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Interview with Emma Baker - Weaving questions answered


We met Emma Baker and Gillian Siggers at Stitch Fest SW in 2022. Together they are Tabby and Tweed ( and specialise in small weaving kits to spark the love of hand weaving. We teamed up with Emma and Gillian to collaborate on the Bookmark Weaving Kit, late last year.

Additionally, Emma, sells handwoven textiles on her website, The textiles are of amazing quality and in such intricate weaves, they are well worth checking out. You can find Emma on Instagram under Emma Baker - Spire Crafts.

Recently, I caught up with Emma to ask her some questions around hand weaving and here are the answers. It was lovely to find out more information about weaving and how Emma got into the craft.

Tell me about your weaving journey

I have been weaving for around 8 years. I started weaving after learning to spin yarn. I quickly realised that my knitting couldn’t keep up with my spinning so I thought at this point that weaving might be quicker. At the same time a friend had attended a weaving course with Janet Phillips and I had a look at a weaving book that she had purchased from the course. I loved the images in the book and knew then that I wanted to have a go at weaving despite having absolutely no understanding of what I now know to be detailed threading and lifting plans for different designs. Initially everyone in my family was gifted a scarf, perhaps a teatowel or shawl but as the number of woven scarves started to build up at home it soon became apparent that I needed to try and sell my weaves if I was going to continue with my weaving. I now aim for a dynamic equilibria between wool (and other fibres) coming into the house and wool leaving the house. I started selling my weaves in my Etsy SpireCrafts shop around 5 years ago and more recently I have set up my own website with a shop on the website.

Picture: Emma Baker, handweaver

How do you plan the weave pattern?

I usually start with colour. Whilst there are some designs that I love to weave the key consideration is always whether I like the colours and how the weaving will impact on the final colour of the weave. Purple, lilac, and teal are favourite colours but recently I had a fabulous cushion commission where I was asked to weave a cushion to match a particular green, turquoise and grey rug which was great at encouraging me to weave some new colours.

Picture: Cushion Commission creating green, turquoise and grey Doubleweave cushions

What equipment do you need to start weaving?

A loom is needed. Over the last few years I have set up with Gillian Siggers. Together we design, make, and sell small frame weaving kits. These are perhaps the simplest of looms, whether they be bookmark weaving looms, square or circular looms. The loom holds the warp in place under tension and a needle is used to weave the weft. I will often use a square loom to do a small sample weave before undertaking larger weaving projects so the looms have a use for the more experienced weaver too. When I started to weave I purchased an Ashford rigid heddle loom which I still use now. The rigid heddle loom is effectively a two shaft loom allowing for a tabby design to be woven along with a range of patterns using a pick up stick. I now have a floor loom and a warping mill for measuring the warp which are perhaps the biggest items of equipment along with smaller items such as threading hooks, a warping paddle, ties, clips, drill, shuttles, bobbins….. actually I have quite a lot of weaving equipment now!

Picture Left: TabbyandTweed Bookmark looms

Picture Right: Different looms including rigid heddle workshop looms, an inkle loom, a table loom and floor loom

What is your favourite item to weave?

My favourite design is deflected Doubleweave using fine 2/17nm merino lambswool. This design has areas of tabby weave with longer warp and weft floats. When the fabric is off the loom and washed, the spinning oils (which add a little strength to the fragile thin yarn) are removed and the fabric fulls to create a beautifully airy and light fabric. The final fabric has a reversible design so can often look quite different on each side.

Picture: Handwoven merino lambswool deflected Doubleweave shawl

What yarn weights do you use in your weaving?

I use 2/17nm merino lambswool the most but I also like to weave with 8/2 cotton and occasionally doubleknit and sometimes handspun yarn. A project I undertook a few years ago was to create a handwoven blanket from a local fleece that I was given. A Hampshire down fleece was washed, processed, handspun, dyed with rhubarb leaves and indigo and then woven to produce a large doublewidth blanket. It was a very lengthy process but rewarding going from the fleece to fabric.

Picture: Handwoven blanket made from handspun and naturally dyed yarn from local Hampshire Down fleece

How do you decide on what colour yarn to use in your weaving?

I buy yarns in colours that I like and sometimes I buy small quantities in a range of colours which compliment or provide a visual pop of colour. I have come to realise that its these colour pops of a different colour or shade which often create a really distinctive and interesting impact in the woven fabric. Colour was and perhaps is the thing I ponder on for longest, weaving on a floor loom is an expensive mistake if the colours don’t look good when woven and I sometimes do card windings and sample weaves on one of my TabbyandTweed frame looms to make sure that I am happy with the colours before embarking on measuring the warp.

Picture Left: Sampling for colours on a small tabbyandtweed frame loom

Picture Right: Deflected Doubleweave shawl in orange and blue shades of yarn

What is the difference between warp and weft?

The warp are the threads that are put onto the loom initially under tension and the weft are the threads that are woven with a needle or shuttle. The warp threads go the full length of the weave and the weft threads the width.

What is your favourite loom and why?

I have a Louet Octado loom which I purchased second hand around 5 years ago. I absolutely love it and consider myself incredibly lucky to be the proud owner of this loom.

What goes into a TabbyandTweed Bookmark Kit?

Our bookmark kits are really popular, the kits include a reusable rectangular loom, a spool of lovely yarn, needle, comb and instructions. The instructions are now also complimented by some blogs on our website which explain certain techniques in greater detail with step by step pictures. The yarns we use for our kits are predominantly British yarn from British sheep or British indie handdyed yarns. Our most popular kit uses a rainbow yarn. I think this kit is so popular because the yarn is bright, vibrant and fun.

Picture: Rainbow TabbyandTweed bookmark loom using foxandsquirrelcreations bright rainbow yarn.

Can you recommend any books or resources to get you started in weaving?

Yes – I have found these useful:

Weaver's Idea Book: Creative Cloth on a Rigid-Heddle Loom by Jane Patrick

Handweaver's Pattern Book: The Essential Illustrated Guide to Over 600 Fabric Weaves by Anne Dixon

Designing Woven Fabric by Janet Phillips

Exploring Woven Fabric by Janet Phillips


To check out Emma's beautiful handwoven textiles, visit her website at

To check out the Tabby and Tweed small weaving loom kits, visit their website at or their Etsy shop

I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog post and finding out about the world of weaving. I also send out a monthly newsletter to email subscribers to keep you up to date with our business, sign up using the form at the bottom of the blog.

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