Endless Possibility and Pinwheels

Christina's Pinwheel Napkins  
Christina's pinwheel napkins.  

Like many weavers I am always trying to find new ways of doing as much as I can on one warp. The day I discovered it took about the same amount of time to warp enough cotton for ten dishtowels as it did as for six was one of the highlights of my weaving life thus far. With just a few minutes of extra winding, I could weave almost double the amount of towels and get more weaving bang out my warping buck.

Of course, the real trick with long warps isn't keeping it from tangling while warping; it’s trying to keep things interesting. Weaving the same draft in the same colors for days on end can get boring. When I put on a long warp I try to choose drafts that let me play with tie-up, treadling, weft color, and even sett to create many different designs and projects all on the same warp.

For example, a few months ago I decided to weave up a set of napkins for a friend’s wedding. I wanted all the napkins to complement one another without matching exactly, partially because I thought it would look better, but mostly because I didn’t want to stare at the same pattern for a week. I chose one of my favorite drafts: an 8-shaft color-and-weave pinwheel that could be used to weave at least eight different designs simply by changing the tie-up. Even though I'd have to use the same two colors in the warp for all the napkins, I hoped the changing patterns would keep me interested. 

Keep me interested they did. This project was by far one of the most fun I have ever woven. (I think I say that after every new project, but it really is true.) It was so exciting to see what pattern the next tie-up would produce that it kept me happily weaving as the hours ticked by. I even played a little with color in the sampling and found when I used completely different color in weft it produced a beautiful triangular design. There was so much to explore; suddenly my warp for eight napkins seemed entirely too short.

I’m also proud to say that these napkins are also my first project to ever appear in an issue of Handwoven which made them extra special. The May/June 2014 issue in which they are featured has the theme of “Designing at the Loom” and it’s filled to the brim with projects and articles all about how you can weave many designs on just one warp. We’ve got projects for overshot gamp towels, rep-weave coasters, summer and winter scarves, lots of twill (of course), and so much more. There’s even a project that lets you weave a shawl and table runner on the same warp simply by changing the sett between projects. 

If, like me, you’re always looking for new ways to take full advantage of a long warp without getting bored, then this is the issue for you.  


Christina Garton

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