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Pillow Sampler Weave-along Day 3

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Pillow Sampler Weave-along Day 3

October 7, 2020

Welcome to Day 3 of the Weave-along!

Today we’ll cover: Warp Floats

Materials & equipment:

  • weft yarn—Stephanie chose a worsted-weight yarn with fairly even color that contrasts with the warp colors
  • shuttle
  • pick-up stick a little longer than your weaving width

Slots and holes in the rigid heddle reed allow floats to work: warp ends in the holes move up and down, depending on whether the rigid heddle is up or down. However, warp ends in the slots stay on the same plane. When the heddle is down, we can manipulate all the ends that are up at the top of the reed: we can pick up some of these ends and they will form floats as we weave.

Picking up:

Stephanie sets the reed in down position and starts picking up warp ends behind the heddle. She starts at the right selvedge (you can work from left to right if you prefer), skipping over the first 2 up threads and picking up the 3rd one. She repeats across the warp—skip 2, pick up 1. At the left selvedge, the pattern doesn’t work out evenly. That’s okay because when she seams the pillow, the unevenness will be hidden in the seams.

Weaving on a rigid heddle loom:

When the pick-up stick sits at the back close to the warp beam, it has no effect on the weaving. When it sits just behind the heddle, it picks up certain warps to create floats.

  1. Start on the right edge with the heddle up—this can help you keep track of sheds and picks. Push the pick-up stick back. Weave 4 plainweave picks, weaving in the tail on the second pick. You’ll end on a down shed, with the yarn at the right selvedge.
  2. Start the float pattern: slide the pick-up stick forward, just behind the heddle. Change to the up shed, lay in the weft from the right selvedge, and beat. Change to the down shed, lay in the weft from the left selvedge, and beat. Repeat both picks—Stephanie worked 4 float picks—to make the floats more obvious.*
  3. To lock (tie down) the floats, push the pick-up stick back. With heddle up, weave 1 pick from right to left and beat—this row locks the float. With heddle down, weave 1 pick from left to right and beat—this extra row of tabby puts you back at the right selvedge for the float pattern. It also forms another row of background: when you work the next float row, the float will seem to start here.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for this 6-row pattern. Weave warp floats for 4″.

* Why do the floats float? With the pick-up stick forward and the heddle down, each pick creates a ground on which the float sits. With the pick-up stick forward and the heddle up, the warp floats actually float. You can make long warp floats, but the woven cloth will be less sturdy and more prone to snags and abrasions. If your warp and weft colors contrast a lot, the warp floats will pop even if they’re not very long.

TIP for keeping your place: Count weft picks, starting from the beginning of a float. If it crosses 5 picks (in other words, starting at the 2nd row of step 3), you should be back at the right selvedge, ready to put the heddle down and work the locking/tie-down row.

Weaving on a shaft loom:

Follow the treadling from the pattern draft. View at the link below:

pillow sampler weaving draft

Can’t wait to see you tomorrow! Happy Weaving!

Enjoy this weaving rock star interview with Anu Bhatia

Anu Bhatia lives, weaves, and teaches in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she has a studio called Kargha (the Hindi word for “loom”). Her educational background involved all aspects of textiles, its construction, and embellishment. Yet despite this education, which began in her native country of India, Anu only learned to weave in the US and got her very first loom in 2014. Weaving is now her passion and meditation!  Anu loves every step of weaving and finds joy in learning new weave structures and techniques to share with her students. Her culturally inspired designs have appeared in Handwoven magazine—look for “Sweet Peony” in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue and “Mayuri” in the Mar/April 2020 issue—and Little Looms 2020.

Interview highlights

  • Anu’s yarn origin story
  • meeting weaving students at their level
  • warping and weaving
  • Anu’s favorite and least favorite parts of weaving
  • threading & warping tips
  • Anu’s show-and-tell

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