I know what warp and weft are and that’s not knitting…

The title of this post is more or less a direct quote from my partner. I was doing some calculations the other night while watching CSI and he caught sight of the notes. The calculations determined that I did not have enough of that nice blue cotton chenille (that is a bastard to knit with) to make a throw blanket for Tigger.

I suppose I should explain. Not the most recent Spin Off but the one before that had an article on spinning novelty yarns, paired with an article suggesting something you could do with novelty yarns. I’m not that interested in spinning novelty yarns at this stage. I’m still working on getting my spinning to not look like a novelty yarn by accident.

But the companion article was about weaving a wrap on a warp weighted loom (if you try to say that too fast, you end up with womb which produces a kind of bizarre image). I had told Tigger about this idea, since she is really interested in weaving. She wasn’t that keen. She wants a ‘proper’ loom. But the idea was fermenting at the back of my mind.

Then I was downloading a bunch of podcasts and burning them onto CDs the other day (I had got horribly behind because I don’t want to knit in the kitchen where the computer is and that seemed like a good way to have the podcasts as something to listen to while I knit where I want to knit, in the living room). It was taking an age and I decided that while I was waiting for things to happen, I could rip out the abandoned chenille sweater so that the yarn could go to my mom for weaving with when Tigger goes to visit at the end of the month.

Well, you can guess what happened next. I started thinking about weaving with this stuff myself. Hence the calculations while watching CSI. And on Friday, I just decided to do it. I thought maybe a wrap for Tigger to wear while sitting and reading (something she does a lot) would be good. I have some co-ordinating ribbon yarn that would liven it up.

A warp weighted loom is basically a dowel secured in some way with the warp attached by larks head knots and then weighted at the other end. You weave from top to bottom. I figured a curtain rod was already secured to the wall and would work just fine. I have heavy curtains in the living room so thought that would hold whatever weight this thing would be.

So I proceeded to cut lengths of chenille, fold them and attach them to the curtain rod of one of my living room window. I did 72 lengths so that meant 144 warp threads. I then weighted them in groups with cutlery. I used teaspoons and dessert forks, splitting the groups so that going in one direction I could just lift the spoons to get every second warp-thread (I just did a plain weave). That didn’t work in the other direction so I used one of those bamboo skewers as a pick up stick. (One of the podcasts I listened to while doing this was Weavecast and I learned some new terminology in the process.) I had to stand on the sofa (which is in front of that window) to reach for the beginning.

I was pretty good about keeping the warp threads reasonably spaced at the top part but as I went along it started drawing in a bit. So my finished product (yes, I finished. Yesterday.) isn’t a perfect rectangle. But I kind of got the hang of it. Part way through I went and dug out the camping cutlery and divided my weighted groups because a visible line was started to form where the grouping of the threads was pulling them off vertical. I used some of the ribbon and also some navy silk that I had to make some stripes (these don’t show up very well mainly because the warp got closer together).

Yesterday, I could just move the sofa and stand behind it to work. Much more comfortable. Standing on the sofa is hard on your legs. I stopped when it got difficult to pass the weft through the shed (See, I told you I learned new terminology. Not sure I’m using it quite right, but there you go.). I untied the cutlery and returned it to the drawer and then tied fringe (4 threads to a knot) along the bottom. Then I cut the loops of the larks head knots to free the thing from the curtain rod and tied that end. This morning, I trimmed the fringe.

Tigger really likes it. Chenille is really soft and I quite like the feel of it. But it is now weaving yarn. Much more pleasant than knitting with it.

Of course, I didn’t use all I had. I might very well have had enough for a throw. Particularly if I had thought of that navy silk and done some warp stripes as well as weft stripes with it (I also have some navy cotton, come to think of it… hmmmm, a cotton blanket with some chenille stripes…). But my mom says she has a table loom that Tigger can have so maybe the chenille can just sit in a box of ‘weaving stash’ for that eventuality.

BTW, my silk came in the mail the other day. More browns than I expected but caramel browns and the colour way does look very nice. I’m now trying to be patient about my new spindles. I think the silk should be spun on the little one.

And I’ve received books from Needlearts (link in the Knitting Links list on the sidebar). In Sheeps Clothing, Sensational Knitted Socks, and Twisted Sisters Sock Workbook — can you tell that the other idea fermenting in the back of my mind is spinning sock yarn?


One thought on “I know what warp and weft are and that’s not knitting…

  1. I can just picture you standing on the couch, with utensils dangling. Too funny! How neat though…I have never pursued weaving, but think it would be fun with yarn.


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