Sampling for My Handwoven Project


Madelyn, editor of Handwoven, has asked me to create a log cabin project for the January issue. Since I love to design pillows, I decided that I would use thick and thin yarns in contrasting colors in a log cabin design for a large pillow.

The reason I want to share this with you is to again reiterate the importance of sampling: I had some Brown Sheep yarns left over from another project that I used to first test to see if my idea would work. I tried out different warp and weft color combinations, stripe widths, and yarns on my Flip Loom. I then finished the swatch in the way I plan to finish the final product. From this I learned that the yarns worked for what I wanted to do, Now, I need to decide on the colors and the exact warp plan. While sometimes I might do another sample to test the colors, in this case, I feel confident in my plan that I don’t need to test the actual color combinations that I’ll use for my finished project.

When I sample, I always put on enough yarn to weave a second sample at a different sett, should my first sett not pan out. Instead of re-warping, I just re-sley in a different reed/heddle. In this case, because I didn’t have to weave another sample, I had plenty of yarn left to try out my idea for a woven trim. Here, I’ve shown my first two tries…you’ll have to wait until January to see the finished project. I think you’ll be surprised (hopefully pleasantly so) with the final design.

Schacht Spindle

Schacht Spindle Company, Inc. was founded during the back-to-earth movement of the late 1960s and its accompanying craft resurgence. Their first loom was a simple tapestry loom, a version which they still make today. Over nearly 50 years, Schacht has developed a broad range of high-quality hand weaving and hand spinning tools, including their popular Cricket Loom and Ladybug Spinning wheel. Schacht’s mission is to create beautiful and well-designed products that enhance customers’ weaving and spinning experience through innovative problem solving, creative ideas, skilled woodworking and craftsmanship, and friendly, knowledgeable customer service. Schacht’s family-owned business is located in Boulder, Colorado.