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:
Every year my weaving journey is peppered with notable highlights. Here are seven such highlights from 2020: 1. Siblings Tapestry, complete and hanging in our living room. 2. Joanne Hall (my weaving mentor and friend) visited our home in February (while in Texas for her Swedish Art Weaves workshop). 3. New 8-shaft Glimakra Juliacountermarch loom. 4. My favorite fabric of the year, Jämtlandsdräll in 6/2 Tuna, woven on the brand-new Julia. 5. Rag rugs woven on the drawloom. 6. Studio tour on Zoom for the San Antonio Handweaver’s Guild In November. 7. Handwoven Christmas tree skirt with Nativity appliqué from handwoven remnants.
2021 is beginning with the start of a new pictorial tapestry, an empty loom waiting for a new warp, and a drawloom warp that is near its finish line. Plus, two other looms that are mid-project. I am not expecting any dull moments around here. Thank you for joining me in this ongoing adventure.
Unroll the cloth beam with me and go back through time to recall the Warped for Good projects of 2020:
God completes what he begins. My prayer for you is that his finishing work will secure any loose ends.
Knowing I would be away from my floor looms for a while, I put a narrow cottolin warp on my little Emilia rigid heddle loom to take with me. Mug rugs—perfect for travel weaving, to use bits of time here and there. I had some bulky wool yarn and a few rag rug fabric strips to take for weft. In a burst of hopeful inspiration, I grabbed a bag of Tuna/Fårö wool butterflies, leftover from my Lizard tapestry (see Quiet Friday: Lizard Tapestry) a couple years ago, and tossed it in my travel bag as we were going out the door.
Those colorful wool butterflies turned out to be my favorite element! They not only gave me colors to play with, they also provided variety, the spice of weaving. The forgotten Lizard butterflies will now be remembered as useful and pretty textiles.
How do you want to be remembered? Like my tapestry-specific butterflies put away on a shelf, our carefully-crafted words will soon be forgotten. Actions speak longer than words. Our deeds of faithful love will outlive us. Our actions that reveal the kindness of our Savior will stand the test of time. And that is a good way to be remembered.
May you be remembered for your deeds of faithful love.
I found a way to practically eliminatedraw cord errors on the single-unit drawloom. After making one too many mistakes while weaving this rag rug, I resolved to find a solution. True, I will still make mistakes, but now I expect them to be few and far between. (To view the first rag rug on this warp, see Stony Creek Drawloom Rag Rug.)
My most frequent error is having a draw cord out of place, either pulled where it shouldn’t be, or not pulled where it should be. And then, I fail to see the mistake in the cloth until I have woven several rows beyond it. I determined to find a way to eliminate this kind of error. (For an example of this kind of error, see Handweaving Dilemma.)
Test 1. Double check my work. Pull all the needed draw cords for one row and then double check all the pulled cords. Results: This bogs me down. And I still fail to catch errors.
Test 2. Double check my work little by little.Treat every twenty draw cords as a section—ten white cords and ten black cords. Pull the cords in the first section. Double check. Pull the cords in the next section. Double check. And so on all the way across… Results:Easy to do. I quickly catch and correct errors.
Now, I am implementing this incremental method of double checking my work on the little bit of warp that remains. With a Happily-Ever-After ending, the short Lost Valley piece is completed with NO draw cord errors! (Lost Valley is the name we’ve given our Texas Hill Country home.)
Woven Rag Rug and Lost Valley process in pictures:
I am making great progress on my drawloom rag rug, closing in on the final segment. And then, I take a picture and the camera reveals something I had failed to see. A mistake! Here is the dilemma that I’m sure other weavers face, too. It’s an internal dialogue. I can live with the error. Or, can I? No one will notice. Well, I certainly will notice. But I am sooo close to the end. I really don’t want to undo the last forty minutes of weaving. What would you do?
Back it up. Using the chart that I follow for pulling draw cords, unit by unit, I work my way back until I get to the error. On reflection, doing the task is easier than thinking about doing it.
My feelings can fool me. I don’t feel like going back and correcting my mistake. This is the time to pause and listen. Wisdom is at the door. Wisdom requires thinking, and listening, and time. Time is my friend, if I refrain from hurry. Wisdom is much like the skill of an experienced craftsman—one who understands precision and artistic expression and do-overs. Wisdom knows that patience is powerful. The easiest way to do something often forfeits the greatest rewards.