Ever have a 'great idea' only to watch it fail at every turn? After weaving the placemats for my friend I thought that I could use my cotton chenille to make wonderful baby blankets. I included a bit of plain weave sampling at the end of the placemat warp, did some calculations and went to work.
There were, of course, limiting factors in my work. To weave a wide blanket (I like 40" square baby blankets) I would need to use my AVL Production Dobby loom. That was ok. I'm not very fast at warping it, mostly due to lack of practice, so I figured this would be a good opportunity to practice! Unfortunately, I only have one reed that reaches the width of the AVL. It's a 10-dent reed and my test piece had been woven at 24 ends per inch (epi). I could thread the 10-dent reed 2-2-3 for 23 epi or 2-3 for 25 epi. I opted for the "easier" 2-3 threading.
Here's where things got sticky. I made some denting errors. Some of them I was able to fix right away, but some would have required re-threading the entire reed. (Can you see where this is going?) I wasn't willing to do that. I had 1150 ends. I didn't want to re-thread the reed. So I didn't.
Not good. Not good at all. So I ended up with warp stripes randomly placed throughout my baby blankets. They aren't even. They weren't planned. They aren't even the same type of error! There are multiple spots where there are too many threads per dent and one spot where there are too few. :(
|Two blankets showing denting errors.|
The other part of my trouble is my choice of ends per inch for the warp. The placemat warp had been sett at 24 epi and was a relatively narrow warp. The washed sample is lovely--soft and fuzzy and the colors show up well. My baby blanket warp was sett at 25 epi and was a wide warp --44". Wide warps don't pack as tightly as narrow warps, neither do warps with extra ends per inch. I was doomed!
Ok. So it's not that bad. Sure the cloth doesn't look like my sample and I really liked my sample. Sure the cloth has irregularities in it, so I won't put it in the art gallery for sale. But, if I hem them, I'll have two baby blankets or lap blankets to give to friends. If I never show them my sample, they'll never know what they're missing. Right?
While the baby blanket warp was on the avl I got to looking through some of my back issues of Handwoven Magazine. I was looking for articles on using color, but came across a familiar graph and paused to look it over.
"Recipe Book: Patterns for Handweavers". It is designed to be woven as Summer & Winter pickup. The interesting thing is that the instructions provide two threadings and tie-ups. One is the typical S&W threading with tie-downs on shafts 1 and 2. The other is a straight twill threading !!! Wow! I didn't know that you could do Summer & Winter on a straight twill threading! It turns out that you can!!!