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Tutorial: variegated yarn on an inkle loom

During my first experiments with my new inkle loom, I decided to use some variegated yarn for the pattern. I warped it on the loom in a random fashion, not paying attention to where the colors started or stopped. It was interesting to see the colors change as I wove along. That got me to thinking, what if I carefully placed the variegated yarn? Could I make it so that the color changes happened all at the same time?

first variegated inkle

I decided to try it. First I tried weaving the yarn in the pattern with a monk’s belt set up. I got hopelessly lost. I’ll try that set up another time. I ended up cutting that experiment off the loom. Then I decided to try the Baltic set up that I had used before.


ONE: decide on the warp length. Apply the variegated yarn to the loom as if you were warping it. Try to find a warp length that matches the variegation length.

I tried to find a length on my loom that would match one variegation repeat on the yarn. I just couldn’t come up with anything. So I decided that I would cut the yarn at the same place of the repeat. Since I was just experimenting, I decided my length would be one variegation repeat.

cutting variegated yarn

TWO: cut the needed yarns if needed. I assume you will need to cut your yarn. Cut the variegated yarn at the same place in the color change every time. You may be cutting the yarn much longer than it needs to be to get the color change correct.

I decided to cut the yarns in the middle of the pink section of the repeat. If I had wanted a longer inkle, I would have cut it every other pink section, or every third one. In hindsight, the yellow would have been a better spot for the cuts. After all, yellow doesn’t stand out from white very much.

THREE: warp the inkle loom. Start by warping the background yarns. Place the pattern yarn in its appropriate location, tying its beginning and end together. Continue with the background yarns, then the pattern ones, until the pattern is finished.

The background for this project was a white cotton yarn. I warped the white yarns for the start of the inkle. When it was time for a pattern yarn I temporarily wrapped the background white yarn onto the starting screw. Then I warped the single pattern thread and tied it to itself. I went back to the next number of white threads. I made several threading errors during this process. I’d recommend checking your work frequently.

checking color placement

FOUR: adjust the color placement. Slip the pattern yarns back and forth so that the color change happens in the same place every time.

I probably should have done this step the next morning and in better light if I wanted it to match better. However, it was still interesting to see the colors change along the warp.

FIVE: weave the length you need.

finished inkle with variegated yarn

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