Four down, eight to go. It doesn’t take long to weave a placemat.
I weave a two-pick stripe between placemats. The stripe is always in the red or orange family of colors (unless the item being woven is red or orange). The red stripe is my cutting line, and two picks helps me cut on the straight and narrow. I once got confused about where to separate two towels that I had woven, and I cut in the wrong place. Yikes! That’s when I instituted the red thread rule.
Our lifetime has a distinct red thread rule. A true beginning and end. Life is brief. It doesn’t take long to weave a placemat. But while it’s on the loom, it has the weaver’s full attention. And so also, the Grand Weaver is attentive to all the threads of your life.
Two-block broken twill is a soothing pattern to weave because of its regular rhythm. Even though this is eight shafts, it is not complicated. Simple is good.
Instead of assigning a different solid color to each placemat, I am using all four weft colors in each one. The colors are arranged in an order that gives the appearance of gradated color. 8/1 tow linen: blue, then green, then teal, then black; repeat, repeat, repeat. There is no set number of picks for each color. Instead, I am changing from one color to the next in an irregular fashion, letting each color softly flow into the next. Regular two-block pattern; irregular color changes.
Keep it simple. The Lord’s pattern for our lives is not complicated. The Lord goes before us. As we follow him, all those irregular changes that happen in our lives turn into a lovely display of softly flowing gradated color. We can rest in that. From this color to the next…
Transition. Changes. Adventure into the unknown. That describes 2018 for Steve and me. When I review my weaving history for the year, everything on the loom is attached to a memory. Like an old song that awakens our thoughts to past experiences, the Lizardtapestry certainly sparks in me revived memories of our transition season and the moving of looms. See Quiet Friday: Tapestry in Transition.
I began 2018 with a plan to weave coordinated fabrics for our Texas hill country home—towels, upholstery for bar stools, and placemats, explained in this post: Harmonized Weaving for the New Year.Accomplished! I also committed to weaving a gift for each of my three daughters (daughter and two son’s wives), as described in this post: Weaving a Gift. Accomplished two out of three! The final gift is nearing halfway on the loom right now.
2019 is a continuation of transition, changes, and adventure, as we tiptoe into this retirement chapter. A drawloom is in the forecast, as well as some travel tapestry weaving, and more rag rugs, towels, scarves, and throws. And anything else we can think up. It’s going to be a good year! Thank you for coming along. I’m grateful to have you as a friend.
This year is different. I’m going to get organized, keep every loom dressed, and bake fruit pies for my husband! Alas, good intentions are not a reliable measure of what my progress will be. I always want to do more than what I manage to get done.
I washed, pressed, hemmed, and pressed again the twelve placemats. Finishing is finished. It’s a nice way to end one year and start the next. Measurable progress.
Thankfully, our value isn’t wrapped up in what we accomplish. Or what we don’t. We need the Lord’s grace. It’s strength that’s beyond our own strength. Grow in grace. Grow in strength. That’s my prayer this year for you and for me.
When I decided to use up some of the quills that have collected, I stumbled on one of my favorite techniques—color gradation. The weft colors change gradually instead of making distinct weft stripes. Remember the placemats on the little countermarch loom? I am weaving the last few.
The quills on a double-bobbin shuttle don’t always empty at exactly the same time. The quill that has thread remaining on it goes in a box for later use. Those quills in the box are what I’m using here. For this placemat I’m letting gradient color changes happen in varying increments, according to the amount of thread left on the quill. I have five shades of 8/2 cotton, ranging from coral pink to pumpkin.
This is the perfect setup for some subtle color gradation: Five closely-related hues, a double-bobbin shuttle, and a supply of leftover quills. For best effect, I arrange the colors in order, from light to dark, or dark to light.
Weave a section with two quills of color A (the lightest color)
Weave the next section with one quill of color A and one quill of color B (one shade darker than color A)
Weave the next section with two quills of color B
Weave the next section with one quill of color B and one quill of color C (one shade darker than color B)
And so on…
What could be simpler?
May you make something beautiful with the little bits that you have.