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October 2008
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How To Do Spool Weaving

If you do a lot of sewing, quilting or alterations you already know how quickly the thread spools can run out of thread.  So, what do you do with the empty ones?  I’ve always put mine in a bag to save for children’s projects or other types of projects that would call for the spools.  Well, I think I’ve hit the jackpot because I’ve found a little project using the spools to make little chip holders or popcorn holders, or whatever you’d like to fill them with.

The project we’ll work on takes 15 thread spools, all the same size
Miniature foil meat loaf pan, 5 11/16″ x 3 1/4″ x 2″ (available in houseware department baking supplies)

Peel off original labels from the spool ends and trace each spool onto colored poster paper.  Cut the circles out and glue a circle to one end of each spool.  These will be the tops of the spools.

Arrange the spools on non-corrugated cardboard, such as that from a tablet (Figure 1), fitting them around the container.  Use an uneven number of spools for single strand weaving, ours being 15.  Draw around the spools to outline the base, being careful not to push the spools out of line as you draw.  Remove the container and spools and cut out the base.  Glue the bottoms of the spools to the base, matching the curves of the spools to the scallops of the base.

For the weaving, use fairly heavy cord such as parcel post wrapping twine, macrame cord or yarn.  Jute parcel post cord and black macrame cord of the same weight were used for the holder pictured.  Glue the end of the cord to the inside of any spool at the bottom of its barrel.  Bring the cord between the spool to which it is glued and the next spool to the right.  Weave around front of the second spool, between it and the next spool to the right, behind the third spool and so on around for the first row.

On the second row, the cord will pass around the front of the beginning spool, behind the second, in front of the third and so on (Figure 2).  The third row will be the same as the first, the fourth the same as the second.

There should be sufficient “give” between the flanges of the spool tops to slip the cord between them for weaving around the barrels.  As the weaving progresses, don’t pull the cord too tight or it will be difficult to slip between the flanges and may twist the farme out of line.  Push each row of weaving down to fit against the row before it, using a little glue on the spools to keep the cords in place.

When you wish to change colors, stop the weaving behind the first spool.  Cut off and glue the end of the cord to the center back of the starting spool.  Butt the beginning end of the second color of weaving cord against the stopping point of the first color, glue to the spool and continue weaving.  Change colors as desired and weave until the barrels are covered to the top.  End the weaving behind the first spool, gluing the end of the cord to the barrel to complete the weaving.  Add the container and your project is done.

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Pattern Maker, Instructor & Author


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