Handwoven Placemats

This isn’t my first set of placemats, but it is my first use of a supplementary warp. I had to use my Macomber to achieve this, and although a fine loom, I still haven’t really gotten used to it. I don’t know that it will ever find the place in my heart that my little four-harness counterbalance has.

But that’s not what this post is about. It’s about placemats.

The majority of these handwoven placemats is a 5/2 pearl cotton in natural; the supplementary warp is a chocolate brown 3/2 pearl cotton. I sett them at 18 ends per inch, believing that would give me a nice, tight weave.

I know, I know, I should sample. But I don’t do it. My home ec teacher told me I should baste prior to machine stitching, and I don’t do that, either.

Beating with what I consider to be an average beat, I was not happy with the placemats — too loose, particularly the supplementary warp. That’s the one on the left. But I didn’t know that till I had a full placemat done. And by then I didn’t want to either (a) unweave an entire placemat and beat it more firmly, or (b) lose an entire placemat. I plan my warps pretty carefully and knew I’d warped enough for 8 placemats, not 9. So I continued with that set of 4.

Now I considered…should I resley to 20 ends per inch before I wove the next set of 4? If I did, I’d lose a bunch of width that would affect my finished size. Not what I really wanted to do. So I opted to beat really hard on every pass of the shuttle. Not my favorite thing to do, but a reasonable solution.

Then I decided I’d wet finish the first set of 4 in hot water in an attempt to tighten them up. It did tighten them up, but I still wasn’t completely satisfied – the floats in the supplementary warp are still too far apart.

After a nice hard press, I’m okay with both sets. Here they are, rolled in sets of 4.
handwoven placemats
I still like the tighter set better, and will definitely sett future placemats at 20 ends per inch. This is my version of sampling — deciding what I’ll do differently next time.

Your turn: do you always do things “the right” way?

4 comments to Handwoven Placemats

  • Um. My way is always the right way. I’m pretty sure you taught me that 😉

    Also, I only understood about every 3rd word in this post and I’m OK with that.

  • Amanda’s far ahead of me on the understanding scale 🙂 Now I know how people feel when I begin to geek out!

    Still, the end result is something anyone would love to have on their table. I remember just before we got married. We were setting up our first apartment – not even living there yet, but going there every night after work to get everything in order for after the wedding – and the thing that struck me the most, that made it seem most like home, was when we laid out the placemats. The texture was something I remember – literally by feel – to this day.

    This entry brought it right back. Thanks!

  • Judy

    I’m with Amanda…. and they all look great to me!

  • Peg Cherre

    I do know that non-weavers don’t get all the language. I do have some weaving readers, but clearly I need to do a better job of either avoiding weaver-speak or explaining things better. I’ll try.

    Thanks for your comments!

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