Weekend Weaving: Coasters for Iced Tea Day!

June 10th is Iced Tea Day. Honestly, Iced Tea Day is a thing, which raises some questions: Who do you buy a card for, and where do you find such cards? Should you be offended if you don’t get a card? Does an Arnold Palmer count as iced tea or is that another holiday? What about Long Island Iced Tea? Should I send the rapper and actor Ice-T a card even though his birthday is in February? And, as long as I’m asking questions, why is it iced tea but not ice cream? In any case, if you plan to celebrate Iced Tea Day to the fullest, you are going to need coasters. In conjunction with Iced Tea Day, I am proposing National Coaster Day, where you weave a coaster to put under your iced tea glass. This is a holiday I can get behind—no cards or presents involved, just a lot of fun at your loom.

You never know when the urge for an iced tea will strike, so having lots of coasters around your home is good practice. Luckily, coasters tend to only be around 4 or 5 inches square, making them the perfect weekend project. Weaving them doesn’t demand much in terms of time and yarn commitments, which gives you a unique opportunity to try something you haven’t tried before. As long as the coaster is thick enough to absorb moisture and without sticking to your iced tea glass, anything goes. That leaves the field wide open when it comes to yarn and weave structure choices.

Handwoven Home Coaster

There are some guidelines, however: If you are weaving lace, your yarn has to be thick enough to absorb moisture in an open structure, which is totally doable. Check out Liz Gipson’s hot pads made of hemp cord in her book Handwoven Home for a great example of using a very thick yarn.

If you are weaving with thin yarns, your weave structure has to combine the warp and weft in such a way as to produce a thick cloth. Good choices are rep, summer and winter, and doubleweave.

  • Try Doramay Keasbey’s Rotating Blocks Mug Mats woven in summer and winter, from Handwoven May/June 2000. They are a great way to dip a toe into the world of blocks in weaving. With only 97 warp ends, what’s not to like ?
  • For doubleweave on a small scale, check out the Checkerboard Mug Rugs in Jennifer Moore’s book Doubleweave. This project is another chance to explore the world of blocks without a huge commitment in time or yarn .
  • Or weave my Little Rep Gems Coasters from Handwoven May/June 2014. I’ve been using rep coasters for years and have never had glass moisture seep through to the furniture underneath, nor had one attach itself to my iced tea glass.
Left: Keasbey 36. Center: Double Weave Coasters. Right: Horton Little Gems Coaster.

Left: Doramay Keasbey’s Rotating Blocks Mug Mats. Center: Jennifer Moore’s Checkerboard Mug Rugs. Right: Susan E. Horton’s Little Gems Coasters.

Medium–sized yarns will allow you a bit more flexibility in choosing a weave structure that will provide enough cushion for your glass. I found some cute ones by Sarah Saulson, called Now We Are Eight, in Handwoven September/October 2001. Sarah used 3/2 cotton in a great Southwestern color palette, but if that palette doesn’t suit your décor, choose your own 3 colors.

Saulson Now We Are Eight Coasters

Saulson Now We Are Eight Coasters

The suggestions above are just that—suggestions. My other suggestion is that you use National Coaster Day as a day to aim small and focus your design energy into a small square. Many designers find that limits can actually increase their creativity. Use one motif of a favorite overshot pattern, try log cabin in some thick yarn, or try your hand at Saori style. Anything goes for National Coaster Day, although I’ve still got so many questions about Iced Tea Day.

Weave well,
Susan

PS…If you have a hankering for a crochet coaster for your iced tea glass, check this out: Cool Crochet Coasters!


Check out these books and magazines for coaster inspiration!

 

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