I’ve been weaving some samplers to explore techniques. Since my working looms are rigid heddle looms (a Mirrix tapestry loom and an Inkle loom) I’m focusing on using only two sheds. More intricate things can be done on these simple looms by adding pickup sticks but my poor vision makes me prone to threading mistakes so I’m working on getting the most out of simple methods. The sampler below explores color and weave. The patterns that can be created are nearly endless and use plain weave! The trick is in threading the warp with a color sequence and then following the same for the weft.
I used green and white 100% wool mill ends at 10 ends per inch (epi). The warp was threaded as follows (left to right in photo):
20 ends white, 1 green 1 white 10 times (20 ends total), 2 green 2 white 5 times (20 ends total), 1 green 2 white 7 times (21 ends total), 1 green 3 white 5 times (20 ends). I also added 2 warp rows of green on each end for a selvage.
The weft followed the same pattern:
20 picks white,
20 picks total of 1 white and 1 green alternating,
20 picks total of 2 green followed by 2 white alternating,
21 picks total of 1 green followed by 2 white,
20 picks total of 1 green followed by 3 white.
This produces 25 blocks of patterns (5 wide x 5 high).
Initially I had a difficult time getting a good shed but after about 4 inches of weaving it finally started behaving. Wool is ‘sticky’ so it is tricky to use with a small epi in both warp and weft. Also, the green was not as strong as I would have liked so it was difficult to get good even tension across the warp. I made a few mistakes (!) but it will make a great reference for future weavings. I finished it using twisted fringes, the first time I have ever used this method. I bought a very economical fringe twister from Fiber Artist Supply. It made the job go quickly and it would have been difficult for me to do by hand due to my arthritis.
In order to use up the rest of the warp on the loom (ie- not waste all that yarn and effort!) I created a Ghiordes knotted mini rug using BFL, Coopworth and Shetland fleece locks.
It is done with all natural colors and so luxurious feeling. The length of the locks was quite different so the pile length varies. I did some trimming to remove “split ends” as I went along. The edges have 2 plain weave selvedges to keep the rug laying flat and there are 4 plain weave rows between knots of the shorter BFL and shetland locks (~2 inches), 8 plain weave rows between the much longer coopworth locks (~6 inches). The most time intensive part of the project selecting evenly sized locks from the fleece and organizing them to be pulled up quickly while weaving. I’ll definitely do more of these on a larger scale. Just need to develop a design. One more item for the to do list!