Tutorial For Portable Saori Vacation Weaving


A quick re-cap about weaving in Saori Style and then the how-to!

And to repeat what I said in the last post, I am not really inventing anything new here.  Just putting things together in new ways.


Most of the time I complete my own weavings on my Rigid Heddle Loom, but it is occupied at the moment with a Saori Weaving I am making as a base for a Winter Holiday wall hanging.

I am including the image so that you can see that Saori is anything you want it to be - what ever you inner creative spirit wants it to be.

As is mentioned in the previous post, for creative adults Saori is a satisfying way to freely express who we are at any given moment. A wonderful and satisfying craft for self expression in it's purist form.

I use Saori as a meditation. The only conscious choice I make is the yarn itself at the beginning of the project. How and where those yarns appear in the weaving - I leave that up to the universe.


Saori is perfect for children because they can simply do whatever they want! No rules. No patterns. No tools or equipment.

So besides wanting to get you moms hooked on Saori weaving as a meditative, get away from it all creative experience; it is also my goal to provide kids with a project they can work on almost anywhere but the bathtub using materials almost anyone has available at home.

The weavings in progress are completely stable and can be carried finished or unfinished in a suitcase, duffle or craft bag. This complete portability is one of the things I love most about this "loom".

If you are planning this as a vacation craft project, I suggest you make up a few "looms" before leaving.


Basically all you need: Scraps and leftover bits of yarn, cardboard, scissors (blunt end for traveling).

One of those lovely tapestry needles - metal or plastic is great but not necessary.

Look at this stash of fabulous yarns! Found it at Goodwill for less than $3.00. If you don't happen to have one of those infinite stashes of half used balls of yarn, don't despair - head to a thrift store!

Or I would think knitters and crocheters you know might just have leftovers they would love to share. Most of us just want to know our stash has found a good home!


For your "loom", use the cardboard that is found in regular card board boxes. It is much more sturdy than the pressed cardboard.

My "looms" range in size from 5"x6" to 9"x12".  (13 cm x 15 cm to 23 cm x 31cm).  But you could make a loom using an 11x14 cardboard or even 16x21 if you are thinking placemets or bags.

Using a ruler and pencil,  place marks along two opposite edges every 1/4" or every 1/2" (5mm to 12 mm). Cut on every mark with scissors. My cuts are about 1/4" to 3/8" (5mm to 7mm) deep.

The slots in the sample in this tutorial are 1/2" apart.

Note: The closer the slots are together, the tighter and more stable the weave.


For the wrapping yarn (warp), select a yarn that does not stretch.

Secure your yarn in the first slot on the top left of your "loom" and carry it to the first slot at the bottom left. Bring it around the back to the next slot at the top, back to the bottom.... Continue winding the warn until you reach the last slot and cut a long tail.


A bit of masking tape to hold the tails is helpful to keep them out of the way, but not necessary.


Now let the weaving begin!

Cut a length of yarn. You can wind it around the board several times if you like to determine the length you want or do what I do and just cut where your inner muse tells you to cut!


Leaving a tail measuring about half the width of your cardboard, begin weaving your yarn first under then over, then under, then over the yarns you have secured in the slots.

When you get to the end of the row, bring your yarn around the back of "the loom" and begin the next row from the right side of the loom again.

As you weave the next row, place the yarn opposite to it's position in the previous row. If you look carefully at the image above, you will see what I mean.

NOTE: The yarn secured in the slots is known as warp and the yarn you will weave with is known as weft.

I happen to love big, blunt tapestry needles so I use them when weaving these small projects. But kids may find it easier to finger weave.


After weaving each weft yarn, gently push it into place against the previous one with your fingers.

Continue weaving until the yarn is almost all used. Leave a tail at least the length of half the width of your "loom".

Select the next weft yarn. Tie it to the tail of the previous yarn at the back of the "loom", bring the new yarn around to the front and continue weaving.


Here is a view of the back.


This is the fun part! Let your heart guide your yarn choices and your hand. Don't plan or think ahead - just let your weaving happen.

Skip warps if you are so inclined. If you are inspired - make loops in the yarn! Do wild stuff! Weave in strips of fabric or roving.  I have been known to finger spin cottonwood fluff to make a "yarn".

And the best part - if you get interrupted, secure the needle if you are using one, and stuff it in the bag!

I prefer to leave the weaving in tact at this point, and finish it off when I am home, but tying off can be done in the "field".   If you use the tying off technique below, the weaving will remain stable if you have to suddenly stuff it into a duffle.


When weaving is complete, cut the yarn leaving a tail about 4" long.

Turn the weaving over so the back is facing you.

Slide a piece of cardboard under the weft yarns as shown and cut them right in the center. Don't worry about any knots you made while changing yarn.

Note: The cardboard guide is not necessary, but it is helpful in making certain you don't cut any of the warp yarns.


As you cut through the weft yarns and fold them toward the edges of the board your weaving will look like this.


Leaving the warp in place and uncut, begin tying off the weft yarns along the sides. Usually tying four yarns together in an overhand knot works well. Try to place the knots fairly close to the warp yarn closest to the "loom" edge.


Now turn the weaving over so the back side is again facing you and cut the warp yarns right down the middle.


Leaving the yarns secure in the slots, begin loosening two at a time and tie them in an overhand knot snug against the edge of the weaving.



Should you decide you want to trim the edges so they are even, a straight edge, rotary cutter and self-healing mat work great! But scissors work great too!


There is surprisingly little actual waste. I save mine and either use it for stutffing or let the birds use it as nest liners.


NOTE: The cuts for this weaving are 5mm (1/4"). This made the weave much tighter and actually resulted in much less shrinkage once the yarns were removed from the "loom".



Front and back to show the tighter weave.


NOTE: It is not necessary to knot the weft yarns at the edges of the weaving, especially if the piece is tightly woven and will not receive a lot of wear and tear.

Simply cut the weft yarns any length you wish - or not at all. I leave my weft yarns just as they happen when I weave my table runners - which means they are all different lengths.


This is Saori! Normally my mind likes to surprise me as I go along! This green weaving was no exception and decided at the last minute it wanted beads.

I had the beads in my stash, but no needle that would accomodate the thick yarn and still go through the beads.

So I thought I would share my solution! I used a piece of 28 gauge picture wire available at any home improvement store. I think the photos are self explanatory.






Now go grab some cardboard and play! I know most of you have yarn stashes!

And those of you with embroidery floss stashes - just make tiny, tiny looms! (Pressed cardboard will work for these.)

And you journal makers - need I say more?  Saori journaling anyone?  Here is my own Saori Journal.  And a how to for weaving for two jounals on one loom.

And Saori Bookmarks!  Wonderfully tactile woven bookmarks.

Even used this technique to make this sweet angel!

If you are looking for simple loom options and simple weaving techniques - you might find the ideas offered in thei three part series very helpful.  Here is the link to one of them.

Have fun weaving.



Thank you so much for your

Thank you so much for your wonderful tutorial! I hope to try this soon!

Thank you so much for this

Thank you so much for this lovely tutorial Pam! I'd been keen on learning free-style weaving, and Saori is the perfect find. You can take a look at the first piece I've made here: http://roshini-pochont.tumblr.com/post/35741879343. I used cotton yarn since I didn't have any wool, worked well.

Thanks again!

Roshini!  Your Saori weaving

Roshini!  Your Saori weaving is wonderful!  And what i love most is that you freed your muse and let the weaving speak for itself!  I am so glad to hear you enjoyed the experience!  And i can tell you are hooked!!!  yay!

Oh my gosh. I so want to try

Oh my gosh. I so want to try this now. Thank you for this excellent tutorial!

Thanks Pam So clearly written

Thanks Pam
So clearly written with the photos showing just what to do. I have a stash of cardboard somewhere.......

Hi there! This is just so so

Hi there!

This is just so so lovely!
I can't wait to do some weaving myself, but I have something to tell you:

As I am german, I noticed your "translation" from inches to german measurement is not correct. So any reader around here could be a bit puzzled while reading
"My "looms" range in size from 5"x6" to 9"x12". (13mmx15mm to 23mmx31mm)."
13mm would be about 1 and 1/2" - so what you meant is 13cm.

Hope my English isn't that bad.
Go on as you do!

Jessie, Your English is


Your English is perfect!  the corrections have been made.  An oversite on my part and I appreciate you pointing it out.

I am really taken with this,

I am really taken with this, I remember doing weaving at school and getting a small loom for Christmas, now I'm in my very late years, I'm no seem-stress, in fact I'm a always going to do it, make lots of notes but never, never get around to doing it, but this , well I really like, now I will look for yarn and even thin strips of material and I am going to have a go, I'm not sure when I will get to make it/finish it, but I will post it, thank you so much for the design , instruction , elizabeth

What a great idea! And I

What a great idea! And I love the suggestion for mug rugs from Bellen in the comments. I want to link back to you also from my blog Spilling My HeART......http://spillingmyheart27.blogspot.com/. Have a great day! I can't wait to show this to my 11yo daughter who is soooooo bored this hot hot summer! :)

Thanks for the tutorial. I

Thanks for the tutorial. I bought 2 large black plastic bags full of yarn, mostly full skeins, but also a bunch of ends. What a great use for them. Just think, I can have mug rugs to match my mood with color :) Seriously, I certainly can use this type of meditative craft to help me work out problems.

this is brilliant! i would

this is brilliant! i would like to write about the tutorial in my "favourite things friday" post, would you mind if i borrow a picture to post on my blog? (i will definitely link back to you.)

 Hi, Trish - you're welcome

 Hi, Trish - you're welcome to share an image from my post with a link back here. Thank you so much!

What an awesome, empowering

What an awesome, empowering weaving project. Can't wait to try this with my 8yr old. The windchime idea is especially inspiring. I love the colors she used!

So, I couldn't tell from the

So, I couldn't tell from the images or descriptions, but when you finish weaving the line on the front, you wrap it around the back to then start from the same side each time? I'm thinking that's how it works, I just want to clarify. Thanks for the tutorial! I have a huge yarn stash that needs busting :)

Thank you Sarah!  Good

Thank you Sarah!  Good point.  I could have done a better job of making that clear.  I have gone into the text and hopefully made that point a little more clear.

The answer to your question is YES!  Wrap the yarn around the back and begin each row from the right side!

Sasha took the words out of

Sasha took the words out of my mouth -- it looks like so much fun! I've always thought of weaving as a high-maintenance hobby, requiring a lot of equipment and material and time. I didn't realise what beautiful things can be made with a simple cardboard loom. Thanks for the photos and description!

So interesting! I'm a weaver

So interesting! I'm a weaver and this is all new to me!

This looks like so much fun -

This looks like so much fun - I can FEEL the meditation! I'll have to try it with the older kids over the summer!

Hi There, Wow!...I mean

Hi There,

Wow!...I mean really Wow!

I am a Registered Nurse that works at an Inpatient Adolescent Behavioral Health Unit. (Teen-Age Psych. )
"My" Kids stay as long as 3-9 months on my unit. Many of them have needless to say...have been abused in every way you can think of (and some you could never conceive of)...made to feel unloved...made to feel as if they are not worth anything... =o =O =OO This seems like a fantastic project for them! The bright colors..the quick results..the wuzziness of yarn! This would boost their self-esteem...and give them a project to be proud of!

May I have permission to use your tutorial? All copyright and ID info would be attributed to you.
I would love to share this with our program director!

Sincerely! Absynthee!

I can't believe I've never

I can't believe I've never seen this before. I love it. I will absolutely be making some looms and get some projects going. I have yarn out my ears & I've also got a good sized stash of fabric strips as well. I can't wait to play with this.

Even when I don't practice

Even when I don't practice the particular art you're talking about, your tutorials just Make Me Want To Jump In !!

This is cool stuff.

love these for a car ride

love these for a car ride idea & using weird/iffy yarn from the thrift. :)

Great Tutorial Pam- I'm going

Great Tutorial Pam- I'm going to give this a try! It might be the perfect use for my "practice" handspun yarns that I aren't in a style I would want to knit with.

Yes, yes, yes!  Meg your hand

Yes, yes, yes!  Meg your hand spun that isn't just what you would knit with would be the perfect choice for Saori weaving.

I have ordered my Spinning Kit from Amelia and expect my first efforts at spinning will be "interesting" to say the least.  Also perfect for Saori weaving!

So I say - go for it!  You will love how it turns out.  I just know it!

Hey Pam I am always a fan of

Hey Pam I am always a fan of your weaving. Thanks for the great photos of how you knot off. I love the tassels. At school I have just been having the kids do singles but I like your method better and don't get me started about the beads. That would go over huge at school!

May I turn this tutorial into

May I turn this tutorial into a printed page to use for a 4-H sewing camp that I am putting on this summer? I will include the web address and any other identifying information as is for copyright purposes.

Thank you Sharon for writing

Thank you Sharon for writing and asking permission to make a printed copy of the tutorial.  Your courtesy and respect for intellectual property is appreciated more than you can know.

And certainly I would be happy for you to make printed copies for your 4-H camp as long as the designation of ownership occur on every page.

Be sure to take pictures and please send me some! Please!!!!

Not a problem! I understand!

Not a problem! I understand! You worked hard to create the tutorial and you deserve the recognition. I will definitely be taking pictures! I think the understanding of the respect for intellectual property comes from education of such. In college you have to document your sources and when your degree is in Apparel Design then intellectual property becomes your life. In my portfolio it starts off with a statement about the information inside contains the intellectual property of XXXXX, and should not be duplicated with out consent.

Hope you all have a blessed day!

Yep. Mrs. Ransom's third

Yep. Mrs. Ransom's third grade class. Made weavings with the middle drawn up so the thing looked like a giant bow tie! LOL (If she had thought to have us go around the back like these instead of just back and forth , they would have stayed more even.) But that is OK, this was also the only grade I remember doing papier mache as well, so her heart was in the right place!

Do you think that the edges

Do you think that the edges could be sewn with a machine to seal them? I'm thinking this would be a fun way to make squares for Special Olympics scarves.

Just jumping in with a quick

Just jumping in with a quick response - yes, you could machine sew the edges rather than tying the fringe and it would hold.

Great tutorial!

Happy Weaving...

Rebecca, I don't have an

Rebecca, I don't have an answer to your question.  My first thought is that if you use a wide zigzag stitch so that the first two warp yarns or weft yarns are caught in the stitches it might work.  But I am not sure of this having never given it a try.

I am hoping weavers out there will chime in and help!

You're a genius! What a

You're a genius! What a delightful craft for vacations! I am so very thankful you put this together, as I am always trying to figure out how to make something on the go (and I am just not a big knitter/crocheter). This is perfect, and I can even do this with other family members! I am going to see if I can get my sons to try this as well (maybe a little bookmark to start). And, of course, you know I have all these supplies lying around! Thanks, Pam!

What a terrific idea for

What a terrific idea for summer traveling! I could see taking a weaving like this and making cute coin purses or wristlets, too. The meditative aspects are interesting as well. Do you listen to music while you weave? I would listen to Andreas Vollenweider. There's a blast from the past!

Interesting question, Marti! 

Interesting question, Marti!  I am sitting here smiling because actually, truth be told, I don't listen to music at all when I am engaged in anything that requires focus because music is the ONLY thing that has the power to break through the focus and distract me from my task or thoughts.

I can tune out most everything in my environment, but not music.  When I listen to music, I give it my full focus and attention especially if it is classical or "new age".  It becomes a meditation.

The obvious exception is Christmas music which I have playing almost constantly from November 1st through the holidays!  EXCEPT when I am writing or crafting.

Thank you for the tutorial.

Thank you for the tutorial. When I looked at them I started to remember my school days!