Have you ever heard of an embroidery sampler? It's when an embroiderer practices different stitches on one piece of cloth rather than following a specific design.
You can apply the same concepts to a weaving sampler and practice weaving stitches without worrying about following a design. This is especially helpful if you’re new to weaving or have a new to you stitch that you’d like to practice.
Instead of using a single piece of cloth like an embroidery sampler, your “sampler” will be woven all on the same loom. You can weave rows of the stitches and techniques you would like to practice. I like to put several rows of plain weave between each stitch to space out my practice stitches.
Decide what size loom you want to use
This will influence the number of techniques you can choose. You want to make sure to give yourself plenty of space to weave multiple rows of each stitch. But don’t choose something so large that you’re going to get bored.
In the photo above I chose a small loom because I wanted to take it with me to a coffee shop for a craft night with a friend. You can absolutely use a bigger loom than this!
Choose which techniques you want to practice
I recommend picking at least 4 or 5 but you can do as many as you want. Just remember to leave yourself plenty of room on your loom to practice the techniques. You’ll want to be able to make several rows so don’t try to pick a ton of stitches. They’ll end up crammed and you may not get the practice you want.
Alternatively you could pick one stitch like soumak that has many variations and practice all the different variations in one piece.
You could also choose to experiment with different materials and stitch combinations. Maybe you want to try roving 3 different ways. Go for it! This is your time to experiment and learn.
Practice practice practice
I like practicing with a weaving sampler because to me it takes off the pressure of trying to learn a new technique and make sure my design looks good. If you’re just practicing the stitch over and over it doesn’t matter what the final product looks like as long as you feel confident that you’re learning the stitch. Remember, it doesn’t have to look pretty you just have to learn 😀
Think of a weaving sampler like sketching
There’s no pressure, you’re just creating and trying out new stitches and techniques. It really opens up a lot of creative freedom for you! You may discover a new favorite stitch or find new ideas for future woven wall hangings. The most important part is to have fun and enjoy the process. It’s your sampler so pick what you want! There’s no right or wrong way to do it.