Placemats and playtime

Hello, friends. Is all well with you? I do hope so. We’re trying to make the best of a rather soggy winter here in the Monadnock Region. I would much rather have a fluffy layer of fresh powder on the ground for cross-country skiing but instead today we have this slushy stuff all over the place. What a mess. Alas. Hopefully there will be future opportunities to get out on the skis again this winter.

I’ve been fortunate to have several custom orders come my way recently. People seem to be loving their placemats! As I have mentioned before, I think that having to dine at home has resulted in people evaluating their table settings. A new set of placemats can offer the table a real facelift. Here is a set of black placemats that I finished this week for a customer:

Black and ivory log cabin placemats (read more about these placemats here!)

Below is a picture of some yellow and white log cabin placemats in process on the loom that are also a customer request:

Yellow! I love this bright yellow and white combination! It looks like Spring!

When I finished weaving the mats in yellow, I had a bit of extra warp left. I could have done the reasonable thing and tried to squeeze out another placemat in yellow, but instead I gathered up a bunch of cones from my stash, a stick shuttle, and just starting to play.

This is not really anything other than a sample, an opportunity to explore “what if?” While I don’t dislike the resulting fabric, which is surprisingly sturdy, the real payoff to the exercise was the memories evoked while weaving. I kept thinking back to my kindergarten naptime rug, which, if memory serves (and we’re talking 1973 here!) was a plain weave rag rug that was probably about 2′ x 3′. I think it had a polyester fabric weft so that it could be tossed in the washing machine. It had navy in it, and some pink. Next, I wondered if today’s kindergarteners still have naptime. Then I started thinking that a lot of kindergarten aged children are having to learn at home given the constraints of the pandemic. (The pandemic. Everything seems to somehow come back to the pandemic). Then I started to muse about the color choices in my weft: too much red; not liking the yellow as much as I thought I would; more blue would have been nice. What was I thinking with the red?! Technically, I thought the sett of 12 epi was too dense. But then, I thought, who cares? It didn’t matter.

The weaving was over much too soon. It was some of the most fun I’ve had at the loom in a long time. And I don’t have much to show for it – nothing that will sell or generate virtual applause on a social media site. Nevertheless, I’d like to make sure to do this kind of exercise more often. It helps to keep things fresh and interesting. It was like doodling on the loom. Super fun and highly recommended. All you need is a few extra inches of warp.

Also, I had a lovely reader check in yesterday inquiring about the weaving draft for a color gradation exercise that I did on the rigid heddle loom earlier in the year. She asked me to share the draft, and so I will attach a photo file of my draft here. I did my color exercise using ivory and grey wool from Harrisville Designs (Shetland wool). Perhaps you will do your sample in shades of blue or green or purple. Whatever you choose for colors, I hope that you find the draft to be useful:

An exercise in plain weave color and weave.

Be safe and well, friends. And don’t forget to take a few minutes to play. Even grown-ups need it. 😉

Kate K.

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