Magic Amazon Woven Satchel
Making fabric is magical, but even more so with chunky, textured yarn. Creating cloth with textured yarn feels like unwrapping a present each time a new warp goes on the loom. You never know what exciting cloth you’re going to get. In this case, Bamboo Pop warp in a Midnight Blue colorway serves as a neutral and sturdy backdrop for the spectacular Pixie Dust in Amazon Moss. This thick-and-thin yarn is handspun by Indian women in Punjab, where life has an abundance of color, texture, and bling. The yarn is core spun with just a bit of glitz, and it is the star in this sassy woven satchel.
I wove my satchel using the full width of a 10-inch Schacht Cricket rigid-heddle loom with an 8-dent reed. I warped with the Bamboo Pop using the direct warping method with the warping peg 60 inches away from the rear apron bar. If you prefer, you could also measure a yard and a half on a warping board using the indirect warping method.
Weaving with a thick-and-thin yarn is a little different than working with a more even weft. (Many handspun yarns are perfectly suitable for warp, but a really thick-and-thin yarn like this should only be used as weft.) To have hems and to start with a nice, flat fell, I wove a 2-inch header with the Bamboo Pop. If you try this, it’s important to pack this as firmly as possible to make a dense fabric because you’ll need it to beat against when you start weaving with the thick-and-thin. Next, I wound the Pixie Dust yarn on a stick shuttle and began weaving, packing the yarn as firmly as possible so that the thick areas would nestle in against the thin areas. I just wove until I used whole skein of Pixie Dust, so there was no waste; then I wove another 2-inch header at the end with the Bamboo Pop and took the fabric off the loom. The total fabric length ended up being about 32 inches. I machine stitched the ends to stabilize the hems, but you could also hemstitch the ends on the loom. After the bag fabric was done, I attached some webbing to use as a strap for the satchel.
Handwoven textiles beg to be handsewn, especially with textured yarn. I sewed my satchel together by hand, lining it, and using sewing thread for the lining and the Bamboo Pop yarn to sew the rest. You could use your favorite bag pattern or you could download my sewing pattern here.
Weaving with textured yarn is a fantastic way to use art yarns that can be hard to work with in other mediums. I hope you’ll give it a try, whether with Pixie Dust, your own handspun yarn, or another novelty yarn that catches your imagination, hopefully from a local handspinner. The curvy texture that thick-and-thin creates in the woven fabric is bubbly, luscious, and magical.
This article can be found in: Handwoven November/December 2016, page 57.
Denise Renee Grace loves everything about looms and their endless possibilities for creating textiles. Color and texture are the juicy parts of her projects, and she enjoys each step of the weaving process.
Featured Image: Denise’s clever satchel is just right to hold a pin loom or small tapestry loom for weaving on the go. Photo by George Boe.
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