Friday, April 22, 2011

Calculate Twice, Weave Once

The Fort Worth Weaver's Guild is having a napkin exchange. The napkins are supposed to be 18" x 18" square. We turn in four napkins and get four back that are not our own.

Strickler 8 Shaft Patterns number 315-4

I have been fretting over this project for a few months, and when the deadline drew closer I got busy and wove mine in a twill pattern from Carol Strickler's book of 8 Shaft patterns. The draft is on page 85 of her book and is number 315-4.

I wanted to use yarn that I had on hand, so I chose 8/2 cotton. I have very little weaving experience so I warped my loom with six yards of warp for a test warp just to get dimensions and learn the pattern - which is the most complex twill I have woven. On the test warp, I wove seven little towels that will work for finger tip towels or small dish towels. These will go in the Guild Sale in September and if they don't sell, then I will have some Christmas Presents all done!

Two of each weft color - one for me and one for the exchange
Armed with before and after measurements of my test towels, I put on a new warp with 501 warp ends, 20.9" in the reed, sett at 24, for a finished width of 18 inches. I calculated the number of pattern repeats needed to reach 18 inches. I figured I needed about 11 repeats - which would leave the towels a tad long - but better long than short.

When I wove the napkins, for some reason that I can not explain, I carefully wove 12 repeats. My finished napkins are 18 inches wide as forecast, but they are 20 inches long :-{

No matter. I am turning them in anyway. If it bothers someone, they can rip out one hem and cut them off to square them.

New labels
On the napkin warp, I used a tip from Lorelei in the Guild for flatter folds at the hemline.  I wove 8 picks of poly-cotton serger thread, then the hem area for 10 picks, then I threw a double shot of a contrast yarn to mark the fold of the hem. After I hemmed the napkins, I pulled out the contrasting thread at the fold and the result is a much flater hem because the cloth as a place to turn.

All the napkins got one of my new labels from Sterling Labels. Makes me feel like SomeBody!

I always learn something new with each project. For this one, I won't forget to not trust my memory when I want something to come out to an exact length.