When You Need Answers Quick

Even expert weavers need help sometimes (not to mention the rest of us!). Here's Robyn Spady, one of my go-to weaving experts, to tell us where she turns for answers to those everyday weaving puzzles. – Anita

Arrrrggggghhhhh! I need help!

Well, not all the time; however, from time to time I find myself confounded by something that will send me running off to my studio looking for an answer. Unfortunately, as I get older, I seem to have less time to spend perusing through references or, more frequently, my brain just cramps and I find myself caught in a mental spin cycle. For example, in the past couple of weeks, there were several puzzles that sent me bouncing around in my studio:

  •   Placemats
      Want to know how big to weave a placemat?
    Check out The Weaver's Companion

    In order to achieve the desired results on a recent project, I chose to sett my warp at 27 epi. It’s the first time I’ve ever wished I owned a 9-dent reed. But, alas, I don’t. Of the reeds I had on hand––8, 10, 12, 15, 16, and 18––I needed to quickly figure out which was the best choice.

  • A box of yarn I inherited was full of “mystery” yarns. I needed to know the fiber content for each one, and most of the cones were unmarked. Ah, I can do a burn test! However, this is something I do infrequently since I tend to work with yarns that are known to me. Burning the yarn is one thing ("Have match, will burn!") but . . . figuring out what the results mean is another.
  • I received an email from a new weaver asking me why 10/2 cotton and 10/2 linen require a different sett if the yarns are the same size (By the way, they aren’t the same size). Understanding the yarn sizing count system for weaving yarns is important, but I wanted to point her to a resource or provide an explanation without reinventing the wheel.
  • My husband asked me if I could make some placemats, something I rarely weave, and I needed to figure out the appropriate finished size as the first step of my project planning.

Each time I was able to pull out my copy of The Weaver’s Companion, a handy resource that I’ve been able to rely on for over a decade. It’s like having a studio assistant at my fingertips. My copy is showing a little wear and tear, but I love that because it shows how often I use it. Now, I’m planning to purchase the digital version so I can put it on my iPad. Why? Because mental spin cycles don’t always occur when I’m in my studio!



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