What I learned today

First, the finished wraps for RA & NP. It’s pretty much impossible to see the difference in the black tencel and navy cotton wefts unless the light hits them just right.

RA & NP finished wraps

Meg over at Unraveling has ‘hosted’ a new year looms feature for several years, but apparently not this year. I took shots of my three looms to share anyway. (I didn’t go up to the attic to photograph the Missouri that’s cold and lonely.)

Spending most of its time on the top shelf of my studio cupboards is my rigid heddle loom.

rigid heddle loom, 1/1/16

It’s had that warp on it for many months. I plan to weave it off in the next few weeks. I’m going to try a rayon chenille weft to add another dimension to that shadow weave warp.

Next is the beater bar on my Macomber, showing the cut ends of the baby wrap warp.

Macomber loom 1/1/16

Now several shots of my counterbalance loom and the content of the title of this post: what I learned today. I decided that I wanted to try some rep weave. For non-weavers, it’s a particular weaving process that shows just the warp threads, often used for rugs, placemats, and other sturdy fabrics. I’ve never done it before and figured I’d start by making some mug rugs. In addition to being small, I haven’t had any in my stock for a few years now and would like to add them.

So I looked at my books, did some online research, and warped my loom with 238 ends of pearl cotton, sett at 48 ends per inch. My plan was to use some thick, rough-ish cotton I’ve had for eons. Here was my first attempt.

rep weave attempt #1

Not at all crisp and neat like it should be. I thought maybe my weft wasn’t thick enough, since the blue cotton squishes quite a bit. So I tried again, doubling it this time.

rep weave attempt #2

Still not pretty. In fact maybe worse. The weft sticks up through the warp threads, which isn’t supposed to happen. So I thought some more and decided that the weft threads need to be smooth, not ‘bumpy’ like that cotton. So I wound a shuttle with navy Bambu 7 threads. Seven of them, since the weft is supposed to be at least 7 times as thick as the warp. This was much better!

rep weave attempt #3

I wove off the rest of the warp with the bamboo, using a variety of treadling patterns.

rep weave mug rugs

Then it was time to cut them from the loom. Uh oh. I realized I hadn’t paid enough attention to the finishing. I did take the time to run a row of machine stitches at each end, but I hadn’t planned on or woven for hems. And I hadn’t woven in the end of the weft threads. So these won’t last well. I’ll just consider them samples and/or use them around the house.

I have a break from baby wraps while I wait for moms to get back on their feet after the holidays and resume the planning process. Will I do more rep weave? Yes. Will it be my next project? No. I’m deciding if I’ll weave some fabric for curtains next, or more silk and sequins, or make more bookmarks which I need for my stock, or do some more doubleweave, or make a cotton chenille blanket for my almost-here grandson, or….well, you get the idea.

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