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Loom Woven Tote Bag (FREE PATTERN)

This tote bag is entirely woven in the color and weave effect of the log cabin approach and works best when using strongly contrasting yarns to emphasize the graphic pattern.

The project is designed to be made with reclaimed or repurposed yarn from your local thrift store or your own closet! The yarns I used came from a cotton knit blanket and two knitted tops—one of which featured a metallic thread, and the other a flecked cotton.

I worked the yarns as doubled-stranded to achieve a double knit (DK) weight, which is suitable for the sett of 7 ends per inch (e.p.i.) and the beat of 8.5 picks per inch (p.p.i.)

The design emphasizes the curling nature of reclaimed yarns by including fringing on the bag's front piece. The form is constructed with two woven pieces of cloth and finished with leather handles.

Excerpted with permission from Weaving Big on a Little Loom by Fiona Daly (published by Princeton Architectural Press).

Step 1

MATERIALS: For warp and weft Yarn type: Reclaimed yarn Yarn A: Rust, cotton (DK) / 3.5 ounces (100 g) Yarn B: Cream-and-gold acrylic and metallic thread (Sport) / 1.75 oz. (50 g) Yarn C: White cotton flecked with blue and purple (Sport) / 1.75 oz. (50 g)*

  • Piece 2 weft only

Piece 1: Front Piece 2: Back

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Step 2

DRESSING THE LOOM Sett: 7 ends per inch (2.5 cm) Warp width: 8 in. (20 cm) Total warp ends: 54 Warp length: 43 in. (110 cm) Beat: 8.5 picks per inch (2.5 cm), log cabin (single-stranded) Woven length: 32 in. (81 cm)

Prepare a rotating (long) warp. Log cabin weave is created by the sequence of color in both the warp and weft yarns. In this design, log cabin is worked over blocks of twelve warp threads and six weft threads, where each block comprises a 1/1 warp. Follow the chart in step 2 to dress the loom before weaving each of the two panels.

Begin by dressing the loom with all warp threads in the long heddles, then return to fill in the skipped warp threads in the short heddles. Finish dressing the loom with a heading cord. For the second woven piece, follow the same warp plan.

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Step 3

WEAVING: 1. Piece 1 Weave the first section of the log cabin (picks 1–12) alternating Yarn B and Yarn A six times, as shown in the chart. After weaving this section, edge with hemstitch in Yarn B.

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Step 4

Begin the second section of the log cabin (picks 13–18) with Yarn A (note the repeated weft—both pick 12 and pick 13 are woven with Yarn A) and alternate with Yarn B three times.

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Step 5

Continue weaving by repeating the log cabin sequence (picks 1–18) using Yarn A and Yarn B for fourteen sequence repeats, or until the piece measures 31.5 inches (80 cm) in length. Edge with a hemstitch in Yarn B and remove from the loom (see page 40), leaving 3-¹⁄8 in. (8 cm) warp tails.

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Step 6

For the second piece of textile, dress the loom again and follow the same warp design and plan. Following the chart, weave the weft with Yarn A and Yarn C. Repeat the log cabin sequence fourteen times, or until the piece measures 31.5 in. (80 cm) in length.

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Step 7

Edge with hemstitch in Yarn B and remove from the loom, leaving 3¹⁄8 in. (8 cm) warp tails, as with Piece 1.

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Step 8


Lay the two textile pieces with reverse sides together and with both the solid Yarn A warp blocks lying on top of each other. Pin together along the opposite selvage. Using a darning needle threaded with Yarn B, graft the two pieces together lengthwise on the pinned selvage.

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Step 9

Unfold the sewn pieces, then refold them in half horizontally so that both fringed edges meet. Pin in place along the hemstitched edges and sew together with a backstitch, using Yarn B.

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Step 10

You should now have a tube of woven fabric. Refold this so that the fringed edge lies vertically, down the center front of the bag. Graft the bag's front and reverse together along the bottom edge with Yarn B. To finish, attach the handles according to the manufacturer's instructions.

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Step 11

Excerpted with permission from Weaving Big on a Little Loom by Fiona Daly (published by Princeton Architectural Press).

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