You do not have to swatch to have a perfectly wonderful weaving life. Go straight to the loom and dive in! 

It was only after I had been weaving for a while that I found the value of playing around with my ideas on a small scale before sizing them up. It deepened my knowledge of how weaving works, yarn behaves, and structures are built.  I became more confident about implementing my inspirations and had outcomes that better matched my vision. 

These are the reasons I swatch:

  • Testing color combinations
  • Testing finishing considerations
  • Testing yarn substitutions
  • Testing mixed warps for sett, color, and finishing
  • When I’m on the fence about sett, 10 or 12? 8 or 10?
  • When I have a limited amount of a particular yarn and I want to be sure my idea will work before scaling up
  • Learning how various structural interlacements work without having to do complicated threadings

In this course, you will learn the fundamentals of swatching or sampling—we will discuss how I see the difference between the two. 

I’ll show you to how I use a frame loom to test my ideas for larger looms and discuss how you might approach sampling on the loom you are using now.  I use a frame loom because it takes less yarn and I don’t have to do any complicated threadings to play around with a lot of structures. 

You can use any frame loom available to you that gets you the results you want. My friend Angela Smith and I created a line of looms I’ll use in the course designed with the rigid-heddle weaver in mind.

We will explore how to chart out written rigid-heddle weaving instructions in order to swatch any structure, from plain weave to twill and beyond.

Finally, we will discuss how to evaluate your swatch after it's been woven—what is the information you are actually looking for, and how to track your results.

Throughout the class, I’ll use an example showing you how I went from inspiration to implementation and how swatching helped me get there. 

Recommended Experience Level

Although this information is applicable to many loom styles, the Yarnworker space is designed to support the rigid-heddle weaver.

This course is most useful for the rigid-heddle weaver who has warped and woven a number of projects, is comfortable with rigid-heddle weaving terminology, knows how to read a rigid-heddle pattern, and is familiar with how pick-up sticks and/or heddle rods are used to create additional sheds. 

Course curriculum

    1. Warping Slots

    2. Warping Holes: Swatch Maker 3-in-1

    3. Multicolored Warps

    4. Expanding Sett Options

    1. Guesstimating Weft Length + Using a Weaving Needle

    2. Using a Shed Stick

    3. Using a Shuttle and a Pick-Up Stick

    4. Weaving The Last Few Picks

    5. Weaving Comparative Samples On the Swatch Maker 3-in-1

    1. Removing and Documenting the Swatch

    2. Securing the Fringe

    3. Wet Finishing Tips

    1. Creating a Chart Based on Rigid-Heddle Weaving Instructions

    2. Identifying The Building Blocks of Structure: Repeats and Balance

    3. Preparing to Pick-Up A Chart

    4. Picking Up a Chart: Windowpane

    5. Picking Up a Chart: 1/2 Color-and-Weave Twill

    6. Handout: Creating Charts from Written Rigid-Heddle Weaving Instructions

    1. Evaluating Your Results

    2. Tracking and Storing Your Swatching

About this course

  • $45.00
  • 26 lessons
  • 2.5 hours of video content


host Liz Gipson

Sharing my love of the rigid-heddle loom with newcomers is what makes my heart happy. I spend my days weaving, writing about weaving, teaching others to weave, and enjoying this thing called life. From my home in central New Mexico, I dream-up, films, edit, and host these courses. To learn more about this marvelous little loom, visit