Need a Change? Weave a Runner!

There was a time when I thought I would become the sort of person who used tablecloths. I found some beautiful, vintage tablecloths at a thrift store. One had cherries and other fruit and another had a touristy map of the Bahamas. They were beautiful and I could not wait to put them on my table.

I chose the fruit-themed cloth and admired how well it went with my dishes. Then we actually used the table for a meal. All it took was one mis-guided fork that first dinner and a big glob of red sauce landed on the tablecloth. I learned then and there that while tablecloths looks nice, and they’re good for special occasions, unless you want to be doing lots of laundry you’re better off sticking to placemats or going au natural, as it were.

Fortunately for all of us who want something special on our table, something decorative and maybe even seasonally festive when warranted, there are table runners. Oh! How I do love a good table runner. Unlike a tablecloth or placemats the runner can be kept mostly out of harm’s way so you can use it meal after meal before it needs a wash.

Of course for us weavers, there’s the fact that runners are an absolute joy to weave. Tablecloths require either an extra-wide loom or a clever use of doubleweave or even tripleweave. Just about anyone with a loom can weave a runner whether that loom be a 16-shaft dobby or a rigid-heddle loom. Runners are for everyone!

One of the many wonderful things about weaving your own runners, of course, is being able to match your runner to your dishes, your dining room, and any seasons or holidays you like. You can weave it in simple plain weave using interesting color combinations or fancy yarns to make it pop, or you can weave it in sweet lace designs or complex twills. The possibilities really are endless!

Now if you love runners as much as I do (and I know there are more than a few of you out there) you’ll want to check out our brand new eBook Best of Handwoven: Technicolor Table Runners, 12 Projects on Four and Eight Shafts. This eBook, curated and edited by Madelyn van der Hoogt, is chock-full of simply stunning handwoven runner projects for every weaving level.

Kate Lange-McKibben’s beautifully bright Summer Table Runners will add a splash of summer into your dining room all year long while Sara Fortin’s Shadow-Weave Napkins and Runner evoke a feeling of autumn. There really is something for everyone!

If you’ve never woven a runner before, I suggest you give it a try! It’s a simple, wonderful way to make your dinner table extra special. (And of course it’s a good reason to take some time for yourself in this chilly weather and spend it at the loom.)

Happy Weaving!
—Christina


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