by Judy Pagels
For my variable dent reed project I wanted to use the reed sections in a graduated dent configuration. Beyond that I wanted to have a wide enough weaving width to showcase the gradation. My trusty 20” Flip Loom was the perfect size for what I had in mind.
I then needed to decide what yarn to use. It was high time, I figured, to use the reclaimed, 2-strand, 100% alpaca I’d unraveled from a pretty-darn-ugly sweater I’d found at a garage sale years ago. The sweater had yielded a lot of yardage of MANY small balls of squiggly, roughly sport weight, yarn that had been hanging out in my stash for far too long. For the project, I wanted enough fabric to play with post weaving having in mind a poncho/capelet style.
Reclaimed yarn from an old alpaca sweater.
Yarn ready for washing.
Before I could warp the loom, I needed to get the kinks out and determine how much yarn I had. I transferred countless balls of yarn onto my Schacht Niddy Noddy with the assistance from my faithful helper, Sweet Pea. To determine the yardage of each skein, I counted the rounds around the niddy noddy. After washing the skeins, I weighted each one with various spray bottles and let them dry to get out the squiggles.
Confident that I had more than enough yarn for my project I started planning the warp. I decided to sample the yarn using my Zoom Loom, which yields approximately an 8-10 dpi. Originally, I had planned on using all 4 sizes of reed sections (5, 8, 10 12), but after the test sample on the Zoom Loom I realized that the 12-dent sections would create too dense of a fabric.
Total warp length: 114”
Project length: 80”
Loom waste: 24″
Width in reed: 19 ¼”
Total warp ends: 149 in the following sequence, two 5-dent sections, three 8-dent sections, three 10- dent sections.
Warping method: I direct peg warped with a little help from my assistant.
Weave structure: plain and balanced for the 8-dent sections.
Picks per inch: approximately 6
Total project yardage for warp and weft: approximately 1,381 yards.
After weaving, I washed the fabric by hand in luke warm soapy water and laid it flat to dry, finishing with a light steam pressing. I had approximately 98” of fabric plus loom waste to play with. Still pursuing the poncho/caplet garment, I began wrapping and draping the cloth on myself in front of a mirror, wishing I had a dress form or that my assistant would be of some help at this stage. The most obvious distinction in the reed sizes showed up in the 5-dent sections, so I wanted to showcase this part of the fabric as the collar. I continued to drape and play around and finally decided to cut the yardage in half keeping the loom waste at one end for a 5”of fringe.
Needing fringe at the opposite edge as well, I removed about 6” of weft and tied groups of 5 ends in a simple knot across the fabric edges. Then I folded over and pressed the 5-dent section approximately 3” on both pieces. I sewed a seam up the back approximately 16” in length. Since this seam was done at the 5-dent portion of the fabric, the top of the seam, near the neckline was a fairly open weave needing reinforcement. My Zoom Loom sample swatch was the perfect solution which I top-stitched over the seam and collar.
After further draping and wrapping, I decided to cross the front right side over the left and accessorize with 3 lovely wooden buttons crafted by our very own Schacht shipper, Betty. Later, my personal assistant Sweet Pea found the opportunity to inspect the final piece.
Finished piece: 27 ½” long x 47” wide