Sunday, January 13, 2019

On the Ply

This is rather exciting. Using what I already have makes sense to me. Finding new ways to use what would have otherwise been binned is especially fun. Once the idea of plying my knotted thrums using the drop spindle method occurred to me, I was off and running.

Here I'm weaving a Rep Weave Placemat using knotted and plied thrums as thick weft
Knotted thrums add colored bumps poking up between warp ends. I worried about the effect those bumps would make in the finished weave but the added texture turned out to be a plus. The added interest serves to camouflage crumbs, a valuable trait in a placemat.

Rep Weave Placemat
8/4 Cotton Carpet Warp colors - Black and Tan
Knotted and plied thrums as thick weft

Rep Weave Placemat
8/4 Cotton Carpet Warp colors - Black and Tan
Knotted and plied thrums as thick weft, reverse side

Rep Weave Placemat
This one is still on the loom in the first photo.
This warp is a multi-ply marl that had been sitting on my shelf for years.

The third warp used Christmasy colors but will work at other times of year, too.

The reverse of the Christmasy colored Placemat

Here are the three color ways of my Rep Weave Placemats
with knotted and plied thrums as thick weft
We have enjoyed these placemats for several weeks now and all three color ways are pleasant. They wash well, too - always a plus.

Here's wishing 2019 is a year chock full of happy weaving adventures for you.

Warp On/Weave Off,


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Why Not Ply?

Having used I Cord thrums for several Rep Weave projects I finally admitted to myself that repetitive motion was taking a toll. As I wove the first place mats on this warp I thought and thought about how I could still use thrums while saving my hands.

Rep Weave Placemat using I Cord thrums for thick weft

The reverse side of the same Rep Weave placemat

I'd thought about plying knotted thrums but getting out my spinning wheel and actually doing it was another issue. Then the idea struck me of hand spinning several strands together with a drop spindle approach.

I filled eight bobbins with knotted thrums. Putting them all into a bin I took hold of the ends together as one and pulled the strands out in a single bundle. I kept pulling and pulling until the whole length was laid out on the floor. Then taking the eight ends together I began winding them on a ski shuttle. Every now and then I’d put a half hitch around the shuttle end, hold it up and spin it around in drop shuttle fashion to put a slight ply into the eight strands. Winding on at intervals, I filled the ski shuttle. It was fun and easy.

Here are my eight bobbins of
knotted 8/4 Cotton Carpet Warp Thrums.
The resulting plied yarn made for lovely thick weft in my placemats. Color changes were more muted than in the I Cord version. The ply twist made interesting effects. My hands were happier.

This new use for thrums is an exciting discovery. Now I’m thinking and thinking of other ways to use thrums. Creativity has been awakened.

Next time I'll share photos of my knotted and plied thrum placemats.

Warp On/Weave Off,


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Thrums Placemats

Happy New Year!

Since I missed wishing you a Merry Christmas, I just thought I'd better make my New Year greeting early.

I do hope everyone had a lovely Christmas celebration and that the happy glow is ongoing. We were (yet, again) dealing with things medical so our festivities were somewhat muted, but perhaps more meaningful. In any case: Happy New Year to you and yours.

Rep Weave Placemats
I Cord thrums as thick weft
Here is a quick snapshot of my Rep Weave Placemats using the knotted thrums described earlier. Since the thrum color changes are abrupt, I designed a simple overall block design in the warp. The mats are extra wide on purpose. They are sturdy yet pliable and very good insulators, altogether satisfying to use.

Watch for a few more photos of these soon. For now, duty calls elsewhere but I'll be back.

Happy New Year 2019!

Warp On/Weave Off,

Friday, November 30, 2018

Waste Not, Want Not

Since I tend to tie on to a warp twice for a total of three unique color ways, I’m left with back beam thrums of around one yard in length. It isn’t much more work to tie those long bits together into continuous threads.

These are a few spool knitters from my collection.
The little red one in front is the first one I bought as a child.
At first I used my little spool knitters with knotted thrums to create long tubes to use as thick weft in my Rep weaves. Those cords made very nice rugs, runners and placemats. But after a while the slowness of the knitting process grew tiresome and my hands grew tired, too.

Then I discovered I-Cord, a far quicker method of making the same knit tube. With short double-pointed needles I knit to the row end and without turning the work slide the stitches across the needle, pull the working yarn around behind and continue knitting. This is a huge improvement over spool knitting. It is lots quicker and isn't nearly as hard on my hands.

It's far easier to create cords from knotted Thrums with the I-Cord method.
These cords are knit from knotted 8/4 Cotton Carpet Warp Thrums.

Knitting yards and yards of multi-colored cord, I realized I was creating another version of variegated yarn. Have I mentioned my strong attraction to color? Ha!

My loved one is still very ill and we spend many long hours at various doctors’ offices and treatment centers. By the end of the year we should see a reprieve and hope for an improvement. Time will tell. In the meantime we are happy for every new dawn.

I am behind on photographing my work but promise to get around to it and to write again sooner rather than later.

Warp On/Weave Off,

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Remember Spool Knitting?

Sewing thread no longer comes on wooden spools and that’s too bad. Here you see my wooden spool collection. I treasure these, a remnant from my childhood.

My wooden spool collection, two with nails added for knitting

As a little girl I learned to knit using a spool. My dad pounded nails into the top for me. Then with bits and pieces of yarn, mostly of inexpensive acrylic, I spent many happy hours producing long, usually colorful knit tubing. (Variegated yarn was my favorite even back then.) It did not matter that I had no idea how to use these in any particular way. The making of them was what mattered to me.

Did you do the same? What did you do with the knitted cord?

Warp On/Weave Off,


Thursday, October 4, 2018

Thrums Away?

8/4 Cotton Carpet Warp Thrums

Weave it and they will come. "They" are the unavoidable waste at the beginning and end of each warp.

What's to be done with thrums? What do you do with your thrums? Do you toss them away?

Upon learning to weave I was told to save my thrums. No reason was given. I tend to follow directions so with only the rare exception I blindly followed this advice, not knowing the whys or the wherefores of it.

Over the years my thrum collection has grown to fill entire bins. Thrums make good choke ties but my supply far outstrips that need. Uses for them had indeed been few  until recently.

Warp On/Weave Off,

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Why RepWeaver?

Rep is one of my favorite weave structures and I have woven lots and lots of Rep.

An alternate allusion is “repeat” or “repertoire”. The second usually refers to a stock set of plays, songs, etc. performed on a rotating schedule. 

For the most part I weave each of my designs three times, tying on to the first warp twice. This way I can try a variety of colors and make slight design changes on each subsequent warp, learning as I go.

Results of my Waffle Weave adventures
6 Harness Waffle Weave (far left to right) light blue, olive, red
7 Harness Waffle Weave (center left to right) dark teal, pink, dusty plum
In my waffle weave adventures I wove two variations: one on 7 harnesses, the other on 6 harnesses. Both were warped with three different color versions. Here they all are.

Fall is coming - my favorite season. It's a great time to switch gears and seek new adventures. Time to get back to Rep Weave.

Warp On/Weave Off,


Monday, August 20, 2018

A Wave of Blue Waffles

Blue 6H Waffle Weave Towel

Here you see results of the final warp of my waffle adventures, at least the final one for now. These just happen to be my very favorite of all the Waffle Weave towel warps I have woven – six warps producing 44 towels.

For the Blue towels I tightened the sett from 34 e.p.i. to 36 e.p.i. The final combination of 16/2 cotton (Natural & Variegated) for the waffle cells partnered with 20/2 cotton (Blue) for the plain weave stripes made the best cloth of all my waffle weaving. The blue towels are pleasant to the eye and to the hand. As an extra-added bonus they are very good at soaking up water, too.

Blue Wave Waffle Towel
Front side showing border treatment

Blue Wave Waffle Towel
Reverse side showing border treatment

Someday I’d like to get back to weave waffles but for now other projects beacon. Warp Rep is on my horizon. Hooray!

Loved One's health issues continue to sap time, energy and emotion. It seems, though that improvement is on the horizon. So maybe life will get back to some kind of new normal. Time will tell. Our garden also keeps me away from the loom but that is a happy distraction. Slight hints of autumn are beginning to show. Autumn is my favorite season. Happy times lie in store.

Happy Weaving!
Warp On/Weave Off,


Monday, July 30, 2018

Green Waffles Without Ham

It sounds a bit Dr. Suess-ish but I could not resist.

Would you, could you if they were hand woven?

I do! I do like them handwoven, Sam-I-am!

Green Waffle Weave Towel
Showing hem and both sides

This warp is coming closer to the ideal combination of structure, sett and yarn size to truly please me. The colors make me happy, too. The sett is 34 e.p.i. Natural colored 16/2 cotton is combined with Olive green and variegated 20/2 cottons. Using slightly smaller sized yarns for the plain weave warps and wefts made for the best waffle weave structure yet. Every successive warp has shown slight improvement over all previous waffle warps. It is very satisfying to watch a design develop.

Two Waffle Weave Towels
Two different border design ideas

Here you see two ideas for border treatments. The folded towel starts out with the weft colors arranged as in the warp. Then after a few repeats I dropped the green and used natural in its place. It is very different. The one on the right shows the green replaced by natural for a few repeats a short way above each hem. Although I like the towel on the right best, both are nice.

My loved one's health issue continues to suck most of the time and energy out of us both. I finished weaving this warp back in April. There is one more waffle warp done since then. I will write about that one next time. And (Hooray!) there is another new warp on my loom. More to come . . .

Warp On/Weave Off,

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Red Ones

You may have noticed towels from my fourth adventure in waffle weave in a photo from two posts ago. Take a look at the bottom of the stack and you will see them. They are still waffle weave but slightly different from the first three.

Four Cotton Waffle Weave Hand Towels
They are in order as woven, the red one on the left.
The waffles are actually natural
with a navy blue marl through the centers.

Three previous waffle warps were all my 7-shaft version of Draft #388 from the Carol Strickler  AWeaver’s Book of 8-Shaft Patterns. The resulting towels were satisfying to weave and are pleasant to use. Yet, while weaving them the idea of trying for an even smaller waffle kept coming to me. Here you see my 6-shaft version of the same draft. The waffles are woven on four shafts with plain weave (red ends) on the other two.

Reverse side
The marled yarn is more obvious on this side.

The warp is 16/2 cotton in Natural and Red with 20/2 Navy blue marl. I didn't have a good variegated yarn for the highlights through the waffle cell centers. The marl worked just as well here. At first I chose a sett of 34 e.p.i. After sampling I decided to switch to 36 e.p.i. Weaving “to square” is always my aim and even though the change was slight it did help. Still, it isn't perfectly to square.

It's fun to be able to easily create a border effect by a slight change in weft color orders. I'm sure there are lots of possibilities to be explored for border treatments. Fun to be had!

The red ones are my favorite waffle weave towels so far. They are a slightly finer weave than the previous three versions and are a nice weight for drying hands.

Border effect by changing weft color order

Someone near and dear to me is very ill so weaving and blogging have taken a back seat lately. Warm weather and working outdoors are also keeping me from my loom. My heart is with all three and even though I am not writing as often, the work continues. I will check in here as often as I am able.

It is good to be alive. I wish you all good health, a lovely summer, beautiful gardens, happy weaving and maybe even a bit of fun as well.

Warp On/Weave Off,