Lorn No More

Dear wise, generous, imaginative, lyrical readers, how can I ever thank you? Last week I wrote you a tongue-in-cheek request for advice with a very real problem: deciding what to weave with some beloved yarn, and you responded with empathy, ideas, personal stories, and rich gifts of weaverly spirit.

 

Rigid heddle piece by Marilyn Prucka

 

Marilyn Prucka uses different-sized floats

to show off her handspun yarn.

 

I’ve not yet begun to weave, but I have already learned much. I’ve learned that many of us have difficulty choosing a project worthy of cherished yarns, especially handspun. I’ve learned how many of us favor shawls (rectangle or triangle), ruanas, ponchos, and throws for the sensuous pleasure of cuddling up and communing with our yarns.  I’ve learned that it’s OK to cut precious handwoven fabric, and it’s also OK to hire a skilled seamstress who will do right by your cloth. (Favorite patterns: “billowing, romantic capes” and cloaks; anything by Anita Mayer, Daryl Lancaster, or Linda Kubik; and Robert Knox recommended a stunning asymmetrically cut coat by Issey Miyake, Vogue #1446.) It’s also perfectly fine to buy some artsy hooks, hang the yarn on the wall, and admire it.

 

  

Elisabeth Hill's deflected doubleweave design

 

Elisabeth Hill suggested a vest and sent this

neat draft for deflected doubleweave

For weave structure, many of you recommended huck lace, something I wouldn’t have thought to do with worsted-weight wool, and it’s a great idea. Others cleverly suggested a thick-and-thin threading or buying a lighter weight weft yarn in wool-silk or alpaca-silk for nice drape and a lighter fabric. Another idea for drape was deflected doubleweave. (Elisabeth Hill shared the inspiring saga of her “scary coat.”  Talk about commitment!) Oh, and there really is such a thing as a ménage a twill! You just thread sections of different twills and weave away. Who knew??!!!

 

 

Fern Jordan's modified Burns tartan

 

Fern Jordan's tartan inspired by Robbie Burns

Inspired by the colors, several of you sent great tips for random threading, and a surprising number suggested a plaid or even a tartan fabric. Did you know you can make a tartan plaid slightly elongated to produce a slimming effect? Did you know that there are official Norwegian tartans, registered with the Scottish Register of Tartans? My brain runneth over!

 

So here I am with an embarrassment of riches, and it could be overwhelming except for one final gift. Judy from Wisconsin hit the nail on the head: the fear is that in the weaving we will somehow lose the story of the yarn. So Judy takes a sample of each yarn and puts it in a book along with photos, ideas, and woven samples that chronicle the journey from yarn to cloth. In many eloquent ways, you told me to listen to the yarn and “just do it.” So my next step is to create an idea book, snip some yarn, and begin to sample your great ideas. Thank you all, gallant weavers. I’ll keep you posted.

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