Cheats/hacks… when you don’t know how you’ll finish

So, I’m not much of a planner. Well, not when I’m mucking about learning and having fun!

In weaving terms, this means I sometimes have no idea how I want to finish my web. Maybe I’ll hemstitch, or maybe I’ll get some funky knot-work happening. The thing about this is, if I decide to hemstitch then, well…hemstitching is hell to do off the loom. Or, hell to get neat.

My solution is to use scrap yarn (preferably a sticky one) to cinch together bunches of warp ends, before taking the web off the loom. Using a darning/yarn needle, I create running loops without going below the weft. The loops just wrap tightly around the warp ends.

This keeps the weft in place and the warp ends tidy while you decide what finish you want/need.

It also makes hemstitching off-loom work much better, because you only slide the loop of scrap yarn off a bunch of warp ends right before you stitch them. Gives a surprisingly neat hemstitch.

Big ball of pretty

I bought some yarn for a pooling project (finally) and it was in a large skein…

Skein of yarn
Is it cheating to buy yarn for a pooling project that’s “pre-pooled”?

So I had to do some winding to make a big, fat ball of delicious colours…

Ball of blue, purple and indigo yarn
Love these colours

Next I have to dress the loom and get all those colour sections to align again… wish me luck!

Kind of like a charcoal rubbing…

So this is the new scarf and supplementary warp project…

Supplementary warp project on the loom

I lurve it! On the loom it was looking so much like a pencil or charcoal rubbing of some highly textured surface that I almost stopped weaving to get out some charcoal and paper; such was the inspiration! Thankfully, I kept weaving and am very happy with the result.

Of all the colours of that Noro Silk Garden comes in, you might think me mad to have picked the “Solo” and in brown (!!!!), but this was a yarn that just spoke to me. I’m not much of a browns person, but I do like the colour and particularly¬† flecked like this.

Being me though I’d forgotten that you can’t warp with this yarn! (I know, I know…) Thankfully, my stash had an appropriately matching 4ply in it. I could have put grabbed the appropriate reed and used the 4ply as 4ply, but I didn’t think the sup’ warp Noro would survive that much abrasion. So I threaded it double using a 30/10 reed.

Suplememtary warp project off the loom

So happy with the result. Such is the serendipity of my approach to weaving!

Thrum tubular

I hate to see things go to waste, particularly “useful” things like containers, so when my workplace had a sudden glut of plastic tubes I was very excited! But, I know from past experience that I can collect containers only to throw them out – completely unused – years later. So, I took a conservative 5 tubes to try them out.

Then another 25.

And another.

And… another.

I doubt any craft-er would be surprised to hear me say I found a range of ways to deploy the tubes, but the truly wonderful bit is they are now integral to my thrum storage system!!

A draw full of clear tubes in which you can see yarn
This is where thrums have always gone, but now… look at those peek-a-boos of colour!

Turns out the tubes sit on their heads rather nicely in my thrums drawer and I can cram quite a bit in each one. Soooo satisfying. Of course the extra joy of this approach is I can see the yarn! The drawer, I should point out, is only half full in the above pic.

Here’s what they look like up close:

Two clear tubes with red lids, containing yarn

And I’m going to take the ball-bands I’ve got for (most) of these thrums and put them into the tubes, so I will always know what the yarn is. Organisational goodness.

Oh how I love a good recycling project.

Weaving patterns #7 – Supplementary warp

I got interested in supplementary warps almost as soon as I got weaving! It’s such a cool way to add texture to your cloth and the possibilities are almost endless. So what is a supplementary warp?

Well, it’s where you take a yarn and add it to the warp yarn you’re already using. Typically it will be some combination of different colour, weight or texture. Here was my first go at it, with a fantastic thick/thin yarn (Pixie Dust) from Knit College:

A thick/thin yarn in shades of gray overlaying a dark grey cloth
It’s a little hard to see but for this scarf I ran the thin sections of the yarn over and under the cloth so the supplementary warp is on both sides!

The trick with weaving using this technique is to warp the supplementary yarn separately and – unless you have a second back-beam – that means weighting it. This is how I’m tackling a current sup’ warp project:

Yarn dangling from the back beam, weighted with metal washers
Metal washers to the rescue!

Of course if you’re using a different colour of the same yarn as the warp then you can just warp it with the rest, but the fun of this technique is mostly in the crazy yarns I think!

In my first project, because I was moving the warp under and over the web, I actually didn’t weight it. Instead, I pinned it to the fell line each time it crossed over/under to achieve a small amount of tension. The result of this is that the thick sections have a lovely bit of slack so they can move with the cloth.

For the current project, because I’ve threaded the Noro yarn through the heddle, the weights are keeping it under an acceptable amount of tension. I do occasionally give each one a little tug (gently!) too, but obviously the Noro Silk Garden will drift/snap under not much tension at all, so I’m being careful.

In this case, the Noro is also my weft and the affect I’m after is far more subtle than with the Knit College yarn. Keep an eye out for pictures of the finished project!