Last we chatted, I set the scene for the latest project. Some friends of ours (the J Family) provided me with a bag of donated neckties for me to do with whatever I wanted. In this case, I decided to use the collection of ties as is and create a fun, multi-colored fabric with no set plans for a finished product. I’m just weaving for the joy of it!

So here we are. The loom is all dressed. I’m ready to start weaving! Thankfully, Karyn (my trusty Tie-Wrangler) has already broken down each tie and cut them into strips so they are ready for the loom. This is not the most glamorous process, I assure you. But, I am blessed with an incredible friend who doesn’t mind knocking it out while she’s watching tv.

JFamily Handwoven Recycled Fabric

And off I go!

When planning the weft (the weft refers to yarns/items not under tension, usually in a shuttle) in a project like this, I always include 2 elements – whatever I’m using as recycled materials and some back-up yarns. In this case, the recycled materials are the lovely mix of neckties from the J Family. I don’t sew each strip of necktie together because I like the flexibility of choosing on the spot what comes next. (And also because of my very strong avoidance of anything sewing-related.)

JFamily Handwoven Recycled Fabric

Do you see the back-up yarns in there?

As for the back-up weft yarns, while they aren’t required and I can create the fabric without them, I do have a good reason. In my head, I always envision a worse case scenario (with all my products, truthfully). If someone did get a hankerin’ to pick out the strips of neckties, they could and then it all falls apart. Now, it would be tough because they are all tightly smashed together! But, it could be done with some serious persistence. So, I would rather not leave that to chance. And if all that stands between a bolt of recycled fabric and my worry-free sleep is a few yarns? I’m definitely including them! I always have a weft yarn or two that will sit underneath the neckties, providing structure and some extra color. And voila! Sleeping like a babe!

JFamily Handwoven Recycled Fabric

Oh, Canada!

I opted to stick with the blue/purple theme for the back-up yarns, which will reinforce the colors of the warp yarns. Because I am using neckties, which come in a variety of fibers, I’m not worried about the types of yarns. Cotton, wool, silk, tencel – doesn’t matter. This lovely is not designed to be washed, anyways. So that takes a load off!

Here I am, weaving away, and I gotta tell you, I’m loving it! There is so much personality in the fabric – just like the folks who donated the materials! The colors are vivid and fun and I’m very happy with my decision to roll with whatever was in the bag!

JFamily Handwoven Recycled Fabric

I love the tails that pop through!

To provide full disclosure, I did single out one necktie and I opted not to use it. Here’s why – the top was a vivid red, but it was only printed on one side with the back being completely white. And of course, the white side kept rolling over so it was face up in the fabric. I’m not a fan of too much white in a project. White is crazy powerful and can completely change the mood of a fabric. As if that wasn’t enough reason, this particular gem was also sticking to everything – as in “static electricity” sticking. I’m guessing it was some kind of synthetic fabric that wasn’t particularly soft. Anyways, after a few tries, I decided it wasn’t critical that it be included. And now you know all the project’s deep, dark secrets! (You know, those weavers have such salacious secrets! Ha!)

I can already tell that I will run out of neckties before I run out of warp. So, I’ll need to give some thought to what comes next! One of my favorite kinds of adventures! Happy weaving, everyone!!

JFamily Handwoven Recycled Fabric

Upside down Santa tie!