A weaving problem

In knitting there’s this thing called gauge.  Gauge is how many stitches and rows you get per inch.  Fairly simple.  Well, weaving has an equivalent: picks per inch (PPI).  Every time you pass the shuttle through the shed, that’s one pick.  In a plain weave that’s a strand of yarn per pick.  Got it?

The first two panels of the black and silver blanket were done on the couch, with one end of the loom on my lap and the other on a tray table.  The third panel was done sitting at my desk with the loom clamped to the edge of the desk.  I didn’t think about this making a difference in how my weaving would turn out.  The PPI of the couch pieces is much lower than the desk piece.  Translation: the desk piece is more densely woven than the couch pieces.  ARGH.  This means the “checkerboard” squares don’t match up between the couch and desk pieces.

(Here’s a pic of one of the pieces, in case you haven’t seen the checked pattern.  Also, Instagram is telling me I finished the first blanket square only two weeks ago!  Feels like at least a month.)

So I’m going to ask on my weaving forum if the solution I’ve devised might work.  What I’m thinking is that I’ll sew each end of each piece to stabilize it (normally done when a project is already sewn together) and then throw them all in the washing machine.  Wet-finishing, done either by hand or machine, changes the characteristics of the fabric.  What’s going to happen is that the pieces will shrink a little and the strands of yarn will nestle up against each other to make a denser fabric. 

What I’m hoping is that the looser-woven pieces will shrink a little more than the more tightly woven pieces (I still have a fourth panel to make; I measured and cut the warp tonight and will finish warping in the morning).  Then maybe all four will match up well enough that the differences will no longer be obvious.  If it works, I can hand-sew them all together and the blanket will be done.  If not, I’ll pretend it was done on purpose and remove a little fabric from the end of the looser pieces.  (It’s not a bug, it’s a design feature!)

Like I said, I’ll ask on the weaving forum.  Hopefully some people with more experience will be able to assist.

In other weaving news, I have a project to add to my queue.  First I have to make placemats for my BFF, which shouldn’t take very long because they’ll all be done on one warp.  Ditto with a pride shawl for my niece.  And then I want to try a color pattern I really like.  Imagine three columns: one a dark color, one a medium color, and one a lighter shade.  And then cross it with wide rows of the same colors, so each column has blocks that are equally wide and tall.  Each square will be a slightly different color because of the combination of the column color and the row color.  Can you picture it? 

I just need to decide two things: 1) what I’m making, and 2) what colors to use.  Monochromatic would be cool.  Black with two shades of purple would be nice.  I saw it done online with purple, blue, and white.  (That’s what gave me the idea.)  I’m thinking the block pattern would look amazing as an afghan.  Not that I need another afghan… I guess I could use two greens and a brown for bathroom hand towels and washcloths.  I dunno, I just want to play with that pattern.

I’ll let you all know what the weaving forum says, and how the blanket turns out.  So close to done…


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