Wednesday, December 27, 2023

More Bath Mats: Classic Crackle With Variegated Yarn

In my planning post I decided to experiment with a variegated yarn. I warped my loom for two more bath mats and tried something a bit different with each.

The particulars
  • yarn: Peaches & Cream 4-ply worsted weight cotton 
  • structure: classic crackle
  • warp: variegated yarn in white, yellow, and orange
  • pattern weft for both is red
  • sett: 8 e.p.i.
  • width in reed: 19"
  • treadling: 4-shaft crackle has 4 treadling blocks, usually treadled in A, B, C, D order to create a stair step pattern. I used different block orders for each bath mat.
  • wet finishing: hot water hand wash and machine dry on hot cycle
  • machine hemmed both, rather than fringe

3rd Bath Mat

  • background wefts: same variegated yarn as warp for both background wefts
  • treadling: alternated A and C blocks 
  • off-the-loom dimensions before wet finishing: 16.5" x 26" 
  • finished dimensions: 15" x 23"

The variegated warp and weft gives a pseudo-plaid look to the light colored rectangles.

4th Bath Mat

  • background wefts in solid colors: orange (x) and yellow (y)
  • treadling: alternated A and B blocks
  • off-the-loom dimensions before wet finishing: 16.5" x 26.25"
  • finished dimensions: 15.5" x 24"

They are both very different, and it's interesting to explore some of the possibilities. I now have four very different bath mats, and all from the same threading pattern.

You can see bath mats 1 and 2 here.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Crackle Bath Mat 3

While I was weaving my first two bath mats, I was thinking about a third. For this one, I decided to experiment with that variegated Peaches-n-Cream yarn

I love working with variegated yarns because they can do such interesting things when woven or knitted. In my weaving, I've both worked with trying to match the sections of color (to create a stripey ikat effect), and working with them randomly (to create a plaid effect). In my bath mat planning post, I mentioned not being able to match the color sections very well, and after that I had to think about it. 

The intrigue of crackle is how the colors interact, and I wondered if perhaps using a variegated yarn would somehow be overkill, or if the structure and the yarn colors would "fight" each other. I finally decided to use the variegated as both warp and background weft, and use red as my pattern weft. 

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Here's how it's working out.

It's been fun to weave, although I haven't really decided yet if I like it. I just know the end result will be useful as a bath mat.

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Crackle Bath Mats: 1st Two Done

My first two crackle bath mats are finished and in service! 

Both were woven with the same warp, but different manners of weaving.

woven in classic crackle

 woven in a no-tabby bird's eye twill

More details and photos can be viewed by following the links in the photo captions. Now, I'm glad I chose the bright colors because they really add some interest to the bathroom.

Being cotton, I expected quite a bit of shrinkage after wet finishing, but I decided to push that to the max by drying them in the clothes dryer on the hot setting. Ordinarily, I line dry, but on occasion will use my clothes dryer if it's rainy or snowy out. 

The shrinkage tightened up the fabric beautifully, so that the bath mats are soft, thick, and cushy. Being unmercerized cotton, they will be nicely absorbent. The fringe suffered most from machine laundering because that pretty much unraveled the yarn.

The particulars

  • yarns: 4-ply crochet cotton (a.k.a. rug filler)
  • threading: crackle
  • treadling
    • #1 in classic crackle
    • #2 in no-tabby twill crackle
  • sett: 8 e.p.i.
  • picks per inch: 9
  • width in reed: 19"
  • woven width on loom: 17"
  • woven width off loom:
    • #1 (classic crackle): 16"
    • #2 (no-tabby twill crackle): 16.5"
  • length on loom: 26" each
  • length off loom
    • #1 (classic crackle): 23"
    • #2 (no-tabby twill crackle): 23.5"
  • wet finishing: machine wash in cold water, machine dry on hot
  • finished sizes:
    • #1 (classic crackle): 15" x 21.5"
    • #2 (no-tabby twill crackle): 15.5" x 22"

Notes & Observations
  • It appears that the different crackle manners of weaving have different draw-in and take-up.
  • The extra heddles on the shafts need to be removed when I'm weaving wider projects. I found quite a bit of lint under the loom when I was done and I suspect it was from the yarn rubbing on those unused heddles.
  • Could also be because from using a snug size reed.
  • Because of the fringe yarn unraveling, I will probably hem future bath mats.
  • I somehow managed to skip a treadling block in the first bath mat. This isn't as noticeable as I thought it would be, but if you look closely you can see that the stair step pattern of the brown rectangles is interrupted in about the middle of the mat. 
  • None of these things matter much for personal use, but it's all good to know for when I want to weave bath mats for someone else. 

A third bath mat is in the planning stages. Details soon.


Monday, December 18, 2023

Bath Mats Continued

These are weaving up pretty quickly and bath mat #2 is progressing. 

The treadling is one of the no-tabby twills I experimented with during the end of warp sampling session for table runner 2. It's a variation of a bird's eye twill treadling from Marguerite Porter Davison'sA Handweaver's Pattern Book (John Murphey's Bird's Eye VII).

Click to enlarge

Changing weft color makes it look somewhat complex, but with the 4-ply worsted weight cotton yarn, it's fast and fun to weave. I should have both bath mats off the loom soon.

Related Posts

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Bath Mats Ho!

 I've made a start.

I measured warp for two bath mats, and decided to weave the first one in classic crackle. I didn't care for the crackle structure with the red plaid scarf, but I think it will work very well for a bath mat. Classic crackle is a three shuttle weave with no tabby. It uses one color for the pattern weft, and two other colors for the two background wefts.

Weaving Notes
  • I had quite a few colors to choose from (see Bath Mats: Planning) and finally settled on lemon yellow and orange for the warp blocks. 
  • I wanted to try the variegated white/yellow/orange yarn in the warp, but had trouble measuring it so that the color sections matched up (like they did for my diddy bag.)
  • I'm using brown for my pattern weft; golden yellow and red for my two background wefts.
  • Weaving is a 4-pick sequence:
    • background x (golden yellow)
    • pattern weft (brown)
    • background y (red)
    • pattern weft (brown)
  • I'm using stick shuttles instead of boat shuttles because for a heavier yarn, they hold a lot more than my small boat shuttle bobbins.
  • When I went to wind the red onto the shuttle, I discovered that the ball was made entirely of short pieces of yarn(!) So I bought a new red when I was out doing errands.
  • I chose brown for the pattern weft because I consider it a neutral color, and I'm hoping it will help keep all those bright colors from looking too gaudy. 
  • I only say that because autumn colors aren't my favorite, so they tend to look gaudy to me. 😄 But they match my stained glass window.
  • At first, handling the three shuttles and keeping track of the colors plus lift order was awkward and required a lot of concentration. But it got easier pretty quickly.

Now that I've worked with the colors a bit, I've decided that they aren't gaudy but cheerful. I think this will be a colorful addition to my bathroom. 

Onward ho!

Bath Mats Ho! © December 2023

Related Posts

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Bath Mats: Planning

I have two things in mind for my next weaving projects: bath mats and a bathroom rug. We need both, so the first step was deciding which to do first. These are going to be for our small master bath (although our second small kitchen bathroom needs them too). Because we have small bathrooms, both mats and rugs will be on the small side of such things.

The colors will be taken from our stained glass bathroom window.

Photo from December 2012. Blog post here.

I already have yarns suitable for some bath mats, which are Aunt Lydia's/Peaches 'n Cream cotton rug filler/crochet type yarns. 

The golden yellow would work better than the lemon yellow,
but I only have that one ball of the golden, lots of the lemon.

For the rug, I want to make a rag rug, which will require preparing the rag strips, So, I decided to start with the mats. Not sure if I should weave two or three.

I want to continue exploring crackle, so the question is which manner of weaving? I have some no-tabby twill weave samples that I'd like to explore with color, but there are new ones I'd like to try too, Also, I'm pondering if and how to use the variegated yarn. I have lots of possibilities to think about.

I confess these aren't my favorite colors, which makes it all the more challenging. I would have preferred blues and greens, but when we bought the stained glass window, that was the only color on offer. So I've just worked with it.

At any rate, with my last project finished, planning for my next project has begun.

Bath Mats: Planning © Dec 2023

Related posts

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Gray Plaid Scarf

After I finished the red plaid scarf, I tied on another warp to weave a second, substituting gray for the red with a different brand of low-pill yarn.

Project Particulars:
  • Yarn: Mainstays Anti-pill acrylic
  • Structure: plain weave
  • Sett: 8 e.p.i.
  • Picks per inch: 8
  • Width in reed: 8 inches
  • Finished width: 7 inches
  • Woven length on loom: 70.5 inches
  • Finished length (excluding fringe): 64 inches 

Weaving Notes and Observations:
  • Sleying 8 e.p.i. on my 10-dent reed (1-1-1-0) worked well.
  • The scarf fabrics are firm but nicely so.
  • The only problem with tying on with this weight yarn was that it was difficult to get the knots through the reed.
  • The second (gray) scarf wove up much more quickly than the first. Probably because we had two days of non-stop rain, so there was no temptation to go outside unless necessary.
  • I was able to listen to Life of Alfred the Great by Bishop Asser of Sherborne and start on The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton.
  • Side note: I discovered that the LibriVox audiobooks at Internet Archive will automatically continue chapter by chapter. Chapters at the LibriVox website must be opened individually.

That wraps up my Christmas gift weaving. Now I can move on to some house projects I have in mind.

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Red Plaid Scarf

Off the loom!

Project Particulars:
  • Yarn: Yarn Bee Soft & Sleek low-pill acrylic
  • Structure: plain weave
  • Sett: 8 e.p.i.
  • Picks per inch: 8
  • Width in reed: 8 inches
  • Finished width: 7 inches
  • Woven length on loom: 69 inches
  • Finished length (excluding fringe): 63 inches 

I decided I have time to tie on more yarn and weave one more. This one will use a different brand of low-pill yarn and substitute gray for the red. 

Red Plaid Scarf © December 2023

Thursday, December 07, 2023

3rd Time's a Charm (i.e. Scarf Start #3)

 So, after re-sleying my scarf, I decided I didn't like that one either. 'This,' I argued with myself, 'is what you get for thinking you could save time by not making samples.' Not wanting to re-sley again, I decided to consult my crackle manners of weaving blog post and choose something else. In the end, I decided on plain weave, which is not the least bit spectacular with crackle threading. Maybe it's for the best, however, in case I didn't like a third experiment.

The recipient will be none the wiser, and I think plaids are rather classic looking, which will suit the recipient. Plus, it's weaving up quickly, with no changing liftplan to keep track of. I just have to make sure the squares are square. I'll save my ideas and experiments for something future.

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Start and Re-Start

After weaving a plain weave header for my crackle scarf set at the calculated 5 e.p.i., I didn't like it. So, I thought back to the worsted weight acrylic afghans I wove years ago. I went back to check their blog posts and found that they were all woven at 8 e.p.i. I decided to go with that instead. I re-sleyed at 1-1-1-1-0 in my ten-dent reed which was a fairly quick task, since the scarf has only 66 warp ends. 

For the threading, I adapted the structural draft on page 19 of Susan Wilson's Weave Classic Crackle & More, which simply rotates the four crackle blocks . . .

Starting from the right, my draft repeats the A-B-C-D sequence twice, and each of my blocks is 11 ends, which works well for transitioning to the next block. I'm using three colors, which rotates the block colors a bit. Three colors also lends themselves to rotating the shuttle work. 

The classic crackle 3-color treadling sequence is:
  • background weft color X
  • pattern weft
  • background weft color Y
  • pattern weft

Note: Tabby isn't used in classic crackle, so the background wefts aren't treadled as tabby.

For each block I choose one color for the pattern and the other two become the background. In the next block I switch the pattern color, so each block is a distinctive square. The treadling mimics the threading pattern, which is known as "as drawn in." This is what it looks like so far:

The fabric is dense, so now I'm curious as to what it would have been like if I'd left it at 5 e.p.i. I'm not dissatisfied with it, however, and I do like this width better. Sett can become something to experiment with in the future. The awkward part is managing the three stick shuttles,which I opted to use with a heavier yarn because they can hold more than the bobbins of my boat shuttles. I'm sure it will get easier with practice.

Start and Re-Start © December 2023

Related Post

Sunday, December 03, 2023

Of Fat Yarns and Skinny Reeds

 So far, my projects in crackle weave have been woven in traditional (overshot) manner (table runner 2 and table runner 3). It's time to have a go at different way to weave crackle. Since I still have some time before family Christmas get-togethers, I thought about a scarf for my son in one of his favorite sports team's colors.

For the yarn, I chose a low-pill acrylic, so it will be machine washable. 

I've not used these before, but I have woven scarves and blankets in regular acrylic yarns and know how easily they pill with repeated washing and drying. It doesn't take long for it to look shabby. But, I think acrylic yarns are a plus for folks not interested in hand washing and drying wool (which can also pill). Maybe the low- and anti-pill yarns are a good compromise. 

My current concern is the size of the yarn versus my loom. Specifically the reed. 

The yarn measures 10 wraps per inch. 

So for plain weave, it should be sleyed at 5 ends per inch, which would be every other dent in my 10-dent reed. That's easy enough, but the question is how the yarn fits in the spaces. Yarn is squishy so I can make it fit, but I don't want too much rubbing on the reed as the shafts are raised and lowered and the warp advanced. I don't want frayed looking yarn in a brand new scarf.

The best answer to this is to buy another reed, one with fewer dents per inch. This is extremely tempting. Already on my wishlist is a 12 dent reed, after discovering that the 2-2-3 threading for table runner 1 created lines in the plain weave where three threads were crammed into one dent. My table loom takes a 24-inch length reed, and these run around $100. This isn't an outrageous price, but enough for me to rein in my impulsiveness in deference to other financial priorities.

Anyway, I'm going to give it a go with this reed and see what happens.

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Table Runner 3

My winter table runner wove up quickly and turned out well, I think.

Like table runner 2, it's reversible.

And it's complementary to the Blue Willow design.

Project Particulars:

  • Weave structure: Traditional crackle (overshot manner)
  • Pattern: "Scandinavian Favorite," treadling I from Marguerite Porter Davison's A Handweaver's Pattern Book
  • Yarns: 
    • warp and tabby weft: blue 8/2 cotton
    • pattern weft: white 6/2 cotton
  • Sett: 24 e.p.i.
  • Finished size: 13.5 by 40 inches including fringe
Notes and Observations:
  • Sett: I chose 24 e.p.i. based on sampling. Even though I tried for a hard beat,  I found that the motifs were elongated rather than square. I do like the density of the fabric, though.
  • Selvedges: are okay, but I'd like them to be neater. I need to become more consistent in switching from one shuttle to the other with each pick and how the threads overlay.
  • I'm ready to move on to something visually more interesting.
Table Runner 3 © November 2023

Related Posts

Monday, November 27, 2023

Busy Hands, Listening Mind

I'm not very good at multitasking. Not in general, anyway, and especially not when concentration is required. My family has learned not to talk at me when I'm cooking, because I inevitably do things like forget ingredients, forget to stir the pot, or because it otherwise delays the meal while I attempt to pay attention and respond.

Even so, fiber arts activities tend to be rhythmic in nature. Knitting, spinning, crocheting, and weaving occupy one's hands, and unless it's a complicated pattern that requires counting or concentration, they allow for things like conversation, watching a movie, or listening. It was due to my return to weaving that I discovered that my local library does not have a terribly impressive selection of CD audiobooks. It appears that downloadable books are what's popular now. 

One evening, I searched for free online audiobooks, and I discovered LibriVox. LibriVox is a website of human recorded books (as opposed to computer read books, which I find difficult to listen to.) These books are in the public domain, i.e. mostly written before 1923 for which copyrights have expired. It's a huge collection of well over 18,500 recordings of all genres. Everything is recorded by volunteers. Books can be listened to online or downloaded from either the LibriVox website, or from the Internet Archive. It's a fantastic resource!

Right now, I'm listening on my computer, but it would be nice to have something portable. The last such device I had, was back when walkmans were popular, which I don't think are even around any more. If someone can pass on some suggestions for a listening device, I'd appreciate it.

Friday, November 24, 2023

And One For Me

After finishing my two table runners, I decided to weave a third table runner for myself, one that I can tie onto my last warp. The weave structure is crackle, and the color scheme is blue and white, inspired from my Blue Willow dishes.

My autumn table runner was one of my very first weaving projects and predates my blog.

The weave pattern is still Scandinavian Favorite, so named because it's found in many old Swedish weaving books. I'm using a different treadling than my last table runner, however.

Warp & tabby weft are blue 8/2 cotton
Pattern weft is white 6/2 cotton

Could they pass for snowflakes? Probably not, but I'll be happy to have it anyway. After years of using the dining room to store furniture and boxes while we renovated other parts of the house, I've finally cleared it out and can use it as a dining room again. I've been wanting to weave more for the home, and this is a good start. Maybe one of these days I'll tackle weaving fabric for new dining room drapes. Crackle would be a good one for that, I'm thinking. 

And One For Me © Nov. 2023

Related Post

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Table Runner 2 Off the Loom

My second crackle table runner is finished at last. 

The pattern is one of the Scandinavian Favorite treadling options.

Finished size 13.75 inches by 40 inches (including fringe).

And it's reversible! Another plus for the recipient, I hope. 

It's a relief to have my Christmas gift weaving done! Although there's still time to maybe weave a couple of scarves or something. I'll have to double check my list.

Related Posts:

Saturday, November 18, 2023

End of Warp Sampling

I made this warp a little longer than the amount calculated to weave the project. I had in mind to do a little end of warp sampling, so I could experiment with some of the crackle manners of weaving.

All of these are twill treadlings with no tabby. The threading is Scandinavian Favorite.

straight twill treadling

point twill treadling

broken twill treadling

birds eye twill treadling

rosepath twill treadling

twill and reverse treadling

skip twill treadling

pebble weave treadling

a different birds eye treadling

Of course, twill treadlings are practically endless, so the possibilities are practically endless as well. I think it would be more interesting if each crackle block was threaded in a different color. But since it's the end of a warp, it still gives me valuable information for when I try twill with tabby treadlings.  

Related Post:

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Minimizing Draw-In

Something I've been working on is minimizing draw-in. The first pieces I wove on my table loom had more than I'd like, so I've been researching how to minimize it. After trying all the advice and tips to little effect, I stumbled upon Madelyn Van Der Hoogt's "Ask Madelyn: Avoiding Draw-in: All About Weft Angle." 

According to Madelyn, the angle of the weft after shooting the pick and before beating is key. No matter how straight the thread looks, in the end, it must go over and under various warp threads. It needs some "give" room to accommodate that. Pull a weft pick too straight across, and the only give is at the selvedges. The result is the edges drawing in so that the woven piece is narrower than what's threaded on the loom. Madelyn's article states that the best weft angle to minimize draw-in is about 25°.

Weft yarn angled at 25°.

That's what I've been experimenting with as I weave table runner 2, and I have to say it's helping! Draw-in for my dishtowels was over 2 inches. For my first table runner it was exactly 2 inches. For this one, it's about 7/8 inch. 

Because my table loom is so compact, I do find it a bit challenging to achieve that 25° as the fell (woven edge) gets closer to the reed. I'm assuming this will be less of a problem when I can get back to weaving on my floor loom. For now, I'm throwing the shuttle and then adjusting the weft angle by hand, which slows things down a bit. But then, having to switch the levers by hand makes for slower weaving anyway. And that's okay because I'm not so much into speed as I am rhythm. 

Minimizing Draw-In © Nov 2023

Monday, November 13, 2023

Table Runner 2: Problem Solved & Weaving Resumed

I closed my last post with a dilemma and a question. I finally decided to go ahead and unweave the start I'd made so I could remove the visually "offending" section of warp.

As you can see, I fixed the asymmetry somewhat! Now, the crosses look balanced on the edges, but they are offset. That was a "drat" realization at first, but I let it go and really, I can live with it.

Project particulars:
  • Structure - crackle in overshot manner
  • Warp & tabby weft - 8/2 unmercerized cotton in teal blue
  • Pattern weft - 5/2 mercerized cotton in apple green
  • Sett - 24 e.p.i.
  • Picks per inch - 24 p.p.i.
  • Number of warp ends - 340
  • Draft - "Scandinavian Favorite," treadling II from A Handweaver's Pattern Book by Marguerite Porter Davison

Saturday, November 11, 2023

Table Runner 2: Weaving Begun, How That Blue Yarn Is Working Out, & A Problem

Weaving just begun.

The green is working well with my new choice of blue.

So what's the problem? The pattern is not balanced at the edges. In the first photo, you can see that the right side pattern isn't the same as the left side. It's not symmetrical and that bothers me.  

Shouldn't I have caught that with my samples? Yes, except(!), I either miscalculated or misremembered the number of warp ends in the pattern. It has 58 ends, but I used 38 in my warp calculations. I knew something was wrong when I threaded the warp, but it was just a sample, after all. And the samples turned out with the pattern the same on both sides, so i didn't give it another thought. Now, it's glaring at me and it bothers me. 

Eek. What am I going to do? I can just say, "oh well" and weave on. Maybe no one will notice? Or, I can unweave it and remove enough warp threads on the left side to balance the pattern. The unweaving wouldn't be too bad, but before I could remove that section of the warp, I'd have to undo part of the hemstitching with all its tight little knots. Do I really want to do that? 

The question before me is, am I willing to do the work to correct it, or can I live with it as it is? That's what I have to decide.

What would you do?