It’s December 17, which means it’s only one week until Christmas Eve. It’s past time to focus on getting ready for that holiday with my family, but I am entangled in what has become an unusual adventure using paper yarn from Habu.
When I first put on a linen warp to weave some placemats with paper as weft, I was so excited to use the paper yarn dyed with indigo. Granted, it was a very pale indigo, so I admit I had some worries about how the woven pattern would show up on the pale warp of white and unbleached linen (#365 in Strickler). It didn’t show up well at all! Unsure of how to progress, I may have reacted too quickly by diving through stash and deciding to use a beautiful blue linen as weft. The placemats are lovely in this blue, but I continue to wish they were paper. I now have four of these, and I used up the whole first warp to get them.
In October I took the remaining paper yarn and dyed it with indigo from a friend’s vat. She had re-invigorated the vat a bit more than she planned. After just a five-minute dip I pulled out my skein that was far darker than I had planned. Well, that’s the nature of natural dyeing and certainly the nature of being a novice. Although it was a quite a bit darker than what I’d envisioned, I was smitten by the variation in blues. It’s quite stunning. I call the color variation ‘abrashi,’ a word I learned from Persian rug weavers.
In summer I made a new warp and tied on to the old placemat warp. I won’t do that again any time soon. I started weaving my newly dyed paper yarn in late October, mixed in with making the gifts I needed for this busy season. Now, with gifts finished (sort of…and nothing wrapped yet!) I have turned my attention to getting the last four paper-woven placemats finished. I will have two pale indigo paper placemats, four all linen placemats, and four darker indigo paper placemats. All of that was from an original wish to have six indigo-dyed paper placemats. I could finally see the finish line of this extended project! There is quite a difference between these three attempts, and you can see the changing colors in the newest, darkest version.
Yesterday I finished the 3rd placemat and went to wind more bobbins. That’s when I realized how little is left of my skein of indigo dyed paper yarn. I would be lucky to get another two bobbins wound, and that’s far from what I need for this last placemat! Why is nothing every easy?
I slept on my dilemma for a night and woke up this morning ready to take apart one of the pale paper placemats to salvage the weft. Of course I have to dye it, and it will take more than a novice’s ability to get a blue anywhere close to what I got back in October. That makes me think I need to pick out the weft from both pale placemats.
It took me 1 1/2 hours to unpick one placemat. The weft became tangled in the warp whenever the warp got to be longer than 1/2″. So every 1/2″ I cut the warp closer to the weft and continued to unravel. That means the one placemat was cut into almost 50 little fringes. Here is the mess in progress.
I only unraveled one placemat, and I know I should do at least part of the second placemat to ensure that I have enough weft. I also went looking for my indigo kit from Maiwa, but it wasn’t where I last remember putting it. Nothing is easy….ever.
Although I am focused on getting this project off the loom before I leave, I realize I may not succeed. I want to come home next spring to an empty loom ready for a new project, but I am only home until Tuesday…this Tuesday. It will be a downer to come home to this last placemat that needs so much work in an area I am completely unprepared to tackle. Such is life. It’s a good thing I love weaving. This is quite a hurdle and a saga, but we can’t help what we’re drawn to do. I fell for that yarn, and you can’t choose what (or who) will melt your heart.
The yarn has also compressed during weaving. I need to get it back to the ‘tape’ it was initially, and I need to get close to matching the blue I dyed in October! Wish me luck!
Onward….but maybe not for months to come. The saga continues.