Handwoven Table Runners

Hurd Orchards is a lovely, little farm & market where you can pick your own fruit, each a terrific luncheon made onsite with locally grown foods, or take a class in flower crafting. They carry a few of my handwoven table linens in their gift shop, along with some woven by the women in Berea, Kentucky, and many woven in other countries. I hadn’t sent them anything since Thanksgiving time, and will be up there Sunday, so really needed to get some things woven to bring up with me.

I don’t know why I had such a difficult time planning the colors for these runners, but I did. And then I kept winding on the wrong color from what I had planned when I was measuring the warp, so I had to think — unwind or re-plan. I did some of both.

Then, after I got it all wound on the back beam, heddles threaded, and most of the reed threaded, I realized I had made yet another mistake. Part of my head knew I was going to sett this 5/2 pearl cotton at 18 ends/inch, but when I was doing all the math, the other part of my head planned for 16 ends/inch. So here I was a the loom with the question- would I leave the reed threaded at 18 EPI and make the runners wider than planned, or re-thread the reed to 18 EPI and pull some of the threads out? I decided on the latter. I kept the cross, and when I finished with the warp, I chained the extra threads and saved them for later use — bookmarks? Mug rugs? Other runners? Only time will tell. I thoughtfully did mark them with fiber size and chain length, so that won’t be a later question.

As tends to be my style, I wanted to make each of the table runners in this warp of four a bit different. I wove the first placemat with a solid blue weft using plain weave.
handwoven blue table runner

I liked it. The second one used the same blue weft, but this time in a twill.
handwoven twill table runner

Although I liked the pattern, to be honest, I found the plain weave more appealing as a table runner. So I wove the third one in a solid green, again plain weave.
handwoven green table runner

Finally I felt ready to tackle the plaid. I am not at all confident when it comes to weaving plaids. I can make the pattern be correctly sized and follow my color order without too much difficulty. My problem is all those color changes. To be more precise, it’s all the ends those color changes entail. And tail is the word. Sure I weave the ends in, but I’m never really happy with the results. Particularly in this case, since the yellow was only 2 threads wide, if I doubled up the ends to weave them in appropriately, the end would be 4 threads wide. And even if I alternated color changes on the right and left selvedges, I feared my edges would rather quickly filled up, leaving me with the dreaded weaving ‘smile’ and unable to get a straight fell line. But I did it anyway.
handwoven plaid table runner

If only I wasn’t only marginally happy with all the ends, this one might be my favorite of the four.

Here they are all together.
4 handwoven table runners

Like my other handwoven table linens, these won’t go on my website. If Hurds doesn’t want them, I’ll have to decide if I’ll put them up on Etsy or simply bring them to shows with me.

Your turn, weavers: how do you handle the ends in a plaid? Please share your tips with me!

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