Hello! Sorry it’s been awhile. Clearly, I got sucked into an alternate universe where I forgot that I’ve been doing a blog! Does that ever happen to you? I’m going to blame my absence on 2 things – 1. The green project I was working on was taking FOREVER to finish, so I didn’t feel particularly sparkly about it. 2. Winter! It’s been rough around here, in NW Indiana. We seem to be coming out of it now, finally. But, I picked up a case of the winter dull drums big time! At this stage, I’m happy to announce that the green fabric is finally finished and I want to share that with you! So, here we go!
Last we spoke, I was walking you through the planning of the project and setting up my loom. Quick refresher – green, green, green yarn everywhere! I ran out of the main color and substituted it with a white. And now, here we are! I finished dressing the loom and started the weaving process. (Insert photo here…)
I designed the project to have enough yardage for (10) Hand Towels. But, I didn’t want to worry about having only one towel with blue, one towel with red, etc. My thought process was to change colors willy-nilly and cut the towels every 30-ish inches. So, each towel would have a variety of different colors. This took some of the pressure off me in the weaving process. It meant I wasn’t constantly measuring, which made it much more enjoyable!
First up, I had to decide on a pattern. Well, I currently have my floor loom set up such that the outside pedals will form a plain weave (over, under, over, under). The far left pedal lifts shafts 1 & 3, while the far right pedal lifts shafts 2 & 4. The middle pedals seem to be random. I don’t remember the last time I set them up for a specific project. But, I’m sure I crawled under the loom and adjusted the order of things at some point. (By the way, that requirement is in the weaver job description – “occasionally must crawl under the loom”. It’s in the fine print, but it’s there… Look closely…)
So when I sat down to start the green project, I played with the pattern a bit to determine which order I liked and if it would produce a good hand to the fabric. I wanted to avoid fabric that was too dense, since it will be used as a towel. I don’t know about you, but I want my towels to have a soft, squishy feel to them. That was the goal – to reproduce the soft, squishy feel that I like. I settled on my pattern of choice and off I went!
I decided to work with (2) shuttles, which is always a bit more exciting! Each shuttle contained a different color. But, I made sure that the colors were related. Two variations of purple, for example. Then, to create subtler color changes, I made sure that only one shuttle changed colors at a time. For instance, if each shuttle had a variation of brown in it, I would choose to insert a blue in only one. Then, after weaving with one blue, one brown shuttle for awhile, I would eventually swap the brown for another blue. (This is easier to describe in a photo – too wordy on paper!)
Ultimately, I like the mental challenge of keeping up with (2) shuttles. I think the results can be much more dimensional than just one shuttle. There were countless times when I had to stop and think about which shuttle had to be thrown next. But, it kept me focused, that’s for sure!
In the last blog post, I made a big deal about having to substitute another color for the apple green yarn I ran out of. But, I have to say, I really love that little bit of relief in the fabric! As I was weaving, there were a number of times I stopped to evaluate how it looked. For me, I’m counting it as a success! But keep in mind, I don’t have to have everything symmetrical. I kinda enjoy a quirk or two in my fabric. How about you? Does the white stick out like a sore thumb, or do you enjoy the little deviation from the plan?
After many hours of weaving, I finally came to the end and cut the project off the loom. I try to measure the fabric before it goes into the washer and dryer to improve my ability to accurately plan yardage in the future. But, there is always a bit of the unknown when dealing with various patterns. What I’ve learned is that depending on the type of pattern and specifically, how much the yarns are floating, the fabric will shrink differently. (If a yarn jumps over just 1 yarn, that’s a short float. If it jumps over 2-3? Longer float.) For example, if I were to weave fabric that was only plain weave, it might shrink 9-10%. This sounds like a lot. But, the pattern I incorporated in the green project had longer floats and therefore, it shrunk about 14%! Here were my exact numbers – Pre-wash/dry (10 yards 17″) and post-wash/dry (8 yards 35″).
When all was said and done, I ended up with enough fabric for only (9) Hand Towels. But the feel of the fabric? It’s just perfect – soft and squishy!! Totally worth it! I haven’t had the fabric sewn into the finished product yet. But, I’m very happy with the final results of the project! It was definitely worth all the hours!
Are you working on a never-ending project these days? How is it going? Happy Weaving, everyone!!