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The best laid plans

First placemat

The best laid plans do not always come to fruition the way we’d like. Take this post, for instance. I had written a great post on my iPad, all I had left to do was add pictures, which I can’t do with my iPad. So I come to the computer, thinking, great, the draft is saved, all I’ll have to do is edit it to add the pictures, and voila! Well, guess what? Not only was the draft not saved, but it had entirely disappeared from the iPad. What did I do then? Picture that recent extremely annoying ad from JC Penney, and there you go.

Another example is my latest project on Zoe. I decided to do a set of four placemats for the dining room table. I may have mentioned before that I had joined the Pike’s Peak Weaver’s Guild, and the day that I did, a guild member who was moving had a huge giveaway that resulted in a significant increase to my stash. There was a beautiful turquoise cotton that was perfect for warp, and some wonderfully textured yarns in royal blue, purple, and a multicolor of reds, greens, blues, and purples, all in jewel tones, and I couldn’t wait to weave with it. So I did all the math to calculate how many ends I would need, how much yardage on each end, etcetera. I did pretty well. I came up with 216 ends, each 8 yards long. So I got out my warping board and got to work. First problem: there wasn’t enough of the turquoise. I had 106 ends, 110 less than I needed. Well, okay, maybe I can improvise. I can put 53 ends on the outer sides of the placemats, and use something else for the middle. Hey, I just bought a ton of crochet thread, that ought to do it! Problem number two: the crochet thread is size 10, making it very thin. Easily fixed, right? Cut 220 ends, and double the ends per dent. Sure, I can do that. What a great idea!

Not such a great idea, as it turns out. On the board, it was terrific, but once the warp came off the board, I discovered that crochet thread tangles very easily. 1760 yards of it tangles

Table runner on Zoe

permanently. Thus ended that idea, which gave way to a new one: make a table runner instead! I can do that with four yards of warp. That means I can cut my present warp in half, giving me 212 ends, which is a perfect size for this.

This meant that I lost the cross in the warp from the very beginning, but no worries, I can manage, although somehow I wound up with 207 ends instead of 212. I can still make this work.

You may recall that placemats were the plan for the previous project as well, and that I miscalculated and came up way too short on the warp for that project, therefore winding up with only one placemat where there should have been two. I also miscalculated on ends needed, so the resulting mat, before washing, was too narrow, although it was long enough. I warped that one from front to back and, through no fault of my teacher, the way I had done it, I wound up with far too much loom waste, because the way I tied it on, the tails were far too long. I decided, this time, to warp from back to front.

For the first time on this project, I met with success…of a sort. I discovered that I much prefer warping from front to back. Why, you ask? Because when you warp from front to back, all of your ends are pretty much already in order. Not so from back to front, at least not for me. When I tied the warp to the back apron rod, everything was great. But then, I had eight yards of warp to take up before I could thread the heddles and sley the reed. That was when I lost all order. It didn’t tangle, but it did need to be straightened out. So, I threaded the heddles and sleyed the reed, tied onto the front apron bar, then rolled up the cloth beam, untied the threads on the warp beam, combed them all back into order, retied them to the back apron rod, and rolled up the warp beam for the proper

Detail of table runner

tension. Whatever it was that I did wrong, warping from back to front took far longer, and was a lot more work, than doing it the way I was taught. But it was on, and I was finally ready to weave.

What I didn’t know about my weft yarns was that they are rug yarns. They’re very fine, with thicker nubs at intervals, just a great texture, and by the time I read the stickers inside the cones, it was already too late, so I shrugged and kept going. It actually came out very well. The texture of the rug yarns makes it unique, as does the fact that the weft is much finer than the warp, so it’s a very interesting piece overall. It’s not quite a table runner, though, more of a table mat. When it was finished, before washing, it was about three feet too short, with the fringe ending several inches shy of the table edges. After I washed it, it shrank, being cotton, and is now several more inches short of the table edges.

I asked hubby what he thought of my work, and he very bluntly said he didn’t like it. Then he backpedaled a bit and reminded me that he was a guy (as if I’d forgotten that little fact), and as such has no business giving opinions on such things. Telling him how many weavers are men didn’t make a bit of difference. Honestly, sometimes I think slapping him into the middle of next week, as my mom used to say, would give me entirely too much pleasure. Just imagining it gave me pleasure. Sigh. Even Aneira came up to look at it and told me it was beautiful. Anyway, maybe hubby is right. This is the same man who, when I was pregnant with Aneira, suggested such names as Rainbow, Lulu, and Fifi. I think his sense of taste is questionable, at best.

Gusseted pouch

I also finished another inkle band pouch. On both of these projects, the warps were the biggest I’d ever tried on my own, so I’m kind of proud of myself, despite any and all mistakes, which, as

Wide inkle band

you can see, were legion!

This pouch has gussets. I was really ambitious with the sewing this time! And I’m going to turn it into a shoulder bag by weaving another band for the strap. I’m still having trouble getting the borders as wide as I would like, so piecing the pouch together is still a nightmare for me, but I’ll get it eventually!

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