Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My checkered past....

Theresa's comment in the last post was the perfect segue to this post that was already in draft form.  Thanks Theresa!  (Have you been peeking in my windows?)

Back in April our guild had a workshop with Lisa Hill.   I still have to post some photo's and thoughts from that workshop, but here's quick taster:
 Lisa had a draft that she had woven in several iterations that intrigued me to no end.  It is essentially three layers of cloth that intersect the planes of the other layers at regular intervals.  The project below was done on 8 shafts with 8 treadles.  If I didn't want to have plain weave edges, it could have been woven on 6 shafts.  Magic!!

I decided I wanted to use the draft to weave some placemats for our new kitchen table.

Here's what they looked like on the loom...(see the checks!?)

And they are completely reversible:

Here's the set of 4 with one turned back to so  you can see the reverse side:

 The placemats have been wet finished.  If you click for a bigger photo you can see how the yarns filled in from the top two photos.  The yarns are mainly 5/2 perle cotton with a polyflax mill end (similar to 8/2's cotton) in the flax color.

I wove a sampler to help me make some decisions putting on the whole placemat warp.
What I learned from this narrow sampler: 
  • I learned that to take all three weft yarns to the edge selvedge was going to make placemats with ripply edges.  So I decided that the middle layer of cloth would have an interior selvedge as we had learned in Lisa's workshop.
  • As a result of the sample, the yarns were swapped about.  The flax colored yarn became the "base fabric".
  • I also changed the numbers of threads in the various blocks and adjusted setts as well.
  • The colors just weren't' doing it for me...too green...too orange...   So instead of using green as warp and weft, a dark turquoise was used as a weft against the dark green. 
  • The shrinkage and draw in on the sampler made for more accurate placemat measurements.
  • And the sampler helped me decide on hem treatments.
Let's just say that I am a fan of sampling.  It makes for much better finished products.

Speaking of finishing....

See that funny yellow needle above?  It is perfect for darning in yarn ends and correcting weaving errors!  The plastic is slightly flexible, so it doesn't split yarns or damage the cloth when needle weaving.  And the whole needle is an "eye", so if you have a short thread to weave in, just weave the needle where you want it, then slip the short end through the slotted needle and pull it through.  They are made by Dritz, come in a package with 1 each of 5 different sizes and can be found in the knitting section of your local hobby store.

So there you have it....my recent checkered past....


  1. Valerie, do you have a draft you could share for that? I love the intersections in the design, as well as your great choice of colors!

  2. Oh my that looks really fun and interesting. Love the checks and the inner selvedge, doubly interesting. I'm off to check Lisa Hill's site.

  3. What a clever weave! So much depth and texture!. ....and perfect for placemats!

  4. Looks like a lot of fun! I'll have to try it. Your color choices turned out great.

  5. Many thumbs up Valerie! Owning those threads!

  6. Kathy,

    The draft was part of the workshop that I took with Elizabeth Hill. I don't feel comfortable passing along materials from workshops.
    The key to working out the draft is think of three sets of plain weave warps that intersect one another.

  7. Beautiful work! Thanks for sharing. I'm also fond of sampling, it's really such a fun part of the creative process in weaving.



tie in the loose ends...