I have finally reached the end of the first runner for this warp, or maybe the end of the last, depending on how I feel.
This has been the warp from hell for me. The spools themselves had knots, but the biggest annoyance has been warp threads breaking. I have searched on-line, started a discussion on Ravelry, and have spoken with more experienced weavers to determine the possible cause (me, loom, thread), but it is hard to come up with a clear answer.
The breakages have occurred after I have advanced the warp and tensioned it. Could there be too much tension on the warp? Well maybe, but after comparing mine to others, my tension is not any tighter (and probably a bit looser) than those I compared it to.
One thought I had was maybe the metal heddles were too rough for the 2/16 mercerized cotton I am using. However, that was met with a bit of skepticism from my weaving group, mercerized cotton is supposed to be stronger than unmercerized cotton (I was going to replace the metal heddles with Texsolv, but I will hold off on that for now). This is the first time I have used anything as fine as 2/16, but should that really make a difference other than it takes longer to weave 36″ in 2/16 versus 2/8?
The majority of the broken threads are in one area. This warp consists of one entire spool of 2/16 mercerized cotton and part of a second. Selvedge threads were added after the warp was put on and came from the second spool, all of my repair threads have come from the second spool, and now one of those repair threads has broken. What does this all mean? Could it be a bad spool of cotton? Maybe.
Other than the broken threads, I have enjoyed weaving with the 2/16 mercerized cotton. I love the sheen that the cotton has and the heirloom look it gives the runner. If anyone has any other ideas as to what my problem might be, I would love to hear from you.
After a couple of hiccups (threading error), I have finally started weaving the runner.
I have chosen a natural colour for the warp and tabby weft, and a navy for the pattern weft. I thought this strong colour contrast would help in seeing the pattern develop, show any errors more quickly, and give a more traditional look. I thought the sheen of a mercerized cotton would look nice.
So far, I think it is weaving up nicely.
Now that I am familiar with the technique of overshot, I have decided to weave some more runners on my home loom.
I found a draft that I like from the Leclerc Looms website.
(photo from Leclerc website)
- 2/16 cotton for warp and tabby weft
- 2/8 cotton for pattern weft
- 30 epi
- 16″ wide in the reed
- 480 ends
I am using a sectional warp beam, something I’m not that familiar with. Since I am only doing a small warp (6 yards), I needed to figure out how to get my warp on. I decided to wind 16 warp chains, 30 ends each.
And, thinking I was being clever, wound them all on at the same time. Note to self: do not do that again. I did however, use a warping valet/trapeze to maintain a nice tight tension while winding on, and I will definitely do that again. The following picture shows the warp chains coming from the back of the loom, under the front beam and up to the valet (aka broom handle in the floor joists). After this picture was taken I removed the front beam because it wanted to pop off.
The warp chains were weighted with bottles of water:
Three warp threads broke while I wound on the warp that will have to fixed, not too bad I think.
This is how the warp looks from the back of the loom:
and tied onto the front apron rod:
Now to start weaving!
I have finally finished a set of dish towels that I wove two, maybe three years ago. What was the delay? The fear of cutting into perfectly good fabric and having it all fall apart before my eyes.
On The Loom
However, yards of fabric just sitting on a shelf is of no use either, so out came the sewing machine and scissors and I went to work, and they did not fall apart.
I pinned and pressed all the hems, sewed them all by hand (a process that I quite enjoy actually), threw them in the washer and dryer, and they did not fall apart.
At my Saturday sit ‘n knit I was working on the hems, someone asked if she could by one, that felt great.
The draft for these towels is from Best of Handwoven: Top Ten Towels on Four Shafts. Although the pattern draft indicates the pattern be woven at 20 epi, I believe I wove mine at 24 (2 per dent in a 12-dent reed). Towels were woven with Venne Organic Cotton in Natural and Peacock.
A weaving technique that I have wanted to learn since I began my weaving adventure is overshot. Overshot is most often associated with beautiful woven coverlets of the 18th and 19th centuries, consisting of a white or natural background and a complex looking pattern, usually woven in a blue or red wool.
This past fall, I finally had the opportunity to try my hand at this technique at MERA, as a group of us wanted to learn/explore this structure more. We settled on the project we wanted to do (in this case a runner), warped a loom, then we each had our turn weaving. Even though we all did the same runner, it was so much fun to see how each differed, based on the yarns used, and share what we learned.
The warp was a mystery yarn in the stash, probably cotton, in a 2/8 weight. My weft yarn is 2/8 cotton, doubled. Others used a boucle type yarn, or doubled 2/8 with more than one colour.
I absolutely love this technique, and can’t wait to set-up my home loom for more overshot projects.
Runner in progress on loom:
Underside of runner, hand-stitched hem: