When looking at project drafts/projects we don’t always want to do it exactly as written. Maybe we want to substitute a different weight warp, or add a feature, or try out a new selvedge scheme. Weaving is not like coloring — it is permissible, and often desirable to “color” outside the lines!
I had two projects in mind, which needed some changes.
Project #1 Spinning Lap Towels
The first was a project from Handwoven Design Collection 18 – A Lap Towel for Spinning. Here is their description:
“This towel is really a sort of lap rug for spinners. It’s designed to keep fuzz off your good slacks — or jeans! Wear it light side up when spinning dark fiber and dark side up when spinning light fiber, and it will also help you see what you’re doing. The little pockets are handy for oil cans, threading hooks, extra drive bands — whatever you’d like to have with you while you spin. A 1/3 broken twill makes this towel very fast and easy to weave“
I wanted to make a few changes. I kept the color schemes of dark and light (white warp, darker weft) but mixed it up a little with weft other than white for the pockets. I did not change the weave structure at all or the weight of the yarns to use.
The 5/2 Mercerized cotton warp is wound, now it’s time to dress the loom.
What did I learn from my changes?
The Plain Weave Selvedge — plain weave and 1/3 broken twill do not play happily together.
The weave is weft faced and does make a “lap rug”. It is thick and stays in place. All in all — a good project with good results.
A Gallery of Lap Towels
You can buy one at the Dakota Designs Shop.
Project #2 Swedish Towels
JoAnne Hall has a nice draft – available for Free for Swedish toweling, they are called Anna Towels. The project can be done in either plain weave, straight twill, broken twill, herringbone, goose eye, or 8 shaft block twill. I love the colors of white background with blue and yellow stripes.
HOWEVER, I really wanted to use 16/2 cotton instead of 8/2. This was an easy step outside the lines. There were a few adjustments to make.
Winding the Warp
I don’t know about you, but even holding two threads at a time, that’s 456 ends — lots of turns on the ole warping mill — with color changes! JoAnne has this neat trick. Wind both bouts at once, in one long warp. NOTE: this only works when you have a symmetrical warp order — or if the warp is all the same color/type.
The instructions have the warp color order — just double each color section and remember to ONLY go the the halfway point (remember you’re doing 2 bouts at the same time)
I did this with the 16/2 cotton and it worked so beautifully!
I did the block threading, so there is block 1 and block 2. Again you double her instructions. If she says to thread block #1 1 time — you do it 2 times.
Keep TRACK of EVERY CHANGE
I have a notebook where I paste parts of the original instructions and my notes on the changes. I might want to reproduce the project at some point in the future.
The Moral of the Story?
Don’t be afraid to take a project and make it your own. Think about the directions, do they make sense for you? Is it using the warp you want (or have on hand)? It does take some planning, and some note taking, and a little bit of double checking, but in the end it IS worth it and you’ve taken that first step on a more creative journey.
Many know me as Dakota Skipper -- that's my Cowboy alias. I LIKE to write and I like to share. Please enjoy reading about my frolicking fiber adventures!