Branching Out: Make a Woodsy Wall Hanging With Sticks and Twine

Turn yard waste into wall art by weaving twine and yarn onto sticks and branches.

The hardest thing in making these woodsy wall hangings was evenly tying the warp onto the top and bottom sticks. To hold everything taut for weaving, I temporarily clamped the homemade looms onto a stand while I worked. Incorporating the pieces of oak, sourwood, and goldenrod helped tighten the weave and hold the shape of the warp.

Photo by: Bob Farley

Bob Farley

The hardest thing in making these woodsy wall hangings was evenly tying the warp onto the top and bottom sticks. To hold everything taut for weaving, I temporarily clamped the homemade looms onto a stand while I worked. Incorporating the pieces of oak, sourwood, and goldenrod helped tighten the weave and hold the shape of the warp.

You’ll never look at yard clean up the same way after you realize what gorgeous art you can make from dead branches and sticks. Skip the store-bought wall hangings, with twine and yarn and other natural materials on hand you can make your own trendy art weaving. I invited my friend, Belle Anne to an afternoon weaving party. Inspired by Belle Anne’s branch weavings, I wanted to make my own woodsy woven pieces.

Weaving and creating textiles brings to mind women who have passed, and conversations of continuity ensue. "I continue to appreciate old and new things that my mom and I shared a love for," Belle Anne tells me. "Several generations of women in one family can create their own art: my grandmother's lace, my mother's crocheting, and now I'm using my mother's yarn in my weaving."

Photo by: Bob Farley

Bob Farley

Weaving and creating textiles brings to mind women who have passed, and conversations of continuity ensue. "I continue to appreciate old and new things that my mom and I shared a love for," Belle Anne tells me. "Several generations of women in one family can create their own art: my grandmother's lace, my mother's crocheting, and now I'm using my mother's yarn in my weaving."

A shared love of nature brings about stories of how our environment inspires and nurtures our everyday lives. In the winter, you can see the lay of the land. Studying the terrain and scanning the woods, we admire the winter bones of plants and the lacy branches of gnarled trees reaching across the sky. Winter outings provide a good chance to gather fallen branches, thoughts, memories, and inspiration for woodsy crafts. Taking walks through the cold mist, vibrant colors stand out amongst muted tones of grays and browns.

Photo by: Bob Farley

Bob Farley

Photo by: Bob Farley

Bob Farley

As we sort and pick our colors and textures of yarn, we also gather nature resemblances and remembrances to incorporate into the weave. While surrounded by nature, wherever it may be, we like to take note of things we see and associate them with the many colors encountered — sky, sun, clouds, fog, river, sea, sand, soil, pebble, rock, fallen leaves, bark, mosses, lichens, fern, grasses, meadow, mountain, pine, magnolia, hemlock, and so many more shades and tones.

Belle Anne bought the yarn in Napa Valley for her mom to crochet. Now the yarn lives on woven onto branches.

Photo by: Bob Farley

Bob Farley

Belle Anne bought the yarn in Napa Valley for her mom to crochet. Now the yarn lives on woven onto branches.

To help keep the warp from sliding around, Belle Anne carved little slits to hold the yarn in place.

Photo by: Bob Farley

Bob Farley

To help keep the warp from sliding around, Belle Anne carved little slits to hold the yarn in place.

Using a thick cord helps take up space, and quadrupling the thinner yarn does the same.

Photo by: Bob Farley

Bob Farley

Using a thick cord helps take up space, and quadrupling the thinner yarn does the same.

Weaving Basics

In weaving yarn and twine, the basics are simple. Two elements, warp and weft, are interlaced. The warp is the vertical, static assemblage of strands, and the weft is the horizontal, variable strand that is woven through the warp. The weave can be as simple or as intricately designed as the maker wishes. In making a woodsy wall hanging, there’s no need for an expensive loom, we used the branches and made our own.

Step 1: Make the loom or pick your branch. The purpose of the loom is to hold the warp taut.

Step 2: Set the warp. Tying the warp onto the branch loom or sticks might lead to experimentation with knots to hold the strands in place.

Step 3: Weaving through the branch looms can be tricky, but as in all things, a bit of patience, practice, and making adjustments during the process, can be freeing. “Working with branches and organic shapes gives us a chance to veer from the straight lines of the loom warp,” Belle Anne advises. “It forces you away from being symmetrical.” Feeding the yarn through the warp with a simple under-and-over weave until you run out of space is the way to go for beginners. Use your fingers, a darning needle, or a crochet hook to weave, and use a fork or your fingers to tighten up the spaces between each row. Tie off the yarn at start and finish.

Step 4: Finish the ends. Either tie off the ends in a matter that lends to the aesthetic or tuck the ends back into the weave.

Photo by: Bob Farley

Bob Farley

Photo by: Bob Farley

Bob Farley

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