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10/2 Cotton Warp on a Rigid Heddle?

Marcy Petrini

March, 2020

 

In January I wrote about advice that I offered my student who had used a 10/2 cotton warp on a rigid heddle loom sett at 12 and found that her fabric was stiff and not very drapeable.

After I wrote the blog, I kept on thinking about the problem. What if somebody had realized that the sett of 12 for the 10/2 cotton was too open, after the rigid heddle was warped? What weft could I use for a successful project? I had to try it.

I dressed my rigid heddle for an 8” scarf with 10/2 mercerized cotton from Lunatic Fringe, color blue purple # 5, sett at 12. Then, my question was: what do I have in my stash that may work?

I did look at some wools that I have, but they were all too small. I found some lattice yarn that would work size-wise, but it was too heavy, and also scratchy. Then I found the perfect yarn, single spun think and thin, with the bonus of being variegated in shades of blues and green; it is “Bolero” by Lion Brand Yarn, 100% wool, 3.5 oz is 55 yards, and it wraps at 4 threads per inch, with some variability because of the thick-and-thin nature of the yarn.

Here is the scarf; it weights about 4 oz, a bit more than I like, but it is flexible and drapeable. It would have been even better if I had not beaten it as hard as I did, because the wool fulled in washing; leaving more space between shots would have resulted in a lighter scarf.

 

 

 

A close up of the fabric shows that pairs of warp ends snuggled together, but that did not affect the integrity of the cloth.

 

 

 

 

I generally hem stitch scarves (and most everything else); even if I plan on twisting fringes, the hem stitch holds the weft in place as I twist. When I use a larger weft, I use the warp to hem stitch, as I did here.

 

 

 

 

 Once off the loom, after the hemstitching, I realized that those warp ends would make spindly fringes, a bad contrast to the lofty weft-dominant scarf. So, I wove back into the fabric all the warp ends, 96 ends on each side. With a glass of bubbly, by the fire on a rainy night, it took no time to do the job.

Here is the untrimmed end of the scarf. Once trimmed, the warp ends don’t show, as can be seen in the previous picture.

 

 

 

 

 

I am not sure what I would have done if I didn’t have the Bolero on hand, but solutions to weaving problems always seem to appear. I am sure there are lots of possible wefts for this warp, this just happened to be one that was handy. But the weft needs to be a lofty, fat yarn, preferably beaten lightly to make a good scarf.

 Happy Weaving!

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