One of the things I’ve been doing a fair amount of this summer is weaving. My looms have been calling to me and I always feel like its a guilty pleasure to sit and weave. But a gift giving event came up and it was the perfect excuse to do some. It came and went (actually), but Emily Post said you have a year to get a gift to a new bride and groom so I’m taking it! I decided a new bride needs some kitchen linens – made out of cotton – I’m confused….
Terminology aside, I found a pattern in the Summer 2013 issue of Handwoven, and fell in love with the idea of kitchen towels, or placemats, or a table runner – how about TBD (to be determined)?
So, I contacted her Mom and asked about her kitchen colors. Not my usual palette but, I’m always up to a challenge. So last May (ish?) I put a 12 yard warp of black, white and grey on my smaller, 4 shaft loom. I really only needed about 5 yards for the project I had a very rough idea for but, I’ve never worked with 8/2 cotton before and wanted lots of room for error. Picking her accent color for the pattern bands I started weaving.
My weaving time is in the evenings after dinner. Progress was made a little at a time, night after night. I have to say – I really enjoyed weaving on this. So much so, that I started to “not rush” as I didn’t want it to end. It’s a little like reading a really great book – you just don’t want to say good-bye to the characters! When I realized this, I solved the problem by planning a pair of scarves to weave next and winding the warp. Back on track. I finished the 12 yard warp (about 11-¼ of actual weaving) and cut it off the loom!
That’s a photo of the fabric laid out on my 40’ porch – yikes! No wonder it took me all summer to weave it. After washing and pressing it there were a few surprises; the background texture in the solid areas was the first one. It’s stunning, and full of character and I wish I’d planned it! But, alas, I cannot take the credit. It’s simple plain weave. The texture is a result of a phenomenon called “tracking”. My only explanation for this showing up so predominately is that because I used a 4-shaft loom and was weaving an overshot pattern, the plain weave areas were not threaded on the standard 1, 3 and 2, 4 shafts but a little more randomly – it is still a simple plain weave, but with a twist 😉
The second surprise was the weight of the fabric. Not as thick or hefty as I was planning. The only other “towels” I’ve ever woven were with 3/2 cotton and quite “Placemat-able” if you know what I mean. This is a little soft, thin and drapey for placemats. I love how it turned out, I just have to figure out how to reach my original plan, or what to alter it too. I usually weave garment fabric so my mind is wandering to the obvious solutions for a sewer. I’ll keep you posted on my progress and my final results.
Meanwhile, the loom is already warped with my next project; a pair of scarves for the Fall Show line-up in a luscious Merino/Silk blend, hand dyed by Heritage Spinning & Weaving in Traverse City Cherry. Sampling has commenced.
Back to the loom…