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Stick Weaving For a Quick Homemade Gift

Updated on April 30, 2012

Belts and scarves done with stick weaving

Stick Weaving Done on Six Sticks
Stick Weaving Done on Six Sticks
Details of scarf.
Details of scarf.

How I Got Into Stick Weaving

I'm always on the look-out for unusual crafts. One day I was walking around an SCA event and noticed a woman doing some kind of weaving using pointed sticks. I passed her again a few minutes later and was amazed at how fast her project was going. I've fiddled around with some weaving and it's time consuming. It certainly wouldn't fall in the category of 'quick gifts'. But there she was just cranking on this thing. So I picked her brain. I wish I'd gotten her name as well.

What she was doing is called Stick Weaving. She said crusaders brought the technique back with them. I have searched for proof of that and haven't found any, so if you have some documentation by all means please share.

HOW TO DO STICK WEAVING

Stick weaving can be done on a few sticks or a handful of sticks. I made my own sticks by taking dowels and grinding one end down on sandpaper until I had a blunt point.

Then on the other end, I drilled a hole with a dremel.

Then you want to take a strand of yarn twice as long as you want the finished length to be. Then add a foot or two more for 'shrinkage' and another foot if you want fringe on the ends. String this through one stick. Center the yarn and tie the ends in an overhand knot at the bottom to keep it from tangling.

You can make a needle threader from a piece of thin wire folded in half. Thread each stick with yarn in this manner. In other words, if you have four sticks, you'll need four pieces of yarn folded in half. Right now the weaving is unstable, so even the ends up the best you can and tie all ends in one overhand knot now. If the project is super long, tie another overhand knot halfway up. Untie this when you are half done.

Now take your 'outer color' of yarn. tie one end to one strand of yarn just below the hole in the stick.

Hold all the sticks in your left hand. Start weaving the yarn on the sticks in a figure 8 in and out pattern. Do a few rows and slide down a bit, still keeping it on the sticks. Keep going until the sticks are full. Don't wrap too tightly. Go for a smooth even tension. Now, check the back and the front to make sure you haven't missed any sticks. There is no way to fix this once you slide the yarn off the sticks, so fix it now if you made an error.

Now, you twist each stick one by one and nudge the yarn off the ends of the sticks and over the pre-threaded yarns. Carefully push down the first three inches. It goes easier once you get about a foot into it. Keep most of the yarn still on the sticks, and then start weaving again.

Slide off a few inches every time you fill the sticks up. Keep sliding down the long strands, filling a bit at a time.

Eventually you will fill up all the empty parts of yarn. Don't forget to leave 6 to 8 inches on either end as fringe. Tie off the end yarn and use a yarn needle to bury the leftover tails into the weaving.

Not only does a stick woven scarf, belt or guitar strap make an unusual and useful gift, it's also an excellent homeschooling project.

Let me show you some photos so you can get the idea.

My first stick weaving.

Crazy for stripes. Self-striping yarn.
Crazy for stripes. Self-striping yarn.

Blue Stick Weaving

This is my current stickweaving project.
This is my current stickweaving project.

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    • GeeMarie profile image

      GeeMarie 10 years ago

      Very interesting. Might try this sometime.

    • Moonmaiden profile image
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      Fayme Zelena Harper 10 years ago from Lucerne Valley, CA

      If you do, I'd love to see the results.

    • profile image

      Claudia Underwood 10 years ago

      Hello;

      I've recently started stick weaving using both 6 or 4 sticks which are 5" long. My daughter suggested we afix a hair barret to the warp threads when you have lined them up and before you start weaving. This keeps weft threads from coming off the sticks ungracefully. You can slide the barret down as you continue to weave. Works great.

    • Moonmaiden profile image
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      Fayme Zelena Harper 10 years ago from Lucerne Valley, CA

      That's a great idea.

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      Stephanie/TX 10 years ago

      I'm still working on my sticks to get the points sanded but I'm looking forward to making strips and joining them together to make placemats, rugs and table runners. I learned about this type of weaving from the book "Weaving Without A Loom" and knew I had to try this. That was earlier this week. LOL. I ordered a walking stick loom that will allow me to weave up to 12 sticks wide which will be cool but I also wanted to be able to just carry sticks and get my kids involved.

      A few months ago I learned how to weave on a Tri-loom and have since taught my husband who suffered a stroke last year. It's helping him to regain some of his dexterity and helps him be able to concentrate longer periods of time. I'll be teaching my sister this weekend. Weaving is a blast. There are pictures on the website I included if you would like to take a look. Namaste'

    • Moonmaiden profile image
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      Fayme Zelena Harper 10 years ago from Lucerne Valley, CA

      I'm so glad you are passionate about weaving. So many people read articles but never take action on the project. And doing is way more fun than reading about it.

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      Angela 10 years ago

      Stephanie just told me about this wonderful page! I can't wait to try this. Someone else, Barb, I think, said something about doing stick weaving with straws! Needless to say, it will be fun to have a highly portable and quick project.

    • Moonmaiden profile image
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      Fayme Zelena Harper 10 years ago from Lucerne Valley, CA

      No reason straws wouldn't work in a pinch. You can also use round chopsticks or bamboo skewers if you sand them really smooth.

    • profile image

      Mikki Jo 9 years ago

      This sounds really cool! I'm very interested in learning how to do this neat craft. I would also like to use it to make rugs but I noticed with the walking stick loom with 12 sticks it only weaves up to 4" wide. Is it possible to use more sticks? Thanks so much for any info!!!

    • Moonmaiden profile image
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      Fayme Zelena Harper 9 years ago from Lucerne Valley, CA

      Generally you can only use as many sticks as you can hold in one hand. I see no reason you couldn't sew the finished strips together side by side though.

    • profile image

      Guy 9 years ago

      Thank you for your idea, I love hand weving <a href="http://www.cyruspersiancarpets.com.au">rugs</a> for my hobby. I have made scarfs, this is a really simple way to make them. Maybe good for winter time.

    • profile image

      Tiffany, La 9 years ago

      Hi,

      My grandmother and aunts talk about doing this kind of weaving everytime I talk to them. So....I thought I would look it up and do a little reading up on it. I think it might be something that I could easily get into. My Grandmother and Aunts tell all the time that it as fairly simple but fun to do, and since I am a stay at home mom I am always. looking for something to do in my spare time. This just might be the thing I am looking for.

      Sincerely,

      Tiffany

    • profile image

      Tammy 9 years ago

      Hi Tammy from Indy. just got this and the lady showds mw how to do this but can some one show me how to start one there is so much thread I dont know what is what Thanks Tammy

      Brandyinind@aol.com if anyone can help please email me

    • profile image

      Gen  9 years ago

      I have been in the SCA a long time and I am glad to hear about people seeing and doing! I picked up a stick weaving kit at Pennsic War last year, because I sawe someone doing it, and I love it! It's a nice break from knitting. I also like the baret idea, I will have to try this. But, I need ideas on what to make besides belts and scarves. How would you go about joining strips to make a rug or placemat? Gen

    • profile image

      momfeathr@aol.com 9 years ago

      when I was a very young girl, my grandmother who was Cherokee taught me to stick weave. My dad made my first sticks from hickory. It seems to me that we were doing the stickweaving before the Crusaders came. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing this grand idea with others. I do think it was a Native American idea (smile) because my grandmother told me that 71 years ago......smile...... blessings to all.

    • profile image

      Dominic 8 years ago

      I have done this before i have seen this but with just three sticks.I have also tried weaving plastic bags onto it (just at the very end of a piece)And i hope to soon do a piece weaved entirely of plastic bags,for a piece about recycling and the environment.

    • profile image

      eleri of skelmorlie 8 years ago

      try doing it on darning needles with crochet thread; usually 5 wide. makes ge]reat bracelets, necklaces, headbands, curtain tiebacks. i've actualll made a 4x5 rugs and large purse with this technique & am currently working on a 5x7 rug in tones of cream, sage green, light teal & choclate brown. coffee stirrers work, straws, needles, bones (bleached/sanitized) actually goes back to bronze age. still used by native americans and in some provences in india.

    • Moonmaiden profile image
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      Fayme Zelena Harper 8 years ago from Lucerne Valley, CA

      Great tip. Hats off to you eleri.

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      Kit 8 years ago

      I purchased a Y shaped idiot stick from "Handwoven" magazine a number of years ago but have since moved and have misplaced the instructions for it. It makes a "string" that ends up being 4 sided and each side is 1 knit stitch. Does anyone have instructions on how to use it? The "string" is used for edging on garments.

    • profile image

      denise 8 years ago

      your y shaped stick is called a lucet, you can find basic directions here

      http://www.rocknbead.com/wshed/guide.htm

    • profile image

      Sam 8 years ago

      Similar to most 21 year old males, I have left x-mas to the last minute and have run out of money. This looks like a great way I can get a few extra gifts for people and get a handy skill at the same time. Thank you for putting this up =]

    • Moonmaiden profile image
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      Fayme Zelena Harper 8 years ago from Lucerne Valley, CA

      Thanks Sam. I wish you well with that.

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      rhansrider 8 years ago

      Check out this fantastic rag rug done in stick weaving. She used two and then went up to three. I love the colours.

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/31298186@N02/32277893...

    • RiaMorrison profile image

      Ria Bridges 8 years ago from Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

      I'm definitely going to have to try this at some point. I love fibre arts, and this is one form that I have yet to try my hand at. Thanks for the great Hub; it's been really inspirational!

    • profile image

      cindy 8 years ago

      Hello,

      I discovered stick weaving at a local craft show. I bought 5 sticks but never tried to weave. Recently, I started weaving and am making a scarf. It's turning out nice but I am interested to know how to change colors. Do I just knot the yarn or weave it in?

      Also, have you ever made an afghan with this method? Could you make panels and join them together or is this a crazy idea??

      I'm thinking of getting a set of sticks for my mother who will be 96 years. She like to keep busy and the weaving would not involved intricate patterns or counting of stitches.

      Thanks for the opportunity to communicate about this fun craft!

      Cindy

    • profile image

      robin ren'e 7 years ago

      I learned how to do this when I was 7 or 8 but I was shown using straws!

    • profile image

      judi 7 years ago

      I went to a one day workshop today, called 'fun with weaving sticks'. We made dolls using various wools, ribbon and strips of fabrics. We started off with 6 sticks then added arms by making each one on two more sticks and attaching them to the body by weaving across all 10. Reduce it back to 6 for the face and bak to 10 for the hair/hat. Plait the bits sticking out the bottom to make legs. It was great fun and the dollies were very sweet.

    • Moonmaiden profile image
      Author

      Fayme Zelena Harper 7 years ago from Lucerne Valley, CA

      Judi that sounds like a great way to make a doll. Never even occurred to me to use it in that way. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      Belladonna 7 years ago

      I was unable to attend Pennsic this year, but I was told this "stick weaving" overtook the camp this year, and I felt miffed I missed it- I feel, after looking at your web sight I am going to try it. Question for you- instead of yarn, can I use thin strips of left over fabric or any other form of media for texture( roving) or would that not work in the long run?

    • Moonmaiden profile image
      Author

      Fayme Zelena Harper 7 years ago from Lucerne Valley, CA

      Dearest Belladonna,

      I missed Pennsic too. I've only gone once but I get homesick for it every Aug. Someone always points out that I'm missing it too.

      It would be easy enough to find out if the yarn/string you have in mind will work. Just put something sturdy and smooth on as the foundation, and start your figure 8 pattern around it. Make enough to slide off the ends of your sticks, and see if you like the texture. If not, switch to something else and try again. It's a lot like knitting a gauge square.

      If your fabric strips won't work, you might try the boardloom that I put in another article. The tutorial for that on Threadbanger was actually made with fabric, and I made mine with yarn.

    • Moonmaiden profile image
      Author

      Fayme Zelena Harper 7 years ago from Lucerne Valley, CA

      Here is the link to the board loom. https://hubpages.com/art/Wonderful-World-of-Weavin...

    • profile image

      Janice 7 years ago

      How do you change colors of yarn?

    • profile image

      Artteacher 7 years ago

      I used this project with middle school art classes. We made medicine pouches with tassels/fringe on the bottom end. Since I had so many students I was able to use drinking straws instead of the dowels. The yarn was taped to the straw and knotted at the bottom. We pushe the yarn down after it fills the straws. This works great and is a project that is short enough that the Jr. High students do not loose interest in it.

    • heart4theword profile image

      heart4theword 6 years ago from hub

      Wow, this is awesome, I shared it with my child. Guess what she's doing right now:) She loves to weave, and learn anything new with textile art! This was a fun hub:) Thank you!

    • profile image

      Catalina 6 years ago

      My husband recommended taking your dowel and putting the one end through an old-fashioned pencil sharpener to get the beginning of the 'pointed' end before sanding.

    • profile image

      margaret 6 years ago

      Thanks for this a lovley web page Margaret W.........

    • profile image

      John R 6 years ago

      My wife stick weaves. I made her sticks,I used a pencil sharpener to taper the end. Then on the other end I drilled the holes for the warp thread and flatten the sides a little. This seems to help getting the weaving off the sticks.

    • profile image

      Joanne 6 years ago

      My daughter gave me a set for Christmas in a kit. Looks like it will be so much fun!

    • profile image

      Joan Reader 6 years ago

      just received a kit for Christmas and have already done 2 projects. Also need to know how to add other colours to project. I would like to be able to document it for an Arts and Science project in the SCA. It apprears to be a very old weaving skill. It keeps my hands busy while watching TV and my mind off food when I shouldn't be eating. Love it so far.

    • profile image

      steph 6 years ago

      You can buy stick weaving kits at Lee Vally Tools:)

    • craftybegonia profile image

      craftybegonia 6 years ago from Southwestern, United States

      Never heard of this type of weaving before. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      Western Weaver 5 years ago

      Go to westernweaver.blogspot.com to see examples of stick weaving of lap robes, ie afghans. I have been doin it for about 5 years now. WW.

    • profile image

      Jennifer King 5 years ago

      A Looonnnnggg time ago (30 years) when I was just 10 or 11, my mother and I attended a Party where one of her friends demonstrated different needle crafts. (she was a rep for a company that sold kits) One of them was stick weaving. They passed around the sticks so everyone could try them, and when I got my hands on them I couldn't give them up! She showed us how to make a small Christmas wreath that could be used as a lapel pin or an ornament for the tree. I thought it was great and Mom and I bought the kit. years passed and the weaving sticks disappeared. I recently saw a set in the Craft store, it was made of plastic and the manufacturer was Provocraft, the same folks that make the Knifty Knitter. I remembered that little wreath and I thought it would make a great little gift for my kids' teachers. I've been hunting, but I haven't been able to find anything other than bags, belts and scarves made using this technique. If anyone has seen this project, please let me know! teachmetoknit@yahoo.com

    • profile image

      Shirley 5 years ago

      I am amazed at how this works. If anyone has any patterns that are done with stick weaving I would appreciate it. Also since my 4 sticks are still in the works I would appreciate any help on how to do stick weaving even to make a scarf. I would love to learn something new. Also I am interested in how to do the stickes in crocheting. There are so many stitches that I did years ago but have forgotton how to do like the zigzag stitch. Many others welcome. Thanks!!!!!!

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      Susan Urnikis 2 years ago

      Love this idea. I've used straws and the sticks and everything comes out beautiful. Thank you for the information.

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