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And then what happened?

Although I said in my last post that I wasn’t going to share info about what I’m weaving for my 2021 Christmas cards, I changed my mind. After all, it’s not like they’re gifts that need to be kept secret. Besides there’s a ton of info to share. This warp has been, ummmmmmm, problematic. If my experiences can help someone else avoid the same mistakes, great. Or if I revisit this post in the future to avoid the mistakes, also good.

winding warp for candy cane cards

So I started with a draft I’d seen someone else weave online. It appears that it came from someone (Dawn?) on Ravelry, but I’m not positive about that. In any case, it is certainly reminiscent of candy canes, so seemed perfect to me. I didn’t have the bright, saturated colors I wanted so decided I’d just go to my local craft store and buy a few balls of crochet cotton.

I went online and gathered information. That was Mistake #1. The site I found told me that Aunt Lydia’s size 10 crochet cotton was roughly 1,900 yards per pound.

So I determined a sett of 21 ends per inch and calculated what I’d need to make my cards. That was Mistake #2.

In my inexperience with crochet cotton, I thought it was all mercerized. Mistake #3.

I planned out my warp carefully. I wanted to warp it wide enough to weave 3 cards across. So I put extra white threads in between some of the candy cane stripes to leave me enough room to cut them apart.

The night after I had the warp beamed I was in bed and suddenly realized I had made a major error in my warp calculations. I wanted to warp for 30 cards, but my math went wonky, and I’d put on enough warp for 90! Mistake #4. Oh well, the yarn was cheap enough. I’d weave it all – only 120″ after all – and maybe I’d get an idea to do something else with the extra.

Now I’m threading the loom, and I can feel that this yarn isn’t mercerized at all. (See Mistake #3.) Not sure why I didn’t notice this in the prior steps, but I hadn’t. The craft store didn’t have enough white in Aunt Lydia, so I bought mostly South Maid #10. I could see it was the same size, and thought it was the same. Wrong! We’re up to Mistake #5.

It’s okay. The yarn doesn’t have to be mercerized for the cards. So I lashed on to the front apron and started weaving. WHAT?!?! This sett of 21 is WAY too loose. Mistake #6.

candy cane sett way too loose

So I cut it off and resleyed to 24 ends per inch. Lashed on again and started weaving, enough to know that 24EPI would work. But wait! Now the width of the warp went from 12″ wide to 10.5″ wide. Could I still get 3 cards across? If not, my layout was all wrong. I spent some time looking at things carefully, and decided that I could, if I was really careful with my stitching and cutting, get 3 cards across, but only if I added some white threads at each selvedge. I guessed that 8 at each side would do it and measured out my threads. I cut off the 6 or so inches I’d already woven, threaded the new ends, sleyed the reed, and decided to tie on instead. For me it’s a bit quicker than lashing and I don’t need to worry about using up too much warp length – I have plenty.

About this time I did what I should have done at the beginning. I used my McMorran yarn balance to measure the yards per pound of this yarn – almost 3,000. No wonder 21 EPI was too loose!

Time to get back to weaving. Now I’ll tell you that I have never been successful at adding more than a thread or two on the selvedges without problems. I don’t know how other weavers manage it. The weights on my warp are either too heavy and pull the ends too tightly to make a straight fell line, or they’re too loose and the edges are wobbly. I fiddle and adjust and try again. I weave slowly and mess with the threads constantly. I put on my homemade temple in an attempt to help. Nothing works and I am very frustrated. I think we’re on Mistake #7 now.

candy cane BAD selvedges

The selvedge is loose, lumpy, and wavy. I could handle the waviness as it would be hidden in the card, but the lumpiness would present a problem. And the weaving was going very slowly as I attempted various strategies to correct it. Finally I had to walk away from the loom.

Last night I decided the best thing to do was to once again cut off what I’d woven, this time about 18″, pull the remaining warp forward through the heddles and reed, tie the 16 new ends on the back beam, and re-beam it all with the same tension. I did that this morning and weaving FINALLY went smoothly.

weaving candy canes FINALLY

When I ran out of the South Maid yarn and started on the Aunt Lydia’s, I immediately saw that Aunt Lydia is mercerized; South Maid is not. See Mistake #5.

Today I got the rest of the warp, about 90″, woven, washed, dried, and pressed. The machine stitching, cutting, and card making remain to be done. I wonder how many more mistakes I can make during that process.

Oh yeah – I got my Better Than Peeps towels up in my Etsy store. Thanks to ever-supportive family & friends, I’ve already sold 3.

8 comments to And then what happened?

  • Alma

    I LOVE the colors. Candy canes? Maybe. More than that, though, ribbon candy or those little hard candy pillows that used to come in a tin. I’m proud of you for keeping at it – I might have been tempted to walk away from the project for a while.

    • Peg Cherre

      I’m way more stubborn than that, Alma. Besides, I’d decided to put this warp on my big loom, so I couldn’t weave anything else till I got this warp off. 😀

  • Jennifer+Petschke

    I’m with Alma. I would have walked away. WOW!

  • I think your Christmas cards are going to be smashing, being stubborn is a good thing. Peg, I was wondering if you still own your Macomber Loom? If so, do you use the tie up hooks for it or have you changed them out for Texsolv?

    • Peg Cherre

      Thanks, Thistle Rose. If I wasn’t stubborn, I wouldn’t have achieved MANY things that I have. Persistence – a much more positive term. I do still own my Macomber, and weave on it 95% of the time. I put Texsolv tie ups on my loom within the last year, although I do still occasionally have to use an original hook, as the slit in one of my treadles is a bit wide and my Texsolv pegs sometimes get stuck in it, resulting in uneven raising of the shafts.

  • Judy+T

    Lovely finished results Peg! I can only imagine how wonderful those cards will be!

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