Thursday, July 11, 2013

FLASHBACK: Penland weaving concentration: Blanket weaving and the smell of burning peat...

My "scaled up" tartan blanket used both llama and wool yarns alternating in the weft for the background. Using two shuttles in the weft can be a bit fiddly and slows down the weaving rhythm quite a bit, but I felt that it was worth it in this case since my warp also alternated the two yarns. For the blue weft stripes, I also alternated yarns, using a two shades of turquoise singles wool to add interest to the narrow stripes.

Since the finished blanket would be fulled and washed to fluff up the yarns and create a thicker, more cohesive fabric, I had to be careful not to beat the weft in too tightly. That really slowed down my weaving, since I tend to pack the warp in pretty well.

Boat shuttle with wool on left, end-feed shuttle with llama on right, 

Measuring tape set below the temple to check width of weaving.

Once the weaving begins, the warp width invariably draws in a bit. For weaving of this width (47.75"), it is important to make sure the warp width does not "draw-in" or get too much narrower as the weaving progresses.

A temple placed near the fell line of the weaving helps to prevent as much draw-in as possible. The temple consists of two metal bars with sharp teeth a the ends to keep the weaving at the desired width. You can see the temple here; it is red.

Just off the loom and onto the floor...I can see my threading and treadling mistakes, finally!

I braided the warp ends into fringe on my blanket to secure the weft. Our tartan blankets were treated to a traditional "waulking" during Marjorie Logie Warren's visit. Waulking is a traditional Scottish group activity used to finish woven woolen fabrics. 

We gently pre-washed our blankets and basted them together into a large loop. Marjorie brought the peat burner which set the atmosphere and led us in singing Scottish songs as we beat the dampened blankets against the table. 

My blanket, waulked and ready to dress up...
my plain bunk in Dorm 54!

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