Those pesky string yarn weft tails! There is a lot of starting and stopping with these mug rugs. Normally, tucking a weft tail back into the shed adds a bit of extra thickness at the selvedge. So, what about this very thick weft? It has the potential to throw everything off balance. A few easy tips help minimize the distortion the thicker weft can cause.
Taming String Yarn Weft Tails
Begin the thick weft on alternating sides. This will prevent one selvedge from building up more than the other.
Taper the end of the string yarn, cutting it at a steep angle.
Starting about 1 3/4″ inside the selvedge, send the shuttle through the shed toward the selvedge, going over or under the outermost warpend. Pull through until almost all of the weft tail is caught.
In same shed, send the shuttle back through to the other side, aware of encircling the one warp end.
Beat. (Beat on open shed. Beat again. Change sheds. Beat again.)
To end the thick weft, leave a 1 3/4″ tail, and taper the end of the string yarn, as before. Lay the tail back in the last shed, going around the outermost warp end. Beat.
Things happen that throw us off balance. From personal celebrations to unexpected losses. Don’t be afraid. Putting trust in the Lord minimizes the inner turmoil. The Lord is my light. He lights my way. What is there to be afraid of? Wholehearted trust in the Lord pushes fearfulness away.
Cooks have recipes, builders have blueprints, and handweavers have weaving drafts. There are a few different formats, but all drafts carry the same essential information. There is the tie-up box, the threading pattern, and the treadling sequence. Finally, there’s the drawdown, a graphic representation of how all the threads intersect.
The two formats I see most often are the typical American draft (e.g., Handwoven), and the Swedish draft (e.g., VÄV Magasinet). Many American drafts assume jack looms; whereas, Swedish drafts usually assume counterbalance or countermarch looms. However, any loom can weave from any draft.
As Madelyn van der Hoogt says in The Complete Book of Drafting, “Any tie-up can be used for any type of loom. Discover from the tie-up which shafts must be up and which down for each shed, and do to the loom whatever is required to get them there.”
All the draft formats have this in common: The tie-up box is the starting point. The threading pattern and treadling sequence begin at that point, and go out from there.
The Swedish draft makes perfect sense (remember, of course, I weave on Swedish countermarch looms). I picture the draft as if it is lying flat in front of me.
Becky Ashenden says in the forward to Weave Structures the Swedish Way, “With this orientation of tie-up, treadling, and threading, the draft has a direct relationship to the weaving of the fabric. The tie-up’s location in the lower right-hand corner of the draft allows all other information to match as closely as possible the physical aspects of the loom.”
Here is a comparison of the Swedish and American draft formats:
Weft drawdown (filled-in squares show loweredwarp threads, weft passing over)
Tie-up is in lower right corner, and uses black squares to designate shafts that sink / white squares for shafts that rise
Threading is below the drawdown
Shafts are numbered from back of the loom to front, with the first shaft the furthest from the weaver seated at the loom
Treadling sequence is on the right, and reads from bottom to top
Treadles are numbered from right to left
For a “sinking shed” loom (countermarch or counterbalance loom), use the black squares to tie up sinking shafts
For a “rising shed loom” (jack loom), use the white squares to tie up rising shafts
Tie-up is in upper right corner, and uses numerals to designate shafts that rise / white squares for shafts that sink
Threading is above the drawdown
Shafts are numbered from front of loom to the back, with the first shaft the closest to the weaver seated at the loom
Treadling sequence is on the right, and reads from top to bottom
Treadles are numbered from left to right
For a “sinking shed” loom (countermarch or counterbalance loom), use the white squares to tie up sinking shafts
For a “rising shed loom” (jack loom), use the squares with numerals to tie up rising shafts
Similarities between Swedish and American Drafts
Threading reads right to left
Squares in the tie-up box represent treadle cords that attach treadles to corresponding shafts
Getzmann, Ulla, and Becky Ashenden. Weave Structures the Swedish Way. Shelburne, MA: Väv Stuga Press, 2006.
Hoogt, Madelyn Van der. The Complete Book of Drafting for Handweavers. Coupeville, WA: Shuttle-Craft Books, 1993.
I don’t mind slow weaving. The progress that is measured in hours, not minutes, is satisfying. I don’t mind fast weaving, either. It’s a chance to be productive. These mug rugs fall in the fast-weaving category. I can whip up a few of these in an afternoon.
I hope to get 20 to 25 of these little mug rugs from this six-yard warp. I have to admit, it’s fun to weave something easy once in a while. Now, I can measure progress in minutes, instead of hours. We determine the value of things according to time and effort, don’t we? How long did it take, and how much effort? Some woven items are destined for elegance, and others are, simply, rugs under mugs.
Grace doesn’t measure value that way. The Lord’s generous grace demonstrates true equality and fairness. His grace places equal value on people, not taking into account how “good” they are, or how much effort they extend to do “good” things. Grace is distributed equally. The Lord offers it to all, not because of who we are or what we have done, but because of who he is, and what he has done. That’s good news. The mug rugs may end up on an elegant table, after all.
May you receive and extend grace.
Happy weaving, Karen
PSPlattväv Towel Kit update: Still in progress! You will be the first to know when the kits are ready.
Put on a new warp as soon as possible. That’s my philosophy. A weaving loom should not stay bare. I am ready to begin a stack of rep weave mug rugs (my local weaving group is making them for an upcoming conference).
A new warp comes alive as I wind the threads on the warping reel. It is a picture of possibility! Every warp has a beginning and an end. Beginning a new warp on the loom is always exciting. And when I come near the end, I often wish I could weave a little longer.
Have you considered the warp as a metaphor for a life’s span? It is measured out in advance, with a certain type of fabric in mind. The setts, patterns, and structures vary. But they are all meant to be woven. Weft passes are like days and years. For a time, it seems like it will never end. And then, you see the tie-on bar coming over the back beam. You’re reminded that this warp is temporary. We all have this in common: We are mortal. Time is a precious gift. Every pass of the weft is a reminder of our Grand Weaver’s loving attentiveness to complete the weaving he began.
Even though I am pleased with the miniature rugs, this project taught me that I would rather weave large rag rugs than tiny ones. After three mini rosepath rag rugs, and now, a few small mug rugs, I am nearly finished. (See Rosepath Miniature and One Mini Rag Rug to see the mini rag rugs.)
I have a new project I’m excited about. That’s all the motivation I need to get the current project off the loom. The thread for the new project will be here soon. A new warp is celebration time! It means more weaving. But the aim of weaving is always to make cloth. Whether tiny rugs or monksbelt yardage, everything I weave eventually gets cut off. And for a weaver, the cutting off is party time, too! That’s when we get to see and touch the results of our efforts.
You and I are here for a purpose. Though not all the same, every person is significant. Heaven knows your name. And when your name is written in heaven’s book, it’s like a new warp, and all the angels have a party! The cutting off party will be grand, too, with Jesus being clearly pleased at the results of his handiwork.