I have some lovely friends who got married in the fall, and I have been working on a runner for a small table in their entry hall. It was great fun having them pick out the yarn, weaving samples, and working with them on the design. It was going to be a simple plain weave (light green) with huck lace (dark green) at the ends, but the guy asked a last question – would it be possible to have a side (lengthwise) border using the same dark green (warp and weft) as are on the ends? My first response was – no, sorry, it’s impossible because the light green weft has to go all the way across. He was fine with that. Silly me, I kept thinking about it and realized it could be done using a modification of clasped weft technique. They said that would be great, and off I went to figure out how to make good on this promise.
Well! The complication level went from simple to Yikes! I did figure it out, using my own rather eclectic method of calculation and documentation:
(Other people have an actual form they fill out to document this info, but my planning tends to be a little free-form.) It was fun figuring out how to set up the blocks. I remember reading somewhere in Peggy Osterkamp’s book that setting up blocks is like setting up two looms – one on shafts 1-4, and the other on shafts 5-8. That worked, and it turned out that I could use a couple of the same tie-ups twice, so I ended up using only 6 treadles.
The back-ordered yarn finally arrived, and off I went, first weaving a sample:
I learned a lot from the sample – took out some warp threads and did some rethreading. Also, this is textured yarn (Halcyon Block Island Blend), and (after washing) I got a huge amount of tracking in this large sample (but didn’t have tracking in the small sample – see first photo, above). By this I concluded that I needed to beat harder for this yarn, making the plain weave interlacement tight, so it wouldn’t move about in the wash. I hadn’t warped on enough for another sample, so trusted I had made enough changes and went on ahead.
Here’s the modification of clasped weft that I used:
- separate weft threads for each border and the middle (three threads to go across each pic)
- after placing each thread in its section (no shuttle throwing here!), pull the shuttle to the top of the piece and leave it there
- the next thread in the sequence hooks around the previous thread and then is placed in its section of the weft
- beat lightly after each section is placed, and fully after all three sections are placed
- change sheds
- and so on….
- so, with regular clasped weft, each pic is two threads thick, but this version is only one thread/pic
I hadn’t seen a description of this anyplace, and now I know why! Talk about hand-manipulated weave!
However, I’m almost half done now, and it seems to be going well. More on this when it’s off the loom.