Designed and woven by Rachel Simmons
Woven on the Baby Wolf
When we want “more” from our art, sometimes that wish gets muddled with wanting “more stuff” to make the art. But more stuff isn’t always possible. Then comes the very beautiful realization that we can make more with what we have—especially if it’s a high-quality tool like a Schacht 8-shaft floor loom. The trick is learning how to make what you have give you more.
There was a moment when I felt limited by the width of my Baby Wolf. Twenty-six inches is great for a lot of things, but I wanted to make a blanket. And I wanted my blanket to be free from seams, woven as one whole cloth. Twenty-six inches would be an awfully small whole cloth blanket. Then I discovered doubleweave and my troubles melted away, taking the dreaded seams with them. With 8 shafts, you can weave intricate patterns in doubleweave, gaining twice the width of your reed. Any 4-shaft pattern can be converted to a doubleweave, using 4 of the 8 shafts to weave the top layer and the other 4 to weave the bottom. This knowledge opened up so many new weaving possibilities, I know I will be exploring them for quite some time.
The pattern I have drafted for this particular blanket is my take on a more traditional Star of Bethlehem motif. It is woven in neutral colors, the warp and tabby weft complementing the pattern weft in a subtle difference of hue. Every time I unfold a doubleweave cloth from the beam, it is like magic to see it double in size before my eyes. It also deepens my appreciation of the wonderful art of weaving and the masterful crafting of good tools that can give so much of the “more” we crave.
- 8-shaft loom with at least 24″ weaving width—I used my Baby Wolf
- 12 dent reed
- 2 shuttles and bobbins
- fringe twister
- Brown Sheep Cotton Fine (80% pima cotton, 20% merino wool; 215 yds / 1.76 ounces; fingering weight), Vintage Linen (cream): 650 yards for warp and 650 yards for tabby weft
- Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece (80% pima cotton, 20% merino wool; 215 yds / 3.5 ounces; DK weight), Weathered Barn Wood (brown): 650 yds for pattern weft