Problem Solving Inspiration

As I was finishing the blue and aqua twill rugs, I started winding the warp for the two pink and one light blue rosepath ones. It was very tempting to slip in a different project before returning to rugs, but I feared I would get distracted and that project would become two, three, then more.

I’d already wound the warp, too. I’m always reluctant to let an already cut warp sit idle. Knowing my luck it will get all tangled no matter how carefully I store it, or the cross will be in the wrong place for whatever loom it ends up on, or I’ll simply forget what it was meant to be for.

It was much easier to wind, being one colour. Since I knew I didn’t have enough of the grey, I’d bought another cone, which had the added benefit that I could wind with two threads at a time. Still… it wasn’t an exciting warp to look at, being all grey.

What got me excited to use it was working out, while creating the draft in Fiberworks, how to fix a niggly problem I’d had with the threading of the blue and aqua rugs. Well, not really a problem for the resulting rug, but a quirk in the draft that bugged me.

You see, the edges of the rugs I’m making are plain weave, but the rag section has the threads doubled.

When I wove the first three rugs this wasn’t a problem, because the body of the rug was plain weave. I just warped the loom with a straight 8-shaft twill, and used a tie-up that lifted shafts 1+3+5+7 followed by 2+4+6+8 for the edge weft then 1+2+5+6 followed by 3+4+7+8 for the rag weft.

But when weaving twill on the blue and aqua rugs, I found that the weft on the edges would skip over two warps wherever the threads aligned with a twill point in the rag section.

The twill was an extended one in places, so the skips didn’t happen often enough to affect the fabric width of the edges (all basketweave would have woven narrower). The rosepath had far more points, which made it worth trying to find a solution.

I knew that the twill in the rag section was essentially a four shaft pattern – the only reason I used eight shafts was to separate the pairs into singles for plain weave at the edges – so if I considered the problem threads as pairs, what could I do to them to ensure there were no skips?

The answer then came easily: turn the pairs 90 degrees.

I was so chuffed to have worked this out, suddenly I was all fired up to weave the next lot of rag rugs. The following day I had the warp on the back beam and half threaded, but I made myself wait a few days until I did the second half, not wanting to set off my back issues.