Tuesday, August 21, 2012

At Last.....

The baby blanket is complete:
I wanted it to be larger than my 32" weaving width would allow, so I spent a lot of time thinking about how to achieve that.  At first I wasn't wild about the idea of seams, certainly not a seam down the middle.  And the idea of matching two panels was daunting.  Various types of edging were considered and discarded.  Finally I decided to take a sort of quilting approach and make the blanket bordered.  Finished dimensions are 51" x 36".

The solution:  I wove two panels and juxtaposed the patterns.  That way the wave pattern could be borders on both ends and both sides and the fish could swim in the center and on the corners.  Yay!!...no pattern matching required.  Above you see the two panels fresh off the loom.

Next was deciding how to seam the piece in a way that works for a baby blanket.  Hand stitching cotton just didn't seem like a durable option.  One of the early samples reminded me of denim so I started thinking about a double stitched flat fell seam....but how to deal with all of those fabric layers?

Because I had a lot of sample fabric woven, I had the luxury of spending time at the serger and sewing machine to try seaming options.  Here's what I ended up with:
The selvedge on the center panel is left open.  The side panels were serged.  Then I used a double needle on the sewing machine with top stitching thread in the needles to sew the two panels overlapped.  Here's what the back looks like:
It's not beautiful, but it is stable and soft, and the appearance in the face of the fabric is in keeping with the style of the fabric.  If you notice on the top photo, I played around with the sewing machines stitching options to create a monogram and birthdate.  Again, I was happy to have sampling fabric to work out the stitching.  However, I was too lazy to make a run to the fabric store for machine embroidery thread and just used regular sewing thread for the embroidering. 

One tip I learned while weaving the blanket:
Next to the two shuttle weaving, the thing that was slowing me down the most was taking care of the ends of the pattern thread when switching bobbins.  I like to bury one of the loose ends in the weaving, then carry the other end along the selvedge to cover it.  Wrapping the shuttle around that loose end was a pain and fiddling with it just made things sloppy. 

My solution:  I taped the new end to the edge thread toward the reed using a tiny piece (1/4" square at most) of painters tape.  Once I had woven an inch or so, I removed the tape and continued weaving.  In finishing, the only thing those ends required was a close trim.  The reed was an 8 dent reed and the selvedge thread was dented alone, so the trick may not work with a smaller reed and closer set.  But on this project it was the perfect solution.

That's it! 
Now I need to:
  • pack it up
  • send it off to the new baby
  • vacuum the lint out of the serger and sewing machine
  • vacuum all the threads off the floor in the loom and sewing rooms
  • wind a new warp for the next project!



10 comments:

  1. Beautiful! Good solutions to for all the challenge areas. I'm very impressed with the design. Love it!

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  2. What a special blanket! I love those fishies and waves - good solution putting a border on to make it wider.

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  3. Wow, that came out just beautiful!

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  4. Val, I love this blanket! And what a terrific "workaround" for those pesky threads -- taping toward the reed is an inspired idea.

    So... What's next? :-)

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  5. Awesome! I have acquired a serger, specifically to use on handwoven fabric, but I haven't played with it yet. My weaving is on hold because my loom commited suicide rather than weave the towels that I wanted to... It can be fixed, but not before I leave for my nephew's wedding. So, it's inspiring to see what can be done!

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  6. This turned out so nice! I like how you sewed it to make it bigger, yet there is no center seam! Job well done!

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  7. Love it - I just seem to do striped huck lace for baby blankets. You are much more ambitious than me.

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  8. It's just lovely! and clever solutions.

    Lucky new Mom and baby.....

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  9. Very clever way to make a wider blanket on your loom, and it turned out so nice! I will have to remember this when I want to make a wider piece again, someday.

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  10. It's beautiful! I'm impressed with your ingenuity.

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tie in the loose ends...