Rep weave, really

A friend of mine asked me to make her some placemats (to replace some plain weave acrylic ones I had made when I first started weaving – oh, my).  I had seen this structure in a Weaver’s Craft magazine (Issue 19) and was eager to try it to redeem myself from my previous not-rep-weave project.

The warp threads are intended to be farther apart than in most rep weave to let the thick weft show through.  I did this with 8/2 cotton for the thin yarn (warp at 30 epi, and thin weft), and 16/8 (mop) cotton for the thick weft.

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It was quite easy and quick.  Fortunately, I had warped enough for 5 placemats, as once I had it all off the loom, there was a strange treading error at the beginning of the first one.  So, that one is my sample, and the 4 go to my friend.  The hemming was pretty easy – there is an inch of plain weave at each end as part of the design, and it just gets folded under twice, and then machine stitched over a thin weft (stitch in the ditch).  I machine washed them in cold water, and hand flattened them before machine drying.  A steam iron did the rest.

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Nice!  I”ll do more rep weave!

Not rep weave, really

Did I mention that quote I read about new weavers just trying anything?  I guess I’m determined to be an example of that…

A friend asked me to weave a wall hanging for her with a Southwest theme.  What I know best is twill, so I found a diamond pattern and she liked it, but then I was concerned the floats wouldn’t be long enough for the pattern to be visible across a room.  My (new weaver) solution was thick yarn, and I ordered cotton mop (16/8) yarn in the appropriate colors.  While waiting for the yarn, I became concerned that twill wouldn’t work at all – wouldn’t the floats tend to sag over time from hanging vertically?  I realized what I really need to do was rep weave, but I’d never done it, and all the drafts I could find were of stripes, not diamonds.  How to make the twill work?  My solution would be to alternate the cotton mop in both warp and weft with 8/2 cotton in plain weave to give it structure.  Sort of a weird summer and winter.

(In the meantime, I had become intrigued by rep weave and watched the DVD by Rosalie Neilsen – I highly recommend it.)

So, the yarn came.

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I had it off the warping board and ready for the loom when I took a little break and looked again for rep weave with a diamond pattern, and I found it!!  It was in a lovely blog that said the structure was found in Handwoven Sept-Oct 1988.  Oh my.  Interweave to the rescue!  I was able to find and download the issue, and I had the draft in front of me in minutes.  I  transferred the structure to iWeaveit in the appropriate colors, sent a quick screenshot to the recipient, who liked it, and I had my rep weave diamond structure!

A short (or not) matter of winding the warped yarn back on to the cones, and I was ready to start over.  Warping with mop cotton.  It seemed like it would work – just double the sett for plain weave, and triple the warp to use for the thick weft, right?  Oh my, again.  After two picks I knew I didn’t have rep weave.  More resources – I actually emailed Madelyn van der Hoogt to ask if I should just start over, and she responded quite humorously (within a couple of hours!) that in order for rep weave to work with a warp of mop cotton, I’d need to use PCV pipe for the weft. Worse than I expected!!!  Starting over would be a drag, though, and here was all this yarn on my loom.  So, I decided to weave it up anyway (alternating thick and thin in the weft), and see what happened.

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Not rep weave, but not bad!  There are a few odd bits like vertical lines where the same blue warp is doubled for the change in pattern/background, but I asked my recipient to come over while it was still on the loom, and she thought it would be fine.  Fortunately, I had a large enough sample area at the end that I was able to try out a couple of different ways to attach the folded-over loop at the top (I ended up zig-zagging the edge, and stitching the seam “in the ditch” so it’s barely visible from the front), and to figure out a knot that I liked for the fringe (overhand was too bulky).

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This is a photo of it just flat on the floor, but the recipient now has it hung up, and loves it, and will invite me over to take a photo soon.  I’ll put that up in the gallery.

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Not rep weave, but it’s a unique and interesting piece.  And she likes it!  Good enough!

While waiting for yarn…

I’ve been working on prep for a rep weave project for a couple of months now.  It’s a bit of a long story and will be told in a future post.  However, in the meantime my floor loom has been pretty empty, and I’ve been turning out scarves as usual on the rigid heddle loom – with stories of their own…

This was an experiment, and I love the yarn, though I didn’t have quite enough.  It’s Be Sweet Bamboo, and is exceedingly soft.  The structure is easy with a pick-up stick.  I’ll make more of these.

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This one is from a combo of stash yarns – 8/2 bamboo doubled (honey) and Ritratto S Charles (123/golds) for the warp, and Shibui silk cloud (flaxen) for the weft.  The weft is very thin, but that kept it light and flowing.  It’s just plain weave, but the colors and texture make it lush.

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Then there was this scarf, inspired by donation of a friend’s yarn from her mother’s stash.  It was not a lot of yardage of a brown wool boucle, but I alternated wefts with a tan wool, with tan wool for the warp, and it turned out unusual and nice.  The friend gave the scarf to her mother, who was very pleased.

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More donated yarn, moss green mohair, with Pigeon Roof Studios Luminosity for the warp.  I love mixing colors and textures.

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And then a bit of a problem scarf – the warp threads may be been in a mothy environment (not mine, I hope), as there were several breaks.  I used up a few T pins, and tried to match the variegated colors, then spliced the warp threads together once it was off the loom:

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The warp is Shibui sock fluids and the weft is Classic Elite Silky Alpaca Lace, but their colors were very similar.  Here it is finished:

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And there are more that I don’t have photos of yet.  They’re fun, and some quite beautiful (more so in person – the camera just doesn’t do justice) but I can hardly wait for the rest of the yarn to come so I can get back to the floor loom!

Spiral weave scarves

Some time ago I found a draft for a spiral weave structure, and I wanted to try it as a graduation gift for a friend.  I would best describe it as a shadow-weave twill, and unfortunately I didn’t save the source.

I’m starting to love working with bamboo, and I had some good colors, so off I went.

The first one I did was turquoise and white.  It’s a nice look, but I need to learn about color combinations.  Maybe the value of the colors is too similar, so there isn’t much contrast.

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Also, my perennial tension problem showed up and there were a huge amount of skips, especially near the end of the weaving.  I did a lot of dry finishing to fix them, and in the process noticed a treadling error right in the middle.  Not good enough for a graduation gift, and it didn’t turn out to be her colors anyway.

So on I went with a new color combination in the same structure.  This one is definitely bolder, but again perhaps the color values are too similar, as the green and gold seem to compete with each other for dominance.

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Still, this one turned out much better, with NO skips, since I paid closer attention, and I think she’ll be happy with it.

And here they both are – unfortunately with wrinkles from being folded.  I think I should get a steamer…

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Wild Waffle Weave Scarf

I do like texture, and am intrigued by waffle weave.  I’ve done a little bit, and then I saw a page titled: “Waffle Weave Disasters” (Weaver’s Craft Issue 29, page 14), and I knew I would have to check this out.

I had some 8/2 cotton that wasn’t earmarked for anything else, and thought I’d try my hand at this very textured 8-shaft structure, and see what happened.

The beginning started out quite well, even though it waffled up right away, and there was a lot of draw-in.

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Starting a ways in, I had a consistent problem with shaft 6 catching on something and not going down all the way after being lifted.  I searched around for what it was catching on, and couldn’t locate anything, but soon learned I could lift it slightly with my finger from the middle and it would un-catch, only slightly slowing my shuttle-throwing rhythm.

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All continued to go well, and I noticed a few things about this deep waffle structure – one was that the weft floats on the top of the cloth were looser going across the fabric than the weft floats on the underside.  This seemed to be because raising the heddles pulled the threads under the long floats up and stretched them out a bit, which of course didn’t happen on the underside because the threads stay flat there.  These threads stayed looser when finished, but it’s no big deal since the color placement on the two sides looks different as well.  It just adds to the interest.

I was a little concerned as I got near the end about loose warp threads.  This was due to the long warp floats over the length of the scarf.  The threads with the longest floats got to be quite loose, but never so loose that the shed wasn’t clear.

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I did a couple of picks of plain weave at the beginning and end, just to anchor the threads, and didn’t think it would make much difference in the weave, but there was so much draw-in that those two picks splayed out the ends somewhat.  No big deal since this is a little wild anyway.

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And here it is, showing both sides.  By the time I had machine washed (cold) and dried flat, it had shrunk about 15%, but it’s still plenty long as a scarf.  It’s actually 3/8″ thick, which may make this cotton scarf warm enough for winter. It’s really unusual and fun.

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Silk purse from a frog

Sometimes things just come together.

Our regional weaving convention is around the corner, and one of the display areas is about hand made bags, contributed by various guild members.  At our local guild meeting, we had discussed weaving  bags or making bags from felted knitting (old sweaters, etc.), but nothing was really grabbing me.  But, when I went in February to visit another guild they talked about “origami” bags, and had an example, which was very intriguing.  I could NOT figure out how it was put together.

So, I googled it up and found a blog describing an origami bag made from strips of woven fabric, and I had an inspiration – I had woven a narrow scarf some time ago on the rigid heddle loom that no one seemed to be attracted to.  Maybe I could use this as strips and make it into a bag.  Worth a try.

Here’s the scarf, from a couple of different blended yarns – wool, silk, cotton, linen, alpaca, etc.  Rather a rustic look, with two similar colors of the same yarn in the weft, but a somewhat awkward join of those colors.  It was a loser – what knitters call a frog.  Not very exciting, and too narrow anyway.

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So, I cut it in half crosswise, and joined the long edges together so there was fringe at each end.

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The next part was a complete experiment, following what I had googled, and folding until I had what could pass for a bag shape – quickly joining the edges, as I knew I couldn’t figure this out again…  The angles of the two weft colors actually created some interest.  The triangle sticking up  is the flap, to fold over the opening.

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Finding a lining fabric wasn’t as easy as I thought, but I came up with some calico-like cotton, which fit with the rather rustic feel of the yarn.

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I still had enough of the yarn to braid a long strap, and sewed that to the lining seam.  There may have been some way to machine sew at least part of the lining in, but it seemed awkward, so I tucked the lining down in, and sewed the top edges together by hand.

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When the flap is folded over, the fringes on the flap and front come together.  I added a bead to the flap for interest, et voila!

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It’s not high fashion, but at least it’s fun!

 

 

Repurposing, etc.

A while back I took all of my knitted scarves and pulled them apart, winding the yarn in balls to use for weaving.  There was one  with vertical stripes that were knitted lengthwise, so the yarn came off in 20-yard lengths.  A couple of weeks ago I thought it was time to weave this one up.

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The 20-yard lengths made easy stripes, both warp and weft, but, the funniest thing was that the yarn had been knitted for so long it was all kinked up.  The warp straightened out pretty well, but you can see the curly ends in the blue and brown weft stripes below.

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Ultimately, it all straightened out pretty well in the wet finishing, and I like the result!

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Next project was some variegated wool that someone had passed on at a weaving guild meeting.  This yarn had been calling to me for some months, but it had its own challenges.  There were lots of breaks in the warp right off the cone.  Either the yarn had been cut by something or there were moths (fortunately not transferred to me).  However, it worked up into a very nice plaid.

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And lastly, I was leaving for a short trip to warmer climes in a few days, and realized I didn’t have a summer-weight scarf, and both looms were busy, so what to do?!  I dug out something I had woven almost 2 years ago – what were supposed to be placemats – with a crammed and spaced structure, but made from crochet thread, so way too flimsy to be used for placemats.

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However, there were 3 of them, so maybe I could put them together to make a scarf???  Many square knots later (tying each warp thread to its counterpart on the next “placemat”) it seemed like this might work.

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And, it’s kind of cool.  (My first selfie.  There will be a better photo in the gallery when we have a chance to do the next photo shoot.)  Anyway, I’m pleased with this little project, and will do crammed and spaced again.  I like the unpredictability of the look.

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