Bold, new adventure

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.

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