Weaving Techniques: Pick Your Battles

When my son was in middle school, my neighbor asked if I knew he wore his pants so low you could see his underwear. Did I know? I lived with the kid. Did I do much more than tease him about it? No. I figured it was a style, he was a teenager, and I pick my battles carefully, including my weaving battles.

At least his pants never fell to the floor like his cousin’s did once when he was doing the dishes. Pick your battles . . . did you get the part about him doing the dishes? When it comes to weaving techniques, pick your battles carefully, and I believe you will get more satisfaction from the process.

Here are the weaving battles I don’t pick:

1) Silk thinner than 60/2 silk in the warp: I wound a skein of 120/2 silk into a ball, and that experience alone told me I didn’t want to keep track of anything that thin in my warp.

2) Slubby yarns in the warp: I’ve tried, but I find they either get caught on the heddles and reed, or the rigid-heddle, and become a problem. I have relegated all slubby yarns in my stash to the weft category.

Weaving Techniques

Thick and slubby yarns are weft in my stash. Credit: George Boe

3) Complex sleying orders: I don’t mind some of the sleying orders needed to get the correct sett in the reed, but some of them just look like a headache waiting to happen. To help avoid those orders but still get the right sett, I purchased a 14-dent reed. I reasoned that it would capture multiples of the prime number 7 that aren’t represented by 8, 10, and 12-dent reeds.

4) Warps longer than 6 yards: I know many weavers warp much longer warps, but every time I put on a warp for more than 2 scarves or 5 towels at a time, I can hardly stand weaving those final scarves or towels because I’m ready to move on to my next idea.

5) Skeleton tie-ups: I would rather figure out a way to efficiently re-tie my treadles midway through a project, than keep track of both feet.

Here are some battles I am happy to pick:

1) Tightly-sett wide warp: I love warping, sleying, and threading almost more than actually weaving… and I love Rep weave and doubleweave.

2) Linen: I know it has a reputation for being difficult, but I love the look and feel of linen, and putting up with its inelasticity is worth it to me.

3) Complex threading patterns: Sure, a straight draw is a welcome respite, but there is something interesting about seeing a complex draft come together and a sense of accomplishment when you see the results of your work.

One weaver’s battle is another’s picnic. What battles do you pick, and which do you avoid?

Weave well,

Featured Image: White Warp ready to weave. Photo credit: Laure Moull/EyeEm. Getty Images.

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