How To Make a Woven Body by John Terje Refsahl

Articles, Fly Patterns, Fly Tying Tips, Step-by-Step Tutorials — By on November 17, 2009 9:18 am

In this article, Terje shares an excellent step-by-step on how to create a woven body using what many refer to as the “granny weave”.  To help illustrate the weaving process, Terje has used heavy strands of antron yarn.  Using larger bundles of yarn may help also help the beginner who is first learning how to perform this technique.  Once you’ve become framiliar with the granny weave, work your way down to smaller bundles.   You can also use other materials to weave, such as D-Rib, floss, etc.

Terje recommends splitting antron to 1/3 the original thickness of the bundle for mayfly emergers, but usually doesn’t for emergent caddis.-AC

After attaching a hook in your vise, bind two colors of antron yarn to the shank as shown below.  Make sure the color you want on top of  the finished abdomen is tied in on the right side of the shank- in this case, the orange.


Work your thread back to the bend of the hook, making sure to keep the two strands of antron side by side, on top of the hook shank


Now we’ll begin the weaving process.  Before you start, it is helpful to turn the vise so the hook eye is pointing directly at you.  Now make a loop with the dark yarn- in this case brown- over the top of the shank, and then under the light colored yarn on the other side.


Now, as shown in the next 5 pictures, take a crochet needle through the loop and then under the hook shank to grab the light colored yarn on the other side.  You’re going to pull it back through the loop on the underside of the hook.


Grab it, and pull it through


Like this


Slowly tighten the knot


Once it’s tight, pull it really tight


Now we’re going to weave the second half of this segment.

Take the light colored yarn which is now on the right side of the shank.  As you did before with the dark colored yarn, make a loop and then come under the shank, and then come over (instead of under like we did the first step) the dark colored yarn on the other side of the hook.


Next, take your crochet needle and bring it into the loop from below, take it over the hook shank


Now grab the dark colored yarn and pull it over the hook shank and through the loop


Like this


Slowly pull the knot tight.


That’s it!  Well, sort of…

Now you’ll want to repeat the procedure above until you’ve got a good feel for the granny weave. If you’re doing it correctly, it should look like the picture below.


Once you’ve got the hang of things, try using this technique to create the abdomen on your favorite fly patterns.  Or, if you’re not sure how, keep an eye on the Hatches website for the next step-by-step by Terje where we’ll be using this technique.

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How To Make a Woven Body by John Terje Refsahl, 10.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings


  1. Russ says:

    Nice tying sequence. The crochet hook is a big help to tiers that have trouble tying overhand knots and splitting them around the hook shank, especially with the thread bobbin still attached.

    Well Done.

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  2. Rod Hart says:

    Hi! and Thanks to the Crochet instructions I now got another string to the bow, this technique for making bodies is extremely useful and can also be used to create extended bodies to very good effect.

    Many Thanks

    Rod Hart

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  3. Freddy A.Zaiter says:

    Beautiful,like Russ said,I also like the crochet hook to make the body with the thread bobbin attached,I been using that technique to make body since 1979,a friend of mine Mr.John LaFonte,teach me to do it,he call it the Wobble fly,his Caddis Pupa were so deadly that his technique make it debut in the book “The Caddis and the Angler”by Solomon and Leiser and was illustrated by my best friend and mentor,Mr.John Lane (REP)….Freddy

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  4. Nick Sibilia says:

    How would you weave a body for black stonefly nymph with cream under and black on top. I once had such a fly that was great for trout and salmon. Tied by a N.J friend in 1960. Broke it off on 6 lb class landlock salmon on Moose River in Maine 40 years later.

    Nick Sibilia

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  5. jed-c says:

    nice tying sequence can’t wait to try it ..

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