Weaving Notes

Sylvie Sue, 1997-2006This page is for sharing with you what I come up with as I experiment with the yarns on this site.  It's not a page of recipes for fully fleshed-out projects, although if you want to email me with questions about anything you see here please do so (palomatextiles@gmail.com).  

Please add to this; I'd love to post other peoples' work here.  Just email me a picture and anything you'd like to tell about it.  You don't have to have bought your project's yarns from this site to post here, but the yarns should be similar to what we sell.  For instance, in my experience, linen and hemp are similar.  Also, the handspun soy yarn I've made has similarities to bamboo.  A project you've made with either of those fibers would be pertinent here, even though I don't sell them (yet).    



Hemp scarf

For this project I used the 10/1 unbleached hemp.  I wound 299 doubled ends--thus making what in effect became an unplied 10/2 yarn.  10/2 cotton has a recommended sett of 24 - 36 ends per inch.  I picked the high end of the range, 36 epi, because I wanted a heavy material with some warmth.  Also, I love heavy, drapey twills.

Thus I sleyed 36 doubled ends, 3 ends per dent, in a 12-dent reed (adds up to 72 singles per inch).  My width in the reed was 8.3 inches.  I sleyed a bird's point twill in the middle for a diamond effect, and a straight twill margin on the sides. 

The weaving progressed quickly enough, although I will admit frankly that I had a few broken ends with this fine of a hemp yarn.  That was not a problem as the replacement yarns I added in seemed to "mend" into the fabric and I now cannot even tell where the breaks were.  However, this might be an issue with a less closely-sett cloth.

After taking the cloth from the loom I twisted the ends in groups, because I knew from prior experience that hemp ends can fray rather wildly and become knotted.  Then I machine washed the scarf in a regular wash cycle with regular soap, and threw it in the dryer.  Machine drying hemp really seems to bring out the softness and drape.

I lost about 12% of my width to shrinkage (scarf is now 7 inches wide), and 8% in length (it shrank from 68" long to 62 1/2", but the scarf is still a great size for me.

This project turned out perfectly for me--I love the drape, and it has a linen-like sheen to it.  I haven't decided yet whether or not to dye it.  If I had it to do over again, I would leave longer fringes on either end, because I feel that the twisted ends are a tiny bit too short in proportion to the rest of the cloth.








Gauzy hemp sample

To the right is a detail of a woven hemp sample I made in plain weave.  Using the 10/1 hemp, I used a straight twill threading, with one thread per heddle.  I sleyed the threads 3 per dent in a 10 dent heddle.  Part of the sample I wove using a firm beat, so that I had almost 30 picks per inch of weft threads.  The result was an unremarkable plain weave that is light and sheer. (If you hold it up to your eyes and look through it you can see the vague shapes of objects beyond).  It has a crisp hand and would be a very good base for various forms of needlework.

The distortions apparent in this sample came about when I started experimenting with a looser beat.  I moved from one weft pick per treadle, then to two, then to three and finally four.  You can see that the distortion of the grid is greatest in the areas where I moved from single to multiple picks.  The distortion did not occur until after I cut the cloth from the loom, washed it, and dryed it in the dryer.

This piece is at its best with light shining through it.  Even with the loose beat, the resulting cloth does not feel "sleazy" since the hemp has enough body to give it a crisp, structured feel.  I have fantasies of weaving three large pieces like this and affixing them to large finished wood frames.  Connected with hinges they would make a standing screen for a room divider.


Card-Woven Band, Bamboo and Cotton

This is part of a sampler I set up to learn more about card weaving.  I used Bambu 7 yarn in River, Basil, and Borage, plus some old remnants of 10/2 pearl cotton in cream and rust hues.  Working from Candace Crockett's book Card Weaving, I focused on the chapter "Dark and Light Patterning," which shows how to wind a warp quickly by threading groups of cards all at once.  After warping, I worked diagonal stripes, and then worked the checks in the double weave method, which she explains in the same chapter.

This band is 2 3/4" wide.  I used 30 cards with four holes, and threaded the Bambu 7 in singles, and doubled the 10/2 cotton.   I've made two bands prior to this one, both in 10/2 pearl cotton, and those bands turned out rather stiff, due to the close warp spacing.  In this case, the bamboo yarn allowed the band to have a much more flexible drape, even with the close warp sett.  This is a nice feature of the bamboo yarn, although in cases where you'd want a stiff band, you would probably not want to use it.

I recommend Candace Crockett's book as a self-teaching guide for learning card weaving.  I have to admit I haven't read any others yet, but hers seems to explain everything a beginner needs to know.  Card-weaving is great if you don't have a lot of space for loom set-up.  You just need the cards (sometimes called tablets), yarn, and a couple of large c-clamps for wrapping your warp threads around.








Saddle-blanket weave blanket with Quina yarn 




I wove this  weft-face blanket for a family member who is an over-the-road trucker, and designed it for extra warmth and drape. For the weft I used Mirasol Quina yarn in Dark Navy (20 skeins), Poppy Black (actually a rust hue) (9 skeins), and Fire Flames (a gold) (9 skeins). The warp was 10/3 hemp dyed blue to match the navy weft, and sleyed at 8 ends/inch in a Rosepath pattern.

Here is the threading, with the margin threadings in bold, the balance pattern in italics, and the main center pattern repeated twice: 

4,3,2,1, 4,3,2,1     4,3,2,1,2,3,4     1,2,3,4,1,4,3,2,1,4,3,2    1,2,3,4,1,4,3,2,1,4,3,2      1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4
Margin                   Balance               Main Pattern                     Main Pattern                     Margin


In weaving, I labeled my three colors A, B, and C, and alternated them in four repeats according to this chart: 

Treadles:           12              23              34               14

    Colors:        A               B                 C                A
                     B               C                 A                B
                     C               A                 B                C


This creates a diagonal pattern. For a diamond, reverse the sequence:


Treadles:           14              34               23               12

Colors:                                B                 A                 C

                         B               A                 C                 B
                         A               C                 B  


Some of the blanket is solid navy blue, so those sections wove up more easily. The pattern will look different depending on how you order your colors. I always worked from navy (dark) to rust (medium) to gold (light), and found that the pattern was set off best using that order. Working with 3 colors makes it a little trickier to create even selvedges. Here is the technique I used: 

I threw shuttle A, and put that shuttle next to me on the bench, then threw B and placed that next to A (farther away from me), then finally threw C, and placed it on the outside next to B. Then I'd pick up A, throw it to the other side (it would enter the shed over colors B and C), place it next to me, and follow from there as before. 

 I sleyed the warp 42 inches wide and wove to a length of 78 inches long, which included 1 1/2 inches of plain weave at each end .  After cutting the blanket from the loom, I made a narrow rolled hem (1/2 inch wide when finished), and hand washed the blanket in cold water and mild soap.  Then I ran it through my washing machine's spin cycle and laid it flat to dry.




The blanket has a wonderful drape, is very soft against the skin, and is super warm.  It is also very heavy, meaning it should probably not be stored draped across a hanger in order to avoid sagging.