can’t let an empty loom go to waste

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Tonight I had one goal in mind- start another weaving project!

I have had some sparkly yarn in my stash for a while.  If you look in my Rav stash, it’s the “Unknown” stuff that has 10 balls, 1 ea of 10 different colorways.  I’d received the yarn eons ago at a Montreal Knits meetup when Veronik and Mona were still working together and were destashing some leftovers.  I got this bag of 9 full wound cakes and 1 half ball, and it’s been marinating ever since.  Each of the full balls has between 113 and 124 yards, and the partial ball has about 49 yards.  The total yardage could have made a vest or scarf/hat set or something, but each ball is a different color and I’ve been stuck at what to do with it.  The colors all kind of go together, but they’re all different.  One ball has red/blue/gray, another has white/gray/brown, maybe another is coral/brown/gold…but because they all had the same thick/thin, glittery base, they all seemed similar.  They didn’t have any labels, and I”d emailed Mona with a photo but she wasn’t able to remember what it was, so Ravelry wasn’t any help.

It was only after getting my loom that I realized I could weave with the stuff.  I really love the look of rag rugs where you have a thin yarn for the warp and a thicker yarn/fabric for the weft, and I decided to use the yarn to weave panels that I’d seam and make a throw for our bedroom or den.  Luckily Yannick has been indulging my love of glitter via nail polish and had no problems with having a glittery throw in the house.

It took me a while of playing around in Excel to figure out how wide/long I could make the panels and be able to have equal lengths using up as much yarn as possible without wasting any.  I had the yardages from when I’d added the stuff into my Rav stash, and a quick wind around a ruler gave me an estimated 8 wraps/inch, so armed with that info and a handy-dandy spreadsheet from Maaike I kept playing around until ending up with somewhat  disappointing results.  With the amount of yarn I had I could only end up with a throw of 40″ by 60″.  My hubby is 6’2″, so this wouldn’t be a “snuggle under while watching tv” throw, but oh well, it would at least be pretty.

A positive that came out of the calculations was the freedom of realizing that I wouldn’t have to continue trying to figure out which ball to pair with which.  Because I had only 9 full balls, I couldn’t pair them up by 2s and have 5 panels.  I spent way too long figuring out the calculations with 4 panels, each having a matching border made up of the remaining 1.5 balls.  It was a headache because the blanket was getting longer and not any wider.  By deciding to make it 5 panels I let myself have the luxury of not needing to figure out which balls to pair up, and having exactly matching panels.  I’d just keep 2 shuttles going at all times, always having one wound from a darker ball, and one from a lighter, and stripe them in 1×1 rows.  I’d start with all the balls in one bag, grab a light and a dark to start, and after winding the shuttles, would put them in another bag.  I’d keep going as I ran out of yarn until the first bag was out of balls, then start over, always winding from random light and dark balls.

For the warp I used a cone of pure wool, roughly fingering weight, that I got at Collette’s when I bought the loom.  I made the warp 88″ to include a short (4″ each side) untwisted fringe, no swatching waste, and a little loom waste.  I was planning to weave 60″ on this, but as you’ll see in a minute, I got a bit of luck and think I’ll be able to weave 70″ on them and still have enough yarn.

At 10:09 I’d finished warping and sat down to weave.  This was after spending over an hour on the pre-calculations, putting the boys to bed, back to bed, back to bed and then getting them back into bed again.

At 11:07 I stopped to come up to bed.  I don’t have a lot of weaving done for an hour’s worth, but the reason for that is that I quickly noticed I wasn’t getting 8 picks/inch…I was getting 7.  That meant the same amount of yarn I had would get me further than I’d thought.

I left the loom to come back to the computer and ended up doing some rough calculations and deciding that I’d be able to have enough yarn to weave up to 70″ on each panel, plus make 2 of the 5 panels slightly wider.  (Instead of 72 warp strands there will be 76 or 78).  This would let me have the blanket come out wider and longer without having to undo and rewarp this panel.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that even though I’m weaving single rows in a lighter and darker colorway, looking at the loom itself you really can’t see/tell that it’s not all from the same ball of yarn.  This leaves me even more encouraged that the 5 different panels will blend well together in the end.

To join them I think I’m going to seam them in much the same way you seam garter stitch- mattress stitch going from bump to bump, but in this case going through even loops on each side.  I’m going to keep track of my rows so that each panel has the same number of rows so seaming will be easier and look better.

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Author: Jennifer Lori

maker, baker, cake decorator, mother, wife, partner, friend, gamer, reader, nerd, dork, geek, nail polish addict (not necessarily in order of importance)

3 thoughts on “can’t let an empty loom go to waste

  1. Pingback: k.o.’d « handmade by jennifer

  2. Wow, that is going to be quite the blanket!

    Like

  3. Very cool, although I got totally lost when you started talking about all those calculations. My brain hurts too much on this Monday afternoon. 😉

    Like

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