Weaving a Tale. . . And Placemats!

Hey!  It’s been a while since I last posted– several months– but that is because I have been really busy with school.  I was going to upload my project on Mycenaean clothing, but I decided not to.  I was too worried about getting in trouble for plagiarizing myself!

I have been busy lately, working on a frilly French shirt and a Viking Costume for my little brother– pictures of the young Viking to come!  I also decided last time I was home for the weekend to warp the four-harness loom in the basement and make dishtowels.  I shall now narrate to you my adventure:

Friday night, I was down in the basement, hanging out with my family, and I started messing with the loom.  There was a small project on it that had never been finished, and was never really started right.  I thought I might take it apart, Penelope style, and fix it.  I started to ‘un-weave’ it, and Mom looked over and said:  “If you want to start something new on that, you can.”  In about ten minutes, I had cut the old project off, pulled the old warp back through the heddles and reed, and was unwinding the warping bar.  I found a cone of white cotton warp/weft we had boughten when we got the loom, and was off!

The first step was to find the pattern I wanted to use.  A few years ago while I was at Stuhr Museum, I found an old weaving diagram in a display case next to a four-harness loom, so I took a picture of it.  It was this pattern that I decided to use, titled “Double Orange Peel”.

An Antique Weaving Draft

Double Orange Peel Weaving Draft

I counted the threads in the diagram and added twelve for selvedge, six on each side, and came up with 126.  Yikes.  Nothing fazing me, I dug out the warping board and started measuring warp– enough for about four towels.  I had to measure the warp in two sections, because the pegs on the warp board were not long enough, naturally, to hold all of my warp.  After the warp was counted and measured out, I called it a night and decided to actually warp the loom and hopefully start weaving the next day.

The next morning, I hired my little brother, Kyle, to help sley the yarn so I could get the heddles threaded the right way.  His job was to hand me the threads in the right order from the lease sticks.  I paid him a king size bag of Skittles.  My job was to follow the pattern and pass the sleying hook through the reed and heddles in the correct order, and then tie the yarns, once they were pulled through, to the beam.  I think he got bored after he ran out of Skittles, but he kept helping anyway.

Sleying the Loom

Sleying the Loom

Side View of Sleying the Loom

Side View of Sleying the Loom

Once the heddles and reed were all threaded, I dismissed Kyle and began to sort of the other end of the warp  (Should have been done beforehand) by grabbing a pair of loops and pulling them straight back fro the loom, then bringing them back and tying them to the apron bar.  That was a lot of walking.  Finally, that was done, and I asked th oldest of my thress brothers to hold the warp yarns even on a brromstick while I turned the crank and tightened the warp.  Finally, I was ready to weave.

No I wasn’t.  I had skipped a space in the reed, and had to move 62 threads over one space to avoid a gap in the cloth.  Then I learned the valuable lesson that one cannot thread a yarn through more than one heddle at a time, so I had to fix my selvedges.

Once I started weaving, I was very happy with how the pattern was turning out–  It was a beautiful overshot pattern, and as it was done in all white, it was very delicate looking.  However, what with the weight of the yarn and the overshot pattern, it was not suited for dish towels.  So, I decided to make placemats.  They were already the right width, so I had only to adjust the length and allow sufficient gaps between each section for fringe.

Weaving the Placemats

Weaving the Placemats

A Placemat on the Loom

A Placemat on the Loom

They are not finisheded yet, as I ran out of white yarn at the end of the third placemat, so I have to buy more in order to finish.  However, they do give me hope that I shall be able to weave my family tartan this summer as planned– and with very little trouble!

Me With My Weaving

Me With My Weaving

Kyle Helping

Kyle Helping

Published in: on May 3, 2009 at 12:57 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Weaving looks so complicated! Are the placemats for your hope chest, or are you just making them for fun?

    • Weaving is actually pretty easy– I was able to do this in one afternoon.

      And they are sort of for my hope chest, but also as a good project for learning. They are going to be pretty neat, but I need to work on my selvages. . .

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