Mata Ortiz Runner

May 28, 2013

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If you are wondering what my hand-turned maple bowl is doing in this photo, the answer is that it is pretending to be a Mata Ortiz pot.  Mata Ortiz is a Mezzo-American revival pottery featuring clean forms and ornate surface decoration.  I wove this runner for a couple of Mata Ortiz fans. (The bowl is also there because I’m just that awfully proud of having found it at Goodwill for $4 brand new.  It’s the perfect shape to hold a ball of yarn, or for stuffing cut ends of thread into while weaving, and I’ve been using it constantly.)

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Design constraints included the palette of the pots, the muddying effect of my putty brown sample warp, the narrow weaving width, the colors of cottolin I had on hand, and the fact that I ran out of one color mid-weaving!

Still, I found it really engrossing to design something so far outside the scope of what I’d design to please myself–to the point that I actually grew rather fond of it in the weaving.  Now my only beef are the proportions.  The central ochre section was longer in my sketches.  I ran out of that color four inches early; it shows.

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Runner: Mata Ortiz

Completed: March 2012

Woven on Varpapuu Kothe Nordia table loom

Threading: 8-shaft rosepath, 17 repeats plus balancer and selvedges.

Pattern: Interleaved zig-zag twill from handweaving.net (draft #12247, reverse side up for slight weft dominance), with overshot motifs in borders adapted from handweaving.net #12408, and basket weave hems (or rather the closest you can get to basket weave in rosepath).

Warp: sample warp in putty brown 8/2 unmercerized cotton mill ends, and border stripes of “Polo” (the color of unbleached linen) 8/2 unmercerized cotton by Uki

Weft: 22/2 cottolin (Borgs and Bockens: ochre, orangey red, turtle green; Louet: pastel green), white 8/2 cottolin from Pacific Wool and Fiber, 3/2 mercerized cotton in cornsilk yellow, and Lily size 20 perle cotton in light bronze (as tabby weft for overshot border motifs).

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Warp preparation: wound 12 yards and 5” by the single thread on warping reel with cross at both ends, cut in half for 6 yard and 2 1/2” warp, beamed 8 epi in 2.5 dpi raddle

Ends: 275 total including floating selvedges, 95 dark, 80 light

Sett: 22.5 (ended up being more like 22.75) epi, sleyed 2-2-2-3 in 10 dent reed

Picks per inch: 23-26

Width in reed: 12”

Woven width: 11 3/8”

Finished width: 10 3/8” – 10 1/4”

Length on loom: 53 3/4″

Woven length: 52”

Finished length before hemming: about 48”

Hemmed dimensions: 42 5/8”

Loom waste: 13.5” back, but next time stop at 15”

Finishing: normal warm wash and tumble dry twice, remove from dryer while still slightly damp both times, hot iron, 3/4” slip-stitched hems.

Conclusions: Close sett reduced draw-in, though it muted the weft colors a bit more than I wanted.  My beat was lighter for the first decorative border than the second, should have done more counting of ppi.  The overshot figures in the second border looked squashed after wet finishing.  Modified basket weave worked well for hems, but they are too thick.  Next time bind raw edge with seam binding and fold only once to hem?

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3 Responses to “Mata Ortiz Runner”


  1. Beautiful! And learned something new (Mata Ortiz) to boot. The colours are perfect for this transition from spring into summer. The cornsilk in the light bronze motif is particularly lovely.

  2. Cally Says:

    I love that little taste of red! When I saw the first picture I thought you must have used natural coloured cottons – you have certainly captured the colour palette. And I completely relate to the effect of working with things you aren’t naturally drawn to…. I find it doesn’t really change my long-term preferences, but I’m aware of discovering details that I appreciate in a thing I might otherwise have paid no/little attention to.

  3. Dot Says:

    Very pretty colours, just right with the wood and the pot, there’s no competition between them. I especially like the cornsilk yellow highlight.


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