Don’t Follow my Example! Sample Before Starting a Weaving Project

I say I believe in sampling, but I don’t always do it. Sometimes I get too self-assured and decide I know enough about the yarns and the draft I’m using to skip the whole sampling process. Not sampling before starting a weaving project is a mistake that I will probably repeat many more times in my weaving career. There is only so much information that sett charts, color theory, and weave structure theory can tell you; the rest you have to confirm through sampling.

At this very moment I have a brightly colored warp on my loom and no idea how to pull it together with a weft. I’ve run through every color I can think using color theory, then segued into black, gray, and white trying to calm it down. My next idea is a thicker weft that will obscure it. We can talk about how to “kill” a warp some other time; I’ve got some practice.

Looking back at some of my misadventures, I wouldn’t change a thing. The crazy unknown aspect of weaving is what makes it fun and exciting. How many of the following have you done?

  • Vacuumed a warp. Clearly if you need to dust or vacuum a warp, it isn’t very interesting to you. My advice: cut it off.
  • Wound a very full bobbin using 3 colors of weft only to decide it wasn’t what you wanted to weave with. There is no good way to unwind it. That bobbin will be your “scrap yarn header bobbin” for a long time to come.
  • Tried to iron out tracking. Doesn’t work, don’t try it. If you are weaving plain weave, tracking can be a fact of life. I’ve tried the technique of dropping the freshly woven piece into a tub of hot water and letting it sit for 24 hours before washing it. That doesn’t always work for me for a couple of reasons: 1) Sometimes the hot water makes the dye run, and 2) Who wants to wait 24 hours to see how a project came out?
  • Woven towels sleazy enough to be scarves and scarves stiff enough to be towels. There isn’t much you can do with a sleazy towel besides wash the car, but you can turn stiff scarves into small purses.
  • Woven a scarf using too much metallic yarn that was so scratchy you couldn’t even wear it with a turtleneck. I found out the true meaning of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” when I put it in a guild booth, and it sold quickly.
weaving project

Shuttles with possible weft color candidates. Photo credit: George Boe

Weaving is always an adventure whether you sample or not. I advise you to sample, but even if you are like me, and sometimes you don’t, enjoy the adventures and the misadventures.

Weave well,

Featured Image: Black and blue scarf on loom. Photo Credit: egschiller. Getty Images.

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