The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

  Whitney's matching painting and tablerunner
  Whitney's table runner and the 
painting that inspired it. 

During this Thanksgiving season, I can safely say I am extremely thankful for helpful weaving resources, especially books. About this time last year, I started working on my second weaving project, a table runner. I wanted a table runner that would match some paintings that I made a couple years ago, but wasn’t confident in my weaving enough to do something crazy. So, I stuck with some plain weave stripes. It turned out really nice and I was excited to make some matching placemats.

Well, that’s where the plan started to fail. I thought I would just create some striped placemats to match the table runner. I had done the runner in a warp-stripe pattern with the weft all being one color. On the placemats I reversed the pattern; I wanted weft stripes and a solid colored warp. I got all warped and ready to go, wove the header and started working on my stripes. About six inches in I came to the conclusion that I didn’t like the look at all. I don’t know why, it looked exactly like my table runner, I just didn’t like it. And there was my dilemma.

I had the plan all worked out, but my personal tastes didn’t want to cooperate (I know that seems strange. Anyone else been in these shoes?). And that is where The Weaver’s Idea Book by Jane Patrick saved my life . . . well, at least my placemats. I wasn’t sure what to do, so I started thumbing through the book. I don’t know how many of you have rigid-heddle looms, but after going through that book, I think all of you should have one. There is so much you can do with that simple little loom!


The finished placemats  
The finished placemats with the
matching table runner 

Well, I eventually found the section on pick-up patterns and I fell in love. I decided to complement my table runner with some two-tone placemats. The plain white warp was already on my loom, so I made four placemats, each in a different color, to match the various stripes on the runner. But, to add some extra oomph, I worked in a 3/1 lace weft float pattern. It added visual interest to an otherwise plain idea. I was so pleased with the result––I had no idea how simple it is to work with pick-up sticks on a rigid-heddle loom. I understood what the final result would yield, but I always thought it was a complicated process. Jane Patrick gives step-by-step directions (with helpful pictures) that are easy to follow and makes the whole weaving experience all the better. Now I can’t wait to see what else I can try.

So, are you as thankful for weaving books as I am this holiday season? What if I told you our weaving books were on sale at great prices? Check out The Weaver’s Idea Book and discover something great!



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