Happy Weaving and Spinning Week!

I’ve recently learned from Chris, at Acton Creative, that this week is Weaving and Spinning Week!

How did I not know that?! Heaven knows, after the news of the last couple of weeks, I need something to celebrate . . .

And it seems the perfect excuse to show you what I’ve been working on since the last update.

A long time ago (May, in fact), I showed you this project of two scarves in pink and white while they were still on the loom. It’s a good example of how the weft color changes the overall look.

Let me explain a little—in weaving, the warp is made up of the long threads that are attached to the loom and are vertical when I sit facing the loom. The weft threads are the ones that come out of the shuttle as I weave and are horizontal.

In this project, one scarf is done in just two colors—rosewood and white—for both warp and weft.

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The other has those same two colors in the warp but the weft is lighter pink.

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Pretty cool, huh?

I’ve sort of been in placemat mode, too. It turns out that buyers like placemats and I like making them. I get the satisfaction of achieving a “finish” pretty quickly since each individual mat is fairly small and quick to weave up, even though the entire project may be on the loom for a while.

I did this pattern in off-white—it uses two weights of thread in both warp and weft, which creates the nice texture.

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I liked the results so much that I went ahead and did it again. The second time, I used two shades of blue. The effect is tweedy and interesting.

I keep thinking of other color combinations I could try. Maybe dark brown with the lighter-weight thread in a bright yellow-green? Or bright orange?

And, of course, I’ve made more towels. I wove the striped ones I’ve already shown you and six of these.

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And this boring-looking bunch of threads will turn into towels, too. I hope they’ll be more interesting soon!

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Some of my projects have been repeats of ones you’ve seen before. I know weavers who never, ever make the same pattern twice because they want to move on to something new. SO much to weave, so little time!

As much as I like new, I do have some favorites and I really like doing them over. (I’m the same way with books—I love re-reading my favorites, as visiting old friends, and will cycle them through my reading every few years.)

So, my weaving re-dos are more of these placemats (buyers like placemats!) I hemmed them this time, instead of leaving fringe. I like the look of the fringe better but it means the mats can’t go into the washer and they are white, after all.

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And I making more of these Christmas towels. This shot is a good demonstration, again, of how the weft color can change everything. You can see the unwoven warp on top, then, going around the front, a towel where I’m using white as weft. Underneath the loom, you can see what that same warp looks like when I used red as the weft.

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Here’s another view of the red weft and the obligatory photo of the weaver’s apprentice.

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And that’s it for this update, with many ideas percolating in my mind! Thanks for celebrating this special week with me!

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87 thoughts on “Happy Weaving and Spinning Week!

  1. Thank you so much for your indepth explanations of warp and weft vs color. I am an extremely newbie weaver. I am totally enjoying the things I have been making (mostly scarves and some towels). Your work is really beautiful!

  2. I do love the practicality of achieving a completely different effect on the same warp by simply changing the weft colour. Two for the price of one 🙂 In both cases, my personal taste is for the version with the white weft, I love that red and white scarf with the almost houndstooth effect pattern. How much warp do you load at a time, or does that depend entirely on what you’re planning to make?

    • I’m in a sort of rut of putting about 7 yards of warp on every time–it’s enough for a couple scarves, several towels, or 8 placemats. It is a length I can handle without too many tangles and it means I can weave for quite a long time before having to dress the loom again.

      • I don’t think I’d call that a rut, it sounds like experience has shown you that’s a practical length. I have a similar ‘rut’ when it comes to quilting, in that I tend to make the same size and use the same or similar processes because I know exactly what I’m doing. Mind you, there are times I like to challenge myself and start something I have no idea how to complete!

  3. What a beautiful array if work! It must give you such satisfaction! I’m pretty sure you weren’t making placemats the year I went to Sweden. I would have bought some for Erik’s mother. I did find a nice set at Etsy.

    • The placemats have surprised me. I think I made the first set just about a year ago and i could probably make nothing but them and do very well. They sell very quickly and I keep getting requests for more. But a girl has to get some variety into her weaving!

  4. I loved this explanation of the weaver’s craft, and the finished demonstration of your pieces even more so. I’m glad it succeeded in taking your mind off the news bulletins. Your pieces will stand the test of time. With any luck, the news may change.

    • Thanks, Margaret–I like doing these posts and seeing recent projects all lined up. Sometimes I think I’m not accomplishing much then I realize I actually have. And I do hope the news changes . . . for the better!

  5. Oh he such cool work! Really interesting to see and read all the different textures you can create weaving. Never knew different weights of yarn created that look but it makes a lot of sense!

  6. I always look forward to your post. Todays was a great education. Love the scarfs and the Christmas towels! I am a spinner and I had no idea this was weaver and spinning week so don’t feel to badly, your not alone! ~ Sharon

  7. Beautiful work Kerry! The placemats are just wonderful – both the blue and the white 🙂 I really liked seeing your work on the loom, such a treat. And of course your explanation is so clear and concise everything makes immediate sense. I always love to see what you are producing, just so I can drool for a while ❤

  8. I love your weaving posts, just looking at the patterns emerging on the loom is a treat! It is amazing at how much difference one change if thread can make, the possibilities are endless. The examples of different textures are beautiful, I love that nubby, tweedy look.

    • The possibilities and variations really are endless–every time I weave something, I think of ways to tweak it or change little things. That off-white warp looks boring but it means every towel I weave can be very different in color and, to some extent, pattern. I’ll try to remember to show the finished towels . . .

  9. Beautiful work,Kerry! Love those Christmas towels,as the White placemats! With a set of lovely China dishes on top of these would make a lovely setting.

    • Thanks, Deb. Yes, the white placemats are really versatile–they can look good with most any style dishes. Of course, they would also show every spot of spilled food . . .

  10. The Christmas towels are great. Even if you don’t go crazy decorating for the holidays, I would think the addition of one of these towels would give your kitchen a festive feel. It looks like kitty likes them, too!

    • The scarves are Tencel (lyocell), the placemats are mercerized/perle cotton and the towels are a mix of cotton and linen, mostly cotton. I’ve worked hard on my selvedges and I do believe they are improving!

  11. Thank you for the explanation – it helped me understand so much better what goes on. I find it a fascinating skill but dare not think about it too much as I can’t possibly take on yet another excuse not to do the housework 😉

    • I was always intrigued by weaving but swore I would *never* try it because I could NOT have another hobby. Then my husband wanted to take a workshop and, so, to be supportive, I went along. The rest, as they say, is history. But I’m so glad I learned it! PS–thanks for doing copy editing on my Etsy listings! 😉

  12. Delicious, Kerry, thank you! I love reading about your weaving – it is something I would love to have a go at some time, but in the meantime, I can indulge my fantasies through your gorgeous work! 🙂

    • Weaving isn’t an easy hobby just to “test drive”–it takes a lot of tools and equipment and guidance, even to do a basic first piece to see if you like it. Maybe someday you’ll find a local workshop . . . until then, I’ll keep sharing what I do!

      • I know exactly what you mean. I very much enjoyed my glass blowing class earlier this year and people often ask me if I am going to ‘take it up’. But of course it requires a significant amount of resources, equipment, training etc – just like weaving as you say! It’s a great idea to look out for a workshop though. 🙂

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  14. Wow! So much variety with just a little change! I love this post and all the things you have made.

    I am currently saving toward my first babystep down that rabbit hole… a rigid heddle loom. 😉

  15. Wow – you have been a busy bee! Why can’t the hemmed placemats go in the washer? I put my hemmed dish towels in all the time.
    I like placemats, but I cen’t seem to make them the same size. I guess I must not be careful enough!

    • I guess I wasn’t clear–the hemmed ones *can* go in the washer–it’s the fringed ones that can’t. To get the size right, I use a piece of twill tape and pin it along the side as I weave (like we did at Vavstuga). I mark hems and borders on the tape so I know when to make changes. My mats are never precisely the same size but quite close.

  16. Well, all your lovely weaving certainly brightened my day. And your weaving apprentice made me smile, too. I haven’t looked at your Etsy shop for a while. I think I will do that now. Sadly, only window shopping, but it will be fun all the same.

    • I do mostly window shopping these days, too–I am trying to get things *out* of my house not bring more in! But thanks for being interested enough to look at what I’ve been up to!

  17. I was so busy reading comments last night, I failed to leave one. You have taken this to an art form but I’m sure you already know that. Your work is stunning!!! There isn’t any of it I don’t love. I don’t think I could pick a favorite.

    • Thanks, Jean–you can tell I’m having fun! And we could change the Dickens quote to “I will honour Weaving and Spinning Week in my heart, and try to keep it all the year”!

  18. As always, I love to see what you are weaving. And, as usual, it’s all beautiful. Lovely shots demonstrating weft colors. I spent much of Weaving and Spinning week transplanting apple trees, putting the garden to bed, washing fleeces, processing flax, and other outdoor chores that need to be done before the cold weather descends. But I spent my evenings putting together my new loom (I brought home an Oxaback Lilla from Vavstuga) and am now warping it up. I’m so excited to have a bigger loom–projects are whirling around my head. Bring on winter, I say! Weaving and spinning and sewing, oh my.

    • How exciting, to have the new loom and be ready to rock and roll on it! I am very ready to be finished with outdoor chores and to settle in for a long winter of making pretty, practical things!

  19. I was fascinated by your examples of the difference in the weft colours. I do love your work! Such practical, useful towels and place mats (I love placemats and we just bought some yesterday!) and then the wonderful scarves; so sophisticated and understated!

  20. Hi Kerry, I commented here a couple of days ago but the comment disappeared. Akismet tell me I comment too frequently and I have been mistaken for a Spambot 😀 I wonder if you could check your spam folder to see if my comment is there. If not, please be assured I love this post very much and am fascinated by your examples of the difference in the weft colour.

  21. I love your weaving posts. They still remain a mystery, which adds to the appeal, especially when I see all those knots and mystery threads. With both your weaving and your hand quilting, you have such an even hand. It just adds to the mystery for me. Lovely, lovely textiles, Kerry. I wonder if they’ll appear in someones post 100 years from now? I like to think they will.

    • I think I like hand quilting and weaving partly because of the rhythm I can get in the process, which lends to the evenness in the product. And I love the idea of the textiles being around in 100 years . . .

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