Plaid Woven Placemats

My new crafting adventure and addiction: Weaving!!
Ari’s stepmom, (the same woman who gave me my spinning wheel) sent yet another treat across the country with Ari this summer, a loom! It sat in the closet for a while because I had no idea what to do with it, until one day I suddenly felt inspired and took a private weaving lesson at the local weaving shop. I was instantly hooked.


These placemats were my first real project (if my ugly practice/learning mats don’t count) and I love how they turned out! Turns out weaving is an amazing stash buster. I’ll be knocking out my yarn stash in no time.
My loom is a rigid heddle loom. The heddle is the part of the loom that the strands are threaded through, and for this one it is rigid, as in the picture below.
The way it works is, half of the strands are threaded into those middle holes, and the other half are threaded in between the slats. So when you lift the heddle, half of the threads are lifted up, and when you push the heddle down, those same half of the threads are pushed down, because the other half is held in place in those middle little holes. By alternating the heddle between the up and down position, and continually putting the horizontal yarn through the space that it creates, you get weaving!
Starting a project is the most time consuming part. I don’t have the fancy accessories that a hard core weaver would have, so I do the DIY version by placing heavy books on things and measuring yarn all around the room on a chair. Ari seems pleasantly unaware of the going’s on around him.
 Once the loom is threaded, (called warping, because the threads in the vertical direction are called warp threads, and the ones in the horizontal direction are called weft threads) you do a little sacrificial weaving with some paper towels or stupid yarn in order to get the weaving nicely spaced and ready.
After that, the weaving begins! It’s so fun to just do a row of whatever is around in your stash, and to be surprised by the fun plaid combinations that appear as you go. It’s really unpredictable, and playful. The nice thing about the placemats was that by making my lengthwise (warp) threads really long, when I got to the end of a placemat I could just start another one, and cut them apart later. This saves you from having to thread the loom again for each placemat. Also, they are all nicely matchy. (Yet still unique!)
At the end, I secured the tassle ends with a quick round on the sewing machine, so that they wouldn’t unravel. It worked like a charm.
 Voila! Our dinner table is so much more stylish now!

One comment

  1. Katie!

    I love this. So great that you're getting into weaving. The pattern reminds me of a Scottish Tartan? Any relation?

    Any more thoughts on becoming a math teacher?

    Sending warm thoughts from Virginia to you.



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