Summertime and the Weaving is Easy
In my intro to rigid heddle weaving, I covered beginning weaving from a knitter’s point of view.
Since many of you fellow knitters are ready for more, here I go … making fancy dishcloths with lovely, drapey, Rowan Summerlite 4-ply … and deploying knitting-to-weaving comparisons to illustrate techniques I used to make six cloths from one warp.
GOALZ! Ecru, Coral Blush, and Anchor Grey Summerlite 4ply
Knitting-vs-Weaving: An Extremely Cursory Overview
Construction Weaving uses two sets of threads to do what one thread does in knitting. Warp is vertical, weft is horizontal, roughly equivalent to rows and stitches.
Knitting yarn vs weaving yarn The primary difference seems to be marketing and packaging. Yarn is yarn. However, when describing yarn weights, weavers speak a different language: YPP (yards per pound) or EPI (ends per inch).
Gauge/EPI Ends per inch (sett) is the number of strands of yarn that make up one inch of warp. The finer the yarn, the higher the epi. No worries about needle sizes, the heddle size equals the epi and determines yarn spacing on the loom. Most looms come with an 8 epi heddle for worsted weight. Cotton, however, has its own sizing system and consists of two numbers. Summerlite is equivalent to 8/4. (And just to keep it interesting, in the rest of the world the numbers are reversed, so Summerlite is 4/8!) According to the internet, its epi is 10-12, so I will use a 10-dent heddle.
Casting On/Warping Warping is how you get the yarn on the loom. There are lots of excellent warping instructions out there, many loom-specific. As with knitting (and life) there is always more than one way to do something!
Using my Ashford Knitter’s Loom, and a 10-dent heddle, I put on enough warp for four dishcloths, alternating two warp strands of each color across the desired width—11″ or 30cm. New math girl was afraid of running short on warp, so I added extra and ended up with 6 dishcloths! I used 3 skeins total of Summerlite. The yardage is generous, another 3 skeins and you could have matching hand towels!
I start with a hemstitch after the selvedge (in blue).
Row/Pick A pick is one pass of the shuttle with the weft yarn, like a row in knitting. For the houndstooth, I worked two picks in Coral, then two picks in Grey.
When the first woven piece was 11″ I hemstitched. Then, leaving about an inch unwoven, I started the second cloth.
I varied the weft colors and repeats, since—with great yarn and colors—how could they turn out ugly?
After removing the piece from the loom, I machine zigzagged over the hemstitch on the ends of each cloth before cutting them apart. Belt and suspenders for the win!
Blocking/Wet finishing: As I considered the appearance of my first finished project, I was heartened to learn that weaving won’t look right until you “wet finish.” This is somewhere between felting and blocking, and like blocking, it works magic. (But not miracles, also like blocking.) So satisfying, and no pinning is involved!
aaah that’s better
For dishcloths I run them through the washer and dryer, since that’s how I assume they will live their lives. Press if you intend to send as gifts, or are the sort of housekeeper I am not.
One final thought, although weaving is not as portable as knitting, I do love that the rigid heddle loom is easy to store. Some looms even fold with the weaving on them, so you can easily move from spot to spot, take it out for coffee, or drop it on the ground upside-down while undertaking any of the above.
- Angela Tong. External Link. Opens in new window. and Deborah Jarchow. External Link. Opens in new window. beginner classes on Craftsy
- Liz Gipson’s Yarnworker School of Weaving. External Link. Opens in new window.
- Amy D. McKnight’s. External Link. Opens in new window. videos