Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Table Runner Project

After a long time spinning, I can finally start weaving a table runner. In a previous post, I talked about how long it took me to spin all of the weft yarn for this project, which took 67 hours. Thankfully, tabby weaving goes by extremely quickly! I haven't been keeping track of how long it takes to weave, but at this point, I'm nearing the two-thirds mark.

I started the project with tiny little skeins of sample yarn I accumulated from the Phat Fiber box several years ago. I had no idea what to do with them at the time, so I just took some notes about how others dyed top, carded batts, and how they named their creations. As a side note, that step has been extremely useful for me in learning how to make my own dyed top more colorful and my batts more interesting. To make cohesive looking yarns from the samples, I grouped them by color. I spun singles, then made traditional 3-ply yarns with the three different singles. As a result, the yarns were colorful without being too garish. I even reused some yarns from other projects which happened to be the right size.

I think I had around 450 yards for the warp yarns, which were around 96 inches (2.7m) long. I used every slat in the heddle, which came to 160 ends in total. I'm still not extremely comfortable with the weaving terminology yet, since this is only my third weaving project (so forgive me if I'm saying things wrong). :) Here's the beautiful white merino weft yarn again:

After all of the weft yarn I thought I needed was done, I started warping my Harp. I'm getting faster at getting the tension just right when I walk the warp (I don't have the part I need for the other way of winding the warp), but it still took an hour and a half to do... Then I began weaving. I am happy with how the table runner is turning out so far:

The pattern of the warp just barely shows up through the white. It almost looks like plaid! Below is a close up of the warp poking through the fabric.

When you're weaving, you need to create some slack in the weft before you beat it into place, and you do that by placing the yarn at an angle. I'm still practicing this step, since it's the one where I forget to be consistent. I tend to shoot for at least thirty degrees, but it sometimes gets as high as forty-five degrees. It impacts the width of the garment, and if it's constantly changing, the edges will be all wiggly. Oh well. That's a beginner for you. :)

Here is a closeup of the warp threads under tension. They're a little crazy.

The overall fabric will be subdued by comparison, which is what I hoped would happen. I'm very excited about colorful things, but there is such a thing as color clashing in the fiber world. The white of the undyed merino really brings this piece together, and the bits of contrasting colors in the warp give it an unexpected patterned look to it. Though the yarns are mostly smooth, some spots have a little slub or bump which pokes through the weft, giving it a rustic, organic look. If you look at the fabric at just the right angle to the sun, you can see the little sparkle of angelina.

Originally I thought this would be a table runner, and it still might be a table runner in the end. Our kneeling table has a giant crack going down the middle of it, and I thought this project would be a great way to cover it up (and to keep it from eating crumbs and earphone cords). But this yarn is so soft, I kind of want the table runner to moonlight as a shawl from time to time. Hmm...we'll see. I'll definitely post pictures when it's off the loom and ready to be used!

P.S. Here is the video I posted recently where I talk a little more about the yarn and the project: