I want to weave two floor runners for a specific location in our home. I could do some figuring and guessing. Instead, I am weaving one repetition of this spaced rep rag rug. Now, I have a reference point. All I have to do is measure and see how many repetitions to weave for the length I need. Measuring removes the guesswork. Let the runners begin!
You can measure what you are weaving. A set of towels will all be the same length. A table runner will fit the table as planned. A rug will be the right size for the designated floor space. All it takes is a dependable way to measure. (Thanks to Elisabeth S. for writing me, “I’d love to have a better way to measure my work as I’m weaving it.”)
Measurement Tape (accompanying video below)
5/8” polyester twill tape
Fine point indelible marker
2 flat-head straight pins
Determine the finished length.
Consider the Golden Ratio, 1:6.
Consider where the finished textile will be placed.
Estimate take-up and shrinkage.
Include these measurements in your project notes.
Prepare a Measurement Tape
Draw the beginning line about 2 cm from the end of the tape. If there is a hem, draw a second line to mark the hem’s length.
Write the item description on the tape.
Write ” ___ (finished length) + ___ (take-up and shrinkage) = ___ (total length)” on the tape.
Measure the total length from the first line (or from the hem) on the tape. Draw a line at the end (add hem, if needed).
Cut the tape about 2 cm after the ending line.
Find the middle of the tape. Draw a line and write “MID”.
Prepare a Half Measurement Tape
Do the same as for a full-length measurement tape, except divide the total length measurement in half. Draw a line on the tape at the halfway point. Write “MID” before the line.
Cut the tape about 2 cm after the MID line.
Weave and Measure (Always with the warp under tension)
Use two straight pins to pin the measurement tape to the weaving near one selvedge. Place the beginning line of the tape directly over the beginning of the woven article.
As weaving progresses, remove the pin closest to the breast beam. Leapfrog over the remaining pin. Reinsert the removed pin through the tape near the fell line.
If using a half measurement tape, weave past the MID line. Mark the spot with a pin. Remove the measurement tape. Turn the tape and pin into place to weave the second half.
Here’s a demonstration of making and using a measurement tape:
This is a huge project. Four shades of blue from dark to light span the nearly one-and-a-half-meter-long rug. I have reached the final color-transition section. I am eagerly awaiting the day this rug will be rolled out!
My measuring ribbon shows me where to make the color changes. I alternate two weft colors (C and D) through the transition area to blend the hues. All the while, I stop after every half-unit of four picks to manage the draw cords. A graphed chart tells me exactly which of the 164 draw cords to pull or release. In this way the graphic designs are woven into the rug, row by row. I weave in quiet, allowing me to put full attention on each move.
We need hope in these unsettling times. Jesus invites us to admit our fears and failures, and put our trust in him, and follow him. And this is the message Jesus gives his followers: I am always with you. The Lord gives strength and courage. As our Grand Weaver, he has his full attention on us. So be strong and take courage.
How do you come up with a design for standout hand towels? Sometimes it’s nice to start with someone else’s ideas. There is a gorgeous wool throw, designed by Anna Svenstedt, in Favorite Scandinavian Projects To Weave: 45 Stylish Designs for the Modern Home, by Tina Ignell. This Colorful Throw—Reverse Twill makes a perfect template for designing eye-catching hand towels.
Colors – a set of seven colors, to be used in warp and weft
Fiber – 22/2 cottolin for warp and weft
Reed and sett – 50/10 metric reed, 10 ends per centimeter (~ 12-dent reed, 24 ends per inch)
Finished size of towel – 39.5 cm x 63 cm (15.5” x 24.5”)
Number of towels – 2 pairs of towels = 4 total
Spacing of warp stripes – add two more narrow stripes at each selvedge to balance the pattern
These decisions enable me to prepare a project plan, make calculations, and write a new weaving draft.
When the loom is dressed, the design process continues as I begin weaving a sample section. This is where I decide what weft colors to use, the spacing of weft stripes, and specific treadling patterns. I add these notes to my project sheet, which I keep at the loom as my weaving roadmap.
These hand towels are a preview. If they turn out as hoped, I may have to make some bath towels to match.
Eleven hours and thirty-six minutes into this project, the starting line for weaving is just around the corner. Wind the warp, and beam it. Thread the heddles. Sley the reed. Unlock the back beam ratchet. Move the countermarch to the front of the loom. … Pause when you think about moving the twelve shafts and the reed forward with the countermarch. Reach. Wiggle. Pull. Wiggle. Pull some more. Got it. Now, put the reed in the beater. Relax? Almost, but not yet.
We must not forget to center the reed. I center the reed just as soon as the reed is in the beater.
How to Center the Reed
(We are actually centering the warp that is in the reed.)
Supplies needed: Tape measure (or string)
1. Using the tape measure, measure from the right edge of the warp in the reed to the outer edge of the beater on the right-hand side. Hold the tape measure with your fingers marking the measurement.
2. Holding that measurement, place the tape measure at the left edge of the warp in the reed stretching out toward the outer edge of the beater on the left-hand side.
3. Note the difference in measurement between the right side and left side. Move the reed in the beater to center.
4. Repeat the first two steps until the measurements are the same on both sides.
Now you can relax. Enjoy the moment, because you are that much closer to seeing fabric take shape!