2022 Weaving Update from All Over

After I wrote about teaching Grace to weave, I realized that I had not written a 2022 weaving update.  In fact, I didn’t write a 2021 weaving update.  So you haven’t been able to see the beautiful things I’ve been creating on my two looms.  You did, of course, see the overshot items I made at my class in May.  But I have been busy weaving lots of other things as well.

Before we left for North Dakota last summer, I finished half of a four-part color gamp.  As I mentioned last week, a gamp is a sampler, so a color gamp is a sampler that has lots of different colors in it.  When I am weaving, I can think I have a beautiful color combination and it turns out brown because the colors swim together.  Or I can think something will turn out well when the colors fight with each other.  I don’t seem to be very good at figuring out how colors will weave together.

First two color gamps

I ordered 53 different colors in 8/2 cotton from my favorite yarn supplier, Yarn Barn of Kansas.  When they arrived, I warped half of them (27) in one inch stripes on my big loom.  Then I wove an inch of plain weave and an inch of a pattern weave in each color.  I made one gamp that only had colors 1-27 on it.  Then I wove a second gamp that had the first 27 warp colors and colors 30-55 in the weft.  I was very pleased with how they turned out and now I can see how my colors interact with each other.

Ranger Karl modeling the sash I made him

Last summer, when we were in North Dakota, I spent some time weaving sashes for the fur traders at Fort Union Trading Post.  I wrote about some of the sashes and included pictures of them in this post.  By the time we left, I wove eight sashes.  Four of the plain red ones, two that were multi-colored, and two from handspun yarn.

The handspun yarn in the sashes

The handspun yarn was specially dyed and I spun it myself during the Covid-19 isolation.  I love the colors in it because they remind me of fall.  I hung them in a tree to take this picture of because they looked like leaves and blew so nicely in the wind.  One of these sashes went to our boss at Fort Union Trading Post, Ranger Lisa.  I told her she could use it as a sash or as a personal scarf.  The other one I gave to my nephew Jared’s fiancé, Alexandria for her birthday.

Once we got home from North Dakota, I warped the big loom so Grace could learn to weave.  Then I warped the little loom for the Christmas presents I wanted to make.  I like to give something to everyone in the family and there are now 21 of us – so that is a lot of somethings!  In 2021, I made everyone a Christmas placemat.  It would have looked very festive if we all used them at the table at Christmas.  The placemats are a honeycomb pattern that is so much fun to weave.  They wove up pretty fast and I ended up with 21 placemats that I was proud to give to my family.

Placemat on the loom with the measuring tape masking tape
Close-up of the placemat after washing
21 and done!

I solved the problem of things that I weave being different lengths by buying a bunch of measuring tape masking tape.  I didn’t know there was such a thing until I read about it in a Facebook group for weavers.  Now I am a huge fan.  I tear off a strip of the tape the length I want and then unroll it as I weave.  When I get to the end of the tape, I have a woven item that is exactly the right length.  It is much easier than trying to measure with a measuring tape or ruler.

Now, on to the actual 2022 weaving update!  I wove cotton towels at Fort Frederica while I was demonstrating weaving.  I am so used to weaving now that I didn’t take a picture of the towels when they were finished.  As I was weaving this year, people were constantly asking me if they could buy one.

Towels for sale at Fort Frederica

Finally, I talked to the bookstore manager and she said she would love to sell my towels in the bookstore.  She paid for my materials and I donated my labor – since I wove the towels when I was demonstrating for living history.  Then she sold them for $15 each in the bookstore.  It turns out that she should have charged more.  They sold out in less than a week.  If I give her more to sell next year, I’m sure she will charge $20 or $25 per towel.  That is a lot to pay for a kitchen towel, but how many of us can say we have a towel and we saw the weaver making it?

One day when I was spinning at Fort Frederica, Ranger Michael’s little girls stood and watched me for a while.  They like to talk to me while I am doing something and they ask wonderful questions.  Ava, the younger one, asked me if I would make her a scarf.  I said I would be glad to.  She continued to watch me and watch me.  I finally asked her what she was doing.  She said she was waiting for her scarf!  I told her it would be a while yet.

When I finished spinning the yarn for the scarf, I warped it on my loom.  I made two scarves, one for Ava and one for Mila, her older sister.  They were the first scarves I made for children, so they were much smaller than the scarves I usually make.  Here is a picture of the girls wearing their scarves.

Ava and Mila modeling their scarves

After I finished the scarves, I warped the loom for another set of towels.  I finished these towels when I got back to Ohio.  I used what I thought of as spring colors and I like the colors very much.  Except the towel that I made mostly yellow.  I don’t like the way those colors work together with the predominant yellow.

Once Grace finished her towels, I put some mug rugs on the little loom so that Grace could learn how to weave overshot.  She has caught on very quickly and is enjoying the little loom.  It is easier to use than the big loom.

Now that the big loom was free, I warped on the other half of my color gamp.  I warped on colors 30-55 in one inch stripes and then started weaving with colors 30-55.  I finished that gamp and only have one to go.  This last one has the warp with colors 30-55 and the weft will be colors 1-27.  When they are finished, I will be able to see how all 53 of the colors interact with each other.

A preview of the color gamps to come

That is the 2022 weaving update.  You are now all caught up with what is on my looms, whether you wanted to be or not.  What will I put on my loom next?  Oh, I have some ideas!