How do you keep track of the woven length?

Off the loom!By Amelia

Though I started back in 2002, I'm still a relatively new weaver -- learning from books, friends, and on-line, picking up tips here and there. I really should say I started in 2008, as that's the year I finally finished that 2002 weaving project. Four houses, several moth-ballings, changing weft (handspun to commercial yarn), the yardage is done! And if you are learning to weave and your friends say, are you sure you want to warp such a fine yarn, listen to them - please! Someday in 2009, I hope to present you with the final sewn charka tote bag.

In the meantime, I hope you're enjoying these new-to-me weaving tips. Things I find useful, and I hope you do too. This week's tip: how to keep track of the woven length.

I started from my visual memory of a friend's loom, with a flexible plastic-coated tape measure tacked to her weaving as she went. However, rather than commit my only non-retractable tape measure to this (some things, I do only have one of!), I remembered I had purchased some terrific ruler ribbon from Jo-Anne's, for my class, The Nalbound Edge.

So, while weaving DH's Christmas scarf (which is lovely, picture forthcoming...), I pinned the ruler ribbon along the left edge as I wove. Problem was, as it wound on the front beam, I noticed the warp on the left getting noticeably tighter than the warp on the right. Sigh. The slight extra thickness of the ribbon was impacting the wind-on tension.

For the next project, I rethought it, and came up with this:
Start second tea towel

Now, I keep rolling along with the ribbon, but I re-pin it and let it dangle in front, rather than winding it on with the warp. In the picture, you can see "12" is not at the bottom edge -- I put it at the start of the pattern, after the section woven for the hem.

This worked really well for the first tea towel already woven, so I'm going to pin and dangle my measuring ribbon from now on. And with my 40-50% off Jo-Anne's coupons, I hope to get a few more spools of this ribbon (in-store, they come in 4 yard spools -- maybe that online 10-yard spool might be handy to have sometime...hmmmmm that's a whole lotta yardage!) ... a spool per loom would be appropriate, don't you think?

The nice thing about the ribbon is that I can write on it to tailor it to a project (HEM HERE TO HERE) or add numbers to mark the feet or yardage as I like. And it's grandly re-usable, unaffected by my pinning along its length.

For more weaving tips and posts, see my Weaving post list.

The first weaving is an undulating twill, draft from Debbie Chandler's Learning to Weave (in the back of the book), 20/2 organic cotton weft, a variety of handspun cottons and probably about 10/2 kakishibui dyed cotton warp, sett 24 epi, also about 24 ppi. A whole lotta fun (really!), and easy to treadle on a 4H table loom as all the work was in the threading. I'm learning to look at the tie-up a bit more closely for weaving done on a direct-tie up table loom (grin) -- this was beginner's luck!

The new weaving is multishaft huck, a draft from the chapter on designing multishaft huck in Handwoven Laces by Donna Muller. Warp is navy blue cottolin 10/2, weft is 10/2 royal blue cotton and natural cottolin. Sett 20 epi, 17-18 ppi.

posted 30 December 2008 at


PinkPorcupine said...

Good idea!

Though I do have to say that ribbon can and will stretch. It would be a good idea to verify the ribbon against a hard ruler - like wood or metal - before beginning a project. Wouldn't want to work so hard only to find out it was too short!

Anonymous said...

I have a lot of scrap yarn laying around, I toss in a color that contrasts every so many inches or every so many picks, and keep a master count of those using my handy little row counter. Depending on the project it could be as often as every inch as seldom as ever time I advance the warp. If there are color changes it also helps me keep track of how many picks I've done since the last color change and where to change the net color.

Amelia of Ask The Bellwether said...

@PinkPorcupine: thanks for the mention, I'll be sure to check it.

@Marie, that sounds really handy, too. I've been wondering about using a counter for pattern repeats.