SQUARE WEAVING GUIDE
It is easy to start coffee bag weaving with accessories and tools already found at home. Four intact coffee bags are enough to weave one square. Most square weaving patterns you can see in this website are three different pattern squares woven from 12 of the same coffee bag. In addition, you will need a ruler to measure the width of the coffee bag and the width of the strips to be cut. You can use ordinary scissors, or a paper cutter to cut the strips, if you find it difficult to cut with scissors. A stencil cut from a cardboard package, for example, can be used as an aid in cutting. Similarly, a suitable aid for folding the strips can be cut from cardboard. In weaving, you can use clothespins or other craft clips, as well as knitting needles or barbecue sticks.
SQUARE WEAVING STEPS
Before you start weaving, open the bottoms of the empty coffee bags (NOTE! If you cut the top and bottom open, you will lose good material) and clean the bags in the style that suits you best. Coffee dust spreads easily when handling coffee bags and keeping your craft table tidy is easier if the bags have been rinsed with water or wiped clean. In square weaving, the coffee bags are cut into strips so that the back seam of the bag is still closed. The strips are thus ring-shaped. The strips are folded two times, after which the squares are woven from them. The finished squares can then be joined to make baskets or bags.
CUTTING THE STRIPS
The weaving is started by calculating the width of the strips to be cut. Most Finnish coffee bags, such as Juhla Mokka bags, are suitable for 6.8 cm wide strips, but you can experiment different widths according to your own preferences. The strips should not be made too wide so that all the strips can easily fit side by side on a square. Strips that are too narrow, on the other hand, become squares that are loose and holey. There are small differences in the widths of the coffee bags, which is why it is worth comparing the widths when combining different coffee bags in the same square. Small differences in width of the coffee bags do not prevent the coffee bags from mixing, but the difference may be noticeable when weaving. With larger differences, you can notice the size difference in the finished bags.
Coffee bags can be cut with either scissors or a paper cutter. When cutting with scissors, a piece of the right width cut from a cardboard package, for example, acts as a template. Make sure you cut the strips perpendicular to the edge so that there are no corners on the strips. The strips can be cut from any part of the coffee bag. However, there may be torn parts at the top and bottom that you might not want to use for the weaving. You will need 12 strips in one square (squares with different widths of strips will have a different number of strips). Three strips can be easily cut from one intact coffee bag, but the height of the bag may also be sufficient for four strips if the top and bottom edges are intact.
FOLDING THE STRIPS
The strips are folded two times to make them more durable and the folds also make the edges of the strips smoother. A piece of cardboard folded once, which is the size of the desired strip width, can initially be used as an aid in folding. Folding can also be done without an aid, if it feels like the width of the folds remains appropriate as estimated visually. For patterned strips, it is a good idea to check while folding that the desired part of the pattern remains visible. Similarly, the folded strips can already be set according to the pattern plan, so that the strips no longer need to be rotated to the desired position when weaving.
In square weaving, the strips are not threaded over and under each other in the manner of traditional weaving, but the ring-shaped strips are threaded from inside and outside each other. The weaving is started by taking one strip through another strip. (NOTE! Always start weaving in the same direction so that the hinges are in the same place in each square. Otherwise, the squares cannot be joined. This doesn´t matter as much on those solid patternless coffee bags as both sides of the square look the same.)
The third strip is threaded on the outside of the first and the fourth on the inside. A total of six strips are threaded perpendicular to the first strip. The strips threaded from inside the first strip form hinges at the edge of the square through which a knitting needle or stick is threaded to hold the strips in place. See the video of the weaving:
Continue slipping the strips until the square is complete.
Clothespins can be used here as an aid. Finally, the strips on the square can be arranged even better, especially if you are trying to achieve a certain pattern. The needles/sticks can be removed from the finished square because the strips already stay in place and the hinges will no longer escape unless the weave is too tight. (If you are using a more slippery material for weaving then you might need to leave the sticks on place.)
A single square woven from coffee bags can be used as a pot coaster. Five squares can be used to make a small basket and 14 squares a bag.