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

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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

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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.

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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.  

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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?

Thursday, November 09, 2023

Table Runner 2: Blue Yarn Glitch

I wove my samples, made my choices, calculated how much royal blue crochet thread I'd need for warp and tabby, and then went out to buy it. Out of stock. Rats. Now what? 

I debated for a few minutes and then made a trip to the fiber arts store. I already knew they didn't have navy blue in 10/2, and discovered they didn't have royal blue either. The only blue they did have in 10/2 was a light periwinkle, which just wouldn't work. But I knew from my samples that the difference between the 10/2 and 8/2 was negligible in terms of the pattern. So, I took a look at their selection of 8/2s in blue, of which there were several choices. No royal blue, but I found this . . .

Brassard 8/2 cotton in "Jeans" blue (4271)

It's similar in value to the royal blue, so I think there will be good contrast with the pattern yarn. And while I'm pretty sure my daughter would have loved the runner with royal blue, it isn't in her decor color scheme. Their walls are a warm green and her drapes have more of a teal blue in them, so I think this color will be a better fit for her home. Here it is with my pattern yarn . . .

Warp & tabby: Brassard 8/2 cotton in "Jeans" blue
Pattern weft: Holly Bee 5/2 cotton in "Apple Green"

This color combination feels so much better to me. I can't wait to start warping and weaving.

Isn't it curious how this project evolved through a series of unexpected circumstances? And, I think, all for the better.

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Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Table Runner 2: Analyzing My Samples

I wove two samples. Both had the same pattern weft but different warp and background (tabby) weft and different setts. I'm primarily interested in comparing the warp and tabby yarns in terms of yarn size and color. The pattern is "Scandinavian Favorite" from Marguerite Porter Davison's A Handweaver's Pattern Book.

Color is the most striking difference!

Top: 5/2 pattern weft, #10 blue crochet cotton tabby weft and warp.
Bottom: 5/2 pattern weft, 10/2 navy weaving yarn tabby and warp.

I was fully expecting to prefer the navy background, but this particular navy is almost black and, I think, too dark. I think I'd be much happier with it if it were a different shade of navy. 

Both samples have the same number of warp ends, but the royal blue is set at 24 ends per inch, while the navy is set at 20 e.p.i. You can see that this makes a difference in both the width of the pieces and the size of the motifs!

Color observations:
  • The brighter blue really makes the pattern pop.
  • The navy blue is the same one that you can see on the right in the first photo in this post, where it doesn't look as dark. It's interesting how the perception of a color changes when other factors are involved.
  • I chose the light green pattern weft because it matches my daughter's decor.


Treadling I

Treadling II

Treadling III

Treadling III is the same motif as treadling I, except that the opposite shafts are lifted to create an inverted design. I experimented with this for treadling II as well. 

Fortunately, I don't have to decide which one I like best, because this particular pattern weaves one on the one side, and the other on the other. So, it's reversible.

Treadling IV

Initially, I was thinking treadling IV would look like Celtic crosses. But now, I'm thinking they look more like trees.

Scandinavian Favorite is often adapted for ecclesiastical weaving. Since my daughter and her husband are trained classical musicians who participate in their church's music ministry, I thought a liturgical theme would be appropriate. So I used the rest of the warp for experimenting. 

Weaving notes:

  • Yarn (warp and tabby weft)
    • Visually comparing the two blues side by side, the #10 royal and the 8/2 navy look the same in size.
    • I chose to experiment with two different sizes to see how the affected the pattern weft, thinking the smaller yarn would feature the pattern more predominantly. It didn't make a difference.
    • The crochet thread has more twist in the plys, while the weaving yarn has a looser twist. The extra twist makes it a firmer yarn and hence a firmer fabric.
    • The crochet thread is mercerized and so shinier than the 8/2 unmercerized thread
  • I made a sleying error, which I left because it was close to the center and I didn't want to re-sley the rest. So it's there if you look closely.
  • Sett makes a difference in the density of the cloth.
    • 24 e.p.i makes a firmer fabric than 20 e.p.i.
    • The looser sett makes it easier to "squish the square." In other words, the pattern yarn packs down more with each beat because there's more space between the warp ends.


I'm going to go with the brighter blue #10 crochet thread, the firmer 24 e.p.i sett, and the cross motif in the last photo. 

Friday, November 03, 2023

An Alternative To 10/2

Last time, I shared that my next project is going to be a second table runner, this one in crackle. I already had a pattern weft picked out and in looking at warp and background weft possibilities, I was thinking 10/2 in navy blue. But alas, my only cone of navy in that size is pretty scant, so I started hunting around online for more. 

In doing that, I made a discovery which is likely won't surprise most folks but is potentially helpful for me. And that is that 10/2 cotton and #10 crochet cotton are the same size. I came across this tidbit during an internet hunt for 10/2 cotton, as I have very little of the color I want. One mega site was listing 10/2 as size 10 crochet thread. Well, I'd never heard that before and so checked the size of both on my measuring stick. 

Both counted out as 34 wraps per inch.

Two questions immediately popped into my mind: which is easier to find and what's the difference in price? Crochet cottons are sold at local hobby supply shops and big box department stores like WalMart. Weaving yarns are sold at weaving supply shops, and I'm fortunate to have one in the area. I prefer to buy locally and prefer the smaller businesses, if possible. After that, it's ordering online. 

One thing I discovered, is that my area weaving store doesn't carry 10/2 in navy blue. The closest is something similar to royal blue, sold in 200 gram cones with 1854 yards per cone. $20 per cone. 

Of crochet cotton, WalMart doesn't carry navy blue in size 10. In fact, they don't carry any blue in size 10. It seems like black, white, neutral, and red are the only offerings. So I visited Hobby Lobby. While I didn't find navy blue, I found the lovely blue you see on the left in the photo above. $4 for 400 yards. A yardage equivalent to the cone of 10/2 would price it at $18.54 for the same amount.

Online, it looks like 10/2 ranges from $33 to $42 per pound (4200 yards), and I found the 200 gram cone I can buy in town, but for $26. None of that includes shipping, so that's an additional cost. Crochet cotton purchased online typically runs somewhere around $6.50 for 350 yards, plus shipping. 

For sampling, I bought one of the #10s from Hobby Lobby. How's it weaving?

"Scandinavian Favorite" treadling #1 from A Handweaver's Pattern Book,
Warp and tabby weft are size 10 crochet cotton, pattern weft is 5/2 cotton.

Pretty good! And I have to say the royal blue background with the green pattern is growing on me. But I'm also going to do some sampling with my 8/2 navy, just to compare. 

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Wednesday, November 01, 2023

What To Do Next (Decisions, Decisions!)

With the first of my two table runners done and off the loom, it's time to plan my next project. Originally, this was going to be a second table runner, this one for my daughter. Somehow, I decided that her's would be in crackle weave, which became a research project in itself. 

As I've worked my way through understanding the various elements of crackle (threading, tie-up, manners of weaving, etc.), it seems like the next logical step is to start weaving samples to add some hands-on experience to my newly acquired head knowledge. And I have the perfect book for that.

This is The Crackle Weave by Mary E. Snyder. It was written as a study course for weavers interested in learning more about crackle. It's set up as a series of lessons and projects, complete with worksheets, aiming to explore the multitude of possibilities with the crackle weave. 

There are two editions of this book. The 1961 edition is 56 pages and contains 42 weaving projects. The 1989 edition is longer. It has some 90 projects and 130-something pages. Both are out of print, although I think one of them has recently been re-published; not sure which one. Mine is the 1961 edition, one of the several old weaving books I either inherited when I bought one of my looms or purchased at a guild fundraising sale. 

Some weave structures are easy to explore on one's own, but as I mentioned earlier, there's a lot to wrap one's head around with crackle. Working through a guided study seems like an excellent next project.

On the other hand, gift-giving season is fast approaching, and I need to get started on that second table runner. I've already chosen a crackle pattern from Marguerite Porter Davison's A Handweaver's Pattern Book, so it would just be a matter of following it. I think that would be the best way to go for now, to make sure I get it done on time. Later, I can come back and work my way through Snyder's study course. At least, that's my plan.

Is anyone else currently debating their next project?