The Warp is a Lemon: Make Lemonade

Ironically, I just wove up two runners designed back in cold and snowy January – quick, before my studio became too stifling in the summer heat.  Never mind that this project for Kala Exworthy’s color class at the Weavers Guild of Minnesota was supposed to be done in February. This warp was very instructional, even if the resulting pieces were not at all what I intended.



The runners are displayed with a favorite object in our house these days.  “Grandma, tell the story of the Three Little Pigs,” Maddie asks – repeatedly.

(From now on, only weaving friends will care about this…)

The design grew from elements of a painting I saw online.  Matthew Kluber‘s painting on aluminum looked like a great color and material challenge.  I always resonate with geometry and asymmetry, and the bands of color flanking the center section of the painting varied in width, yet created a balanced composition.  I thought the narrow lines running through the blocks could be translated into mixing of thread colors within the weave structure.  I loved the orange and green palette.

orange painting
See more of Matthew Kluber’s paintings:

Since I had only been using four shafts on my Toika, I needed to add four more.  That took time.  Then the draft required tying up about a million cords to govern the treadles. And getting them even. And readjusting them.  And climbing into the back of the loom about 50 times. But since I’ve decided to adopt a zen-like appreciation for all parts of the weaving process, I accepted those steps cheerfully.

But when I started to weave, my edges were horrid, and I quickly realized that the draft was not yielding the intended stripes and blocks.  The twill of the middle section that was supposed to switch from a 1/3 to 3/1, making either the warp or weft predominate, turned out to be balanced the whole way. Choices loomed.

  1.  Fix the draft, and perhaps resley the warp, or retie the million cords. (My LEAST LIKELY option)
  2. Just take off the whole warp, chuck it, and get to work on one of the two large pieces I am eager to weave.  (It’s just a bit of perle cotton, after all…)
  3. Figure out how to make cool geometric blocks of color using the warp in front of me.

I chose to keep weaving, and started by fixing my horrible edges problem by adding a floating selvedge thread at each side.

The optical mixing of the colors was fascinating, with the blocks changing dramatically depending on the color combination and whether more of one color was visible in the weave structure than another. Changing the texture and color of the blocks was VERY FUN.


So I wove as much as I could of the warp, and chalked it up to color study, successfully completed, even if it didn’t resemble my initial plans at all.






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