Huge and Obscenely Simple

June 5, 2008


Before this, my last project was the “mock Welsh tapestry” I designed in doubleweave for a class.  When I cut it off the loom I swore the next thing I wove would be huge and obscenely simple.  I didn’t quite achieve huge, but I think I’ve got obscenely simple in the bag.

I got bored!  I didn’t think I could get bored weaving!

You’re looking at an 80” x 14 1/2” runner in 4/4 twill.  It isn’t intended for the table shown here, but for a much bigger rectangular table that has been living in the car port since we moved.

The threading switches directions in the center with a herringbone skip.  I also reversed the treadling at the half-way mark, so you get this sort of thing going on with the twill lines in the middle: ><

I planned the project around the weft yarn.  When I first discovered eBay yarn I trawled for bargains by fiber.  This is a cotton/rayon knitting yarn.  My reasoning at the time:  It’s probably got That Blue I Like That You Never See (somewhere between cyan and cadet blue), it’s cheap, there’s a lot of it, and cool!, it’s Italian.

Unfortunately the seller’s pictures didn’t show me that this is a chained (more like knitted?) yarn–the kind that wants to unchain really badly.  I decided I to go ahead and use it because I liked the colors.  Every three quills, I cut my loose ends down to the web and applied a tiny drip of fray check to keep them from unraveling.  Dried fray check has a nasty texture, but is fairly easy to control.  Which is to say, I can feel where the ends are if I run my hands over the thing, but it’s not as if there are stiff places in the cloth.

(I’ve since gotten over eBay yarn.  Yarn hunting that way is really time consuming–and cut-throat!–but it taught me a lot about what exists.  Old yarns they don’t make any more.  Scandinavian yarn.  Japanese yarn.  Fine threads.  Mill ends!  It was also a course in brands.  Sellers would proudly advertise their “Silk City” this or that–or some other distributor–I’d be puzzled, and then I would set out on the internet to discover why it was worth mentioning.)

As for the fringe . . . I don’t care for fringe on household linens, but the sett here was too wide (15 epi) for a nicely hemable header, so I tried some 4-strand flat braids instead.  Yeah, not too attractive with those wavy ends.

At least it shows off my good china.  I bought this mid-century German porcelain for myself when I was 17 and anticipating a life of refined-yet-Bohemian spinsterhood.  (My husband and I had a secret wedding, so no wedding china.)  I’m still not tired of it, possibly because it has been in a box in the closet since then, waiting patiently for the day when we are grown up, and have elegant friends, and throw formal dinner parties for them in the car port.

Um.  Still waiting.


3 Responses to “Huge and Obscenely Simple”

  1. Barb Fessler Says:

    When I’m weaving a long boring warp I need a very good audio book to keep me sitting at the loom.
    I like your blue runner and it looks great with your dishes.

  2. Kaz Says:

    I just can’t take long boring warps so I always paint the warp so it keeps changing in some way. However I really like the blue for a table piece – it looks great.

  3. Jane Says:

    Love those dishes!! Invite me for tea and cookies, please — it’s a lovely day for a chat under the carport. 🙂

    The runner turned out lovely, and while not meant for that table, looks splendid on it.

    Was going to ask you if you have tackled the next warp, but I see that you have — YAY!

    Weave like an Egyptian,

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