December 11, 2012

CIRCLE WEAVING: Step by Step Guide & Tips


I am not a weaver. I had never done any weaving before I started teaching (personality conflict with the weaving prof...she didn't have I did not take it!).  I remember seeing circle weaving in our curriculum and thinking...."HOW IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO TEACH THAT?!?!?!"  You do learn so much by doing....and having a close group of art teacher friends doesn't hurt!! ha ha  Hopefully after this will feel better about the circle weaving process.  If you don't...comment or e-mail...and I'll try to help you out the best I can.  I was going to try to do a video...but I could 
tape my Flip recorder to my forehead very well! ha ha 

Start with your circle loom.  I use "craft rounds" that I order through School Specialty(100 for under $15).  You can use paper plates as well....but I would recommend the good thick ones...not the cheapo ones(they will give you major headaches)!!! On the back label your loom 1-11 clockwise. You can do 13...but 11 seems to work really well for my students.  Have them make a small cut at each number.  The numbers MUST...I repeat...MUST! be evenly spaced!!!!!!!!  If not..the circle weaving will end up off center.  I created cheat plates with notches cut out so the students can lay it on top of their looms and make the marks.  on theirs.  It has made life a lot easier!!!  

Warping the loom can be confusing.  I have a formula I write on the I show them 3x...once before I let them start, once after I let them start, and then for the struggling ones a little bit later.  You start with about an inch or two on the back at the 1 spot (I have them tape it down to make sure it doesn't come out on them)

Here is the formula:

1 to 6 (across the loom)
6 to 7(hello neighbor)
7 to 2(across the loom)
2 to 3(hello neighbor)
3 to 8(across the loom)
8 to 9(hello neighbor)
9 to 4(across the loom)
4 to 5(hello neighbor)
5 to 10(across the loom)
10 to 11(hello neighbor)
11 to the middle of the plate(more on that later)

1 to 6 (across the plate)

6 to 7 (hello neighbor)

7 to 2 (across the plate...X marks the spot)

Continue following the formula.

11 to the middle....
Take the warp & go under all the crisscrossing strings. Then go around them..and under them again..coming out where you just came from.  Some may tie this into a knot at this point...but I found just going loop-d-loop around the center crisscrossing strings is enough.  You try & see what works best for you.

Tie the weft string onto the end of the warp string.

Start going around the circle(I go counter clock wise..not sure why?).  OVER UNDER OVER UNDER...

OVER UNDER OVER UNDER....  I tell my student to go over under about 5 or 6 times before they pull the string through all the way.  If they go much farther than can be a real pain(for you and them)!

At the end of each string...I tell them to tie the new one on to the old one.  We trip the "bunny ears" off at the end.  I have them use 4 colors...encouraging them to go with 3 from a color family..and one contrasting color.  You can do it however you wish.    Tying knots & double(triple..or more) jumping is the biggest problem once they get started.  They just have to make sure to go over or under each of the warp strings...they can not go over over..or under under.  

To finish them off...I have my student create a pattern in pencil on the rest of the plate...then they use the same color of markers (as their yarn) to color their pattern.  

THERE YA GO!  I hope that helps...and if not...please leave a comment or e-mail me!!!


  1. I have a simple answer to the counterclockwise question. It is a natural direction for a right-handed person aiming a needle. As a leftie myself, I would naturally weave clockwise, so if I did this project, I would get the lefties going clockwise and just keep an eye on the kids to make sure nobody changes direction. I always knew who my lefties were. "LEFT ON!" I would say. We knew we were special!

    By the way, I did a lot of weaving with my students and, like you, mostly figured it out for myself.

    Thanks for a good tutorial.

    1. Your weaving the right way for left or right handedness.

  2. You did so do some weaving....I dragged you into making looms out of paint stir sticks for Saturday Art! And to have issue with said fiber person....yep me too, she NEVER got my final BFA weaving projects at I wish I would have sucked it up and done the surface design classes too.

  3. Thank you for the step by step pictures!!! I have never done yarn weaving before and I've had your circle weaving pictures saved in my lesson ideas.. Just never knew how to start

  4. Thank you for the step by step pictures!!! I have never done yarn weaving before and I've had your circle weaving pictures saved in my lesson ideas.. Just never knew how to start

  5. Hi, just wondering if you could take the finished weaving off the loom? If I was good with spatial awareness I could probably work the answer out myself...but it's late, and the brain says "No, don't even try!!" Thanks :D

  6. @ Merrin - You can...however you might want to do more warp strings than what I have. I'd up it to 15 maybe.

  7. Hi, Mr. E... I was wondering how you end the weaving, before the drawn decoration?? Do you tie it off? Do you weave it under a few strands of weft? What do you do with the tail?

  8. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! What a great post! I have had a fourth grader begging me all year to weave- and I to- have never weaved! But I couldn't tell that to a fourth grader so I have been pushing it off all year- now we are beginning a circle weave that will become the centers of our recycled painted newspaper flowers! Im so excited! Thanks for this awesome tutorial- now I wont disappoint my little eager artist!

    1. OH GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!! :) I'm glad it was helpful! Weaving really is my fav project of the year now!!!

  9. What grade or grades do you do this with?