cardboard loom, lap-sized frame loom, and oversized standing frame loom. These materials are easily accessible and can range in price but are fairly inexpensive compared to an actual loom.

If you want to scoop this book up for yourself, you can get your very own copy of DIY Woven Art by Rachel Denbow from the Interweave Store for $22.99.

Bonus Content!

A HUGE thank you to Interweave for providing an excerpt from DIY Woven Art by Rachel Denbow for my readers! I hope you enjoy this project:

Excerpted from DIY Woven Art Copyright © 2016 by Rachel Denbow and published by F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Photos courtesy of Rachel Denbow and Janae Hardy.

Excerpted from DIY Woven Art Copyright © 2016 by Rachel Denbow and published by F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. Photos courtesy of Rachel Denbow and Janae Hardy.

Fringe Benefits Pillow Sham

A cozy couch or bed can never have too many beautiful pillows! Did you know you can weave those, too? Your large frame loom obviously wants to earn its keep by making itself useful for so many more things than just rugs! This design incorporates simple plain weave as well as chunky rya knots, so you know it’s not too complicated of a project. In the end, you get these fantastic pillows that will make you want to brew some coffee and grab a good book for an afternoon of self-care. The supply list is for one pillow, so be sure to double it for a set of pillows.

Finished Size

15″ x 15″ (38 x 38 cm) pillow

Supplies Per Pillow

  • frame loom, 4′ x 6′ (1.2 x 1.8 m)
  • worsted-weight cotton/alpaca blend yarn in gray for warp, 76 yards (69.5 m) bulky-weight single-ply wool yarn in camel, 15 yards (13.7 m)
  • bulky-weight two-ply wool yarn in cream, 70 yards (64 m)
  • bulky-weight single-ply wool yarn in ochre, 8 yards (7.3 m)
  • worsted-weight two-ply wool yarn in orange, 6 yards (5.5 m)
  • worsted-weight two-ply cotton yarn in cream, 4 yards (3.7 m)
  • printed cotton fabric, 17″ x 17″ (43 x 43 cm)
  • natural white cotton fabric, 17″ x 17″ (43 x 43 cm)
  • polyester stuffing for pillows
  • wooden dowel, 1/4″ x 24″ (6 mm x 61 cm)
  • shed stick, 12″ (30.5 cm)
  • stick shuttle, 12″ (30.5 cm)
  • tapestry needle, 6″ (15 cm)
  • tapestry needle, 2 ½” (6.5 cm)
  • cardboard placeholder, 2″ x 20″ (5 x 51 cm)
  • wooden comb or fork
  • sewing machine
  • cotton thread
  • straight pins
  • scissors
  1. Did you know you can weave around a frame without any pegs or nails? It’s the most basic version of frame-loom weaving. Since we need a little less height than the top of the 4′ x 6′ (1.2 x 1.8 m) loom, you’re going to wrap your warp around the center piece of wood on your loom. Using the worsted-weight gray yarn, tie a loop knot at the bottom nail head and then wrap your warp over the wood from front to back before wrapping it around your next nail head and back over the wood. Continue wrapping over the wood in a consistent manner until you have a warp that is about 4″ (10 cm) wider than you want your pillow. This allows for a little shrinkage as you weave as well as when you stitch it up.

Since the thickness of the wood creates a large gap between the warps, weave the dowel (or a yardstick) through your warp (Fig. 1). This will help close that gap and create a flatter plane on which you can weave. This is in place of weaving 4 or 6 rows of plain weave across your warp to help bring them to a central point and create a flatter surface plane. If you were to weave with a frame loom without any nails or pegs, you’d add rows of plain weave to one or both ends of your warp to help flatten out your warp.

  1. Place the cardboard placeholder at the bottom of your warp and add about 1″ (2.5 cm) of plain weave using the cream worsted cotton yarn (Fig. 2). This creates a dense patch of weaving to sew through later.
  2. Create 1″–2″ (2.5–5 cm) of plain weave using the camel bulky wool yarn (Fig. 3).
  3. Build up a stair-step pattern on both sides by leaving the center 2 warps alone and weaving up 2 weft rows before decreasing 2 warps. Continue until you get to the outer 2 warps and then repeat the process on the other side (Fig. 4).
  4. Cut rya knots from the ochre bulky yarn. If you’d like to add more dimension to your fringe, include a more textured yarn in the same or a similar tone. Each rya knot contains about 6 strands that measure about 5″ (12.5 cm) long, and you’ll make 21 knots for this row. Wrap the strands around 2 warps and follow the stair-step pattern, but don’t add one to the outer 2 warps (Fig. 5). That will be stitched over in a later step.
  5. Fill in the negative space between the rya knots with a diagonal slit weave (page 50) using the cream bulky yarn (Fig. 6). Since this is a bulky yarn, you’ll easily match the same amount of weft rows as the other bulky yarn used earlier. Weave plain weave until you’re about 2″ (5 cm) from the top rya knots.
  6. Place a rya knot to act as a marker around the center 2 warps (Fig. 7) and continue filling in with the same stair-step pattern as you did below your first set of rya knots: 2 weft rows up and then decrease by 2 warps until you get to the edge. Repeat on the opposite side.
  7. Fill in another row of rya knots and then repeat the same process one more time to get a third set of rya knots. Fill in the negative space above your third set of rya knots and then add another 3″ (7.5 cm) of plain weave with more cream bulky yarn. Top it off with 1″ (2.5 cm) of plain weave with the cream worsted-weight cotton yarn to help secure the weaving at the top where you’ll be sewing.

Gently cut the top strands of your pillow top so that you have enough length to tie a knot snugly against your last woven row. Don’t worry about trimming the strands because they’ll get stitched inside the pillow. Gently pull your pillow top off the bottom row of nail heads, remove your placeholder, and tie up your warp knots (Fig. 8). Ta-da! You’ve finished a pillow top!

  1. Gather your sewing supplies as listed previously (Fig. 9). You could attempt to handstitch this, but it may be harder to achieve a polished end result unless you’re experienced with stitching together bulky layers.
  2. Place your solid fabric down and then place your printed fabric on top of it with the right side facing you. Place your pillow top with the right side down on top of your printed fabric. It’s a pillow sandwich. Pin your pillow top and fabric layers together with straight pins so nothing budges when you stitch it together (Fig. 10).
  3. Carefully stitch along the perimeter of your pillow top about ¼” (6 mm) from the edge (Fig. 11). Also make sure you are stitching somewhere between the first and second warps when you stitch along the sides. Leave a 5″ (12.5 cm) space between where you start sewing and where you stop so you can turn your pillow right side out.
  4. Remove your straight pins and trim off the corners of the fabric as shown. Leave the corners of the weaving intact to help ensure your woven pillow top doesn’t get pulled apart. Trim off any excess fabric around the perimeter of the weaving (Fig. 12).
  5. Carefully turn your pillow right side out and insert stuffing between the solid and printed layers of fabric (Fig. 13). The solid layer will help prevent any stuffing from working its way out through a random slit in your weaving.
  6. Once you’re happy with the amount of stuffing inside, carefully pin your opening shut with straight pins and machine stitch your layers together (Fig. 14). You can handstitch this closed with a blind stitch for an almost invisible seam, but sometimes a girl has got to get on with her day!

Throw your new pillow on your bed and take a nap. You deserve it.


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