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Jun 27

Variable Dent Challenge – Recycled Yarn Wrap

by Judy Pagels

Judy Pagels, Schacht Sales Manager, in her comfy wrap

Judy Pagels, Schacht Sales Manager, in her comfy wrap

The Plan:

For my variable dent reed project I wanted to use the reed sections in a graduated dent configuration. Beyond that I wanted to have a wide enough weaving width to showcase the gradation. My trusty 20” Flip Loom was the perfect size for what I had in mind.

I then needed to decide what yarn to use. It was high time, I figured, to use the reclaimed, 2-strand, 100% alpaca I’d unraveled from a pretty-darn-ugly sweater I’d found at a garage sale years ago. The sweater had yielded a lot of yardage of MANY small balls of squiggly, roughly sport weight, yarn that had been hanging out in my stash for far too long. For the project, I wanted enough fabric to play with post weaving having in mind a poncho/capelet style.

Reclaimed yarn from an old alpaca sweater.

Yarn ready for washing.

Before I could warp the loom, I needed to get the kinks out and determine how much yarn I had. I transferred countless balls of yarn onto my Schacht Niddy Noddy with the assistance from my faithful helper, Sweet Pea. To determine the yardage of each skein, I counted the rounds around the niddy noddy. After washing the skeins, I weighted each one with various spray bottles and let them dry to get out the squiggles.

black cat playing with yarn balls.

Sweet Pea decided Judy shouldn’t have all the fun.

Confident that I had more than enough yarn for my project I started planning the warp. I decided to sample the yarn using my Zoom Loom, which yields approximately an 8-10 dpi.  Originally, I had planned on using all 4 sizes of reed sections (5, 8, 10 12), but after the test sample on the Zoom Loom I realized that the 12-dent sections would create too dense of a fabric.

The Warp: 

Total warp length: 114”

Project length: 80”

Take-up: 10”

Loom waste: 24″

Width in reed: 19 ¼”

Total warp ends: 149 in the following sequence, two 5-dent sections, three 8-dent sections, three 10- dent sections.

black cat sitting on yarn

“I’m helping!”

Warping method: I direct peg warped with a little help from my assistant.

The Weft: 

Weave structure: plain and balanced for the 8-dent sections.

Picks per inch: approximately 6

Total project yardage for warp and weft: approximately 1,381 yards.

The Design: 

After weaving, I washed the fabric by hand in luke warm soapy water and laid it flat to dry, finishing with a light steam pressing. I had approximately 98” of fabric plus loom waste to play with. Still pursuing the poncho/caplet garment, I began wrapping and draping the cloth on myself in front of a mirror, wishing I had a dress form or that my assistant would be of some help at this stage. The most obvious distinction in the reed sizes showed up in the 5-dent sections, so I wanted to showcase this part of the fabric as the collar. I continued to drape and play around and finally decided to cut the yardage in half keeping the loom waste at one end for a 5”of fringe.

backlighting shows the change in fabric density because of the variable dent reeds

A back-lit view of the fabric accentuates the variable reed sections.

Layout for the poncho

Layout for the poncho

Zoom Loom swatch.

Zoom Loom swatch.

Needing fringe at the opposite edge as well, I removed about 6” of weft and tied groups of 5 ends in a simple knot across the fabric edges. Then I folded over and pressed the 5-dent section approximately 3” on both pieces. I sewed a seam up the back approximately 16” in length.  Since this seam was done at the 5-dent portion of the fabric, the top of the seam, near the neckline was a fairly open weave needing reinforcement. My Zoom Loom sample swatch was the perfect solution which I top-stitched over the seam and collar.

Detail of the Zoom Loom square patch on the back of the poncho

Detail of the Zoom Loom square patch.

After further draping and wrapping, I decided to cross the front right side over the left and accessorize with 3 lovely wooden buttons crafted by our very own Schacht shipper, Betty. Later, my personal assistant Sweet Pea found the opportunity to inspect the final piece.
Finished piece: 27 ½” long x 47” wide

Black cat playing on woven poncho

“I LOVE it!”.