I love to weave bookmarks. I find that they’re a great way to experiment with a new pattern and to use up small bits of yarn that end up on cones. Bookmarks make great gifts for teachers, office-mates, Dads and grads, and, if you live in New England like me, Yankee swap recipients!
Here is my latest design, which features a “broken twill” pattern:
I’ve received questions from my Instagram followers and fair attendees about how I finish my bookmarks. After a lot of experimenting with hemstitching and machine finishing, I found something that works for me and I’ll share it here.
- This method works best with a closely sett warp. I thread my ends at 30 epi.
- Throw a few picks of tabby/plain weave before beginning your bookmark pattern. You’ll be machine stitching over these picks during the finishing stage, so they won’t detract from your finished piece.
- When you’ve finished weaving your bookmarks, get ready to finish. First, make sure you’ve got a good, sharp sewing machine needle in your machine. A dull needle will not pierce the woven fabric cleanly and you will be unhappy.
- You’ll be sewing three rows of machine stitches over your tabby bookmark border picks. Commence to sewing your first row, a very short straight stitch. On my Janome machine, I set my straight stitch length to 2.2.
- Pivot your needle and rotate your bookmark so that you can sew right over the straight stitches that you just made. Set your machine to zigzag stitching.
- Adjust your zigzag stitch setting so that you will end up with stitches that will closely resemble a buttonhole stitch width and length. For me, I set my zigzag setting to 2.5 width and .7 length. I did a fair amount of trial and error to determine what works best for me. If you want a different look for your bookmarks, adjust the settings to, for example, yield a wider width stitch.
- Sew two passes of zigzag stitches over the first row of straight stitches, pivoting your needle and rotating your bookmark ends after each row.
- Snip your threads and clean up any loose ends from the tabby rows of your weaving.
I recommend experimenting with your stitch settings before diving right into finishing one of your woven pieces with this method. Once you find the right settings, though, I think you’ll like the results. I’ve found this to be a durable and attractive finish, and also one that is much less tedious to complete than hemstitching on the loom.
Happy weaving and sewing and reading.