Complex Cloth, Simple Loom

Sample 1: orange weft
Sample 2: orange and pink striped weft

Sample 3: variegated weft
Sample 4: pink weft

I haven’t made it that far in The Weaver’s Idea Book yet. Why? Because I am fascinated by not only Jane’s introduction, but also the section on plain weave AND how it correlates so well with my movie inspiration Julie & Julia.

The movie not only follows Julie with her blog, but also Julia Child’s struggles and triumphs while writing her cookbook. Her whole goal was to show American women that cooking fine French cuisine could be done and you didn’t need expensive culinary training to do it.

That’s what I think Jane Patrick is saying with The Weaver’s Idea Book. The rigid-heddle loom may seem simple and may not have many components to it, but the pieces you can weave on this loom can be extraordinary . . . if you take the time to practice. You don’t need a 4- or 8-shaft floor loom to “cook” up a beautiful piece of handwoven fabric, you just need someone to show you how to get the most out of the versatile little loom you already have.

So, my first step was weaving up some plain weave coasters. I made myself four very different looking ones all on one warp (as a side note, if you want to practice your warping, working through a book like this is a great idea because you will be forced to warp, A LOT).

I used Jane’s method of designing in the warp by just taking six different yarns and creating an unplanned pattern through the slots and holes in an 8 dent heddle. I used both solid colors and variegated yarns in a range of white, orange, pink, and brown.

In the first coaster I used all orange for the weft.

For the second coaster I wove orange and pink stripes in the weft.

For my third coaster I used a variegated yarn for the weft, so while there were no yarn changes the color patterns in the yarn created the look of stripes. The combination of weft and the warp resulted in a muted plaid pattern.

And finally, for the fourth coaster I used a pink yarn throughout for the weft. It was interesting to see the difference between this coaster and the first one. Both had single color warps, but the color choices resulted in two very different looks.

Lesson I learned: color plays a huge role in a project. My advice to you is to really make sure you sample! You will never know what your final piece will look like just by picking the warp threads or weft yarn. Even checking your wraps per inch on a ruler isn’t going to be a true testament to the look and feel of your final piece. So be sure to sample because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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