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Mixed Twill Scarf

Mixed Twill Scarf

Inspired by traditional twill samplers, this scarf combines point twill, balanced twill, and broken twill for a bold visual effect. The slub texture of Mallo softens the linear pattern, as if it were drawn by hand. 

Designed and woven by Elizabeth Springett for Gist Yarn.

Yarn

Warp: 1 cone of Mallo Cotton Slub in Natural (1/2 lb cone, 1500 yds/lb), approximately 603 yards required

Weft: 1 cone of Mallo Cotton Slub in Coal (1/2 lb cone, 1500 yds/lb), approximately 424 yards required

Mixed Twill Scarf Kit ~ 1

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Mixed Twill Scarf Kit ~ 2

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Mixed Twill Scarf Kit ~ 3

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Equipment

Loom: 4 shaft table or floor loom at least 18" wide

Reed: 8 dent reed sleyed 1-2-2-2, or 12 dent reed sleyed 1-1-1-1-1-2

Shuttles: 1

Bobbins: 1

Other: Fringe twister (optional)

Specifications

Technique: Twill

EPI: 14  

PPI: 14  

Width at Reed: ~15.5"

Warp Ends: 218 (includes 2 floating selvedges)

Warp Length: 2.79 yards (100.5"), includes 30" for loom waste and shrinkage 

Woven Length (measured under tension on the loom): 70.5" 

Finishing: Hemstitch, hand wash in cold water and lay flat to dry, trim fringe to 2.5" 

Finished Size: 15" W x 65" L + 2.5" fringe on each side 

Care: Hand or machine wash cold delicate cycle, lay flat to dry

Instructions

Color A - Mallo Cotton Slub in Natural

Color B - Mallo Cotton Slub in Coal

1. Wind a warp using Color A with 216 ends, 2.79 yards long. Dress the loom using your preferred method. 

2. Thread according to the draft. Sley 1-2-2-2 in an 8 dent reed or 1-1-1-1-1-2 in a 12 dent reed, centering for a weaving width of ~15.5". Add a floating selvedge on both sides for a total of 218 warp ends. 

3. Using Color B, begin and end the scarf with 1/2" of plain weave and hemstitch. Treadle according to the draft until the scarf measures approximately 70.5" in loom. 

4. Hand wash in cold water and lay flat to dry. Trim fringe to 2.5" on each side.

About Elizabeth Springett

Elizabeth Springett is the CEO and CCG (Creative Color Guru) at WovenSeas Weaving Studio in Norwood MA. Elizabeth states often how she loves to weave but in fact what her real passion is is the technical design and color work it takes to create cloth. Specializing in utilitarian cloths such as towels, placemats, and rugs, all of natural fibers, Elizabeth sells her wares on her website. Twenty years in the apparel and home fashion industries designing and coloring fabrics offers many tips and tools for teaching new weavers how to weave. As Elizabeth bikes along Rhode Island's East Bay Bike Path, she sees inspiration in the beautiful land, sea and sky. 

October 23, 2020 — Emma Rhodes

How to Hemstitch by Amanda Rataj

How to Hemstitch on the Loom

Of the many ways to finish handwoven textiles, I love the look the look of hemstitching the best of all. Today we’re going to show you how to hemstitch on the loom, a simple and easy process that results in a clean, neatly finished cloth. If you’ve ever felt stressed about your projects unravelling or if you don’t have a sewing machine or serger to finish edges, hemstitching secures your raw edge into tidy little groups while it’s still on the loom. Once you’ve cut your cloth off, it can be left as is, used to twist fringes, or folded under a hem. Best of all, it requires no fancy tools -  all you need to hemstitch is a darning needle (which you should probably have to fix broken warp threads anyway!). Read on for our hemstitching tutorial and learn how to do it on your next project!

Part I - Starting with Hemstitch

1. Weave three picks. The first pick should have a tail coming out of the right hand selvedge that’s approximately 3x longer than the width of your cloth - IE the width at the reed is 10”, your tail should measure 30”. Your hemstitch will be traveling from right to left.
 

2. Thread the tail onto your darning needle and bring it over 4 ends and then down between those ends and the rest of the warp. Pass your needle behind these 4 warp ends and through the loop that’s been created by the start of the tail. Pull tight.
 

Step 1

Step 2

3. Moving to the left, your needle passes behind three weft picks in the space between the first group of stitched warp ends and the rest of your warp. The needle goes from the top to the bottom. 

4. Pass your needle over the front of the next 4 ends and then down between those ends and the rest of the warp. Pass your needle behind these four ends and bring it to the front of your work in the space between this group and the last group. Pull tight. Note that you are not making a loop or a knot - just wrapping this bundle with your tail.

Step 3

Step 4

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 across the length of your warp until you reach the final bundle of four. 

6. You will secure the last group of warp threads by passing your needle through the loop created by the tail. Tuck the remaining tail into your warp with your next pick of weft, and continue weaving!

Step 5

Step 6

Part II - Finishing with Hemstitch

1. When you reach the end of your weaving, you’ll want to finish with your tail at the left selvedge edge - you’ll be travelling from left to right this time! Trim the tail so that you have approximately 3x the width of the cloth. 

2. Thread the tail onto your darning needle and bring it over 4 ends and then down between those ends and the rest of the warp. Pass your needle behind these 4 warp ends and through the loop that’s been created by the start of the tail. Pull tight.

Step 1

Step 2

3. Moving to the right, your needle passes behind three weft picks in the space between the first group of stitched warp ends and the rest of your warp. The needle goes from the bottom to the top. 

4. Pass your needle over the front of the next 4 ends and then down between those ends and the rest of the warp. Pass your needle behind these four ends and bring it to the front of your work in the space between this group and the last group. Pull tight. Note that you are not making a loop or a knot - just wrapping this bundle with your tail.

Step 3

Step 4

Step 5

Washed and finished!

5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 across the length of your warp until you reach the final bundle of four. You will secure the last group of warp threads by passing your needle through the loop created by the tail. To secure your hemstitching, needle weave the tail into your warp - I usually like to go to the selvedge and then return towards the middle of the cloth for a few picks. 

6. Cut your project off - you’re all done!

Tips for Hemstitching

- Before you start hemstitching you’ll want to do a little math and figure out how many ends you have in total and how it might evenly divide into groups. My sample warp has 32 ends, which neatly divided into 4 - so I used that number to write this hemstitching tutorial. Depending on the end use of your cloth and the thickness of your ends, 3-6 threads per group is usually a good place to start. 

- Some warps just don’t want to divide evenly - when this happens, I like to put extra ends in the selvedge groups - it’s usually only one or two extra, and isn’t noticeable in the finished cloth. You could also spread them out evenly over the total width. 

- The number of picks that you pass your needle around can be greater than 3 - it simply creates a longer looking stitch. 

- I used a green thread for this tutorial so that you could see what I was doing, but of course you can do your hemstitching in your main weft colour too. I made a second sample and washed both so that you can see how seamless it looks when it’s done in a matching weft.

About Amanda Rataj

Amanda Rataj is an artist and weaver living and working in Hamilton, Ontario. She studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design University and has developed her contemporary craft practice through research-based projects, artist residencies, professional exhibitions, and lectures. Her textile focus of the material and conceptual nature of vernacular, everyday objects used for the home and body; her work (and weaving patterns) are available at her website, and at Guildworks, or by commission. 

October 13, 2020 — Amanda Rataj

Basketweave Rug by Christine Jablonski

Basketweave Rug

A wool accent rug woven with a basketweave texture on a rigid heddle loom. This project uses pick-up sticks and a heddle rod with string heddles to create weft floats with two contrasting colors of Mountain Meadow Wool yarn.

Designed and woven by Christine Jablonski for GIST: Yarn & Fiber

Materials 

Warp & Weft: 1 cone 8/8 Un-Mercerized Cotton in Light Gray, 2 skeins of Rug/Tapestry Wool in Lupine, 1 skein of Rug/Tapestry Wool in Sorrel

Kits: Each kit includes plenty of yarn to weave a rug that measures approximately 19.5” x 36” (including fringe) after washing.

Project Notes

  • Tools Required: Rigid heddle loom at least 28" wide, 7.5 or 8 dent reed, 2 boat shuttles & bobbins or 2 stick shuttles, 2 pick-up sticks, 1 heddle rod with 26 string heddles
  • EPI: 7.5
  • PPI: ~13 in pattern
  • Width at Reed: 27.75" 
  • Warp Ends: 208
  • Warp Length: 2 yards, includes ~40” weaving length, 2” for fringe and 30” for loom waste and sampling
  • Draft/Technique: Basketweave, pick-up stick and heddle rod weft floats        
  • Total warp yarn used: 416 yards 8/8 un-mercerized cotton
  • Total weft yarn used: 11 yards 8/8 Un-Mercerized Cotton for tabby and hemstitch, 280 yards Main Color Wool, 137 yards Contrast Color Wool
  • Woven Length (measured under tension on the loom): ~40"
  • Take-up and Shrinkage: 39% width, 16% length
  • Finished Dimensions: 19.5” x 36” (34” weaving + 1” fringe each side)
  • Finishing Details: Hemstitch, 1” fringe on each side 
  • Care Instructions: Hand wash cold, lay flat to dry

Getting Started

Warp the loom with 8/8 Un-Mercerized Cotton using your preferred method (direct or indirect) with a total of 208 warp ends, 2 yards long. Center for a weaving width of 28" and sley 1 end per hole and slot in a 7.5 dent heddle on a rigid heddle loom.

Pick up the floats

  • Place the heddle into the “down” position. Behind the heddle, only the slot threads are up. Place a long piece of cardboard, like a section of manila file folder under the raised threads to help you see which threads to pick up.
  • Using one pickup stick (stick A), pick up the first slot thread, leave the next 2 down, pick up the next 2 slot threads. Photo 1 Continue in this manner of 2 down/2 up all the way across, until the last three threads: 2 down/1 up. Slide stick A to the back of the loom.
  • Insert a second pickup stick (Christine’s is a yardstick, stick B) in front of stick A and pick up the opposite thread pattern (first thread is down, continue 2 up/2 down pattern all the way across to the last three threads: 2 up/1 down). Photo 2

1

2

  • Turn stick B on it’s side and loop string heddles under all the “B” warp threads and then onto a heddle rod (click here for information about how to make string heddles). Remove stick “B.” All of the “A” warp threads remain on stick “A,” all of the “B” warp threads are now attached to the heddle rod with the string heddles. Photos 3, 4 & 5

3

4

5

6

Pattern Sequences

Each of these 4-pick sequences creates one row of color. The sequences are offset from each other and create a basketweave-like texture when woven ABABA and so on. (Photo 6)

Sequence A

Picks 1-3: heddle is NEUTRAL, pick up stick A turned on edge behind heddle 

*note: even though the heddle rod is resting on top of the “A” warp threads it does not interfere with the pattern because the “B” warp threads are not under tension. Be sure to catch the edge thread at the beginning of each weft pick, and beat in between each pick even though they are in the same shed.

Pick 4: heddle is UP

Sequence B

Picks 5-7: heddle is NEUTRAL, raise heddle rod *note: place a pick up stick on edge under the warp threads raised by the heddle rod so both hands are free to pass the shuttle. Be sure to catch the edge thread at the beginning of each weft pick, and beat in between each pick even though they are in the same shed.

Pick 8: heddle is UP

Weaving & Finishing

Leave at least 1” of warp for fringe on each end, Begin and end the rug with 4 picks of tabby with the 8/8 Un-Mercerized Cotton, then hemstitch in groups of 2 warp and 4 weft threads. 

To create the graduated color rows at each end of the rug, begin with your Main Color then alternate with your Contrasting Color in the following manner:

  • MC: 1x pattern sequence A (makes one row of Lupine)
  • CC: 1x pattern sequence B (makes one row of Sorrell)
  • MC: 1x pattern sequence A (makes one row of Lupine)
  • CC: 1x pattern sequence B, 1x pattern sequence A (makes two rows of Sorrell)
  • MC: 1x sequence B (makes one row of Lupine)
  • CC: 1x sequence B, 1x sequence A, 1x sequence B (makes three rows of Sorrell)

Continue with alternating one row of Main Color (Lupine) with an increasing number of Contrast Color (Sorrell) stripes until you weave 6 Contrast Color (Sorrell) rows, then:

  • 1 row Main Color (Lupine)
  • 1 row Contrast Color (Sorrell)
  • 76 rows Main Color (Lupine)
  • Then mirror the border sequence:
  • 1 row Contrast Color (Sorrell)
  • 1 row Main Color (Lupine)
  • 6 rows Contrast Color (Sorrel)
  • 1 row Main Color (Lupine)
  • 5 rows Contrast Color (Sorrel)
  • 1 row Main Color (Lupine)
  • 4 rows Contrast Color (Sorrel)
  • 1 row Main Color (Lupine)
  • 3 rows Contrast Color (Sorrel)
  • 1 row Main Color (Lupine)
  • 2 rows Contrast Color (Sorrel)
  • 1 row Main Color (Lupine)
  • 1 row Contrast Color (Sorrel)
  • 1 row Main Color (Lupine)

**remember each row = 4 pattern picks

Finish the rug with four picks of tabby in the 8/8 Un-Mercerized Cotton warp yarn, hemstitching groups of two warp and four weft threads. Leave at least 1” of fringe at this end.

Cut yardage off the loom. Hand wash in cold water and lay flat to dry. Trim fringe to 1” each end. 

About Christine Jablonski

In addition to being GIST's Operations Manager and Wholesale Director, Christine is a weaver and exhibiting fiber artist. She scampered down the rabbit hole of rigid heddle weaving several years ago as a way to use up her knitting stash and never looked back. In addition to very practical cloth woven to adorn home and body (tea towels are her favorite home linen projects to weave), Christine also weaves conceptual works that explore themes of mood and memory, strength and fragility, and often reflect on the current political and ecological landscape. Her work is held in private collections across the country and is shown regionally in New England galleries. To see more of Christine's work, check out her Instagram



October 02, 2020 — Emma Rhodes

Tips for Weaving with Linen Yarn by Christine Jablonski

Linen yarn by nature requires a little more care while weaving but the finished results are so rewarding! This is especially true if you are using a rigid heddle loom, as the heddle applies more friction to linen warps. For rigid heddle weavers, we recommend trying Duet Cotton/Linen, which is suitable for all loom types and is strong enough to be used as a warp. If you are weaving on a multi-harness loom, you can also try Italian Cotton/Linen or 18/3 Linen

Tips for Weaving with Linen

Try it as a weft yarn first

If you are brand new to weaving, try a cotton yarn such as Mallo in the warp and Duet in the weft. 

Mix with another yarn in the warp

Mixing yarns in the warp can be a fun experiment to see how different fibers take-up and shrink. I wove a sample of alternating Duet and Mallo warp and weft stripes to see how they would work together. Linen has a lower shrinkage rate than cotton and blending them together actually kept the cotton from shrinking as much as it normally would!

Try shorter warps 

Thankfully warping up a rigid heddle loom is fairly quick, so try a short and simple project like the Running Stitch Napkins to get a feel for how the yarn behaves.

Advance your warp often

Linen, while having one of the highest tensile strengths of all fibers, can abrade easily. The motion of the rigid heddle reed against the fibers can create weak spots and eventual warp breakage. Advancing your warp more often (say every 1-2”) will help distribute any wearing along the fibers and make for a smoother weaving experience.

Fine-tune your tension

The benefit of advancing your warp often means you have the ability to find the “sweet spot” of how much tension the yarn needs to weave easily. In my personal experience, linen blend yarns like Duet do well with a steady tension that is not overly tight. My trick is to tighten the tension to where I would normally weave, then back off one “click” on the tensioning knob, so the warp threads are not quite taut and not quite slack.

Use a pick-up stick on the back beam

Put the heddle in the down shed, insert a pick-up stick behind the reed between the slot and hole threads, and rest it on the back beam while weaving. This can give you just a little extra tension on the warp. If your rigid heddle loom does not have a back beam, rest the pick-up stick on the warp beam.

Try adding some moisture

Some weavers find that misting the linen warp with water, or weaving in a room with a humidifier can help with tension issues and breakage.

Try warp thread weights

Sometimes despite our best efforts, some threads just want to be slackers. Try hanging warp thread weights off the threads behind your loom to restore even tension to your warp. 

Try these tips and let us know what you think!

About Christine Jablonski

In addition to being GIST's Operations Manager and Wholesale Director, Christine is a weaver and exhibiting fiber artist. She scampered down the rabbit hole of rigid heddle weaving several years ago as a way to use up her knitting stash and never looked back. In addition to very practical cloth woven to adorn home and body (tea towels are her favorite home linen projects to weave), Christine also weaves conceptual works that explore themes of mood and memory, strength and fragility, and often reflect on the current political and ecological landscape. Her work is held in private collections across the country and is shown regionally in New England galleries. To see more of Christine's work, check out her Instagram



September 29, 2020 — Christine Jablonski

How to Fix a Broken Warp Thread by Amanda Rataj

Do you remember your first broken warp thread? I do - I was at my parents house alone, working happily on one of my mum’s looms when a warp end snapped. I had no idea what to do, and, if I’m being honest, I was too impatient to Google it effectively. I had been having so much fun! If I had only known how simple it was to fix a broken warp thread - I could have been back at it in only a few minutes. 

Regardless of how careful a weaver you are, we all break warp threads. Sometimes it’s because we’ve beamed our warp funny or we’ve been packing our weft a bit too enthusiastically. Whatever the reason is, a broken warp thread does NOT spell disaster (or ugliness!) for your finished textile - you likely have all the tools to do it already. 

The Method

1. Gather your tools


The first thing you’re going to want to do is gather your repair kit. You’re going to need 3 things:


  • a T pin or sturdy darning needle

  • an extra length of your warp thread
  • a weight


2. Measure out your repair yarn


Measure off a piece of your repair yarn. I’m using a red thread in these pictures, but in your project you want to use a matching thread so that your repair is seamless. The length of the repair thread needs to be at least the length of your remaining warp; I like to add an extra 10” to be safe. 


3. Clear the way


Remove the broken warp thread from the heddle - the piece at the back can be tossed over the back beam or left hanging down, and the piece at the front can be folded towards you. Draw your repair thread through the slot or hole using your threading hook and towards the front of the cloth. 

4. Attach your repair thread


Secure your T pin or darning needle in your cloth a few wefts down from where your thread broke. Then wrap your repair thread around the pin in a figure eight shape. I don’t worry too much about it being exactly lined up, but I do want to make sure that it’s tight on the pin and won’t slide off - that’s where a T pin is helpful. I’ve used a sewing pin in a pinch, but they’re not really sturdy enough - you want something strong, since your repair warp will be put under tension next! 

5 . Weight your repair thread


To complete your repair, you’re going to want to add weight to your repair end. There are a few things you can use to add weight: 

  • Ashford’s Warp Thread Weights are a great way to hold your extra repair threads and keep them under tension
  • I use an old film canister filled with pennies - medicine bottles work too!
  • S hooks & washers are also handy to have in the studio. The repair thread can be tied to one end of the S and washers added to the other

Hang the weight off the back of your loom and match the tension so that your repair thread isn’t tighter or looser than its mates - that’s why I like pennies and washers, because you can make small adjustments easily. Adjust the length that the weight hangs off your loom as you weave to keep it from coming up over your back beam and becoming loose. Keep in mind that when the end of the warp comes over the back, the mate of your broken thread will get loose - when this happens, attach a second weight to it to keep everything tensioned correctly. 


Another way...

If you’re working with a longer warp you can use your repair thread to bridge the gap between the break. The process is the same as above and illustrated using a blue thread - I make a repair warp end, attach it to my web and then weave as usual. When I’ve woven 5-10” I check back with my original warp - if it’s long enough that it can be drawn back through my heddle and wrapped around a T pin, I carefully take the weight off my repair yarn and bring its tail to the front of my weave. I reinsert the original broken warp and wrap it around another T pin, being careful to match the tension with the rest of the warp. Then I keep weaving! In this method there are two spare ends to needle weave in after you’re finished weaving, but it’s sometimes easier to reintroduce your original warp thread than having weights dangling off the end of your loom for the entire project.

Finishing

Once your cloth is off the loom, you can tidy up your broken warp thread. Remove the T pin and use a darning needle to needle weave the repair thread into your original warp - a few ends will do. Leave the ends hanging long and clip them close to the surface of the cloth after you’ve washed and finished it. 

Fixing Broken Warp Threads is Easy!

I hope that helps give you confidence in fixing your next broken warp thread - every time you fix one it gets easier, I promise! If you’re experiencing a lot of broken warp threads, it might be time to take a break and think through each step. Sometimes re-tying a warp helps to even out tension problems that are causing warp threads to break, while other times, I’ve tightened my warp too much and repeating rubbing from my heddle is causing ends to snap. Even the way we throw our shuttles (and whether we’re lefties or righties) can influence the wear and tear on our warps, so if you’re having persistent problems, take a closer look at your process. 

Good luck! As always - if you have any questions or feedback, send us an email!

About Amanda Rataj

Amanda Rataj is an artist and weaver living and working in Hamilton, Ontario. She studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design University and has developed her contemporary craft practice through research-based projects, artist residencies, professional exhibitions, and lectures. Her textile focus of the material and conceptual nature of vernacular, everyday objects used for the home and body; her work (and weaving patterns) are available at her website, and at Guildworks, or by commission. 



September 22, 2020 — Amanda Rataj

Gosling Pillows Weave-Along with Arianna E. Funk

Day 1~ Warp/Draw-on

Welcome to the Gosling Pillows Weave-Along with Arianna E. Funk!

Arianna will be giving us some insight into the Swedish way of dressing the loom, which she covered very extensively during the Halvdräll Towels Weave-Along.

To see more of Arianna's weaving process and previous Weave-Along, visit her Instagram and look for story highlights (pictured here). 

                     
                     

Winding the Warp

                     
                     

Arianna is using Gosling Pillows Kit ~ 2 for this Weave-Along.

Pre-Sley

I prefer pre-sleying because I would rather sley twice than tie on twice! But it's really just a matter of how you learned and how your brain works, of course. I also like that it is easy to combine different warp chains for more complicated patterning without having to sacrifice efficiency in warping.

You can see more about this process on Arianna's Instagram story highlights or IGTV.

                     
                     

Beaming On!

Normally I would use my jack but this warp is so short that I'm going to cheat and just hang weights from my two chains over the front beam.

                     
                     
                    
                     

The weights I use are from my damask extension -- they are maybe lead? Super heavy: 1475 g (3 lb 4 oz) each! 

It's good if the weights are really heavy, since the more taut the warp ends are while beaming on, the easier it is to feel discrepancies in tension. But it's even more important that they are equally heavy, otherwise you may have tension issues. 

Some other ideas of what to use: free weights, two jugs with handles filled with equal amounts of water, cinderblocks...it's good if they can be easily attached/tied on and removed.

Ready to Thread


Day 2 ~ Thread, Sley, Tie-on, Tie-up

Threading

                    
                    

I don't count my heddles, instead I put a bunch on the right-hand side of the chains down to my lams, and since I have two warp chains and I know exactly where the middle is, I can just thread all of the ends from the right half and then shift the leftover heddles to the left side. 

Give yourself plenty of space while you thread, you can always move the heddles around afterward! 

A closer look...

Sleying the Reed

                     
                     

I hang my reed in a heddle that is only attached to the top of the shaft. The bottom loom fits my reed perfectly and it doesn't squiggle around while I'm sleying.

Tie-on/Tie-up

Tension looks pretty even if you ask me!

                     
                     

Pro tip: number your lams! Doesn't have to be numbers if that's confusing, it can be letters, shapes, symbols...stickers? Anything that will tell you which loops/holes go together. Saves so much brain power when you're tying-up!

This is my face when I remember I've got my halvdräll tie-up from my last project still in place and don't have to change a thing!


Day 3 ~ Butterflies, Rya Knots, Weaving Pillow A

Making Butterflies

                     
                     

Gosling Pillows Kit ~ 2 uses Mallo in Spice and Duet in Sun as the weft. 

I've printed out the chart from the pattern and written in my colors to keep everything in order.

Getting Started

                     
                     

I'm using Mallo in Spice as the tabby weft. You will notice the weft pulls in like crazy! Don't worry, I've accounted for that in the measurements and you just need "ice in your belly" as we say in Swedish.

Rya Knots

                     
                     

Errata: there are actually only 26 ends on the right side, not 28! But that won't make a difference when sewing the pillow.

Halfway there!

Finishing Pillow 1

                     
                     

In the photo on the left you can see that we are halfway there and beginning to add the yellow back in. 

Once you have finished weaving the first pillow, weave 1 contrasting pick to give you a clear line of where to zig zag or serge.


Day 4 ~ Weaving Pillow B

                     
                     

Weaving Pillow B today, which uses Duet as the tabby weft. I'm using Sun

Pro tip: make yourself a little tool belt to hold your scissors! Rya requires a ton of cutting and I was always leaving my scissors at the loom when I needed them at the butterfly station, and vice versa.

Cutting the rya loops! You can leave them as loops and cut them all at the end or clip as you go--just don't clip any warp ends...

                     
                     

Anyone else's selvedges look like this? It's partly due to the fact that the edges don't have any knots and will bind somewhat more loosely the whole way. It will disappear in the wash AND in the seam allowance--weaving pillows is nice like that!

Also, don't worry too much about the length of your loops. Don't make them too long, or you risk running out of material, but loops of different sizes give the pile a more dynamic energy.

Finishing

                     
                     

At the end of the second pillow, throw another contrasting pick and then weave another 1/2" or 1 cm so that you have a nice crisp line when you cut down and are ready to zig zag or serge.

Once the fabric is off the loom, zig zag or serge the raw edges of your pillows. Then give them a wash. I  washed by hand used a gentle, PH-neutral wool wash.


Day 5 ~ Sewing the Pillows

Pillows are dry and ready to sew!

                     
                     

This is why I kept nagging about yarn waste--this is all I have left after weaving the pillows! And a few inches of thrums.

Pillow A I left as loops, even through washing. For Pillow B I cut the loops. I think the pile behaves better when you cut it before washing, and the ends fray ever so slightly in a really nice way.

                     
                     

Choosing a backing fabric! This is hand-dyed linen.

I like to pull out one thread on each edge of the rectangle I'm going to cut so that I've got a nice sharp edge and it's easy to cut squarely. Don't be fooled/worried, I'm not this nit-picky about everything...but I like to sew with the backing as a guide, so I want these to be exact.

                     
                     

My pieces ended up being 54 x 50 cm (21.25" x 19.5") after hand washing, but I was able to stretch it gently widthwise to get a piece that was 52 x 51cm (20.5" x 20"). I've found that it's okay if the pillowcase is slightly smaller than 20" x 20", it's  not really noticeable.

In the photo on the right you can see that I've started hemming the back pieces. 

                     
                     

Here you can see that the pillow front is slightly longer than necessary. You can zig zag and cut it off or (like me) let it be!

It might not be very clear here but remember to put the "top" backing piece down first, since we will be turning this inside out when finished.

Pro tip (that you should really look up on the internet or ask your favorite sewist): sew maybe 1 cm (5/8") or so in at the corner to avoid those super pointy corners once you've put the case on the pillow. It seems so counterintuitive but it really works! 

As you can see, I went a little overboard, but I leaned into it and they still look great.

The Finished Pillows

                     
                     

Here they are! Thanks for a great week, I can't wait to see what you make!

If you would like to share your photos, you can email us or use #goslingweavealong on Instagram.


September 14, 2020 — Emma Rhodes

Deflected Doubleweave Scarf

Deflected Doubleweave Scarf

A straightforward approach to deflected doubleweave using 4 harnesses and 2 colors of Duet Cotton/Linen. This scarf has a reversible pattern that can be as bold or understated as you want it to be, depending on the colors in the warp and weft.

Designed and woven by Elizabeth Springett for GIST: Yarn & Fiber.

Materials 

Warp & Weft: 2 cones of Duet Cotton/Linen (1/4 lb cones, 2,390 yd/lb) in contrasting colors, shown here in Marble and Chambray

Kits: Each kit includes plenty of yarn to weave 1 scarf that measures approximately 11.5" wide x 68" long with fringe.

Project Notes

  • Tools Required: 4 shaft table or floor loom at least 15" wide, 8 dent reed, 2 boat shuttles & bobbins
  • EPI: 16
  • PPI: 14
  • Width at Reed: 12.84" 
  • Warp Ends: 206
  • Warp Length: 2.75 yards (99.5"), includes 30.5" to account for shrinkage and loom waste
  • Draft: Deflected Doubleweave    
  • Total warp yarn used: ~567 yards (346.5 yards Marble, 220 yards Chambray)
  • Total weft yarn used: ~390 yards (234 yards Marble, 156 yards Chambray)
  • Woven Length (measured under tension on the loom): 75.5"
  • Finished Dimensions: 1 scarf that measures approximately 11.5" wide x 68" long with fringe
  • Finishing Details: Hemstitch, 2" fringe on each side
  • Care Instructions: Hand wash in cold water, hang to dry

Instructions

1. Wind a warp with 206 ends, 2.75 yards long following the warp color order on the draft below. Warp the loom using your preferred method.

2. Thread according to the draft below. Sley 2 ends per dent in an 8 dent reed for an epi of 16, centering for a weaving width of 12.84".

3. Begin and end the scarf with hemstitch. Weave according to the draft below until the scarf measures approximately 75.5" in loom. Make sure to carry the inactive weft along the selvedge when switching colors.

4. Hand wash in cold water, hang to dry. Trim fringe to 2" on each side. 

About Elizabeth Springett

Elizabeth Springett is the CEO and CCG (Creative Color Guru) at WovenSeas Weaving Studio in Norwood MA. Elizabeth states often how she loves to weave but in fact what her real passion is is the technical design and color work it takes to create cloth. Specializing in utilitarian cloths such as towels, placemats, and rugs, all of natural fibers, Elizabeth sells her wares on her website. Twenty years in the apparel and home fashion industries designing and coloring fabrics offers many tips and tools for teaching new weavers how to weave. As Elizabeth bikes along Rhode Island's East Bay Bike Path, she sees inspiration in the beautiful land, sea and sky. 



September 04, 2020 — Emma Rhodes

Tips for Keeping Weaving Project Records by Amanda Rataj

Do you keep records on your weaving projects? Sometimes in the rush of weaving and my excitement to wash a newly finished project, I forget to take detailed notes about what I’ve done - I am also in the very bad habit of using bits of paper to scribble things on and then leaving them around the studio and forgetting what they mean. 

Weaving project records are an important part of your weaving practice for a number of good reasons! For starters, they help you duplicate a project - by keeping all your information in one place, you can easily make a project again, no matter how long ago you made it. They also help you learn from your past experiences - by recording things like finishing techniques or that you had lots of extra warp at the end, you can make more informed decisions for the next time. A good record also helps you gain confidence as a weaver, because if something went wrong (or right!) you know to avoid it or do it again.

In my very first weaving notebook I took atrocious notes (see image! so much white space!) but I’ve gotten much better and developed a system that works for me. To start thinking about how to keep weaving project records, read on!

What Type of Information to Keep

There are a few basic things you’re going to want to write down in your weaving records:

  • Date: When did you make this project? 
  • WPI: Wraps per inch
  • EPI: Ends per inch
  • Total ends: The total number of ends you warped. 
  • Warp yarn & weft yarn: I like to list where I got it, the name and size of the fibre, and the colour, including the number.  
  • PPI: Picks Per Inch will tell you how tightly or loosely to pack your warp - if my pattern has a ground thread and pattern thread, I’ll record the number for each. 
  • Draft: I either draw it out on graph paper or print off a copy of my computerized draft. I also note where I found the draft and what page it was on. 
  • Width in reed: This is important for figuring out shrinkage.
  • Length: Measure your length in the same conditions in which you are weaving. 
  • Finishing techniques: How are you finishing this textile? Is it hand washed or machine washed? Warm or cool water? 
Finished width: Measure after washing. 
  • Finished length: Measured after washing - I like to record the finished length before hemming. 
  • Notes: I write loads of notes - if my project take-up was more than expected, I make a note. If my warp was breaking a lot, I write down that information and what I did to solve it. Anything about the weaving process or finished cloth that may be useful for the future, I make sure to note! 

I always record these fourteen points about a weaving project, but there’s lots more information that you might want to keep. Here are a few more ideas: 

  • Warp calculations: I write down all my calculations (and recalculations) in my records. 
  • Warp and weft samples: I tie or tape a little piece of my warp and weft to my weaving project notes so that I have a small sample of the unwoven fibre. 
  • Warp length: This might information might be useful to you if you want to redo a project or increase the number of items you want to weave (IE make 4 Citrus towels instead of 2!)
  • Type of Weave: Marking whether this is a plain weave, overshot, twill might be a useful organizational category for you. You can also record whether you were aiming for a balanced, warp, or weft faced weave. 
  • Shrinkage: Having these numbers ready can help you plan a similar project using the same materials.
  • Loom: If you have more than one loom, you might want to record which one you used for the project. 

Tips to Help You Keep Better Weaving Project Records

I have a wonderful colleague that keeps the most intriguing notes in meetings - she writes in little bursts across the page, cramming things in and making little groups or bubbles. It looks unintelligible to me, but it makes perfect sense to her, and I think the same goes for weaving notes! If you keep your weaving records in whatever way makes the most sense to you, you’re more likely to actually keep notes and then be able to use them when you need them. That being said, my five tips to keeping better weaving project records are…

  • Keep them together: I use a spiral bound sketchbook to keep my weaving records organized and in one place, but you can also keep your records digitally or print them out and keep them in a 3 ring binder - whatever suits you!

  • Store your samples with your records: Depending on how you keep project notes, you might be able to staple or attach your samples right to your records. As I shared in my article on making samples, I attach a tag to each sample that includes some of the basic information like material, sett, etc. Each tag also has a number on it that corresponds to the project records in my notebook - so that the full details are easy to find when I need them. 

  • Collect more information than you think you need: One thing I have been very guilty of is thinking “I won’t need to know how wide this was/what sett this sample is made at/what yarn this is - I’m just trying this yarn out.” Let me tell you - this has come back to bite me more times than I would like. Now I try to collect all the information for everything - even when it’s just plain weave in one colour and one type of yarn. I like to think I am going to remember how I made something two years down the road, but it just isn’t true. 

  • Take notes while you weave: I keep a little pad of paper and a pencil on my weaving bench - it’s within reach and not precious, so I can scribble things down as I’m working and cross them out and not worry about making a mess of my main weaving project records. Once I’ve cut a warp off, I make the time to take this pad to my desk and transcribe the useful information from it in to the main record. 

  • Number or categorize your projects: I give all my projects a number, because I find that identifying my projects in an objective way is important - “blue tea towel” is just a bit too vague when I’m trying to find an old project. Numbering helps me link similar projects made over time (IE, I can make a note that reads “See project 55”), and can help categorize projects too. I also know some weavers like to keep similar project notes together, such as having all their rug projects in one book, scarves in another, etc. 

How do you like to keep your weaving project notes? What sort of strategies have you developed to organize your projects? I know there are a ton of great ideas out there, and I’m always changing and updating my own process to suit my needs as I grow my skills and become a better weaver. If you’re new to keeping records we’ve made up a handy downloadable PDF with some of the basic categories on it and a handy empty graph for drawing in your threading, tie up, and treadling. I hope it helps! If you have any great suggestions on keeping weaving records, let us know! Get in touch with me on Instagram or by email and share your favourite ways to keep weaving project records. 

About Amanda Rataj

Amanda Rataj is an artist and weaver living and working in Hamilton, Ontario. She studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design University and has developed her contemporary craft practice through research-based projects, artist residencies, professional exhibitions, and lectures. Her textile focus of the material and conceptual nature of vernacular, everyday objects used for the home and body; her work (and weaving patterns) are available at her website, and at Guildworks, or by commission. 



August 25, 2020 — Amanda Rataj

Running Stitch Napkins

Free Rigid Heddle Weaving Pattern Color and Weave Napkins

Running Stitch Napkins

A timeless set of napkins to add to your table linens collection, woven with Duet in two contrasting hues. Color-and-weave is used here to create a pattern reminiscent of hand-stitched or quilted fabrics.

Designed and woven by Christine Jablonski for GIST: Yarn & Fiber

Need some help getting started? Check out Resources for Beginner and Intermediate Weavers

Free Rigid Heddle Weaving Pattern Color and Weave Napkins

Materials 

Warp & Weft: 2 cones of Duet Cotton/Linen (1/4 lb cones, 2,390 yd/lb) in contrasting colors, shown here in Dusk and Chambray

Kits: Each kit includes plenty of yarn to weave a set of 4 napkins that measure ~8" W x 8" L after washing. You will have yarn remaining to make more napkins, or to use in future projects.

Project Notes

  • Tools Required: Rigid heddle loom at least 10" wide, 12 or 12.5 dent reed, 2 boat shuttles & bobbins or 2 stick shuttles
  • EPI: 12 
  • PPI: ~12
  • Width at Reed: 9" 
  • Warp Ends: 120 (note: some ends are doubled, reducing the width at reed)
  • Warp Length: 2 yards, includes 36" for loom waste and sampling
  • Draft: Tabby (plain weave), color-and-weave        
  • Total warp yarn used: ~240 yards
  • Total weft yarn used: ~108 yards
  • Woven Length (measured under tension on the loom): 9" per napkin
  • Finished Dimensions: 4 napkins that measure ~8" W x 8" L each after washing
  • Finishing Details: Hemstitch, or machine stitched hem with frayed edge         
  • Care Instructions: Machine wash cold on delicate cycle, air dry or tumble dry low, press as needed

Instructions

1. Warp the loom using your preferred method (direct or indirect) with a total of 120 warp ends, 2 yards long, following the warp color order below. Center for a weaving width of 9" and sley as follows:

  • 2 ends of Color A sleyed with a single thread per hole and slot
  • 2 ends of Color B (held together as one) sleyed with both threads in the same hole or slot

Repeat these steps 10 more times. There will be 11 stripes (22 ends, since Color B is doubled) of Color B in the warp

  • 76 ends of Color A.  

2. Begin and end each napkin with hemstich, if that is your preferred method. You can also machine stitch each edge when you have finished weaving (as pictured). Weave following the color order below.

  • 4 picks of Color A in alternating sheds 
  • 2 picks of Color B in the same shed, beating between each pick, so that color B is doubled in the weft. Be sure to catch the thread at the selvedge when you throw the second pick so that you do not unweave the first pick.
  • 2 picks of Color A in alternating sheds

Repeat these last two steps until you have 10 rows of Color B (doubled picks). Then weave with Color A in alternating sheds until the napkin measures 9" in loom. Weave with scrap yarn for about an 1" between each napkin to leave room for fringe.

3. After removing the yardage from the loom (and before cutting the napkins apart) use a sewing machine to straight stitch the ends of each napkin, making sure to back-stitch the first few and last few stitches to secure the edges of the hem. The stitching should be about 1/2" from the scrap yarn marker on either side. Cut the napkins apart at the scrap yarn marker, leaving a short fringe on either side. Machine wash cold on delicate and air dry (or tumble dry low if preferred). Press as needed. If you chose to hemstitch the edges, cut apart the napkins at the center of the 1" space left for fringe, then wash.

Free Rigid Heddle Weaving Pattern Color and Weave Napkins

About Christine Jablonski

In addition to being GIST's Operations Manager and Wholesale Director, Christine is a weaver and exhibiting fiber artist. She scampered down the rabbit hole of rigid heddle weaving several years ago as a way to use up her knitting stash and never looked back. In addition to very practical cloth woven to adorn home and body (tea towels are her favorite home linen projects to weave), Christine also weaves conceptual works that explore themes of mood and memory, strength and fragility, and often reflect on the current political and ecological landscape. Her work is held in private collections across the country and is shown regionally in New England galleries. To see more of Christine's work, check out her Instagram



August 14, 2020 — Emma Rhodes

How to Resize Weaving Patterns by Amanda Rataj

How to Resize Weaving Patterns for Rigid Heddle and Multi-Harness Looms

Hello weavers! 

Today I’m going to talk about how to adjust a weaving pattern to fit your loom. Resizing and adjusting a pattern to fit your loom’s width just takes a pencil, a bit of paper, and (if you’re like me) a calculator to help you successfully adapt the project.

As examples, I’m going to use the two projects I’ve designed for GIST (Tidal Towels & Squarish Rug) as examples, along with the Textured Cotton Scarf. Regardless of whether you’re weaving on a rigid heddle or harness loom, I feel that adjusting a weaving pattern to fit your loom can be broken down into 3 steps:

  1. Gather project details
  2. Calculate shrinkage
  3. Adjust the pattern 

Make a Pattern Wider ~ The Basics

Let’s say you’d like to weave my Squarish Rug - it has a width at reed of 21”, but you’d like to make the rug a bit wider.

First you’ll need to collect some information about your original pattern: the width at reed, finished width, and EPI. Then decide what your new width is going to be.

  • Width at reed: 21”
  • Finished width: 19”
  • EPI: 15
  • New width: 28” 
How to Resize Weaving Patterns for Rigid Heddle and Multi-Harness Looms

I first use those numbers to find out what the percent that the project shrunk width-wise. To do this, divide the finished width by the width at reed: 

  • 19 / 21 = .90

That means the finished width is 90% the size of the reeding width - or that it shrunk 10%

Armed with this information, I can now apply that shrinkage rate to to my new width (28”) to find out how many inches my new project will be in the reed.

  • 28” * .10 = 2.8” of shrinkage
  • 28” + 2.8” = 30.8” new width at reed

Next, multiply the your new width at reed by the sett (15 epi) to determine the amount of warp ends. 

  • 30.8” * 15EPI = 462 ends needed

This is the basic math that you need to adjust a plain weave pattern without more complex details such as stripes or other pattern blocks. 

Make a Pattern Wider ~ The Details

How to Resize Weaving Patterns for Rigid Heddle and Multi-Harness Looms

Now we have rough idea of how many ends we’ll need to get a finished width of 28” and we can move on to the next step - adjusting the pattern. 

The Squarish Rug is woven in plain weave, so there’s not anything special I need to do to adjust the threading, but by examining the pattern, I can see that it’s made up of three different sections: a border, a square, and a space between those squares. (See photo above for reference). Each of those sections is made up of a certain number of ends, so the next thing I’ll do is figure out how many inches each section represents: 

  • Border: 18 ends / 15 EPI = 1.2”
  • Square: 52 ends / 15 EPI = 3.4”
  • Space: 24 ends / 15 EPI = 1.6”

The original rug has 4 squares separated by 3 spacers, with 2 borders. Added together, each square/spacer combo equals 5”

To adjust this pattern to fit my new width, I can add two squares (104 ends) and two spacers (48) to the pattern for a total of 152 ends, or 10.1”. As you can see on my drawing below, I write out each block and how many ends and inches it represents, and then I’ll add up all those numbers to figure out how many ends and inches the new project will be - 30.8” or 468 ends, pretty much exactly the amount I calculated earlier to get a finished size of 28”.

How to Resize Weaving Patterns for Rigid Heddle and Multi-Harness Looms

I was lucky there, but what if your pattern doesn’t divide as nicely? When adjusting weaving patterns to fit my loom, I usually treat my numbers as an average and aim for something in that range, give or take about an inch to either side (15 ends in this case). You can always add or subtract ends from the border, the square, or the space as well, not just the size of the project as a whole. The same math and theories work for making a pattern more narrow as well.

Make a Pattern Narrower

Let’s say you'd like to weave the Textured Cotton Scarf, which has a width at reed of 14”, but you need to make it narrower to fit your loom. The same math applies as when adjusting to make your pattern wider - first step, collect your information: 

  • Width at reed: 14”
  • Finished width: 11.5”
  • EPI: 12

To figure out how many ends you need, simply multiple the ends-per-inch by your loom’s width weaving width: 

  • 12 EPI x 9” (new width at reed) = 108 ends

You can also calculate the shrinkage if you’d like to know approximately how wide your finished scarf will be.  First divide the finished width of the original scarf by the width at reed of the original scarf:

  • 11.5" / 14"  = .82 

That means the finished width is 82% the size of the width at reed - a shrinkage rate of 18%. 

Next, multiply your adjusted width at reed by this percentage (.18) to find out how many inches your scarf will shrink:

  • 9" (new width at reed)* .18 = 1.6” shrinkage 

Then subtract 1.6" from your adjusted width at reed to approximate how wide your scarf will be:

  • 9" - 1.6" = 7.4" finished width

Adjust a Weaving Draft

Adjusting a four harness weaving pattern follows the same formula, but with a closer look at the way the pattern itself repeats. We’re going to look at my Tidal Towels as an example.

The Tidal Towels have a width at reed of 16.9” and a finished size of 15.5” - which is approximately 9% shrinkage (following the same formula used previously). They’re sett at 20 EPI. 

I can see that the pattern is made up of 3 different sections:

  • Border: 27 ends / 20 = 1.35”
  • Wave pattern: 22 ends = 1.1”
  • Transition: 2 ends = .1”

If there’s a repeating pattern in a weave, I like to look for the beginning and end of the repeat - in the Tidal Towels, the repeat starts on harness 3 and ends on harness 4 - I’ve made a rectangular box around the repeat in the following image so that you can see it. This repeat is 22 ends long. 

How to Resize Weaving Patterns for Rigid Heddle and Multi-Harness Looms

Lets take a closer look at that repeat. It has two parts to it - the first 11 ends create the downward wave, and are mostly on shafts 1 and 2, while the last 11 ends make the rising wave and are on 3 and 4. Across the width of the pattern, the complete wave is repeated 12 times and is balanced out by repeating the first 11 ends of the pattern (the downward wave). 

A complete wave is 22 ends, which is almost exactly an inch - making it really easy to add or subtract to the width of the project. If I’m widening the towels, I could increase the number of times I do the wave repeat by adding 22 ends (or 1”) until I reach a size I like. I could also add or subtract ends from the border section - it’s plain twill, going either 1-2-3-4 or 4-3-2-1, so it would be easy to add or subtract ends. Because we know that this project is sett at 20 epi, we can figure out that 5 ends = 1/4”, making it easy to adjust the borders by small amounts. 

How to Resize Weaving Patterns for Rigid Heddle and Multi-Harness Looms

Final Thoughts

Another way you can look at adjusting weaving patterns is by adjusting parts of the patterns themselves - in my Tidal Towels, for example, once you see how the pattern repeats, you could elongate or shorten the waves by adding ends in the middle of each wave - in the downwards wave by adding/subtracting two threads on shafts 2 and 1. This is where adjusting weaving patterns gets creative - you can quickly change the balance of a motif and end up with something entirely new. Keeping proportion in mind is key!

Another way to adjust a weaving pattern is by using different materials or setting it closer or farther apart. In the Squarish Rug, I offer suggestions in the pattern for changing the height of the loops by using a smaller knitting needle, but you could also try a different yarn or a blend of two or more threads. When you start adjusting patterns in this way, the formula can help - but only to a point. To get accurate adjustments, you’ll have to make samples and take measurements.

When it comes to weaving, there are very few set-in-stone rules - I feel that if you’re achieving results that you like using your method, then keep doing it that way! This way of figuring out how to adjust weaving patterns to fit your loom is the way I would do it - it suits the way I see and interpret patterns. I’m sure there are different ways to arrive at the same result though, so make samples, play with your weaving, and develop a process that works for you. Do you have a good method for adjusting weaving patterns? Let us know! 

About Amanda Rataj

Amanda Rataj is an artist and weaver living and working in Hamilton, Ontario. She studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design University and has developed her contemporary craft practice through research-based projects, artist residencies, professional exhibitions, and lectures. Her textile focus of the material and conceptual nature of vernacular, everyday objects used for the home and body; her work (and weaving patterns) are available at her website, and at Guildworks, or by commission. 



July 27, 2020 — Amanda Rataj