Challenge Yourself With Weaving Parameters

I would like to have a set of handwoven placemats that match my everyday dishes. I have been using store-bought placemats for the past 25 years, and for almost that entire time, I have been thinking about weaving placemats of my own design.

handwoven placemats

These Houndstooth Placemats by Jodi Ybarra in, Little Looms 2017 might fit the bill. photo Credit: George Boe

The problem is that I haven’t been able to move from the idea of weaving placemats to actually designing placemats, calculating my yarn needs, and buying the yarn, much less warping the loom and weaving the placemats. Often it is easier to design a weaving project when you have parameters to work with, and sometimes you need to use artificial parameters to move from vague idea to solid project. That very idea is the genius behind guild challenges. If there had been a guild challenge to weave purple placemats out of old dish towels in the past 25 years, I can guarantee that I would have woven some.

Developing project parameters isn’t easy, but sometimes it helps to use books and patterns to develop them. The problem is that if you make up your own parameters, you alone know what they are, and you might, just might, change them. That carpet warp you bought to weave into sturdy placemats might have become a rug instead, and the 16/2 linen you purchased to make a fancier set of placemats might have become Ms and Os towels. Well, at least in my house, that’s what happened because there were no rules attached to the yarn purchases that required using them to weave placemats.

handwoven placemats

Trying rags on a rigid heddle loom
Photo caption: George Boe

Because getting to a guild meeting is hard these days with my travel and work schedule, I’ve decided to announce my placemat parameters and see if that keeps me on track. Here is my personal “guild challenge”:

  • Using a rigid-heddle loom, weave 4 striped and 4 matching plaid placemats with a thick cotton or cotton-blend yarn. The placemats must be thick enough to lie flat on a table, match my dishes, be machine washable, and not need ironing every time they are used. Challenge due date: July 4th, 2018.

I’ll let you know how this works out. With any luck, I’ll report back with pictures of the 8 great placemats I wove and not with pictures of the new tote bags I wove out of a thick cotton-blend yarn.

Weave well,

If you think that it might help you to publicly share your weaving project parameters, let us know in the comments.

Featured Image: Cones of Yarn with placemat potential? Photo credit: George Boe

Challenge yourself today!

One Comment

  1. Diana S at 3:40 pm February 23, 2018

    “Using a 15” rigid heddle (Cricket) loom, weave 6 – 22” x 13.5” plaid placemats to match my daily dishes with worsted weight cotton. They should be thick enough to protect the wood table surface and absorb spills, be machine washable, and lie flat.”

    No big problems, except that the finished fabric got very bulky on its beam. It rubbed on the table my loom was secured to on about the fifth placemat. I had to elevate the loom. It looked like it was on stilts!

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