Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Weaving a Sampler

Knitters often complain about making gauge swatches, about wasting time and effort and yarn to make something that isn't part of the project itself. Personally, I do make them, because I think they're an important precursor to a successful project. Weavers have a sort of counterpart to this, in the form of a sample. A sample is a piece of cloth that is woven purely as an educational exercise, or as an experiment to see how a particular design will work in a particular yarn or colour combination, or at a particular sett (the measurement of threads per inch.)

It's funny how I'll knit my gauge swatches without complaint, or even knit all manner of useless and silly items just for the heck of it, but when it comes to weaving, I can't imagine weaving something that is just a sample. I can't imagine spending the time on something that I couldn't use, after it was finished.

After I came up with a few little variations on reverse twill, I wanted to try them out, but not knowing how they would look, woven, I didn't want to commit to something as big as a set of towels. I came up with a compromise between sampling and practical weaving, and decided to make six little eight-inch squares of six different patterns, to see how they looked, and then use them for facecloths. These are woven from the leftover cottolin from the Sunshine towels, using the orange and red for a subtle contrast in the design. The dark red part between the designs will be the hem, and the yellow line marks the cutting line between two facecloths. As you can see, I just finished one that was a fancy looking reversing twill design, and moved on to a simple herringbone. I can't wait to start using them!

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