One Ball, Minimal Math

Rigid heddle loom weavers often have stashes of gorgeous knitting yarns laying around.  If you need a quick present and want to weave a scarf from a ball of sock yarn, here is a quick method that requires almost no math.  You must have a digital kitchen scale that weighs in grams.  (This is one of the most valuable tools I own for knitting and weaving-make sure it weighs to the nearest gram, not the nearest even number of grams for the best accuracy).  You probably need around 80-100 grams if you want to weave a decent scarf.

  1. Determine the appropriate sett for your yarn. For sock yarn used as both warp and weft I use a 10 dent heddle.   If your sock yarn is especially thin, you may want a 12.  Remember you want the scarf to be drapey, not stiff.  The scarf shrinks when taken off the loom and the yarn blooms when wet finished.
  2. Begin by weighing your ball of yarn.  You want to work with the actual weight, not what is stated on the ball band.  Divide this number of grams in half and add 2 (3 if using a larger RH loom that has more loom waste than a Cricket).  This is about how much you need for warp.  Example 102 / 2 + 3 = 54 grams.    Then 102-54 = 48.  48 grams is about what you need to reserve for weft.
  3. Make a ball of yarn that equals the amount needed for weft (the smaller number; in the example it is 48 grams).  To do this, put the whole ball of yarn on the scale.  Wind off yarn until the scale says the larger number needed for warp (in the example, 54 grams)  what you have in the ball is the weft (in the example, 48 grams).  Double check both balls before cutting yarn between.  Set the smaller ball aside for weft (the example is 48 grams).
  4. Divide the larger ball of warp yarn in half by grams. Using the same method with the scale as you did above.  (example 54/2=27 grams).
  5. Take one ball of the 2 balls of warp to your prepared loom.  Decide how long to make your warp (remember to add loom waste to desired scarf length plus a couple of inches for take up and shrinkage).  An 8 or 9 foot warp makes a nice long scarf.  For a shorter scarf to tuck into a coat, you probably want 6.5 to 7 foot warp.  Fasten the peg that far away.
  6. Find the center of your heddle and tie one of the warp balls to the apron rod behind the center.  Warp your slots from the center out and stop when you run out of yarn or the scarf is more than half the width you would like.   Tie off at the apron rod or the peg.  Repeat with the second ball of warp, sleying the slots from the center out the other direction.  Again, tie the end of the warp to the slot or the peg.  Save 2 lengths of yarn for a repair in case a warp breaks.  You can save one from this ball and one from the other.
  7. Wind on to the back, sley the holes and weave as usual.  Remember in a  balanced weave  your Ends Per Inch or Dents per inch (e.p.i) = Picks Per Inch (p.p.i.)  Look for squares of light between warp and weft.  Do not beat your weft in too hard, use a light touch and place the weft with the heddle.

Hopefully this method has reserved enough yarn to weave the scarf with little to none left over.  You will never get it exact and you will have to be happy with the width you got with your balls of warp yarn.

This may work with other weights of yarn, but I have only used it with sock yarn.  Here is a chart for suggested heddle sizes with yarns.  If you yarn is slick, you would choose the closer sett if the yarn falls into 2 categories

Yarn Categories

Sock/ Fingering 1 Sport 2 DK,
Lt. Worsted  3
Worsted,
Aran 4
Recommended
Rigid Heddle Sizes
10 or 12 dent 10 dent 8 or 10 dent

8 dent

I am working on a little spreadsheet to do calculations for you if you want to figure out ahead of time how wide your scarf will be.  I will post it when it is ready, so check back soon.

Class Dismissed!

class with scarves

Today the weaving students returned with their woven scarves.  I showed them how to finish the scarves and make the big cut to take them off the looms.  Then the fringe was tied and evenly trimmed.  Check out the great scarves and the variety of colors!  Thanks Shirley, Nicole, Susan and Jean!  I had a great time teaching you!

Weavers School

warped class looms

I had a class of 4 beginning weavers today at Silk Road Textiles learning to warp and weave on Cricket Rigid Heddle Looms. I like to keep my classes small so that I can keep up with everyone and try to catch any big mistake shortly after it is made when it is usually easier to fix.  We use the simple method of direct warping, and within an hour and a half, all were sitting down with their warped looms, ready to weave.  They wove for a bit with my guidance, learned to measure picks for a balanced weave, then I sent them all home with my looms and instructions on what to do when they need to wind more weft yarn on the shuttle.  Since the yarn we are using is a long color changing yarn, care must be taken when winding shuttles to maintain the color sequence of the yarn.  They will return on Friday ready to cut the scarves off the looms and learn to tie the fringe.  I think they all enjoyed learning to weave as much I enjoyed teaching them.  Have a group of friends who want to learn?  Contact me and we can set up a session!

Students’ Scarves

I have been having quite a busy month teaching classes at Silk Road Textiles and at the WGGC.  This post is to show is the work of some of my students in progress.

This is from my houndstooth scarf class at Silk Road Textiles.  I forgot to take other pictures, but there were four in the class.  Some of the other color combinations were light and dark brown and blue and black.
students feb 15

One of my favorite combinations is a purple green,

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or red and black

wpid-IMAG0169.jpg


Next is a set of photos from my class on faux ikat.  In this class we use handpainted yarns that are dyed in a particular way.  These yarns have to be dyed across the skein or “palindrome dyed” where the dyer paints the yarn across the oval of the skein.

Pooling Yarn

I show them how to make the colors “pool” for a faux ikat effect in their scarves.  You have to be willing to work with the yarn and let it determine the length of the scarf.

students feb 15 students feb 15 students feb 15students feb 15 students feb 15

H3

Halvorsen 3

I love this treadling variation.  (4,3,2,1,4,1,2,3) I may do the 4th towel with it rather than the 4th variation included in the book. (4,3,4,2,1,2)  I want to finish by tomorrow morning for my guild study group meeting.  I have caused myself a time crunch because I spent some unweaving time  yesterday. I had made 2 treadling errors in towel #2 and contemplated keeping that towel for myself and leaving the mistakes in. But, I decided to heed my own advice, I would rather keep a towel that didn’t have a mistake, so bit the bullet and unwove.  I wasted time over the weekend not weaving most of Saturday and all of Sunday because I couldn’t make myself go on with the mistake in, and I didn’t want to unweave.  It only took me about 20 minutes to unweave the 4 or 5 inches yesterday and much less than that to reweave.  I should have done it right away.  The towels would be finished by now if I had.

I need to leave to teach a rigid heddle class soon at the LYS and that will cut into my weaving time tonight.  Its a good thing I get up early with my son in the morning.  Hopefully I can push through and finish then before I need to leave at 9:30.  I used fusible thread in my hems, so a quick iron on the ends and I can take the cloth along to study group with out fear.  Washing,  cutting apart and hemming of the towels can wait until after the meeting.

I was there this morning teaching a knitting class.  I love my knitting classes.  It is so gratifying to see how successful people feel the first time they use increases and decreases to make something shaped like a hat in the round, rather than a rectangle or square.  Many people knit for years without going beyond the rectangle.  In my hat class not only do they use shaping, but they learn to knit on a circular needle and a set of 4 double pointed needles.  Such a simple project that creates skill and confidence when they complete it.

Everyone in the class wants to make a sweater now, so that will start in two weeks!