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Pillow Sampler Weave-along Day 4

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Pillow Sampler Weave-along Day 4

October 8, 2020

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Welcome to Day 4 of the weave-along!

Today we’ll cover: Plainweave with Embroidery

Materials & equipment:

  • weft yarn to coordinate with warp—Stephanie used worsted-weight
  • shuttle
  • tapestry needle
  • yarn for embroidery—Stephanie used leftover warp yarn
  • paper for a template
  • chalk or water-soluble marking pen

TIP for working with space-dyed yarn: When Stephanie direct-warped, she organized colors in the reed to form wider stripes. This was possible because the color runs in her Mountain Colors yarn happened to work out perfectly for a 56″ warp. The heavier weft yarn made these color runs stand out even more.

Weave plainweave for 3-3/4″, weaving in the tail on the second pick and the last pick as Stephanie has demonstrated before. Beat firmly after each pick to make the fabric sturdy enough for embroidery.

The first embroidery section will visually separate this plainweave from the warp floats section we did in Day 3.

  1. Cut embroidery yarn and thread the needle. Stephanie cut a section with less of the raspberry color, so the embroidery would stand out from the raspberry weft.
  2. Start at the right selvedge, at the point where the warp float section ends and the plainweave section begins. (Stephanie drops the embroidery yarn on this side because she’s right-handed.) The needle comes up from the back, at the top of the first warp float. Leave a tail to sew in later.
  3. Make the first leg of the X: The needle goes over some warps and up some picks to the right. On this first X, Stephanie worked 3 over and 3 up, so its right side sits just inside the selvedge. Pull the yarn through, forming a diagonal line.
  4. Make the second leg of the X: The needle comes up 3 picks below, then over 3 warps and up 3 picks to the left. Pull the yarn through, forming a diagonal line.
  5. Make the row of Xs across the warp width, bringing the needle up and down in the leftmost holes of the previous X. Stephanie worked all her stitches to the same height but not the same width, to emphasize the handmade nature of her pillow. If you want uniform Xs, divide the total number of warp ends by the ends you’ll cross for each X; adjust as needed to get a whole number. This project, with 108 ends, divides evenly by 3.
  6. You will trim the tail ends after finishing, and they will be sewn into the selvedge when you seam the pillow.

The second embroidery section is done in satin stitch. Stephanie cut a diamond-shaped template from paper, centered it vertically in the plainweave section, and drew around it with chalk.

  1. Bring needle up from the back at one bottom edge of the shape, leaving a tail to weave in later. Stephanie chooses the color she wants to show as she pulls the yarn through for this first stitch. The needle goes down at the top edge of the shape, in a straight line up from the bottom edge—the yarn sits on top of the plainweave in a vertical line.
  2. Move one warp thread over and make the next stitch, bringing the needle up at the bottom and down at the top of the shape.
  3. Repeat across the shape, working from its bottom to top. If your embroidery yarn is thin, you may need to work two stitches in the same holes to cover the plainweave. Stephanie’s shape didn’t turn out quite as planned—it looked more like a cyclone but she’s okay with that.
  4. Weave in the embroidery tails: pull them to the back of the fabric if they’re not already there. Weave each tail underneath the satin stitch area, not a plainweave area. Trim the tails.

TIPS for embroidery:

  • Always insert the needle between warp and weft yarn, never through the yarn.
  • Keep the tension of the stitches even. When you see a loose stitch, insert the needle tip under the next stitch and tug gently to take out the slack. If this stitch now looks too loose, repeat to work out all the slack.
  • If you need to fix a mistake, unpick stitches until you reach the error. The loom acts like an embroidery hoop, providing tension as you work the stitches.

See you all tomorrow for the final day of our weave-along.

Check out this interview with weaving rock star Liz Gipson!

Liz Gipson, founder of Yarnworker, has created an online school and website that embraces her students and the rigid heddle loom. Liz has been working with yarn since childhood. As an adult, her career has included stints as the managing editor of Handwoven and Spinoff, Sales Manager for Schacht Spindle Company, and a producer for Craftsy—all which helped prepare her for launching out on her own. She has enlarged her rigid heddle community through solid teaching and listening to her students.

Liz is the author of Weaving Made Easy, Handwoven Home, The Weaver’s Guide to Yarn, and The Weaver’s Guide to Swatching.

Interview highlights

  • Liz’s yarn origin story
  • Founding Yarnworker website and online school
  • Championing the rigid heddle loom
  • Creating communities and learning spaces
  • Yarnworker weave-alongs: rugs & doubleweave
  • Liz’s book plans
  • Pandemic weaving

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